By Andrew C. McCarthy
Here is the main point: The rioting at the American embassy in Cairo was not about the anti-Muslim video. As argued here repeatedly (see hereand here), the Obama administration’s “Blame the Video” story was a fraudulent explanation for the September 11, 2012, rioting in Cairo every bit as much as it was a fraudulent explanation for the massacre in Benghazi several hours later.
We’ll come back to that because, once you grasp this well-hidden fact, the Obama administration’s derelictions of duty in connection with Benghazi become much easier to see. But let’s begin with Jay Carney’s performance in Wednesday’s exchange with the White House press corps, a new low in insulting the intelligence of the American people.
Mr. Carney was grilled about just-released e-mails that corroborate what many of us have been arguing all along: “Blame the Video” was an Obama-administration–crafted lie, through and through. It was intended, in the stretch run of the 2012 campaign, to obscure the facts that (a) the president’s foreign policy of empowering Islamic supremacists contributed directly and materially to the Benghazi massacre; (b) the president’s reckless stationing of American government personnel in Benghazi and his shocking failure to provide sufficient protection for them were driven by a political-campaign imperative to portray the Obama Libya policy as a success — and, again, they invited the jihadist violence that killed our ambassador and three other Americans; and (c) far from being “decimated,” as the president repeatedly claimed during the campaign (and continued to claim even after the September 11 violence in Egypt and Libya), al-Qaeda and its allied jihadists remained a driving force of anti-American violence in Muslim countries — indeed, they had been strengthened by the president’s pro-Islamist policies.
The explosive e-mails that have surfaced thanks to the perseverance of Judicial Watch make explicit what has long been obvious: Susan Rice, the president’s confidant and ambassador to the U.N., was strategically chosen to peddle the administration’s “Blame the Video” fairy tale to the American people in appearances on five different national television broadcasts the Sunday after the massacre. She was coached about what to say by other members of the president’s inner circle.
One of the e-mails refers expressly to a “prep call” that Ambassador Rice had with several administration officials on late Saturday afternoon right before her Sunday-show appearances. The tangled web of deception spun by the administration has previously included an effort to distance the White House (i.e., the president) from Rice’s mendacious TV performances. Thus, Carney was in the unenviable position Wednesday of trying to explain the “prep call” e-mail, as well as other messages that illuminate the Obama White House’s deep involvement in coaching Rice. The e-mails manifest that Rice’s performances were campaign appearances, not the good-faith effort of a public official to inform the American people about an act of war against our country. Her instructions were “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy”; and “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges” (emphasis added).
Carney risibly claimed that the “prep call” was “not about Benghazi.” Instead, according to him, it was “about the protests around the Muslim world.”
Two points must be made about this.
The first involves the administration’s blatant lying. Benghazi was the only reason Rice was going on the Sunday shows. If the massacre had not happened, there would not have been an extraordinary administration offering of one top Obama official to five different national television networks to address a calamity that had happened a few days before.
Moreover, as is well known to anyone who has ever been involved in government presentations to the media, to Congress, to courts, and to other fact-finding bodies, the official who will be doing the presentation is put through a “murder board” preparation process. This is a freewheeling session in which the questions likely to be asked at the presentation are posed, and potential answers — especially to tough questions — are proposed, discussed, and massaged. The suggestion that Rice, less than 24 hours before being grilled by high-profile media figures, was being prepped on something totally separate and apart from the incident that was the sole reason for her appearance is so farfetched it is amazing that Carney thought he could make it fly….