May 7, 2013

WaPo's "Fact Checker" on about the Benghazi talking points.

Last fall, before the election, Glenn Kessler gave Susan Rice a mere 2 Pinocchios for her infamous 5-talk-shows delivery of the miserably wrong talking points on the Benghazi effect. More recently, he gave 4 Pinocchios to Darrell Issa for suggesting that Hillary Clinton's signature on a document means she approved it.
In his interview, Issa presented this as a “gotcha” moment, but it relies on an absurd understanding of the word “signature.” We concede that there might be some lingering questions — such as whether anyone in Clinton’s office saw this cable before it was issued — but that does not excuse using language that comes close to suggesting Clinton lied under oath.
Now, Kessler looks at the new information about the talking points:
The key new disclosure is that senior levels of the White House and State Department were closely involved in the rewriting of the talking points. Previously, Obama administration officials had strongly suggested that the talking points were developed almost exclusively by intelligence officials....

The biggest unknown is whether the “building leadership” in the State Department who objected to the initial talking points included anyone on Clinton’s immediate staff. (One presumes that nit-picking over wording would not have risen to Clinton’s level.) Certainly, someone senior made a call to the White House that resulted in quick action....

Clinton, during her testimony before the Senate and the House in January... stressed it was an “intelligence product” and said she was not involved in the “talking points process” and she “personally” was not focused on them — odd locutions that leaves open the possibility that she was aware of the internal debate at the time....

As more information emerges, we will continue to track how the administration’s statements hold up over time and whether more Pinocchio ratings are appropriate.
ADDED: As Instapundit puts it: "WaPo Fact-Checker Rowing Back Previous Support For Hillary, White House."

76 comments:

gerry said...

And so, kicking and screaming, the WaPo, with 85% earnings decline this year, pisses in the wind with "As more information emerges, we will continue to track how the administration’s statements hold up over time and whether more Pinocchio ratings are appropriate."

Four.dead.Americans.

The Drill SGT said...

Depends on what the definition of "personally" is

"We need to wait till all the facts are in"

"What difference does it make at this point?"

Henry said...

Not Pinocchios. Pink slips.

Good god, Mr. Kessler, this isn't a fourth grade talent show. If Clinton wasn't aware of the maliciously deceptive talking points, then she should be fired for executive malfeasance. The possibility that Clinton lied under oath is the least of her failures.

lemondog said...

Another 'is' 'is' moment.

Bob Ellison said...

On Face the Nation (CBS) this past Sunday, Bob Schieffer adopted a journalistic attitude toward BenghaziGate. He reviewed Gregory Hicks's testimony at length, and politely questioned Darrell Issa about it.

On The Today Show (NBC) this morning, the news started with those 10-year kidnappings, Chris Christie's fat surgery, and other important news. Then they brought Andrea Mitchell on to do a dance as a talking head about BenghaziGate. She spent about a minute explaining to viewers that it was really just a Republican attack on Hillary Clinton.

Pogo said...

Tin soldiers and Clinton coming,
We're finally questioning.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Benghazi.

jrberg3 said...

Surprised the WP didn't take the Carney route and just play it off as happening a very long time ago.

jrberg3 said...

Surprised the WP didn't take the Carney route and just play it off as happening a very long time ago.

The Drill SGT said...

In his interview, Issa presented this as a “gotcha” moment, but it relies on an absurd understanding of the word “signature.”

I never worked for State, but I (and Synova as I recall) worked as an Army communications Center guy at one point. The DoD usage on a formal message would be as follows:

The header would indicate that it was from the from some commander, but messages came in three general constructs

1. No postscript label: from the staff with no direct input from the Boss. (essentially what friends of Hillary argue)

2. A label at the bottom that says:
"By Direction of General X"
- Colonel Smith"

The General said do it, but did not craft this specific text

3. a label at the bottom that says: "- General X"

these words are mine...

YMMV

David Hampton said...

Isn't it odd that the lead people in this administration are always at arms length from the problem of the day? They operate from a position of plausible deniability to stay removed from the "Bad Thing" if something goes wrong or places them under the scrutiny of personal responsibility. It seems like the entire administration is notable for setting in place an ideology for their devoted/committed minions to succeed or, failing that, they fall willingly on their swords. The only thing these apparatchiks believe in is protecting the ideology at any cost.

St. George said...

Pinocchio Ratings.

How childish.

The reduction of grave national issues to something infantile.

CEO-MMP said...

I go read the wapo article, get to the end, glance at the first comment (most recent I guess?) and see that it's this:

"That awkward moment when the guys who blamed 9/11 on Iraq try to blame the consulate attack in Libya on the President…"

Left by someone named Meade.*

*(no I don't really think it's Mr. Althouse. It's just funny.)

Mark O said...

The use of Pinocchio is appropriate. He, too, was a puppet.

Bob Ellison said...

CEO-MMP, that does sound rather like the Professor's Meade. Deviously scratchy. I like it.

David Hampton said...

Drill Sergeant; I agree. In extreme circumstances like this, a call to the boss would have been required before affixing his/her name to what would have been a "Flash" or higher message. In lesser circumstances the message would have been placed in a special file for review first thing in the morning to prepare the person whose name you signed for the morning briefing. Placing the system on auto-pilot is fine for messages from the fleet, so to speak. The rest require notification immediately whether waking up the boss or interrupting a cocktail party your boss is attending. No exceptions. Unless your instructions are to keep the boss out of trouble at any cost which seems to be the case in this administration.

Colonel Angus said...

Sometimes I think its a bad idea to have civilian control over the military. They use it when unnecessary (Vietnam, Iraq) and pay it no heed when needed.

David Hampton said...

CEO-MMP- interesting that Meade is the short name for Fort Meade, MD.

Bob Ellison said...

The Drill SGT and David Hampton, interesting points. I have no related experience, but I can say that as businessman, anyone who posted my signature at the bottom of a lying memo without my approval (need I protest that I did not lie?) would have been fired. That's the way the real world works.

Marshal said...

One presumes that nit-picking over wording would not have risen to Clinton’s level

Obviously Kessler has no idea how government works. Nit picking over political implications is exactly what the Secretary and senior staff do. To the extent any actual work is done it's by the rank and file and lower management.

AprilApple said...

The pro-democrat hack media barely care. Any lie for the big lie.

Hagar said...

The immediate reaction at the State Dept. was full panic, and "How can we lie our way out of this?" What happened in Benghazi was embarrassing, but not worth all that, so there has to be something else here.

I think of Benghazi as a flash of lightning in the night that showed people and things in the shadows that had not ought to be there and appeared to be doing things they should not be doing.
In other words, the Benghazi "incident" is an opportunity to start digging to find out just what the heck happened in this Libyan "Arab Spring" "war of liberation."

Misinforminimalism said...

If only there were some organization that was dedicated to rooting out the truth in such situations and relaying that information to the public so that we wouldn't have to wait for the information to "emerge" all by itself. Eh, WaPo?

Scott M said...

On The Today Show (NBC) this morning...

How many times has that organization been busted fabricating news and/or altering recordings now?

I admit they are still a company, but I don't know if NBC rises past "tabloid" as far as news is concerned.

Phil 3:14 said...

Benghazi's one moment in the public eye, presidential debate #2. I still wonder if Candy Crowley's comment changed an election.

campy said...

I still wonder if Candy Crowley's comment changed an election.

No, Mittens was going to lose no matter what.

Dante said...

It's the MC/PC Pinocchio discount, and the white man tax.

The two statements are nearly analogous. Rice may not have known, so 2 Ps. Hillary may not have known, so 4 Ps.

FleetUSA said...

"Try to remember" from the Fantasticks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWQureIC1QM

Big Mike said...

In 1972 the Post exposed the cover-up. In 2012 they actively participate in it. What a difference 40 years makes!

Matthew Sablan said...

I need to try that with the IRS. "Just because I signed that form doesn't mean I approved my tax preparer's fraudulent entries."

ed said...

This probably ties back with the invasion of Libya. From what I understand the entire point of invading Libya was to enforce oil contracts that Ghadaffi was going to disavow. And since these oil contracts were with European oil companies, many of whom are integral with ruling political parties or nations in the EU, the result was the invasion.

So why did the USA get involved?

Was there a national quid pro quo such as support in Afghanistan? Or a more money oriented quid pro quo where well placed donors got economic favors? You'd think the former would be the rule but consider all of the "investments" made in green energy companies and the like where only Democrat cronies and supporters made any money.

As this as always; follow the money.

lemondog said...

If only there were some organization that was dedicated to rooting out the truth in such situations and relaying that information to the public

Ya mean actual investigative journalism sans **gasp** political agendas.........?!!!!!!

Whaddaya some sort of a nut?

Oso Negro said...

To me, the most horrifying thought related to the stream of revelations of media bias is not that they would stooge for Obama, but rather how many decades they were at this without being called on it. Let's be clear, before talk radio and the internet, you had little more than the occasional cry against "nattering nabobs of negativity" in the public space. Meanwhile the press has been cheerfully shilling for leftist causes since the beginning of the Progressive Era. And then, of course, there is the relentless indoctrination in the public schools.

Jay said...

Ah yes, Democrats don't "approve" documents when they sign them, because "accountability" is only something for elected Republicans.

The lies this weird and silly people tell themselves to justify their dumbass political beliefs are endless and frankly, pathetic.

Jeff H said...

I'd give Kessler "5 cow pies" on the BS meter.

Colonel Angus said...

From what I understand the entire point of invading Libya was to enforce oil contracts that Ghadaffi was going to disavow. And since these oil contracts were with European oil companies, many of whom are integral with ruling political parties or nations in the EU, the result was the invasion.

So much for the no blood for oil mantra.

Unknown said...

NBC may stop broadcasting soon, WaPo, is shoveling money out the door at a rate it can't sustain, and NYT is also going broke, just more slowly. Sad to say, but the disappearance of all three of these won't harm either our democracy or our ability to inform ourselves.

MPH said...

Is a partisan fact-checker a fact-checker indeed?

Epiphyte - said...

"The future must not belong to those who defame the prophet of islam."

Unknown said...

NBC may stop broadcasting soon, WaPo, is shoveling money out the door at a rate it can't sustain, and NYT is also going broke, just more slowly. Sad to say, but the disappearance of all three of these won't harm either our democracy or our ability to inform ourselves.

MayBee said...

Only semi-related: Sheyl Atkisson reports the conditions surrounding the return of Amb Stevens' body are still mysterious. Yet the very next day, Clinton and Obama claimed Libian good samaratans tried to save Stevens by bringing him to the hospital. Of all the things they pretended not to know, why did they pretend to know that?

furious_a said...

Hillary! 2016 -- not ready for her 3AM call at 5:30 P.M.

As more information emerges, we will continue to track how the administration’s statements hold up over time and whether more Pinocchio ratings are appropriate.

How about grabbing some cameras, microphones and tape recorders, heading out in the news van, and sticking said cameras and mikes and recorders in faces until you unearth your own facts...instead of waiting for them to...emerge.

Stupid, lazy press phucks. Incompetent dinosaurs. The pink slips, moving boxes, miserly severance packages and Security escort to your cars cannot come soon enough.

Drago said...

unknown: "NBC may stop broadcasting soon, WaPo, is shoveling money out the door at a rate it can't sustain, and NYT is also going broke, just more slowly."

The Washington Post company is actually more diversified than you might realize.

Given that, and given how the publishers (owners) see themselves and their news operations, I don't think that the Wash Post is going anywhere anytime soon.

Additionally, I happen to have some insight into their digital and content strategies as well as their personnel moves and I have to admit that they are making some giant strides forward in ways that would be difficult to outline generally on a blog.

Very different from that idiot Pinch and the other loonies at the NYTimes who have run Arthur Sulzbergers operation into the ground.

Drago said...

Maybee: " Yet the very next day, Clinton and Obama claimed Libian good samaratans tried to save Stevens by bringing him to the hospital. Of all the things they pretended not to know, why did they pretend to know that?"

Maybee, we all should simply be grateful that Obama didn't blame the attack on bitter clingy Christians with the sweet muslims trying their darndest to help protect the Americans.

furious_a said...

...but I don't know if NBC rises past "tabloid" as far as news is concerned.

It was a tabloid (Enquirer) who busted John Edwards about his baby mama, while the respectable, journalistic dowager LA Times sat on the story.

glenn said...

When your name is Clinton nobody expects what you say or sign to mean what the words mean to other people. Unfortunately Bil and Hill have a pile of company amongst their generation.

RecChief said...

If it was a Republican administration, they wouldn't 'presume' that nit picking over wording didn't rise to the level of the Secretary of State.

Rusty said...

Washington Post fact-checker is an oxymoron.

El Pollo Real said...

campy responded to Phil 3:14:

No, Mittens was going to lose no matter what.

It will be interesting to watch campy shift gears to try to dérailler 2014.

Zach said...

The biggest unknown is whether the “building leadership” in the State Department who objected to the initial talking points included anyone on Clinton’s immediate staff. (One presumes that nit-picking over wording would not have risen to Clinton’s level.)

What a ridiculous assumption. Who below Clinton would have the authority to change "definitely a terrorist attack" to "not a terrorist attack at all"?

Bear in mind, the attack occurred in the middle of the reelection campaign, and the changes consisted of scrubbing all references to Al Quaeda, public enemy #1. Public knowledge of a whitewashing could easily disrupt Obama's reelection chances.

Frankly, I don't see how this could be decided anywhere outside of the White House. How would a subordinate ever get the authority to put Obama's word behind an outright lie?

Brian C. said...

"As more information emerges" ... thanks to that do nothing Republican house we have. And no thanks to use journalists who blindly trust THIS government to tell us what we know.

edutcher said...

If the whole Administration is impeached (and it does look like the WaPo is going into wolves-and-troika mode), can we have the Romster as POTUS?

dreams said...

The average low information voter thinks these fact checkers really are fact checkers when in reality they are liberals giving their opinion.

Rusty said...

We can't form an opinion until we get the talking points from the White House.

Mistakes were made. People will be blamed.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

From the secret WaPo FactChecker stylebook:

Page 1, paragraph 1:
Whenever a Democrat must be issued two Pinocchios a nearby Republican must be issued at least four.

Page 1 paragraph 2:
If a Democrat obviously merits five Pinocchios said Pinocchios must be withheld pending "more information".

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
... it does look like the WaPo is going into wolves-and-troika mode.

Is the WaPo among the wolves or is it riding in the troika with the Harpy and Lord Zero?

Marty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Issob Morocco said...

Ann, you need to pull the thread not just notice the fray.

Why the video was pushed when this occurred on the anniversary of 9/11? Was it the Muslim Brotherhood who provided the cover for Obama and Clinton? Larry Schwarz our PAO in Cairo comdemned the riots 6 hours before they occurred. That is odd.

A video no significant amount of people saw ( TV viewership is a small activity of the 83 M Egyptians) is suddenly thrust to Iron Man 3 viewership by an Administration seeking to obfuscate and deflect. The MSM ran with the Romney bashing in the 5 days that followed until Susan Rice's stunning Sunday TV performances ended the punishing of Romney. Then Rice took the heat.

You have had the string wrapped around your finger for long time. Give it a yank and see what it unravels and exposes.....

One thing I can tell you is Nixon is a piker compared to Obama.

n.n said...

Perhaps The Washington Post should consider radical surgery. That "bump" on their face is not growing smaller.

Big Mike said...

What a ridiculous assumption. Who below Clinton would have the authority to change "definitely a terrorist attack" to "not a terrorist attack at all"?

Depends on what sort of manager Clinton is. If she's sufficiently "hands off" then her staff may be empowered -- i.e., doing her job for her while she la-de-das around the globe.

creeley23 said...

Yet all this is just hors d'oeuvres before the big question:

Who told the military to stand down while the ambassador and other Americans were calling for help?

Impeach Obama.

Methadras said...

Leftist fact checkers. The idea makes me laugh.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

I hope Candy Crawley contracts aggresively spreading terminal cancer.

It's actually pretty impressive how the government and their media allies were able to bury this for so long.

Depressing, but impressive.

Sam L. said...

WaPo: Karma be a female dog with BIG teeth and a bad attitude.

Aridog said...

The Drill SGT and David Hampton .... I have but three questions initially:

1.) Who was the Officer of the Day 11 Sep 2012 in Benghazi?

2.) To whom did he/she file a report when under attack, at what time specifically, and how was it worded?

3. What specifically were the 20+ people actually doing in Benghazi?

I know how it would have been handled in my day, but perhaps it is different now...you know, you are being attacked directly and overrun so you file a note for tomorrow's briefings at State, CIA and DoD?

What was once upon a time called "Broken Arrow - all resources respond immediately" [in non-nuclear incidents]is now "Ruptured Pigeon, take your fucking time, no worries."

If allowed a 4th question: Exactly why did [or who directed that] General Carter Ham seek more time with his family, given he was in mid-tour?

Zach said...

Depends on what sort of manager Clinton is. If she's sufficiently "hands off" then her staff may be empowered -- i.e., doing her job for her while she la-de-das around the globe.

Even so, it isn't her job to lie, so it's not a duty she could delegate. I don't think there's a manager in the world who would let a subordinate lie about a major issue without letting the superior know about it ahead of time.

Terry said...

Kessler insists that he is unbiased and non-partisan.
Really.
Kessler has written 'fact check' columns that make no sense when defending the words of a democrat http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/10/is_obama_guilty_of_infanticide.html

and make no sense when attacking the words of a conservative:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/sarah-palin-death-panels-and-obamacare/2012/06/27/gJQAysUP7V_blog.html

Columns like Kessler's are a great argument for having a conservative -- or at least a skeptic -- on the editorial board of a newspaper. Otherwise there is no one who will attend an editorial meeting with Kessler and say 'Dude, you are writing opinion column. Look, here's where I've blue penciled your column showing that your conclusions are based on matters of opinion, not fact . . . "

Big Mike said...

@Zach, I was not defending the lady.

The Drill SGT said...

Aridog said...
The Drill SGT and David Hampton .... I have but three questions initially:

1.) Who was the Officer of the Day 11 Sep 2012 in Benghazi?

2.) To whom did he/she file a report when under attack, at what time specifically, and how was it worded?


The Answer to 2) is CRITIC. (Critical Intelligence Communications Message)

Designed to get from Analyst to the Director NSA and 15 other info addressees (State, WH, CJCS, COCOMS, DIA, CIA, etc) within 10 minutes (15 in my day of paper tape

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticomm

It is a straight shot, no intermediate stops. From Benghazi, any intel analyst could have had a watch officer initial it and it would be in the Oval Office in 10 minutes...

There are no excuses. The logs will show exactly when each of the 15 Principals got and signed for their CRITIC copy.

I was involved in sending one in 1971.

campy said...

Enlighten me, please. What am I supposedly going to try to derail in 2014?

The dems are going to keep control of the senate and the repubs will probably keep the house.

Does anyone doubt this?

creeley23 said...

The dems are going to keep control of the senate and the repubs will probably keep the house.

Does anyone doubt this?


campy: It's one possibility of many, but no more than that. Please recall that a year out from 2008, the smart money was a Clinton-Guiliani match-up.

And who considered it even a long-shot in Spring 2009 that the Republicans would thoroughly shellack the Democrats and take the House by a wide margin in the 2010 midterms?

Save your snark. If you haven't noticed, we live in interesting times.

creeley23 said...

It is a straight shot, no intermediate stops. From Benghazi, any intel analyst could have had a watch officer initial it and it would be in the Oval Office in 10 minutes...

Drill SGT: So, with an American ambassador under attack by radical Muslims on the anniversary of 9-11, how does it happen that nothing happens?

campy said...

Save your snark.

Thanks for the advice, but I prefer to share it along with my wisdom and foresight.

creeley23 said...

campy: Wake me up when you start serving the wisdom and foresight.

You don't seem to have either when it comes to defending your previous attempt.

Aridog said...

The Drill SGT said...

The Answer to 2) is CRITIC. (Critical Intelligence Communications Message)

Designed to get from Analyst to the Director NSA and 15 other info addressees (State, WH, CJCS, COCOMS, DIA, CIA, etc) within 10 minutes (15 in my day of paper tape


Thanks...I'd forgotten the term/acronym for the functional message. Last time I had to deal with one real time was also 1971, when some NORKS crossed the border in the Han Estuary, as a Staff Duty NCO reporting to a Duty Officer. Below that urgency there were in-theater emergency protocols, such as the "Broken Arrow" radio call I mentioned. My memory is fuzzing up...I recall the 10 minute window for top emergency communications even in paper tape days, but I'm likely thinking of much later days.

I'd also forgotten just how many desks the critical message would hit, remembering only State, CIA, and Pentagon. Thanks for updating and expanding my comment...and I am aware logs exist, but I really doubt we or any responsible non-partisan will see them. Liars abound in the senior ranks, civilian (SES) or military (Flag). The records could even be er, uhm, "lost."

By the Mid-2000's I trusted nobody above the rank of Lieutenant Colonel ...and I still don't. I settled on that rank because the last officer, worthy of the title, who did NOT expect or ask me to lie held that rank....in fact ordered me not to lie. By 2005 even that small dispensation meant a lot to me. It once represented what I took for granted "honor" meant. Yeah, I WAS that naive....hell I still try to be.

I guess what irks me about the Benghazi affair is that I knew from day one lies were flying, as I'm sure you did as well, based upon your obvious experience with such situations and the commo involved. For me...my quirk if you will...is nothing angers me more than to be lied to by persons who know I know they are lying. Expecting me to accept and repeat it is the height of chicken-shit.

Creely23 asked ...

Drill SGT: So, with an American ambassador under attack by radical Muslims on the anniversary of 9-11, how does it happen that nothing happens?

Speaking for myself only...it happened by contrivance, an intentional distortion that became an official lie. It served the purposes of the political class in DC, both civilian and military, to hell with any facts. Secretary Clinton's angry jab; "What difference, at this point, does it make now" summarizes it perfectly.

As for just what was going on in Behghazi? Now DCIA Brennan knows, from his "Blowtorch Bob" clone days in the white House, and he's not going to tell you. So lump it, peasant...you have no need to know, let alone no "right" to know.

jay-dubya said...

In re Pogo's comment above, I present Four Dead In Benghazi