Jazz Shaw @ Hot Air:
I understand that the posts today have focused a lot on the political talk show circuit, and some of the material being covered has some cross-over elements to it, so I apologize for that. But this one really does deserve a hearing of its own, particularly given the new “gotcha” talking points being foisted on the Left. We’re seeing a story being pushed by administration supporters, up to and including Democratic congressmen, claiming that the Benghazi e-mails were intentionally altered by the GOP for political purposes.
When you run into these smug, told-ya-so defenders of the White House, you should calmly point them to this article from Jonathan Strong at National Review, where this claim is firmly debunked. First, he starts out with the prime example of this talking point delivered (again) from Dan Pfeiffer on this morning’s round of talk shows.
Here’s the evidence that proves the Republicans are playing politics with this: They received these emails months ago, didn’t say a word about it, didn’t complain, confirmed the CIA director . . . right after that. And then last week, a Republican source provided to Jon Karl of ABC News a doctored version of the White House email that started this entire fury. After 25,000 pieces of paper that were provided to Congress, they have to doctor an email to make political hay, you know they’re getting desperate here.
That certainly does look like a lethal blow to critics of the administration… were it only true. As Jonathan points out, the history of these events is quite different than what’s being portrayed here. He breaks it down into four key points, of which two will be of particular interest.
Nothing was “doctored.” Following the House report, Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard revealed a significant amount of new detail, followed by Jon Karl at ABC News. Both Hayes and Karl refer to summaries of the emails, meaning they presumably relied a great deal on the notes of those at the March 19 White House briefing. Karl inaccurately quotes from one email, which may have been based on faulty note-taking or some other error. While this is significant, the email in question exists and has the same core content as the email quoted by Karl — there was no wholesale fabrication.
The incorrect versions – and they were inaccurate quotes – were not generated by GOP operatives. They were extracted by ABC’s Jon Karl from notes taken by attendees at the original meeting when the White House refused to initially allow anyone to have copies which could have been used for full referencing. ABC went with the notes, being the closest thing anyone had to an official record, and the GOP worked off those notes. But even then, the “doctoring” wasn’t nearly as significant as the Democrats are making it out to be.
Lest we also forget: the White House WAITED until all the Congress had left for holiday.
THEN they ”made the emails available,” BUT ONLY to Congress officials, NOT to their staff, and NO NOTES were allowed to be made in the room, no copies of any kind.
A couple of members of Congress found it important enough to fly in for this limited viewing.
THEY made mental notes and wrote down those after leaving the room.
It was based upon these that all those reporters’ early versions of what was in the memos were based.
At any time the Obama Administration could have made everything crystal clear and accurate, simply by releasing the memos for copying.
But they did not.
Instead they pounced upon supposed ”doctoring” of these memos as best-remembrance came out in news stories.
Just a method to obfuscate the truth. And as far as the American people are concerned, just how many of them will investigate, or be curious enough, to see who is lying?
Let’s see here; a very minor deviation from the true text, due to the White House refusing to make the emails available in hard copy to reporters is a significant evidence of major doctoring for political hay but the removal of each and every bit of fact from the memos, with only the word “Benghazi” the only factual reference remaining is a mere “stylistic change”?
They made no stylistic change; lying has been their style all along.