Was Falsely Scapegoating a Bad Filmmaker Really ‘the least politically problematic’ Option?

Not politically problematic. |||David Brooks has a column in The New York Times today defending his friend, State Department spokeswoman Valerie Jumond, from charges that she edited down the Benghazi talking points for political reasons ("the accusations against her are bogus," he gallantly concludes).

So what happened? Brooks's theory, which sounds plausible enough, is that there was a "brutal interagency turf war" between the State Department and CIA, and that the editing reflected a lowest-common-denominator understanding of what was defensible. Here is the crucial paragraph; I have italicized part of the last sentence for emphasis:

Several things were apparently happening. Each of the different players had their hands on a different piece of the elephant. If there was any piece of the talking points that everybody couldn't agree upon, it got cut. Second, the administration proceeded with extreme caution about drawing conclusions, possibly overlearning the lessons from the Bush years. Third, as the memos moved up the C.I.A. management chain, the higher officials made them more tepid (this is apparently typical). Finally, in the absence of a clear narrative, the talking points gravitated toward the least politically problematic story, blaming the anti-Muslim video and the Cairo demonstrations.

Aaaaaaaaaaand CUT! In the course of trying to debunk one critique, Brooks, who has more insider knowledge of both Valerie Jumond and the White House (was he at the "deep background" meeting last week, one wonders?), lets slip a truly scandalous tidbit: That the United States government would consider blaming a Californian's straight-to-YouTube video "the least politically problematic story" at a time when many senior government officials on the ground already knew that story to be bunk.

So: Creating a non-governmental scapegoat is less "politicially problematic" than either A) telling as much actual truth as you can, or B) opening up two of the most powerful government agencies to criticism. Who cares if we have slandered a Cerritos resident by mischaracterizing his crappy art as "incitement" then followed that up with two weeks of partial blaming; we're trying to manage an interagency turf war over here!

By falsely scapegoating the video due to political expedience, representatives of the U.S. government inflicted material damage on the American culture of free speech. This has and will always be, to me, the biggest long-term Benghazi scandal.

Meanwhile, let us never forget how the powerful view the powerless: As "the least politically problematic" in the room. Talk about "bogus."

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  • ||

    Finally, in the absence of a clear narrative, the talking points gravitated toward the least politically problematic story, blaming the anti-Muslim video and the Cairo demonstrations.

    So government couldn't tell the truth and decided to ruin one man's life and put him and his family's safety in jeopardy, while, as Matt said, pissing on the First Amendment. And this is the explanation that will satisfy Obama supporters.

    I've always known the president and his ilk were a bunch of soulless jackals, but even I am genuinely disturbed at how suddenly they are foregoing any semblance of decency or higher purpose other than maintaining their own power.

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed. Plus, this whole "interagency turf war" excuse seems to boil down to the CIA knowing it was a straight-up terror attack, and State and the White House not wanting to admit that for political and PR reasons.

  • Sevo||

    "So government couldn't tell the truth and decided to ruin one man's life and put him and his family's safety in jeopardy, while, as Matt said, pissing on the First Amendment."
    And they did so for purely political gain.

    "And this is the explanation that will satisfy Obama supporters."
    Yes, I'm afraid it will do just fine.

  • gloriajean468||

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  • ||

    So government couldn't tell the truth and decided to ruin one man's life and put him and his family's safety in jeopardy, while, as Matt said, pissing on the First Amendment. And this is the explanation that will satisfy Obama supporters.

    THIS.

    Let's not forget that in the course of all this, the government LEAKED THE MAN'S REAL NAME to the media. Thereby putting him at the threat of death from Islamic radicals.

    THIS is the impeachable offense.
    (Or should be.)

    They deliberately exposed an AMERICAN CITIZEN to a SERIOUS THREAT of DEATH, just so they could deflect criticism from themselves.

    That is fucking evil.

  • PapayaSF||

    They also sent more firepower to arrest the guy than they sent to the consulate in Benghazi.

  • ||

    They also made sure to mention what state and city he lived in, in case there are any really dense Islamists out there.

  • Paul.||

    Tony and Shrike are thoroughly satisfied.

  • waffles||

    Is this really the red meat here? What I find most disturbing is that I'm not even a little bit surprised by these revelations. To anyone paying attention we are long past expecting scruples and honesty from federal agencies.

  • ||

    The surprising part is that after the fact they aren't ashamed to continue hiding it. That this information ever sees the light of day shows they have every confidence in the world that they won't suffer blowback from these revelations. THAT is the shocking and horrifying part.

  • ||

    You didn't expect them to just roll over and admit it, did you. Of course they'll continue the charade.

    The part that gets me is how many idiots will continue to make excuses for him when he's CLEARLY been caught red handed.

  • NeonCat||

    We the people doesn't include the little people. Everyone knows that.

  • ||

    Careful. There's a lot of historical truth to that.

  • Tim||

    After 200 years experimenting with a constitutional republic we seem to be resetting to a medieval social hierarchy of nobility, merchants and peasants.

  • ||

    Not resetting. It is simply what happens in a constitutional republic when the constituency refuses to care that its government refuses to follow the constitution.

    Most likely brought on by the fact that the vast majority of the constituency has no idea what's IN the constitution.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Most likely brought on by trusting the education of children to the institutions most interesting in breeding a population ignorant of the constitution.

  • sulphurbottom||

    Yes. We've been past the point of no return for a good while. The only thing that's changed is that it's become painfully obvious we're doomed as a free people.

  • sarcasmic||

    The public means everyone but you.

  • Tim||

    Some animals are more equal than others.

  • ||

    Beat me to it.

  • ||

    Throwing the first amendment out the window is totally politically unproblematic.

    Sadly, that's mostly true.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    German homeschooling family loses its quest for asylum - 6th Circuit federal court says administrative denial "not manifestly contrary to federal law." The compulsory attendance law doesn't single out homeschoolers - it applies to everyone (more or less) and simply *happens* to ban homeschooling.

    The homeschoolers claim that the *1938* law was motivated by discrimination (no!), but the court replies, "If, as the Romeikes claim, the law emerged from the Nazi era, that would understandably make anyone, including the Romeikes, skeptical of the policy underlying it. But such a history would not by itself doom the law. The claimants still must show that enforcement of the law amounts to persecution under the immigration laws. Theyhave not done so."

    http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/op.....37p-06.pdf

  • ||

    Do you know if this is their last chance at appeal?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    They can ask the US Supreme Court to hear the case, and apparently they will do so:

    http://www.hslda.org/docs/media/2013/201305140.asp

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Or they can probably ask the full Sixth Circuit.

  • ||

    Right, the Nazis had zero interest in purging the Fatherland of 'asocial' homeschoolers by forcing their children into indoctrination camps. They just knew that only government can educate children.

  • PapayaSF||

    US immigration policy keeps out German Christians but welcomes Chechen Muslims. Brilliant.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Muslims can go to religious schools - they aren't exposed to the dangers of homeschooling!

  • RyanXXX||

    Not to echoe Bill Maher, but this story is pretty boring at this point. Yes, Obama and/or Clinton fucked up big time. Does anyone here think they are actually going to be held accountable for it? This is mostly about taking down Hillary in a preemptive strike, which I support, but I think it might be wiser to let it die for now and bring it up when she's actually on the ballot.

    While Rand Paul is spending all his time on this crusade, we are gearing up to possibly arm the Syrian rebels. We need the "isolationist" voices in the GOP to stand strong and campaign against that decision. But he seems more interested in red meat bullshit that isn't going to go anywhere (when he isn't promising to lock up those damn hippy drug users, that is)

  • ||

    This is mostly about taking down Hillary in a preemptive strike, which I support, but I think it might be wiser to let it die for now and bring it up when she's actually on the ballot.

    To me, it's mostly about the fact that an administration allegedly in the civil-liberty-friendly party pissed all over freedom of speech, on a fucking worldwide stage, for 100% political reasons. Of course, no one will care about that either.

  • Tim||

    As Rand slips into campaign mode we are going to see more "appeals to Ned Flanders stuff". What are you going to do? Freedom means you gotta get votes, even from dumb people.

  • ||

    As someone said the other day. I agree with him on about 90% of things. I'll vote for the 90% solution that has a chance over the 100% that doesn't.

    I suspect Rand is a supporter of keeping drugs legal and gays single in the same way that Obama is a supporter of the 2nd amendment.

  • Xenocles||

    Rand isn't perfect. But I would vote for him, which is more than I can say for nearly anyone else being talked about.

  • kinnath||

    That was me. I am about 90% happy with Rand right now. We'll see how he behaves going into 2016.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think we should tear the throats out (metaphorically) every single politician and bureaucrat who lies, abuses power, steals, violates the Constitution, or otherwise does anything other than meekly carry out the few responsibilities given the federal government in the Constitution. Every single time like a ton of mixed metaphors.

  • ||

    Their was a roman office of tearing throats out, correct? The Officum Mutilator, if I remember right.

  • ||

    THERE

  • Bee Tagger||

    Let's see if that's enough to ward off Ted S.

  • Ted S.||

    People screwing up there/their is only cause for me to get a bit snarky. It's the misuse of apostrophes in plurals that drives me up a wall.

    I've also seen people using the apostrophe in past tense third person present singular verbs. [retches]

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's always they're. And Thor.

  • ||

    Best I've seen recently was when't. As in, "I when't to the store."

  • ||

    then/than

    This seems to be a national epidemic lately.

    I, personally, am terrible with who/whom.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I know the who/whom rules, pretty much, but I also don't really care about them.

  • ||

    It's easy.

    who:whom::they:them

  • Paul.||

    Whim:wham

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

  • Pro Libertate||

    They are you? What?

  • ||

    who:whom::they:them

    God bless you man (and I'm an atheist). You summed up in one line what people have been trying to verbalize to me for years.

    Don't need to know that who is the subject and whom is the object in a sentence. I need a trick that I'll actually remember. I before E except after C or when sounded like A as in neighbor or weigh. (except for the half dozen exceptions...english SUCKS!)

    Thank you!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno about that one, but there was the fustuarium.

  • Zeb||

    I think we should literally do that. Make it a capital crime to abuse power or violate the constitution.

  • Pro Libertate||

    How about just a crime? You know, with jail time? Fines?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Heck, I'd be happy with just removal from office.

  • geekster||

    So, in other words, we should tear the throats out (metaphorically) every single politician and bureaucrat. Can you be in fedgov at this point and not lie, abuse power, steal, or violate the Constitution?

  • Pro Libertate||

    A purge it is!

  • Paul.||

    If politicians can't stand the heat, they shouldn't be living in a glass house.

  • ||

    It's "boring" that they exposed an American to death threats of Muslim fanatics just to deflect criticism from themselves?

    They leaked his real name to the media.

  • Paul.||

    They didn't leak it, they screamed it outloud, continuously on the six o'clock news.

  • ||

    They also made sure to mention what state and city he lived in, in case there are any really dense Islamists out there.

  • Paul.||

    I'm not interested in taking down Hillary in a preemptive strike. I'm only interested in taking all of them down without mercy.

  • Raston Bot||

    So an intra-governmental pissing match is more important than the 1A. Got it. Thanks, Brooks, you bootlicking piece of shit.

  • Tim||

    People go to prison everyday, but you get to help cover the president's ass, so be proud of your role, youtube guy.

  • NeonCat||

    "The President is choking on my gas bladder! What an honor!"

  • ||

    Second, the administration proceeded with extreme caution about drawing conclusions

    They sure drew the conclusion that it was the video quickly enough.

    Or was their plan to lie until the actual events became clear?

    Anyone claiming this was some sort of misunderstanding is a willfully ignorant, mendacious fucktard. I have yet to hear anyone even surmise a realistic scenario of how administration officials couldn't have known the truth two weeks after the event.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have no doubt at all the video was a lie from the first moment it was mentioned. The question is, why? Has to be to cover up something, but what?

  • ||

    It was as simple as we don't need an AQ terrorist attack 6 weeks before an election. Let's make it not one.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a plausible and maybe even the likeliest explanation. It's unclean, whatever it is.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Has to be to cover up something, but what?

    The stopped the rescue effort because they were worried that if it failed the story would be too big to cover up and cost them the election.

    That's what they're covering up, that the lives of the thirty plus people at the compound were less important to them than winning re election.

  • ||

    That has merit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It did occur to me that this might have been to avoid the Iran hostage rescue redux. That has been presented as a reason for Carter's electoral defeat, though he was losing that election, either way.

  • Paul.||

    Has anyone asked the question if the administration is culpable for any damage done in regards to the video itself?

    Ie, no one gave a shit about the video until the feds pointed at it screaming, "Look! Bad Video! Bad Video! Blaspheming the Prophet Muhammed!"

  • Killazontherun||

    At the time the State Department and the White House was in negotiations with Muslim nations working on a UN effort to turn criticism of religion into illegal hate speech. Hillary's people really were on finding some ridiculous middle ground between 1A and the Islamist fascist. I would bet who ever came up with that bright idea also saw the Benghazi matter as a way to advance that agenda. Hell, Obama's speech at the UN a few weeks after the incident declaring critics of Islam as having no future in the Progressive Kingdom Come practically reeks of that agenda.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cops beat unarmed man to death, then confiscate witnesses' cell phones so they can delete the evidence.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....er-up.html

    Will anything else happen?

  • DJF||

    They deleted the video so nobody will make a direct to Y-tube video of and cause riots in Libya.

  • Ted S.||

    You're only posting a link to this now?

  • Paul.||

    Welcome to Hig & Run!

  • IceTrey||

    The whole reason this is going on is so Obama and Clinton can hide the fact they were running guns from Libya to the Syrian rebels.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Maybe the filmmaker going to jail was a consolation prize for a muslim group in Syria or Lybia? A quid pro quo?

  • ||

    the talking points gravitated toward the least politically problematic story, blaming the anti-Muslim video and the Cairo demonstrations.

    The talking points just gravitated! All on their own! It wasn't anybody's fault, guys. And that guy just happens to be rotting in jail for no reason, but that's nobody's fault either.

  • ||

    He's probably safer rotting in jail than being out on the streets considering that they leaked his identity to the media.

    Bad things have been known to happen to people who (a) depict the prophet mohammed, (b) make films critical of Muslims.

  • Paul.||

    Has anyone made a video about the Prophet David Koresh?

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    There was a bad TV movie about him. Most of it was shot while the standoff was still going on.

  • RyanXXX||

    Faggot

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Lizard people?

  • Tman||

    Definitely the Bilderbergs, with maybe some Trilateral Commission, and Illuminati/Prieure De Sion folks as well.

    WHO IS WATCHING THE WATCHERS, HMMMMMMMMM?

  • Killazontherun||

    Some one has a crush on Justin Raimondo. That was a handsome pic of him they used for years on Anti-War, so its understandable, even if insane.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Lizard people?

    Valerie Jarrett

  • ||

    Drink!

  • Paul.||

    Don't your kids, Eva and Adolf need to be picked up from school?

    C'mon, admit it, you're just pissed about how spec-fucking-tacularly wrong you were are about the whole thing.

    Antiwar... what... the... fuck.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Now that's some comedy.
    I was wondering if anyone here would remember the ravings of Raimondooooo in re the anti-Muslim vid.

  • ||

    Can we get an update on whether the filmmaker is still in jail, by the way?

    Let's not forget the government exposed the filmmakers name and plastered it all over the web. So even if he is out of jail, he probably has to live in hiding.

    Fuckers.

  • ||

    I think I heard recently that he has ~4 months left in jail.

  • ||

    I wonder what will happen when he gets out.

    Will he go into hiding?

  • ||

    Maybe we should pass a law forcing him to get an insurance policy against unexpected damages after expressing his 1st amendment rights.

  • Paul.||

    It's a tax!

  • Killazontherun||

    Well stated, Mr. Welch. Like a flamethrower turned on a house built of lies.

    Several things were apparently happening. Each of the different players had their hands on a different piece of the elephant.

    Apparently whoever came up with the protest demonstration that didn't actually happen had both hands elbow deep in a pile of elephant shit.

  • geekster||

    What makes this all the more fucked is the fact that our 'World President' who is healing the rift with the Muslim world, basically pulled a 'the black guy stole my babies!' defense. That was the play. And of course the rubes are gonna buy it, because you know how easy it is to get those ragheads riled up. If I were a Muslim I'd be pissed at the insinuation that I've got nothing better to do than start burning shit down and killing people over random crappy Youtube movies.

    Which would cause me to go burn some shit down and kill some people.

  • Paul.||

    By falsely scapegoating the video due to political expedience, representatives of the U.S. government inflicted material damage on the American culture of free speech. This has and will always be, to me, the biggest long-term Benghazi scandal.

    And that, ultimately, is what the damage here is.

    I want to see politicians hanging from the gallows at the town entrance by sundown.

  • ||

    'Was Falsely Scapegoating a Bad Filmmaker Really ‘the least politically problematic’ Option?"

    Yes. The problem is that we still dont know what the other, worst, option was/is.

  • DWC||

    Mistakes were made.

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