The line on Benghazi went from "wait for what the investigation reveals it to be" to "what difference does it make?" in a matter of months. When Susan Rice did the Sunday talk show circuit the weekend after the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, she wasn't a part of the reality-based community, peddling the story of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islamic video on YouTube as the explanation for the attack in Benghazi.
Documents revealed by a House investigation into the Benghazi response suggest the White House was aware of Al-Qaeda involvement in the plot even as it was ongoing, let alone nearly a week later when Rice appeared on television. This Sunday, some Congressional Democrats tried to distance themselves from Rice's increasingly obviously dishonest explanation of the Benghazi attack. Via Fox News:
Removed from the CIA's so-called talking points were references to "Islamic extremists" and Al Qaeda in Libya. And five days later, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made the Sunday talk show rounds to say the attacks were "demonstrations" sparked by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
However, the video is never mentioned in the numerous talking-points drafts, according to a Weekly Standard story last week, based in part on a 43-page House report and records of official emails.
"Well, it was scrubbed," Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Steve Lynch told "Fox News Sunday." "It was totally inaccurate. There's no excuse for that. It was false information…"
At the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes provides a first draft version of CIA talking points and the final one on which Rice insisted she relied. Media Matters made a big deal out of the fact that reference to the protests being "spontaneously inspired" in both the first and final draft "vindicates" Susan Rice, deliberately obfuscating just what was excised from the first draft, which includes a specific mention of a link to Al-Qaeda (and indeed last week CNN reported three specific Al-Qaeda linked suspects with possible ties in Mali), the possible link to the Libyan extremist group Ansar al Sharia, and the role of the "wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya" (due in large part to the US-backed intervention in the 2011 civil war). All these things appeared in the original but were gone once the White House and other government officials had massaged the talking points to limit political damage. This has colored the administration's "evolving" handling of the Benghazi incident.
Yet despite all this, somehow it's the perceived conservative media's fault if these latest revelations about Benghazi are treated with the same childish "I can't hear you!" as every previous question about the administration's "truthiness" is handled by his media apologists, even as it becomes increasingly clear the administration's consistently misled the public on Benghazi.