Libya

Jay Carney Defended Investigations Into Events Like Benghazi–Back When He Was a Journalist

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Press conference screen cap

During today's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney waved off reporters' questions about Benghazi, instead accusing House Republicans of encouraging the "rapid politicization of everything" and turning the Benghazi investigation into a "political circus." 

Once upon a time, Carney saw such "political circuses" as necessary. In a 2007 column, Carney (then a journalist) called Benghazi-like investigations a check on "expanded presidential powers." 

Without further ado, I give you, "Scandal, Power And the President," written in 2007 by Massimo Calabresi and TIME Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney: 

In Washington, scandals metastasize, growing and changing until we can't remember what they were about in the beginning. A bungled burglary became a cancer on the presidency, forcing Richard Nixon to resign in disgrace. A money-losing Arkansas real estate deal led to Monica, a blue dress and Bill Clinton's impeachment. Already, the furor over the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys has shifted focus from the crass but essentially routine exercise of political patronage to the essential project of George W. Bush's presidency: its deliberate and aggressive efforts to expand and protect Executive power.

Which is why divining the true motives behind the dismissals is only part of the battle under way in Washington. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have spent six years expanding presidential powers at the expense of Congress and the judiciary, from authorizing domestic wiretapping to limiting habeas corpus and changing bills through signing statements. Democrats, in control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in 12 years, are determined to reclaim what they can. And the U.S. Attorneys case gives them powerful new ammunition.

Just getting Karl Rove and other top White House officials to testify could be as important as anything they might say, since it would set a precedent of sorts as Democrats push to investigate internal White House deliberations on everything from Iraq-war contracting to the use of prewar intelligence. Bush is resisting, offering to give only limited interviews with lawmakers with no transcript. Anything more than that, he says, would be an infringement on presidential privilege.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remains a likely casualty, but the history of past scandals suggests his resignation would not be enough to end the current one. Hearings will be held, subpoenas issued, new investigations launched. And when it's over, we'll be hard-pressed to remember how it began.

It would appear more than just Carney's job title has changed. Then again: Back in 2007, a Republican was president and Democrats controlled Congress. 

NEXT: DOJ Surveillance of AP Phones Part of an Unprecedented Crackdown on News Leaks

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  1. You need to separate what journalist Jay Carney says from what mouthpiece Jay Carney says.

    Because as mouthpiece Jay Carney said during the presser, it is important to likewise distinguish what Obama says and thinks from what he actually does.

    1. and accused House Republicans of encouraging the “rapid politicization of everything” and turning the Benghazi investigation into a “political circus.”

      Two words:

      Sandy Hook

      1. Bah, I remember clearly. They waited at least an hour before popping the champagne and throwing a party on those kids graves.

    2. He was a mouthpiece when he was a journalist and still is today. It just that he has a different paymaster now.

      1. “He was a mouthpiece when he was a journalist and still is today. It just that he has a different paymaster now.”

        Put another way, we already know what he is, we’re just discussing the price now.

  2. You know, leaving aside the current scandals, all of this bitching about the GOP beating up the Democrats on everything is just ridiculous. That’s the opposition party’s fucking job. Frankly, the GOP is much less aggressive and less prone to jump on every little thing than the Democrats. It’s like Bush never happened.

    1. Yeah, do the normals not think this makes the admin just look weak and whiny?

      1. It’s been the status quo complaint–everything would be groovy but for those meddling Republicans. Even when the GOP wasn’t in control of either house.

        While the parties are a kind of added bonus in the way that getting an infection after a venomous snake bite is, the fact is that our system was designed to have problems getting things done, because of the checks from the various branches, the states, and the people themselves. It should be hard to do anything, and people in power should be constantly defending themselves for even the appearance of wrongdoing.

        1. It should be hard to do anything

          Agree. Too bad it isn’t easy to UNDO everything.

          1. Agree. Too bad it isn’t easy to UNDO everything.

            I keep going back to Heinlein’s bicameral legislature where one house needs 70% to pass a bill, while the other house needs only 30% to repeal a bill.

            The rationale being that for something to be backed up by government violence it better have broad support, and if something cannot gain the support of 30% of the people it’s probably a really bad idea.

            1. It sure would help. Government expanded too easily under Constitution v.1.

            2. I’d settle for 60 and 40.

              We should keep this in mind when the H&R commentariat is tasked with rewriting the constitution after the next revolution.

              1. I’d settle for 60 and 40.

                You’d let stuff pass with a D?

                I think it should get at least a C.

                1. Better than the failing grade all of the current sausage deserves.

              2. Given the current Zeitgeist, I suspect that, after a revolution, the H&R commentariat is more likely to be in the Gulag than the Constitutional Assembly.

                1. Yeah, pretty much re-eduction camps in Nunavut for all of us.

            3. I prefer Sunset Laws. Nothing except the Constitution shall be law for more than 10 years. Either get a Constitutional supermajority or repass the law every 10 years.

              1. Problem is there’d just be a pro-forma “we repass every law” law at the beginning of each congressional session.

                1. Although there is the chance for some great lulz with sunset laws when the politicians forget to reauthorize a given department.

                  Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the House cloakroom before the re-vote…

              2. I prefer Sunset Laws. Nothing except the Constitution shall be law for more than 10 years.

                I was thinking about this listening to the Michael Garibaldi show yesterday. He was talking about how every agency was getting a sequester waiver. I got thinking maybe this was a good way to cut government…

                You set up a panel to cut the budget and give them a time limit that can only be slipped say 20 or 30 times. If they cannot agree on what to cut after the 39 slip, you shut off ALL funding to the government. Call it Sequester 2 (maybe Sequester +). Congress can spend the next 15 years granting waivers to the really important shit and then the next 15 to the shit we don’t really need.

                It would buy us 30 years before they ended up back where we started.

                What think?

    2. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, unless we’re in charge. Then it’s political game playing.

    3. Whether what someone does matters or not depends not on what was done, but to which team they give their allegiance.

    4. Frankly, the GOP is much less aggressive and less prone to jump on every little thing than the Democrats.

      Because the GOP has there fair share of scandals just waiting to be exposed as well. No GOP Senator wants to mad dog the Administration because the Senator will end up caught in a hotel room with meth and a tranny hooker. The GOP and the Dems play for the same team.

      A healthy Fourth Estate would serve the country better. Hey look! Angelina Jolie cut her boobs off!

      1. There’s some truth to that. I think the Republicans are a little more pragmatic than the Democrats and remember that reality can bite them in the ass. The left seems kind of detached from reality in many respects.

        1. The left just runs on emotion, so yes they are detached from reality.

      2. No GOP Senator wants to mad dog the Administration because the Senator will end up caught in a hotel room with meth and a tranny hooker.

        This would make me more likely to vote for said Senator.

        1. Meth is declasse. I want my Senatore snorting coke off a hooker’s ass, like go intended.

          1. John, is that you?

    5. That is an absurd claim. Or are you going to retract the other claims you’ve very likely made about how Democrats were complicit in every one of Bush’s many, many crimes?

      Whatever malfeasance exists in these ongoing scandals, Bush was those times 100, if I’m being cautious. I’m sure you were all very outraged over that administrations many abuses, but not at a level proportionate to the political schadenfreude going on now. Yeah it’s very much like Bush never happened.

      1. Argument by assertion? Check.
        Mindreading? Check.

        I await the followup post which includes a strawman to complete the trifecta.

      2. Obama is unquestionably more corrupt than George Bush. Or are you also forgetting the time that Obama’s chief rivals in Illinois just ‘happened’ to have their sealed divorce records broken open by the employer of one of Obama’s advisers? Or the time a White House official somehow had access to the Koch Brothers’ tax information that was supposed to be private? Or the time that the Obama campaign basically created an online enemies list in which Obama attacked private American citizens for donating to Mitt Romney?

        I like that liberals were freaking out about the possibility of the Bush administration wire tapping a very specific set of calls going to very specific countries to the point where they were crying police state, but Obama’s administration running a much wider phone tapping scheme against a respected press organ isn’t that big a deal.

        Bush was terrible. Obama is worse.

        1. I note in your litany of Beckian conspiracies there isn’t a single human death.

          I’m talking about lying the country into a decade long bloody multitrillion dollar war. I’m talking about torture as official policy. Outing a CIA agent for political reasons. If Benghazi is such a scandal, what does that make 9/11?

          Or does Bush get a pass on all the worst things, because some reason?

          1. I guess wehn Obama just up and decides to start bombing countries for no valid reason, that’s totes cool, eh?

          2. If Benghazi is such a scandal, what does that make 9/11?

            Routine government incompetence and just plain luck. Same as the Boston Marathon bombing. Bush didn’t try to blame it on some random filmmaker.

            Or does Bush get a pass on all the worst things, because some reason?

            Maybe you should ask Obama why he granted immunity to all government officials involved in torture.

            1. No Bush just blamed it on Sadaam Hussein and then started a war on that premise. No biggie!

              1. No Bush just blamed it on Sadaam Hussein and then started a war on that premise.

                False.

                1. Iraq could never have happened if the administration hadn’t conflated it with 9/11 and you goddamn well know it. A significant proportion of Republican voters still think Sadaam had something to do with 9/11. Dick Cheney called wavering congressmen and outright lied to them about the level of threat Iraq presented in order to get them to vote in favor of war. Do you not remember how this went down? Do you really think we would have gone to war in Iraq without this connection being asserted?

                  1. Iraq was never conflated with 9/11.

                    Dick Cheney called wavering congressmen and outright lied to them about the level of threat Iraq presented in order to get them to vote in favor of war.

                    Move those goalposts. Is that lying? Yes. Is that conflating it with 9/11? Nope.

                  2. “A significant proportion of Republican voters still think Sadaam had something to do with 9/11.”

                    Yeah, but that’s because there’s evidence the two were linked from back in the Clinton days. It has nothing to do with anything the Bush administration said.

              2. Bush never blamed 9/11 on Saddam Hussein, he claimed Hussein had weapons of mass destruction based on faulty intelligence.

                I listed three instances of malfeasance that Obama was either personally involved in or Obama’s advisers were involved in, and you claimed it was a conspiracy theory. So what does that make your blatant lie about Bush’s justification for the Iraq war?

              3. Dude. At no point did Bush blame Saddam Hussein for 9/11. You’re insane.

                1. He claimed Sadaam had ties to al-Qaeda. This is not a secret. It’s making me nervous that you’re parsing semantics in order to defend George fucking W. Bush and his war.

                  1. It isn’t parsing semantics to point out that George Bush never argued that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. That a provably false claim you made because you’re a liar.

                  2. It isn’t parsing semantics to point out that George Bush never argued that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. That a provably false claim you made because you’re a liar.

          3. So what Irish noted was a beckian conspiracy but implying 9/11 was an inside job (which 60% of Democrats believed at one point) isn’t.

            1. I don’t believe it was an inside job, but if Benghazi was a scandal of incompetence, doesn’t that make 9/11, oh, about 1,000 times worse?

              1. Yes, it does. Oh, you forgot you’re not talking to Republicans? Oh. Well, then.

          4. I note in your litany of Beckian conspiracies there isn’t a single human death.

            How are any of those Beckian conspiracies? An Obama adviser worked for the Trib. The Trib broke into divorce records that had been explicitly sealed by a judge. I live in Chicago. It’s not a conspiracy to say that Chicago politicians would use the Trib to smear a political opponent, particularly if an adviser just happened to work for them.

            My second point was about the Koch Brothers’ taxes. Also not a conspiracy. A White House official was talking to the press and brought up the Koch Brothers’ taxes. He should not have had the information he had. The fact that he had this information is pretty much proof that people in the White House were looking at the Koch Brothers’ taxes illegally.

            As for the online enemies list THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. He created a list of Romney donors and then had his campaign personally attack them and try to claim that they were evil. This is a sitting president attacking his opponent’s donors, all of whom were American citizens. It is highly inappropriate, and it also provably happened.

            Tell me which of those is a conspiracy.

            1. I’m all for prosecuting any illegal activity. Any of these go to court?

              Still practically a little girl tea party compared to the vast horrors of the Bush admin.

        2. …but Obama’s administration running a much wider phone tapping scheme against a respected press organ isn’t that big a deal.

          Oh, it goes much deeper than that. We know that warrantless wiretaps have quadrupled under Obusha. However, it’s widely suspected that all electronic communications are intercepted.

          1. It’s true that the government actually has the goal of collecting and storing all human electronic data everywhere. Pretty scary, but it’s not gonna stop under President Christie.

            1. Pretty scary, but it’s not gonna stop under President Christie.

              Mmkay. So your defense is “yeah, we’re evil, but so are those guys.”

              1. So your defense is “yeah, we’re evil, but so are those guys.”

                At this point, it’s all they got.

                1. Am I defending it?

      3. Like the recent argument I had with one of you nimrods who went on and on about how Bush was bought and paid for by Ken Lay, nevermind that it was Bush’s administration that convicted Ken Lay, even though a lot of legal scholars thought they couldn’t, while Obama’s corporate conviction rate stands at zero, and nevermind that GE gave more money to Obama for their 0% tax rate than Enron gave to Bush. But no, no. Bush was 100 times worse.

        American politics has devolved from my team vs. your team into my criminal vs. your criminal. And why should any of the criminals care? They know as long as 50% of the country will fellate them no matter what they do, they got nothing to worry about.

        Libertarians are pretty much the only people who are even trying to be upright anymore.

        1. Libertarians are pretty much the only people who are even trying to be upright anymore.

          I don’t really agree. I think the REALLY hard left and hard right tend to be too far to the left or right to like the major political parties. Hardcore conservatives and socialists tend to hold to their principles, even if I disagree with those principles.

          1. That’s my impression too. There are a lot of true believers other than libertarians, but they’re all at the fringes. The center is pretty cynical, and not in the good way.

    6. My complaint isn’t that the opposition party beats up on the party in power, it’s that they tend to do it insincerely. That is they pick up issues that they think will lead to immediate outrage and then drop them again as soon as the outrage passes without ever actually doing anything about the problem that led to the outrage.

      If I thought the Benghazi investigation was going to lead to changes in the way the state deparment operates in unstable countries, or the IRS investigation would lead to management controls to prevent the politicization of IRS investigations, it would be great.

      Likewise on the other side if the investigations of Bush terror policies had led to better protections on civil liberties or the investigation of the housing market collapse had resulted in changes to prevent financial agents from defrauding their beneficiaries, that would have been great too.

      As it is, it’s all just Kabuki theater and it’s infuriating to see an issue you consider important being trivialized for cheap campaign fodder.

  3. Ya suck the cock of thems that brought ya.

  4. TOP MEN are in charge now so criticizing them is evil.

    I suppose back in 2007 distrusting the government wasn’t a sign of lunacy, racism or criminality either.

    1. H&R beat you to it several hours ago.
      Try to keep up.

      https://reason.com/blog/2013/05…..ies-are-po

      1. Yeah. That news is hours old. Expecting a new scandal any moment…

      2. Dammit. I normally don’t make that mistake.

        I…I just don’t know what to say.

        1. Just hit the showers, your done for today. And then just look forward to tomorrow and try to crank it up again. That’s what we do.

          1. So who was the greatest Irish relief pitcher?

            1. Hoyt Wilhelm?

            2. A pitcher of Guiness?

        2. Turn in your monocle, top hat and walking stick made from the shin bone of a hobo.

          1. He probably drank the orhpans’ tears already.

            1. *orphans

            2. Orhpans was correct.

              There is a secret Koch base on Planet Orhpan to harvest Orhpans’ tears used to make monocle polish and GMOs.

          2. walking stick made from the shin bone of a hobo.

            Wait! When did hobo shin become the new endangered-albino-African-elephant-tusk cane with conflict-diamond-encrusted, potosi-silver topper?

            Is that too nouveau libertarian?

            1. You’re gay so you’ve got better accessorizing sense than the straight libertarians. :-p

      3. I’d be careful about posting that H&R already mentioned a story somebody’s linked to. Other H&R posters might start making fun of you for complaining.

  5. I don’t understand why the WH keeps pounding the “we didn’t know it was a terrorist attack for several days” drum when its been made abundantly clear via Gregory Hicks that not only did they know it was a terrorist attack AS IT WAS HAPPENING but they in fact told forces to stand down.

    What’s even more disappointing is that no one in the press seemed to push him on this at the press conference.

    This attack -which they had warnings about prior to 9/11/12, thus why they had asked (and were denied) additional security- was never even remotely related to a protest, yet the Admin is STILL pushing the “we didn’t have all the facts” BS.

    1. I don’t understand why the WH keeps pounding the “we didn’t know it was a terrorist attack for several days” drum when its been made abundantly clear via Gregory Hicks that not only did they know it was a terrorist attack AS IT WAS HAPPENING but they in fact told forces to stand down.

      When they got him dead to rights, simply ignore the facts

      /the media

      Oh, BTW, I notice the AP didn’t ignore the fact that Holder, using a mere subpoena, secretly violated their privacy. Where were they when it was everyone elses rights getting pissed on?

      1. It wasn’t their ox.

  6. Political hack. Nice bum kissing Jay.

  7. …accused House Republicans of encouraging the “rapid politicization of everything” and turning the Benghazi investigation into a “political circus.”

    Everyone in that press briefing room was a registered Democrat, and they were asking questions about Benghazi. It may no longer solely be the opposition party demanding answers. It may no longer be a partisan issue.

    1. Of course, stuff like this never should be. If the president, SoS, and/or others lied to us this blatantly, that transcends political crap. Everyone involved should be out on their ass.

    2. Everyone in that press briefing room was a registered Democrat
      If only. Most journalists I know register “non-partisan” or similar and won’t even vote in a primary to maintain the illusion of objectivity. If I were publisher, I’d give every reporter in my org. $100 and order them to give it, publically, to the political campaign of their choice. (And then I’d probably go to jail for violating campaign finance laws.) That’s why I think it’s so cool that Reason asks its people to write about who’ll they’ll vote for in presidential elections.

      1. ALL OF REASON VOTED FOR OBAMA IN 2008. It’s a fact.

  8. Here’s a fun game: Name the Obama crony “Y” who’s gonna play the role of Nixon crony “X.”
    Carney/Zeigler is easy.
    Here’s one: X = Martha Mitchell

    1. Joe Biden = Deep Throat

    2. Martha Mitchell=Gregory Hicks

      When Mitchell claimed the White House was involved in illegal activities, it was claimed that she was suffering from mental illness. When Gregory Hicks made allegations about the Obama White House, people claimed he ‘had an ax to grind.’

      I think it’s a pretty good comparison.

  9. This gets more and more delicious.

    1. Let’s hope it keeps going. I fear that the Angelina Jolie story and O.J.’s appeal will distract us. We’re like puppies, really. Throw a toy, and we run off chasing it.

      1. My question is what caused all these scandals to break at once. Did Obama suddenly stop being useful to the lizard people?

        1. I think the lizard people got a taste for salty ham tears when gun control went down in flames, and they figured out how to get a lot, lot more of them.

        2. I think it’s the post election hang over. They were able to stifle all of this noise during the election by promising various individuals sweet gigs after the election was over. The folks who already had no morals or ethics were brought in to do the dirty work, and now they’re off enjoying their payoff.

          Stephanie Cutter, who was particularly nasty during the election, is now off helping Bank Of America get off the hook and probably gets paid handsomely for it.

          The bad guys are all gone now, and they don’t have enough “cleaners” left to put out all the fires anymore.

        3. Ha, we’re just sitting on tree branches in Florida watching you mammals fuck up at orbital speeds. These cluster fucks are intentionally caused by us just to provide alternative entertainment to American Idol.

        4. He didn’t pay his dues.

        5. The republicans saved them up. After all, Benghazi happened a long time ago. What difference, at this point, does it make?

        6. In this case probably random chance. The only one which might have been controlable as to when it became an issue was Benghazi coming back up because of the whistle blowers coming forward.

          The AP listening scandle erupted becase the Justice Department was required to forward the subopena to the AP after their 6 months of secrecy was up. Similarly the IG report on the IRS stuff was likely in progress for several months and is just now complete

        7. Probably to distract from the fact that the federal budget deficit is rapidly shrinking.

          1. I knew it! It’s austerity’s fault!

          2. Probably to distract from the fact that the federal budget deficit is rapidly shrinking.

            Because of policies that the Obama administration actively opposed.

  10. OT: I don’t have any further information, but I just saw this on YouTube: Police Officers Kicks Down Door with no Warrant and no Probable Cause,Tazes Occupant Filming

    1. That had to have been uploaded automatically, otherwise it would have been destroyed.

  11. Jay Carney was never a journalist.

    That column was TEAM propaganda masquerading as journalism.

  12. Now the question is, in 3-4 years, when Obama writes his THIRD autobiography, is how many chapters will he spend blaming everything on ______ and the Republicans?

    1. All of them?

      And will it be titled “Fuck You, That’s Why”?

  13. “It would appear more than just Carney’s job title has changed. Then again: Back in 2007, a Republican was president and Democrats controlled Congress.”

    See? He was being consistent after all. It’s not that he’s changed, it’s the circumstances that have changed.

  14. I’m having a hard time keeping up. How many scandals are we working right now?

  15. Jay Carney is not surprised someone doctored the email referring to talking points on Benghazi.

    1. Tony,

      Why the does WH keeps pounding the “we didn’t know it was a terrorist attack for several days” drum when its been made abundantly clear via Gregory Hicks that not only did they know it was a terrorist attack AS IT WAS HAPPENING but they in fact told forces to stand down?

      I doubt you’ll give me a straight answer, but it’s always fun to watch you squirm.

      Also, the over/under on you mentioning “BUSH!!!” in the answer is like 50/1.

      1. People should stop talking about how bad Bush was, since he wasn’t nearly as bad as Andrew Johnson.

        That argument makes about as much sense as bringing up Bush every time Obama fucks up.

        1. Andrew Johnson? The unholy spawn OF LBJ and Andrew Jackson? That’s a kill it with fire…

      2. Who gives a fuck? is my answer. Well lots of people give a fuck, but that’s because they’re being told to by Republican party mouthpieces.

        The facts of the events of that day have come out in an independent review. It placed blame in specific places at the state department. And guess what? During the most recent congressional hearing, the chair of that review board was not invited, and Darrel Issa lied about it (saying he refused to attend).

        Now it turns out the email everyone’s worked up about today was doctored. But is it going to boomerang on Republicans and cause political damage to them for being lying, contemptible mini-McCarthys using tax-funded salaries to engage in one pathetic attempt at ginning up political scandal after another? Probably not. It’s kind of just expected of them nowadays.

        1. You are what’s wrong with America, Tony. I hope you’re proud of that.

          1. Because I’m telling facts inconvenient to the Republican-stoked controversy narrative you, for some unknown reason, feel the need to latch onto? I don’t know if irrational hatred of and obsession with the president is everything that’s wrong with this country, but it’s certainly not helping.

        2. Riiiiiiiiiight.

          Who gives a fuck why the entire administration lied repeatedly to the American people AND TO THE FAMILIES OF THE DECEASED AS THEY WERE PULLING THE BODIES OFF THE PLANE just so that they could keep the political messages the way they wanted?

          1. There’s no evidence anyone lied.

            1. Yep. It’s all the got. T’would be funny, if not so sad.

            2. There is, you just won’t admit it because you are a worthless statist prick who will defend this administration to the end.

              The good news is that the end is probably going to come sooner than you think.

              The smart rats already fled this porous excuse for a ship, and you idiots are gonna get used like a two bit whore as they go down.

              I hope you think it’s worth it.

            3. Except for the fact that they knew it was a terrorist attack the night it happened and spent the next couple of months claiming it was a spontaneous protest that was caused by a movie.

        3. But is it going to boomerang on Republicans and cause political damage to them for being lying, contemptible mini-McCarthys using tax-funded salaries to engage in one pathetic attempt at ginning up political scandal after another?

          Wouldn’t the party filled with heirs to Joseph McCarthy be the one that keeps trying to claim the Tea Party is facist and the NRA is a terrorist organization?

          1. The Tea Party has some fascist hallmarks and the NRA is undoubtedly indirectly responsible for much more death in the US than any Muslim terrorists, but I’m not aware of those claims being at the forefront of Democratic politics.

            1. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!

              Oh my God, you are beyond parody. Supporting the second amendment makes you responsible for more deaths than Muslim terrorists and arguing in favor of SMALLER government makes you a fascist.

              Words mean things, dipshit.

  16. Tony’s not real, guys.

  17. But Romney woulda been worse! HE WOULDA BEEN WORSE!
    (Note: I’m not claiming this isn’t possible.)

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