Benghazi bombshell: Email supporting GOP “conspiracy” theory is fake

Have you ever tried to turn the deaths of four brave Americans in Benghazi, Libya into a political opportunity, even going to so far as to claim that killing a handful of American government officials on foreign soil was as significant as the murder of 3,000 people in NYC and at the Pentagon on September 11, only to have your entire wacky conspiracy blow up in your face because the email it was based on turns out to have been a fake?

And so it goes with another Republican conspiracy theory.

Benghazi email is a fake

You may have heard about today’s Benghazi bombshell.  The email at the core of the Republican case that the White House “fixed” the Benghazi talking points, in the immediate aftermath of the attack on our consulate, in order to edit out any reference to “terrorism,” in a supposed effort to minimize public concern about the attack in the weeks before the 2012 election, is a fake.

The actual White House email, far from proving an attempt by the White House to “spin” Benghazi for political purposes, shows a White House concerned about getting the facts right.

And Lindsey Graham’s balls shrunk 3x that day.

CNN’s Jake Tapper has the exclusive.

CNN has obtained an e-mail sent by a top aide to President Barack Obama about White House reaction to the deadly attack last September 11 on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that apparently differs from how sources characterized it to two different media organizations.

The actual e-mail from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes appears to show that whomever leaked it did so in a way that made it appear that the White House was primarily concerned with the State Department’s desire to remove references and warnings about specific terrorist groups so as to not bring criticism to the department.

Tapper concludes that the person who leaked the false email clearly wanted to implicate the White House in a scandal that simply didn’t exist:

Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed….

So whoever leaked the inaccurate information earlier this month did so in a way that made it appear that the White House – specifically Rhodes – was more interested in the State Department’s concerns, and more focused on the talking points, than the e-mail actually stated.


Here’s the real email, in its entirety.  Note the email’s concern about “wrong information” needing to be corrected, and about the most important factor being “respect” for “the investigation.”

From: Rhodes, Benjamin J.
Sent: Friday, September 14, 2012 9:34 PM

Subject: Re: Revised HPSCI Talking Points for Review

Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.

We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.

Republicans see terrorism as “good for us,” a “gift,” and an “opportunity”

Rhodes’ email reads like a conspiracy to do the right thing.  Which, in GOP circles, would be considered a shocking response to a terrorist attack against Americans. After all, the typical Republican response to national tragedy is to treat the the suffering of Americans, to treat terrorist attacks, as political “opportunities.”  Mitt Romney said it himself last year.  Benghazi was an “opportunity.”  Just as Romney said in the infamous 47% tape that the Iran-Hostage crisis was an “opportunity.”

And what do Republicans do when God presents them with the “opportunity” of dead Americans?  They run ads.  They particularly seem to enjoy running ads about people who die on 9/11.

Whether it’s George Bush’s ads about 9/11/01


Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign ad that included the remains of the World Trade Center.

…Or Lindsey Graham’s ads about 9/11/13:

Lindsey Graham campaigning on Benghazi, Libya tragedy

Lindsey Graham campaign ad on Benghazi, Libya tragedy only weeks after the Benghazi attack.

Or even more ads about 9/11/13, this time from House Republicans:


GOP fundraising ads for US House elections.

But this shouldn’t surprise.  It was the Bush campaign, after all, that said that Al Qaeda terrorism was “good” for Bush’s campaign.  And that Osama bin Laden’s threats to kill more Americans were “a little gift” for George Bush:

“We want people to think ‘terrorism’ for the last four days,” said a Bush-Cheney campaign official. “And anything that raises the issue in people’s minds is good for us.”

A senior GOP strategist added, “anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush.”

He called it “a little gift,” saying it helps the President but doesn’t guarantee his reelection.

Good for us.

A gift.

An opportunity.

It’s a shame the GOP’s latest “opportunity” just blew up in their face.

(There’s always Vince Foster.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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