Foreign Policy

GOP Libya Talking Points Collapse

Following the president's righteous smackdown of Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate, the GOP and Fox News have slowly recognized the fact that the president did call the attack on the American embassy in Libya an "act of terror."

They have not, however, accepted the administration's explanation for why initial reports from the scene painted a mixed message concerning the motives of the attackers.

That's going to change now because documents released yesterday prove senior administration officials were being completely honest about what they were initially told by the intelligence community.

“Talking points” prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, the same day that Rice taped three television appearances, support her description of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate as a reaction to Arab anger about an anti-Muslim video prepared in the United States. According to the CIA account, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [...]

The official said the only major change he would make now in the CIA’s Sept. 15 talking points would be to drop the word “spontaneous” and substitute “opportunistic.” He explained that there apparently was “some pre-coordination but minimal planning.”

During the vice presidential debate Joe Biden said the administration was told by the intelligence community that the protests spawned the attack, and he was absolutely correct. As was Ambassador Susan Rice who, as you may recall, was on the receiving end of loud calls for her resignation from the right wing.

Mitt Romney was wrong when he held his no apologies, terrorist sympathizer press conference within hours of the attack. He was wrong during the second presidential debate. And if he so much as mentions Libya during Monday night's debate, he's going to pay for it in the press.

The Republicans' talking points on Libya have become such a failburger that Fox News began the walk of shame by forcing Geraldo to play devil's advocate.

via ThinkProgress

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera went against that narrative on Friday. After Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy once again mocked the notion that the video was an impetus for the attack, Rivera instead presented the idea that it was in fact both a reaction to the video and a terrorist attack. The hosts quickly attempted to pull Rivera back on-message after he completed explaining his theory, but couldn’t persuade him to drop it completely.

Fox reporter Peter Doocy later also reported that the attack may have been “tied to that anti-Islamic video”, a short film, purported to be part of a full length movie known as “The Innocence of Muslims,” and its derogatory portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed.

Playing this again.

Questions may remain about the integrity of security at the embassy, but the administration has otherwise been unequivocally vindicated following an avalanche of manure from the conservative noise machine.

And the irony is that this wouldn't even be up for discussion if not for the opportunistic hackery of the Romney campaign and Fox News. Through their own shortsightedness, they handed this victory to President Obama.

May they eat a healthy portion of humble pie.

  • Rollo Tamasi

    This could be another problem for Romney.

    Iran Agrees to Nuclear Talks

    New York Times: “The United States and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.”

    “News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and a day before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.”

  • D_C_Wilson

    “May they eat a healthy portion of humble pie.”

    They won’t. They’ll just do what they always do: Double-down and repeat it even louder.

  • nicole

    “May they eat a healthy portion of humble pie.”

    Too bad it isn’t a poison portion.

  • Dan Wayment

    This was a Mission and not guarded by Marines. The Ambassador had an 8 person body guard. Marines cannot guard.

    • D_C_Wilson

      And here’s the thing most people are forgetting:

      Even if the ambassador was surrounded by 20 bodyguards, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The mission was hit by an RPG which started a fire. The ambassador died of smoke inhalation. No number of bodyguards could have shielded the mission from an RPG.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    They deserve to eat a shit sandwich for the way they’ve tried to ride this thing.

  • Rollo Tamasi

    “but the administration has otherwise been unequivocally vindicated following an avalanche of manure from the conservative noise machine.”

    That noise machine has gotten assistance from “mainstream” journalists as well.

    The name Jake Tapper comes to mind.

    • JMAshby

      I think of Tapper, Gregory, Todd a part of the conservative noise machine. Complicit at best.

  • muselet

    That’s going to change now …
    Through their own shortsightedness, hey handed this victory to President Obama.

    That’s what I like about you, Ashby: your eternal, sunny optimism.

    More likely, we’ll continue to hear the Right—specifically including the chowderheads on Fox News and AM talk radio—insist the Obama administration lied and covered up and all-around failed (failed, I tells ya!), secure in the knowledge that 99.999+% of their audience will never seek out those documents.

    I’ll even go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney will—more cautiously this time—try again for a gotcha moment on Benghazi in Monday’s debate. (I further predict he’ll fail again, but this time the Right will be prepared and will loudly crow that he succeeded. How our glorious news media will react is left as an exercise for the reader.)

    I never would have thought Righties were fans of Doctor Who (or, more recently, Mythbusters), but they’ve certainly taken on board a famous catchphrase: “I reject your reality and substitute my own!”


  • Ned F

    Never the less, I expect this crap to pop up again on Monday’s debate.

  • Brutlyhonest

    Initial reports are ALWAYS suspect. It’s a fact of life for those in the “Indications & Warnings” field. You get the best information out that you can as quickly as you can then amend and correct as necessary. If you’ve done good prep work, those receiving your reports know the capabilities and limitations of your sources/techniques.

    It’s just a shame that the rwnjs have no shame in trying to gain political advantage from everything.

  • rob black

    The very horrible John Fund (whose face seems to be made of some sort of rubber compound) and some other Repub hack were on Real Time last night, and are not impressed by Issa’s doc. dump. At least not impressed that it basically validates the administrations statements to date….while probably getting a few Libyans friendly to us killed in the process.
    The Justice Department should go after Issa for continually leaking sensitive material that puts our people and our friends in other countries in danger. Having republicans in chairman seats is like having an open spigot for intelligence data to our enemies.
    There is no bar they will not slither under to hurt this President. There is no ginned up controversy too petty for Issa to spend millions of taxpayer dollars witch hunting.
    God we need to take back the House and put a boot on their neck before Issa and Co. release some info that gives our enemies a way to attack us again.

    • Chachizel

      Changing the subject just a little…was anyone else annoyed by “Real Time” last night, or even all this season? It was a one hour long shout fest last night. Like watching Fox News. I couldn’t understand anything that anyone was saying because there was always someone yelling over it. I think Maher just might be trying a little too hard to be “fair and balanced” by always having these right wing hacks on his show. I actually do like to hear their point of view, but lately they’ve just been TOO ridiculous. It really is getting annoying. Btw, Boris what’s his face and Rubberface Fund are uber-douchebags so I’m kind of glad I couldn’t hear anything they were trying to spew out of their bullshit yapping faces.

      • Victor_the_Crab

        I usually fast forward past the panel and go right to New Rules because, more often than not, there’s always a right wing gas bag spewing talking points and just being rude to everyone else. That’s one of the reasons that bothers me about Bill Maher, because he always talks about standing up to these people, then allows them to run roughshod over the show and not do anything about it.

        • D_C_Wilson

          I don’t even bother doing that any more. I just wait until the New Rules is posted online.

          Maher does try to reign in the conservative guest, usually by shouting “You’re in the bubble!” But really, it doesn’t matter, to be a conservative pundit these days, you have to be shameless and brazen and able to repeat every lie over and over again while talking over everyone else.

          I think there’s a course they have to take.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Troglodyte 101, I believe it’s called.

      • rob black is extremely annoying to say the least.
        I think Mahers theory is that people he gets from the right, are so bad that the only other media they ever appear on is Faux, where they go unchallenged. So if he can have them on with someone from the left, including himself, they will be called on their bullshit. The problem is, these people are proffesional bullshiters …they over talk and fillibuster continully….and Maher tells the repentant morons like David Frum… Andy Sullivan “you are one of the good ones”..and I get the feeling he believes it. He has even bought in to the stupid entitlement reform lie. Not good.
        Issa himself was on last week. You could tell he was about to lie when he would say “The fact is Bill….” . The problem is, sometimes Bill is not up enough on the topic to refute them, so they get another opportunity to convert bullshit to narrative through constant repetition.
        The worst thing is that he refers to these people as “friends of the show”. Ann Coulter, Issa, that goofy congressman from Crackerville may be friends of the show….but they are mortal enemies of the truth. I too use my DVR constantly..or have just skipped entire episodes when I saw the lineup.
        These people make living being lying scumbags, they have Fox on 24 /7 to promulgate their horse shit…they don’t need any more help.