Monday, October 22, 2012

Uh Oh. The New York Times Goes Critical With Front-Page Libya Report on Debate Day

Early in my reporting on the cover up I noted that the news would be getting so bad for the White House that even Obama's staunchest enablers in the press wouldn't long be able to defend him.

The New York Times isn't quite there yet, but it's close.

See, "Explanation for Benghazi Attack Under Scrutiny":
WASHINGTON — Even as Susan E. Rice took to the Sunday talk shows last month to describe the Obama administration’s assessment of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, intelligence analysts suspected that the explanation was outdated.

Ms. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has said that the judgments she offered on the five talk shows on Sept. 16 came from talking points prepared by the C.I.A., which reckoned that the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans had resulted from a spontaneous mob that was angry about an anti-Islamic video that had set off protests elsewhere. That assessment, described to Ms. Rice in briefings the day before her television appearances, was based on intercepted communications, informants’ tips and Libyan press reports, officials said.

Later that Sunday, though, American intelligence analysts were already sifting through new field reports that seemed to contradict the initial assessment. It would be several days, however, before the intelligence agencies changed their formal assessment based on those new reports, and informed administration officials about the change. Intelligence officials say such a lag is typical of the ever-changing process of piecing together shards of information into a coherent picture fit for officials’ public statements.

Gov. Mitt Romney and Congressional Republicans have sharply criticized Ms. Rice’s comments and the administration’s shifting public positions on the cause of the attack, criticisms that Mr. Romney will probably reprise in the final presidential debate on Monday night.

On Sunday, Congressional Republicans cited the administration’s response to the attack as symptomatic of larger leadership failings. “This is going to be a case study, studied for years, of a breakdown of national security at every level, failed presidential leadership — senior members of the Obama administration failed miserably,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The gap between the talking points prepared for Ms. Rice and the contemporaneous field reports that seemed to paint a much different picture illustrates how the process of turning raw field reports, which officials say need to be vetted and assessed, into polished intelligence assessments can take days, long enough to make them outdated by the time senior American officials utter them.

Intelligence officials, alarmed that their work has been turned into a political football, defend their approach, noting that senior administration officials receive daily briefings that reflect the consensus of the nation’s array of intelligence agencies, but can also dip into the fast-moving stream of field reports, with the caveat that that information is incomplete and may be flat wrong.

“A demand for an explanation that is quick, definite and unchanging reflects a naïve expectation — or in the present case, irresponsible politicking,” James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, said at an intelligence symposium on Oct. 9.

The Associated Press reported Friday, for instance, that within 24 hours of the attack, the C.I.A.’s station chief in Tripoli, Libya, e-mailed headquarters that witnesses said the assault was mounted by heavily armed militants. But intelligence officials said Sunday that one report was not enough to establish the attack’s nature.
More at that top link.

It's damaging just having this story in the news day after day, with back and forth explanations for why the administration can't keep its story lines straight. After a while the average person wises up to being deceived. The Democrat-Media-Complex can sustain the lies for only so long. And this stuff is on the front page at the nation's paper of record on the day of the final debate on foreign policy. Can you say high stakes? There's even more on A1, "Benghazi and Arab Spring Rear Up in U.S. Campaign." "Rears up" alright. Rears up its ugly head. The administration's foreign policy has completely deconstructed, violently. By now it's all about attempting to maintain perceptions of control. Hey, how's that going for you, Baracky? Here's that Dorothy Rabinowitz piece, ICYMI, "The Unreality of the Past Four Years."

PREVIOUSLY: "Leftists Tout Politically-Driven Intelligence Revisions on Obama's Benghazi Massacre Clusterf-k."