His response to a sane man’s request: In this morning’s Washington Post, Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung present an important front-page report.
Kevin Drum gets the nugget quote right. But first, let’s get clear on the background.
In the wake of the Benghazi attack, some of the capital’s decent people wanted to behave in a responsible way. Not everyone in DC is crazy.
According to Wilson and DeYoung, at least one congressman wanted to avoid the most obvious types of errors:
WILSON AND DEYOUNG (5/22/13): The controversy over the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack last year began at a meeting over coffee on Capitol Hill three days after the assault.Ruppersberger has been in Maryland politics a long time. He isn’t crazy and he isn’t evil. Whatever you think of his politics, he’s basically normal and sane.
It was at this informal session with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the ranking Democrat asked David H. Petraeus, who was CIA director at the time, to ensure that committee members did not inadvertently disclose classified information when talking to the news media about the attack.
“We had some new members on the committee, and we knew the press would be very aggressive on this, so we didn’t want any of them to make mistakes,” Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.) said last week of his request in an account supported by Republican participants. “We didn’t want to jeopardize sources and methods, and we didn’t want to tip off the bad guys. That’s all.”
As everyone has always known, Ruppersberger asked Petraeus to create a certified, secure account of what had occurred at Benghazi. This was a sensible request.
Now we get to the nugget quote. According to Wilson and DeYoung, here’s how Petraeus responded:
WILSON AND DEYOUNG (continuing directly): What Petraeus decided to do with that request is the pivotal moment in the controversy over the administration’s Benghazi talking points. It was from his initial input that all else flowed, resulting in 48 hours of intensive editing that congressional Republicans cite as evidence of a White House coverup.Petraeus has long been known as king of the hustlers. Sadly, that’s why the “press corps” has always fawned about his greatness.
A close reading of recently released government e-mails that were sent during the editing process, and interviews with senior officials from several government agencies, reveal Petraeus’s early role and ambitions in going well beyond the committee’s request, apparently to produce a set of talking points favorable to his image and his agency.
The information Petraeus ordered up when he returned to his Langley office that morning included far more than the minimalist version that Ruppersberger had requested. It included early classified intelligence assessments of who might be responsible for the attack and an account of prior CIA warnings—information that put Petraeus at odds with the State Department, the FBI and senior officials within his own agency.
In this case, Petraeus inserted a bunch of junk into the talking points. Even his career subordinates at CIA found his conduct unprofessional.
Might we tie this detailed report to our post from this morning?
Last Wednesday night on The One True Channel, Isikoff and Maddow were clowning around, entertaining us rubes. They rolled their eyes at the brainless way the “bureaucrats” had mucked around, removing material from the original talking points.
Presumably, Isikoff and Maddow weren’t auditioning for jobs at Fox, though it may have seemed that way.
What were the “bureaucrats” at the State Department really doing as the talking points were developed? In part, they were removing stupid, self-serving shit Petraeus and his hacks had inserted there.
In many ways, they were improving the talking points. They were behaving like serious government employees, as Ruppersberger did.
Maddow and Isikoff were too dumb and too clownish to have such thoughts enter their heads. They chuckled and rolled their eyes at the bureaucrats, just like the other stars do over at Fox.
The time has come when liberals and progressives should really be tired of Maddow’s incompetence. Yes, she’s a convincing self-promoter—but she’s also a fairly large fraud.