DOWD AND DOWDINPANTZ: This too was bogus!


Part 4—The way the news looked in real time: Once again, this is the analysis to which we were treated on Sunday:

When Susan Rice appeared on those Sunday shows, she should have used her security clearance to obtain, and then release, classified information!

And not only that:

She should have agreed with the rather wild statement made by that Libyan pol!

U.S. intelligence hadn’t established the claim the Libyan pol was making; as far we know, they still haven't. But so what? Rice should have agreed with him anyway!

On their face, these judgments are bizarre, absurd—but three major journalists stated them this Sunday. Maureen Dowd offered this silly advice in her New York Times column; Bob Schieffer soon said much the same thing a bit later on Face the Nation.

Completing the trio, Lord Dowdinpantz essentially wrote the same column as Lady Dowd. Like Dowd, he told us what a big-mouth Rice is. He then said she should have agreed, right there on TV, with what the Libyan said.

No one really believes such stupid ideas. Presumably, the trio were driving somebody’s script.

Whose water were these people carrying? We don’t know. You can decide!

That said, we thought you might want to check one last part of Lady Dowd’s column. With apologies for reprinting this crap, let’s check out the highlighted claim:
DOWD (11/18/12): Rice was given the toned-down talking points, but she has access to classified information. Though she told Bob Schieffer on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the extremist elements could have included Qaeda affiliates or Al Qaeda itself, she mostly used her appearances to emphasize the story line of the spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Muslim video. She disputed the contention of the president of Libya’s General National Congress, who called the attack “preplanned” when he talked to Schieffer just before Rice.

Some have wondered if Rice, who has a bull-in-a-china-shop reputation, is diplomatic enough for the top diplomatic job. But she would have been wise to be more bull-in-a-china-shop and vet her talking points, given that members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities and sources in news accounts considered it a terrorist attack days before Rice went on the shows. (The president and his spokesman also clung to the video story for too long.)
That entire passage is blindingly stupid, right down to the brainless statement about “the video story.” But in the highlighted claim, Dowd says Rice should have gone beyond the account she was given by U.S. intelligence, “given that members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities and sources in news accounts considered it a terrorist attack days before Rice went on the shows.”

You can probably see how foolish that is. In our modern press scrum, all sorts of people say all sorts of things “in news accounts.” It’s absurd to think that Rice should have called it “a terrorist attack” just because someone else had already done so.

This idea is especially silly now that officials have explained why they didn’t include this claim in the official assessment from which Rice was working.

As usual, Dowd’s assessment was monumentally silly. But was her factual statement accurate? Were members of the intelligence community calling Benghazi a terrorist attack “days before Rice went on the shows?”

We’d have to say that wasn’t true in Dowd’s own paper, the New York Times. Nor was it true in another well-known paper, the Washington Post.

Of course, it’s stupid to say that Rice should have said X because somebody else had already said it. But as a measure of Dowd's awful work, we thought you might want to be refreshed about what was actually being said in the Post and the Times at that point.

Rice appeared on the Sunday shows on Sunday, September 16. Two days earlier, the New York Times had given a detailed account of what had happened at the consulate.

Suliman Ali Zway reported from Benghazi. Here’s what Dowd’s own paper was saying two days before Rice appeared:
ZWAY (9/14/12): The mayhem here that killed four United States diplomatic personnel, including the ambassador, was actually two attacks—the first one spontaneous and the second highly organized and possibly aided by anti-American infiltrators of Libya's young government, a top Libyan security official said Thursday.

The account by the official, Wanis el-Sharif, given to a few reporters here, was the most detailed yet of the chaotic events on Tuesday in this eastern Libyan city that killed J. Christopher Stevens, the first United States ambassador to be killed on duty in more than 30 years.

The deaths occurred amid a wave of anti-American protests convulsing the Middle East, inspired by an inflammatory anti-Islamic video, ''The Innocence of Muslims,'' that has spread on the Internet in recent days since it was publicized in Egypt. Protests expanded on Thursday to at least a half-dozen other countries, including Iran.

Mr. Sharif, a deputy interior minister, said Mr. Stevens and a second American diplomat, Sean Smith, were killed in the initial attack, which began as a disorganized but angry demonstration by civilians and militants outside the American Consulate on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The protest escalated into an assault by as many as 200 people, some armed with grenades, who set the building on fire.

The second wave, Mr. Sharif said, was hours later, when the consulate staff was being spirited to a safe house a mile away. At that point, a team of Libyan security officials was evacuating them in a convoy guarded by Marines and Libyan security officials who had been flown from Tripoli to retrieve them.

Mr. Sharif said the second attack was a premeditated ambush on the convoy by assailants who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and apparently knew the route the vehicles were taking. The other two Americans—identified on Thursday as Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, both former members of the Navy SEALs—were killed in that assault. At least 12 Americans and 18 Libyan security officials were wounded, Mr. Sharif said.

''The first part was chaotic and disorganized. The second part was organized and planned,'' he said. The ambushers in the second assault, he said, apparently ''had infiltrators who were feeding them the information.''
How accurate was that account? Like Dowd, we still don’t know. But that account appeared in the Times two days before Rice appeared on TV.

No one called the killing a terrorist attack in this detailed news report. The next day, the Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz offered this updated account of what had happened:
HORWITZ (9/15/12): U.S. intelligence officials said that, despite the delay in getting into Benghazi, agencies have been able to draw intelligence from an array of sources, including news footage of the attack, intercepted phone calls and e-mails, and information from human sources recruited by the CIA.

The officials said they have reached a tentative conclusion that the assault was carried out by a group aligned with al-Qaeda but not directed by the terrorist network's core leadership. The officials stressed the preliminary nature of the assessments, noting that a massive analytic effort involving every agency in the intelligence community is still in its early stages.

"We still don't assess that this is core al-Qaeda," said a senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. "We assess that this is most likely a group best described as al-Qaeda sympathizers."
As Rice would do the next morning, “the officials stressed the preliminary nature of the assessments”—though Dowd wanted Rice to jump up and blab a finished account of what had occurred.

"We still don't assess that this is core al-Qaeda," a senior official told Horwitz. He said the killers were most likely sympathizers, not al Qaeda itself.

According to Dowd’s column, members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities were calling this a terrorist attack “days before Rice went on the shows.” In all honesty, that wasn’t happening in the Post and the Times.

These papers showed appropriate restraint as they tried to sort out what had happened. The same was true of these papers’ sources, though things may have been more wild and woolly in the newspapers with which Dowd self-excites.

On Sunday morning, September 16, the Times offered another long account in which David Kirkpatrick tried to assess who had been behind the killings. In his report, that anti-Muslim video was still presumed to the source of the anger and violence, despite Dowd’s sniffing dismissal of this as a possible motive.

To help you see how major newspapers actually sounded on the day Rice appeared, we offer this lengthy clip from Kirkpatrick’s report:
KIRKPATRICK (9/16/12): Ansar al-Sharia, the brigade of rebel fighters that witnesses say led the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, holds that democracy is incompatible with Islam. It has paraded the streets with weapons calling for an Islamic state, and a few months ago its leader boasted publicly that its fighters could flatten a foreign consulate.

But if the group's ideology may put it on the fringe of Libyan society, its day-to-day presence in society does not. It is just one of many autonomous battalions of heavily armed men formed during and after the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi who have filled the void in public security left by his fall, resisting calls to disarm by saying that the weak transitional government is not up to the job.

Ansar al-Sharia's fighters have given conflicting stories about their role in the attack. Said to number fewer than 200, they can usually be found at Al Jala Hospital in Benghazi, where they act as its guards and protectors. And when instead they turned their guns on the United States mission, American security officers and the Libyan authorities did not call for help from any formal military or police force—there is none to speak of—but turned to the leader of another autonomous militia with its own Islamist ties.

''We had to coordinate everything,'' said that militia leader, Fawzi Bukatef, recalling the first phone call about the attack that he received from the mission's security team. The Libyan government, he said, ''was absent.''

The organization and firepower used in the assault, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, has raised alarm in Washington about the possibility of links to Al Qaeda and a premeditated conspiracy that found a pretext in anger over an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad. But to Libyans, the battle for the mission has underscored how easy it is for a spark like the earlier protest in Cairo to set off such an attack in post-Qaddafi Libya, when major cities are still controlled by a patchwork of independent militias and all keep their weapons at the ready.

The battle over the mission has also became the latest skirmish in a larger struggle unfolding across the region between hard-line and moderate Islamists seeking to determine the fate of the Arab Spring.

The leaders of Libya's interim government say they hope public dismay at the attack on the mission will be the catalyst they need to finally disarm and control the militias. Mr. Stevens, the United States ambassador, was a widely admired figure for his support during the revolt against Colonel Qaddafi, and in the days after the attack far larger crowds than the one that attacked the mission turned out in both Tripoli and Benghazi to demonstrate their sadness at his death and their support for the United States.

But since the militiamen, who still call themselves ''revolutionaries,'' remain the power on the streets, there is an open question who will disarm or control them.

''The government is required to do so,'' said Mr. Bukatef, leader of eastern Libya's most potent armed force, the February 17 Brigade. ''But the government can't do it without the revolutionaries,'' he said, noting that many brigades continued to operate independently even though they now nominally report to the defense minister. ''It takes a delicate approach.''

Ansar al-Sharia declined to be interviewed for this article. The brigade in Benghazi, whose name means Supporter of Islamic Law, came together during the fight against Colonel Qaddafi.

Mr. Bukatef said that its numbers had seemed to range from 50 to about 200. He claimed that some of its members were responsible for the assassination during the uprising of the rebel commander Abdul Fattah Younes, in revenge for his previous role as a minister in the Qaddafi government who led a crackdown on Islamists. The transitional government, Mr. Bukatef said, was too weak to confront such a brigade, and so no one has been charged with the crime.

Many more-secular politicians in Libya are suspicious of Mr. Bukatef and his brigade because of their own Islamist reputation. He has been a member of Libya's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and one of his group's commanders reporting to him is Ismail al-Salabi, who leads a group of Islamist fighters and is the brother of Libya's most prominent Islamist thinker, Ali al-Salabi. But unlike Ansar al-Sharia, both Mr. Bukatef and the Salabi brothers have emphasized their conviction that Islam requires a democratic, constitutional government.

Ansar al-Sharia, Mr. Bukatef said, was excluded from meetings of a larger eastern Libyan militia alliance that he oversees. ''Some of their members were with us at the beginning,'' he said, but ''we do not believe people who do not believe in the government are entitled to be with us.''

Mr. Bukatef dismissed suggestions by some in the West that Ansar al-Sharia might have ties to Al Qaeda or other international militants. ''They're Libyans. They're extremists. They are outlaws,'' he said, noting that some had served time in Colonel Qaddafi's jails—a radicalizing experience for many Libyan Islamists.

Witnesses at the scene of the assault on the mission said they saw pickup trucks labeled with the group's logo, which is well known in Benghazi. Fighters attacking the embassy acknowledged then that they belonged to Ansar al-Sharia, although they said there were other unarmed protesters joining them.

But amid the backlash against the attack—and the news that the beloved United States ambassador was killed—the group's leaders have tried to distance themselves from the assault, often in muddled or contradictory ways. On the morning after the attack, a spokesman for the group made a statement to local television from the hospital saluting the assault, approvingly recalling a similar mob attack on the Italian consulate in Benghazi six years ago after an Italian minister wore a T-shirt mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

But the spokesman, Hani al-Mansouri, denied that the Ansar al-Sharia brigade had participated as ''an independent entity following orders.'' He said, ''It was doing its work in Jala hospital and other places where it has assigned roles.'' And at a news conference on Thursday night, amid growing threats of retaliation against the perpetrators of the attack, Mr. Mansouri denied that any of the group's fighters had participated, pleading with the news media to accept his denial.
In the Times, Bukatef said the presumed killers were “extremists.” That’s the word Ambassador Rice used on TV that morning.

To its credit, the New York Times was trying to puzzle out the facts about who had staged the attacks, and why. Two months later, its most famous and most ridiculous columnist created her latest inane concoction. Among many offenses, she painted a rather inaccurate portrait of the news coverage in the days before Rice’s TV appearance.

Dowd has been like this for some time. She’s never been dumber than she was on Sunday, when she offered various inane pronouncements and reinvented a whole bunch of facts.

Twenty years back—in 1992!—Katherine Boo presciently warned about the press corps’ “creeping Dowdism.”

Boo knew what she was talking about. This past week, Boo won the National Book Award for a deeply serious book on a deeply serious topic. Dowd was presenting her latest pile of major crap.

Dowd clucked about cat fights, cavorted and played. She offered the world’s most absurd pseudo-advice. She invented facts; she hissed and hiss-spat.

By now, this ugly nonsense is the norm in the world of our broken-souled “press corps.” The big stars took it in stride—and they endlessly will.


  1. I admire Bob's relentless effort to expose Dowd for the horrible so called liberal journalist but how he can continue to read her stuff and keep his breakfast down escapes me. Dowd sucks and isn't worthy of anybody's time even to state the obvious but I guess there are some out there that haven't come to realize how useless she is. I am real curious to see Bob's reaction to Dana Milquetoast's article about Petraeus's scandal. I had to hold my nose on that one. Why do I bother in the first place?

  2. Bob,

    You're losing it here.

    I appreciate that you've put a stake in the ground on the idea that Rice was just telling it like she knew it. But what a mess you're making of things to keep that story going.

    You might ask yourself: why did so many people come away from Rice's many statements about the Benghazi episode with the distinct impression that she was saying that the best available evidence was that it was due to the video, and not to preplanned or pre-meditated terrorism?

    Honestly, Bob, is there any other fair way to read her comments? Even if she utters enough caveats that she is not committed to the view that it was not planned or premeditated -- which you are so eager to point out -- why pretend that the substance of her remarks were not clearly intended to give quite another impression?

    Why enable this sort of deception, as you are doing, rather than expose it?

    This is a sad performance, Bob.

    1. Consider just this quote from Rice on one of the talk shows:

      "Those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya. And that then spun out of control. We don't see at this point -- signs that this was a coordinated, premeditated attack."

      Just how misleading is that, when one compares this to what was clearly known about the attack by the intelligence community? It was clearly known, at the time, that elements who very likely had al Qaeda connection were involved in the attack, such as Ansar al-Sharia among others, had played a major role in the terrorist act. Now the point is not that Rice had to mention that group (which for reasons not adequately explained was suppressed in the the ultimate talking points), but rather that this knowledge certainly would lead a reasonable and fair person NOT to say that We don't see at this point -- signs that this was a coordinated, premeditated attack." I should think a reasonable and fair person would realize that the fact of the attack by heavy weaponry, in combination with involvement of a group with strongly suspected al Qaeda connection, and particularly on 9/11, is more than enough to constitute a "sign" that the attack may well have been coordinated and premeditated.

      So why was Rice instead doing absolutely everything she can to downplay this possibility? Why was she instead doing everything she could to play up the video and the "spontaneity" of the attack? Even assuming that it was consistent with the evidence that the attack was entirely spontaneous, or that it was entirely (or significantly) pre-planned, on what grounds did she continue to play up the first possibility, while doing all she could to dismiss evidence of the second? If the "fog of war" was operative here, why does she express so little fog when it comes to the first possibility, and not to the second?

      The larger point here is not that Rice's statements can't, by creative means, be so interpreted that literally everything she said might be rendered true on the interpretation -- which is what Bob is doing here. It is rather to take those statements within their proper context, as they would be understood by most people, and to see whether they reflect what was actually known at the time. I just don't see how this latter is possible.

      Rice clearly had a particular narrative she was trying to push as hard as she could. People weren't misinterpreting her; they were taking away the precise view she was hoping they might.

    2. Just to continue a bit with my quote from Rice, and how misleading that quote is.

      She starts out by saying that "Those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya." It would seem the implication of this statement that these "extremists" simply showed up for the protest, bringing along some heavy weapons which were just lying about. Then, Rice says, "And that then spun out of control." In other words, there was NO forethought as to how those weapons might be used -- instead, the whole incident just spontaneously spun out of control.

      Now I ask, how on earth can Rice -- or her supporters -- justify that blanket assertion? Where in the evidence she was aware of was there something to affirm positively that this was just something that "spun out of control"? Where? Why insist on the importance of the "fog of war" when it comes to claims of premeditation, but let pass this absurdly ungrounded remark?

      And why in the face of this come rising to the defense of the likes of Susan Rice, as does Bob?

    3. He's not "defending" her. She needs no "defense."

      "You might ask yourself: why did so many people come away from Rice's many statements about the Benghazi episode with the distinct impression that she was saying that the best available evidence was that it was due to the video, and not to preplanned or pre-meditated terrorism?"

      You might say to yourself, in reply, that perhaps you were so anxious to jump to a conclusion about why and how the incident happened that you leapt at the first thing that came into your mind. You might observe that while it might be OK for you as a private citizen to extrapolate from assumptions you made based on things you heard from other sources and/or "what a reasonable and fair person" might think they know, as a government official charged with speaking on behalf of the Obama Administration Rice is not free to do so.

      You might do these things. But most likely you would not, and instead rush to claim conspiracy and coverup by an Administration you don't like and want to discredit in any way possible. QED.

    4. Anonymous,

      You need to step up your game.

    5. Highly[in]adequate:

      With trepidation I enter into your Kafkaesque world...

      You say when Rice spoke, "it was clearly known by the intelligence community" that it was "likely" that al Qaeda elements played a "major role" in the attack. First, you are being misleading by claiming that this was clearly known at that time (it's not even clearly known now) especially where I don't see how it is possible for you to know what is "clearly known" by the "intelligence community."

      Rice also said that they didn't have the full story and were investigating, but at that time it didn't appear to be coordinated or premeditated. According to you this was highly deceptive. This is the case, according to you, because given that "heavy weapons" were used, it occurred on 9/11, (you somehow manage to leave out that there were several demonstrations in other Muslim countries in the exact same time period over the offensive video) and because the "intelligence community" "clearly" knew that elements with an Al Qaeda connection played a "major role," Rice must have known that the attack "may well have been coordinated and premeditated." She didn't say it wasn't, however.

      You state that Rice did "everything" to downplay the possibility it was pre-meditated and "everything" to play up the video and spontaneity. This is absurd . If she did "everything" to downplay premeditation, or upplay spontaneity, she certainly could have spoken otherwise. E.g, she could have said that it was a spontaneous demonstration, with no terrorists involved, without qualifying what she said by saying that we don't know all the facts, we will investigate, etc.

      If what she said was some type of intentional act of deceit, which you are able to fathom based on your apparent knowledge about what the intelligence community clearly knew, what about the fact that Patraeus, testifying under oath before a congressional committee, said that Rice's statements were vetted and approved by the intelligence community and there was absolutely no intent to mislead or nor was there any political motivation? Are you saying that Petraeus was lying under oath? If wht Petraeus said is true, your whole claim goes out the window.

      The main absurdity about this manufactured pseudo scandal, is even if your logic is accepted, what is your point? Was Rice supposed to have said "this was a pre-planned terrorist attack, carried out by Al qaeda" (perhaps adding, in a display of ultimate honesty,that "the Obama administration must now admit we were lying with our 'narrative' that we had defeated Al Qaeda, and must now withdraw from the race so Romney can be elected unanimously"}. What difference does it make that she, in my view quite appropriately, explained that the facts in this murky situation were not fully known? Contrast blaringly repeated unequivocal statements made by a previous admin that a country had WMDs, leading us into a war that has cost 1000's of lives, has crippled and wounded many 1000's more and has cost the US trillions of dollars. How bent out of shape did you get over that?

      You are off on some alternative universe where logic and common sense doesn't exist.

      AC /MA

    6. Or an alternative universe where misinformation by government officials is considered negative, no matter which party those officials belong to.

    7. Highly Adequate...give up. They don't listen. They can see that the motives of people criticizing Rice are mean, self serving, and petty. They can see that some in the media gleefully, and in many cases, unfairly, with only a desire to hurt Obama, ran wild with a minor story, started--for the most part--by self serving opportunists. They can see that in the end this is nothing more than a game of gotcha, by the GOP. A game they play so well.

      So therefore, with all that, an much more like it, out there, IT CAN'T BE THAT RICE WAS OUT THERE SPINNING GARBAGE. All the above can't be true...and Rice wrong, intentionally, at the same time, can it? Nope. That can't be true....because, as Bob knows better than most, she, Rice, is from our tribe. She is on our team.

      Well, in any event, I'm just glad this decreases--somewhat, anyway, her chances of being SOS....some 19 y.o. might live longer absent her presence at Foggy Bottom...the blood thirsty Neoliberal interventionist that she is.

    8. Jonst,

      This entire episode is completely depressing -- one realizes that just about NOBODY has any real interest in the truth.

      To me, the parallels between the lies in the run-up to the Iraq war and the deception on Benghazi look about as alike as possible -- all the way down to an African-American woman named Rice being the designated dupe for spreading the misinformation, and the cynical cries of "racism" and "sexism" when the deception is called out.

      And all this for what? So, it seems, that our warmongering can go on as before, and our destruction of due process -- now enabled by people who like to pretend to be "liberals" for company.

    9. Pretty much everything everyone says is slanted, or inaccurate in some way, more or less, and this is even more so when government officials and politicians make statements. Read Machiavelli to help understand this. This being the case, you guys, adequate, ABL , Jonst are not making the case that there was anything to get bent out of shape about in what Rice said, which was that the facts weren't completely known yet. THD, I think in this instance, if not in every other instance, is right on the mark in his stance. He's not the one who is dragging this out, it's the MSM by over and over misquoting and distorting what Rice said. Comparing what Rice said to the run up to Iraq - pretty absurd. You guys sound like you're lying in bed next to Lindsey Graham on this.

      And I notice you don't refute one thing that I said.

      It's one thing to criticize the dems for largely continuing the Bush (and long before that) policies, but twisting Rice's relatively innocuous statement into some grand deceit seems senseless. If the press wants to attack Obama, let them do it because he is directing drones on civilians, not this idiotic Whitewater type garbage.

      AC / MA

    10. It is not a "grand deceit" AC/MA....that is precisely the point. It is a petty, ugly, minor one offered by the Adim, and their lying mouthpiece, to sneak by people, in the light of the ugly and exaggerated, and erroneous, claims of that creep, Lindsey Graham et al. And you are blind to that because you long for your hero to be noble. But if it simplifies your world to put me in bed with that corrupt and lying moron Graham...have at it. It is indeed such a complicated world...with so many bad guys. I sympathize with your need to simplify it,

  3. "Is there any other fair way to read her comments?"

    First, your reading, however convinced you are about the number of folks who share it being of course completely irrelevant, is far from being the sole way to read it, and is basically at odds with what Rice said.

    Second, Somerby is hardly making his case on the issue that "Rice was just telling it like she knew it" -- No, instead the case has always been: Look at how what Rice said has been specifically misrepresented.

    I don't think you have any way to argue against the real point, so you make up your own "stake in the ground" and pretend that's Somerby's argument.

    And even then, you make a hash of it!

    1. I have no interest in whether some highly specific claim by Dowd or others about what Rice said was entirely accurate. I'm interested in the larger picture of what Rice was clearly trying to communicate, and whether that was a fair representation of what was known at the time.

    2. Well the, you're (surprise!) missing the entire point.

    3. Then you are at the wrong website, because the issue under discussion is not "the larger picture of what Rice was clearly trying to communicate," but instead "whether some highly specific claim by Dowd or others about what Rice said was entirely accurate." This is about what useless excuses for "journalists" we have writing columns in our nation's most prestigious newspapers, who are getting paid big bucks to do so.

    4. The issue under endless discussion is that the current media narrative that Susan Rice was deceptive is wrong, because when you omit the inaccurate parts you can interpret the rest of what she said as technically "truthful." Failure to interpret Rice's comments in the way most favorable to her is prima facie evidence of a broken soul.

  4. Quaker in a BasementNovember 21, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    OK, let's try this a different way, Hi. With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have had Ms. Rice say on Sept. 15?

    1. Is this even hard?

      Look, there are any number of things she might have said that would have conveyed a fair sense of what was known, and what was not known.

      If she wanted to go "the fog of war" way, she should simply have said that we just don't know at this point whether it was spontaneous or premeditated, and left it at that.

      If she wanted to be less conservative in her presentation of what we could surmise, she could have presented the two possible scenarios, spontaneous and premeditated, with equal plausibility, but acknowledge we have yet to determine which we should credit.

      What she did instead was to play up as much as possible the spontaneous scenario, and dismiss as much as possible the premeditate scenario. That was a clear act of deception, given what we knew.

      Again, look at the quote I brought to your attention. I mean, things just "spun out of control"? How could that unqualified statement pass her lips, if she was trying to be fair, while in the same breath she dismisses any evidence of premeditation?

    2. You're going to hang your hat on "spun out of control"? That's your damning evidence?

      Has everyone in this country lost the ability to see in anything but black and white? Maybe some terrorists used an existing event to their advantage (spontaneously!). Maybe when the administration was putting together the Rice's talking points, they thought, "Let's get what we know out there, but how 'bout not going out of our way to hurt ourselves politically?"

      That's a scandal?

    3. Notice that highly is unable to propose anything whatsoever to meet your challenge.

      I watched exactly what she did and have read exactly what she said numerous times. What she was trying to get across more than anything was that it was premature to offer anything more than tentative conclusions. If highly thinks she should have done otherwise, I sure wouldn't want him with any role in our foreign affairs. Of course, he thinks she did do otherwise. She didn't, and there is no plausible argument why she would want to deceive anyone, but he will never believe it no matter how much his argument is dismantled. I suppose the only thing to do at this point is to let him keep muttering to himself.

  5. Anonymous,

    Look, if there were ANY way of interpreting "just spun out of control" OTHER than as a desperate attempt to make the events appear spontaneous, perhaps there'd be a way to argue (even if very weakly) that Rice wasn't being deceptive here. And I have no doubt that she would have chosen another way of being deceptive that wouldn't catch her out had she been quick witted enough to think of it.

    The larger fact is, though, that this is just part of what she was trying to do in general with her misleading account -- this simply may have been the most obviously deceptive language.

    1. Doesn't reading this blog and writing all these comments take away from your Fox viewing time? I don't see your comments as anything other than a desperate attempt to change the conversation away from the fact that Obama and us godless socialists just kicked your ass "reel" gud. Enjoy the next four years. I will. Sorry folks sometimes I just don't feel like being mature.

    2. Actually, "Highly" strikes me as not a Fox guy, but the kind that stays up all night listening to Pacifica, learning the bitter truth about "Empire." And how to snatch a phrase, like say, "spun out of control" decides it means something that it doesn't, and then keeps repeating it over and over so he can ignore what She actually said. Nice try in rendering some sanity, Anom, but you were doomed from the get go....

    3. "Desperate"? For what purpose? Look, I agree with your earlier assessment that Rice shouldn't have said anything she didn't know to be 100 percent certain without citing other possible scenarios.

      This is where the whole right-wing conspiracy theory about Benghazi falls completely apart. You can't come up with a single reason that the entire Obama administration would have for spinning a tale about how this attack grew from a spontaneous demonstration.

      Sorry, but "we got terrorism on the run" ain't it. You'd have to be a damned fool to think terrorism could have been stopped worldwide in four years any more than murder could be stopped in the United States.


    4. people born before September 16 may remember Obama skirting the War Powers Act to intervene in Libya--an intervention that was not popular in his own cabinet with Defense Secretary Gates notably against the idea. rice, powers and clinton along with obama decided to intervene without approval from congress (which would have given them cover later). so obama rice clinton and powers own this thing. when something went wrong they tried to shift the blame at least partially to right wingers producing instability. so there is a very clear political motivation for rice. doesn't mean she lied on TV, but she did have reason to skew the public's view of events in libya.

    5. Looks like Jonathan Alter may have a broken soul. He dared to opine that Kerry is a better pick for SOS than Rice. Watch this space for a takedown of Alter.

  6. Is there any chance in hell that the NYT editorial staff is as mortified by this disgraceful Dowd performance as it should be?

  7. The people that believed that Saddam Hussein MUST have WMD were basing that conclusion on the best possible evidence at hand, and they were using good reasoning to reach that conclusion.

    Of course, we hadn't heard from Joe Wilson yet. We only heard the President, Vice-President, National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of State. Who ya gonna believe?

    The problem: The conclusion, logical as it was, was wrong.

    As far as spinning out of control, Republican leaders have ignored John McCain's interpretation, which is a highly inadequate construct from the mind of a doddering old fool.

    Some Republicans have entered a temporary fugue state of mental clarity resulting from a dose of reality.

    Obviously, some haven't.

    1. Don't forget that the U.N. sent in Hans Blix and a team of inspectors once the pressure got to Saddam and he let them back in.

      Blix was reporting that the U.N. team could find nothing, so the right wing spin was that Saddam hid all his WMDs before they got there, and/or Blix was too inept and too dumb to find them.

      So Bush invaded anyway.

    2. If one listens closely to McCain's statements they appear to be caused by the onset of dementia.

  8. The Associated Press reports:

    Little sign of Libyan probe into consulate attack

    BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — After more than two months, Libya's investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi appears in limbo. Key security commanders and witnesses say they were never questioned. No suspects have been named, and gunmen seen participating in the assault walk freely in the eastern Libyan city.

    Evidently the Administration means to permanently cover up their mishandling of this matter. It's nice to see the AP finally putting some pressure on them to come clean.

    1. Unlike the republicans the administration will not waste resources in search of a scandal that does not exist. Like "Fast and Furious" the administration cannot "play ball" with every hyped problem the republicans struggle to manufacture. It isn't as if there were four dead in Ohio. Once again, republicans are exposing their disrespect and resentment toward an administration they do not control, which is the real scandal behind Benghazi.

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  10. It is a shame that some journalists believe they did their leg work by paying attention at DC cocktail parties. Stories planted by a manipulator are given legs by several reporters or friends of reporters who have been told the plutocrats' consensus story. The inflated egos of reporters refuse to accept that their buddies, the mandarins of the inner circle, would misinform them off the record. Since the cocktail circuit is generally considered leg-work among reporters the only necessary step is to weave in the talking points with filler and the next day's column is written - and it wasn't even past midnight.

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