Well, this must be embarrassing:
Newly released emails on the Benghazi terror attack suggest a senior White House aide played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her controversial Sunday show appearances -- where she wrongly blamed protests over an Internet video.
More than 100 pages of documents were released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a Sept. 14, 2012, email from Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
The Rhodes email, with the subject line: "RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET," was sent to a dozen members of the administration's inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Press Secretary Jay Carney.
In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.
The email lists the following two goals, among others:
"To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
"To reinforce the President and Administration's strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges."
The email goes on to state that the U.S. government rejected the message of the Internet video. "We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence," the email stated.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the documents read like a PR strategy, not an effort to provide the best available intelligence to the American people.
"The goal of the White House was to do one thing primarily, which was to make the president look good. Blame it on the video and not [the] president's policies," he said.
The Rhodes email was not part of the 100 pages of emails released by the administration last May -- after Republicans refused to move forward with the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director until the so-called "talking points" emails were made public.
The email is also significant because in congressional testimony in early April, former deputy CIA director Michael Morell told lawmakers it was Rice, in her Sunday show appearances, who linked the video to the Benghazi attack. Morell said the video was not part of the CIA analysis.
If this was a spontaneous reaction to a video no one saw, why the coaching or the cover-up?
Of course, the White House appears to have an answer for that:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today sought to defend a newly released email from a White House communications adviser, prepping then-U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for her round of interviews about the Benghazi attack."This document was not about Benghazi," Carney told ABC's Jonathan Karl.
“It is often forgotten that during that time period there was an enormous amount of attention and focus, appropriately, on the fact that there were protesters, sometimes violent protesters, surrounding U.S. embassies, causing us to draw down personnel at those embassies, causing great concern, understandably, about the safety of American personnel at other diplomatic facilities around the Muslim world. And that was a focus of a great deal of press attention, and thus would be, as the promos indicate, one of the areas of focus of those Sunday shows.”
(Sidebar: you mean the protests that weren't at the American embassy were four Americans were killed during which Obama could not be found?)
The e-mail from National Security Council communications adviser Ben Rhodes, lists as a "goal" of Rice's round of interviews "to show that these protests were rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
(Sidebar: that sounds like a lie to me.)
The American electorate should answer this with an impeachment.