Terror Firma

By Bill Maher

At last week’s Republican debate, Dr. Ben CoughSyrup sang a familiar refrain: “When I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video, where I came from, they call that a lie.” Yeah, well, where you came from people attacked their mothers with hammers and stabbed family members in the belt buckle. 

Carson’s assertion – and many Republicans are now comfortable making it – conflates Hillary’s post-Benghazi comments and emails about the actual Benghazi consulate attack with other comments and emails about protests in the Middle East in general. PolitiFact took an exhaustive look at Hillary’s post-Benghazi comments, both public and private, and concluded, “Carson is oversimplifying and distorting Clinton’s comments to portray a complex situation in the worst possible light. We rate his statement Mostly False.”  Where I came from that’s a lie.

Compare that to Chris Whipple’s current reporting for Politico about what the Bush administration knew about an al-Qaeda terrorist threat during the months leading up to 9/11: “Starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming. By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, ‘it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.’ ‘There were real plots being manifested,’ Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet, told me... ‘The world felt like it was on the edge of eruption. In this time period of June and July, the threat continues to rise. Terrorists were disappearing [as if in hiding, in preparation for an attack]. Camps were closing. Threat reportings on the rise.’”

“Tenet vividly recalls [a July 10] White House meeting with [Condi] Rice and her team… ‘Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda's intention is the destruction of the United States.’" [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’” 

Why is who said what after Benghazi more of a scandal than who said what before 9/11?