How did Obama administration aide Ben Rhodes get the language for the talking points he prepared for Susan Rice condemning the anti-Muslim Internet video that purportedly triggered "spontaneous" demonstrations leading to the attack on Benghazi?
Interestingly enough, the words he sent out about the video were identical to those used by Hillary Clinton two days earlier. And we know that both of them knew then that there was no demonstration. So why did they put out this fake story, and how did they coordinate their fabricated message?
Let's rule out a coincidence. That leaves only two possibilities: Either the White House sent the script to Hillary, or Hillary sent it to the White House.
In either scenario, it's likely there would have been emails conveying the material and fine-tuning of the tale before the Rhodes email. Yet, none of the documents provided to either the Government Oversight Committee or Judicial Watch include any emails transmitting that interchangeable language between the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012 and Rhodes' email at 8:09 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2012.
So how did he get the information? The record unquestionably shows Hillary had already used the exact same text as Rhodes used 36 hours later. So how did Rhodes pick up Hillary's words? By reading the newspaper?
Or was the wording passed along in a document that somehow didn't make it into the troves provided to Congress?
Here's what they said: On Sept. 13, 2012, Hillary's statement included these passages:
"Let me state very clearly that the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. ... We absolutely reject its content and message. ... The film is disgusting and reprehensible. ... The film is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence."
Here's Rhodes later comments:
"We've made our views on the video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it. We reject its message and its content. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence."
Compare them line-by-line. They're not just similar; they're the same.
Hillary might ask: "What difference does it make?"
Well, quite a lot. At the very least, it might explain who concocted this deceitful storyline in the first place. Hillary's initial claims about the video, mirrored in Rhodes later email, raise the possibility that she was the originator of both the words and the concept of using the video to explain the attacks. Remember, shortly after speaking to the president, Hillary was the first public official to draw the baseless inference that the video provoked the attack.
So why would Hillary and President Obama want to promote this phony propaganda? For Obama, it was to maintain the fiction that al-Qaida was still "on the run" after the murder of Osama bin Laden. A terrorist attack just weeks before the election would undermine the campaign's flattering narrative of him as the dragon slayer who had eliminated our biggest security threat. For Hillary, it was to deflect criticism of the State Department's inadequate security in Benghazi that left the compound vulnerable and led to the death of Chris Stevens.
If the attack was seen as a spontaneous demonstration that erupted into unplanned violence, neither Obama nor Hillary would look so bad. And the Hillary/Obama policy failures in the Middle East would not be an issue.
Perhaps they were both also concerned that the real Benghazi mission, as described by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, might lead to an unwanted investigation:
"The consulate's only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms. It had no real political role."
So the question remains: How, and why, did Hillary's words make it into Rhodes' email?
(Dick Morris, former advisor to the Clinton administration, is a commentator and writer. He is also a columnist for the New York Post and The Hill. His wife, Eileen McGann is an attorney and consultant.)