Countdown Clocks

Countdown Clocks

Tweets by @JGibsonDem
Posts tagged "Susan Rice"

hillaryisaboss:

6 facts everyone needs to know about Benghazi:

1. The non-partiasn Accountability Review Board did not find Hillary Rodham Clinton responsible for the Benghazi attacks. She was cleared of any wrong-doing.

SOURCE: UNCLASSIFIED REPORT

2. Republicans cut millions and millions of dollars in “embassy security.” Cuts that Hillary Clinton called “detrimental” to our security overseas. I can’t wait for her to bring this up in the 2016 election.

3. Over 50 people died from embassy/consulate attacks under George Bush’s Presidency. Where was the outrage over that? Oh, and if you want to play the blame game, 9/11/2001 happened under the Republican’s watch.

4. The Obama Administration did not “cover-up” the Benghazi attacks. Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen told Senator Joe Lieberman that Benghazi was a “terrorist attack”. This was only a few days after Susan Rice went on the Sunday morning talk-shows. Therefore, this would have to be the shortest “cover-up” in history. Thankfully, we were not plunged into another war based on faulty intelligence.

Senator Joe Lieberman: “Let me begin by asking you whether you would say that Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans died as a result of a terrorist attack.”

Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen: “Certainly on that particular question I would say, yes. They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.”

5. Hillary’s quote, "What difference, at this point, does it make" has been taken out of context. Hillary was referring to the Republican’s obsession with what Susan Rice said, not Benghazi itself. We now know the intelligence communities talking points were incorrect. But to accuse the Administration of intentionally lying, when Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen called it a “terrorist attack” only a few days after Susan Rice went on the Sunday morning talk shows, is dishonest.

6. The reason the YouTube video was cited as a possible reason for Benghazi is because violent protests had been erupting throughout the Middle East when Benghazi took place. Some of the protests had to do with the YouTube video, which is why it was originally thought Benghazi was also related to the YouTube video.

(via iammyfather)


h/t: Michael Hirsh at Politico Magazine

imageGohmert: Administration Has to Keep Susan Rice Close so She ‘Doesn’t Spill the Beans on What All She Knows’ (via http://crooksandliars.com)

By Heather December 28, 2013 6:54 pm Rep. Louie Gohmert with another round of wingnut conspiracy theories. The talking heads over at Fox “news” are terribly upset that the United States is talking to the Iranians instead of starting another war in the…



 

A six-part series by New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick destroyed several myths about the September 11, 2012, attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, myths often propagated by conservative media and their allies in Congress to politicize the attack against the Obama administration.

Since the September 2012 attacks, right-wing media have seized upon various inaccurate, misleading, or just plain wrong talking points about Benghazi. Some of those talking points made their way into the mainstream, most notably onto CBS’ 60 Minutesearning the network the Media Matters' 2013 "Misinformer of the Year" title for its botched report.

Kirkpatrick’s series, titled "A Deadly Mix In Benghazi," debunks a number of these right-wing talking points based on “months of investigation” and “extensive interviews” with those who had “direct knowledge of the attack.” Among other points, Kirkpatrick deflates the claims that an anti-Islamic YouTube video played no role in motivating the attacks and that Al Qaeda was involved in the attack: 

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

Fox News, scores of Republican pundits, and Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), among others, dragged then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice through the mud for citing talking points that mentioned an anti-Islamic YouTube video on Sunday morning news programs following the attacks. Despite right-wing media claims to the contrary, however, Kirkpatrick stated that the attack on the Benghazi compoundwas in “large part” “fueled” by the anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube. He wrote (emphasis added):

The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

[…]

There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.

Another talking point that right-wing media used to accuse the Obama administration of a political cover-up was the removal of Al Qaeda from Rice’s morning show talking points. Kirkpatrick, however, affirmed in his NYTimes report that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attack in Benghazi (emphasis added):

But the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network. The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda, according to several officials briefed on the call. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished, the officials said, suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

Kirkpatrick also dispelled the notion that the attack on the compound was carefully planned, writing that “the attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.” 

h/t: MMFA

The NYT investigation on the Benghazi story is yet more proof that the right-wing was using scaremongering tactics about what happened there as a tool to attempt to get Romney elected President in 2012, smear President Obama (and Democrats by extension) with impunity, and to deliberately harm Hillary’s reputation for the 2016 elections.

One year ago today, on September 11, 2012, a U.S. diplomatic outpost and Central Intelligence Agency annex were attacked by extremists in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, U.S. foreign service officer Sean Smith, and two security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALS.

While the Obama administration had been successful in degrading the capabilities of core-al Qaeda — or the terror organization’s centralized version that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington — the tragedy reminded Americans and U.S. allies that the threat from like-minded extremists was still alive and well.

Instead of joining to unite the country in the face of this terrible tragedy, Republicans, at first led by then-GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and later Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), turned the Benghazi attacks into a political fiasco, searching far and near for a way to hang the blame on President Obama and with the aim of damaging his political stature at the least, or at most, bringing down members of his national security team or even ultimately his presidency.

But the long, drawn-out campaign to bring down Obama turned up nothing. Everything conservatives and Republicans held up as evidence of malfeasance on the part of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi and its aftermath was later discredited by either facts or logic. The right’s biggest achievement throughout this whole Benghazi mess was keeping Susan Rice, who was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time of the attacks, from being nominated as Secretary of State. But even that campaign — led by McCain — seemed to backfire as Rice is now Obama’s National Security Adviser, a position with arguably more influence on the President’s foreign policy thinking.

Media Matters has a run-down of the some of the top Benghazi myths. And throughout the GOP’s Benghazi witch-hunt, ThinkProgress has been compiling a timeline of the key events — from Romney’s first baseless attacks on Obama, the faux-scandal surrounding the infamous “talking points” delivered by then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, McCain’s smear campaign, and highlights of how all the GOP-led attacks on Obama were eventually fully debunked. On January 23, during a Senate hearing on Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scolded Republicans for politicizing Benghazi, and in this instance, for focusing on whether a protest over an anti-Muslim video sparked the attacks:

CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?! What difference at this point does it make?! It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.

We have updated the timeline which can be viewed here.

Conservatives aren’t done with Benghazi. Fox News, Tea Party types and a dwindling number of Republican hangers on in Congress keep trying to pin Obama down with something. But they’ll never find anything nefarious. Benghazi is not the next Watergate. Nor will President Obama be impeached over the matter. “The whole thing defies logic,” an exacerbated Obama said in May. “And the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.

“We dishonor [the four Americans killed in Benghazi] when we turn things like this into a political circus,” Obama added. “What happened was tragic. It was carried out by extremists inside of Libya. We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out, and we are trying to make sure that we fix the system so that it doesn’t happen again.”

h/t: Ben Armbruster at Think Progress Security

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros claimed that Susan Rice was appointed National Security Advisor only because she is a woman and could be used as a “human shield” by President Obama, continuing her pattern of launching sexist attacks against progressive and other women with whom she disagrees. 

WASHINGTON — An independent panel charged with investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.

“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.

The report singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation and confusion over protection at the mission in Benghazi, a city in Eastern Libya that was relatively lawless after the revolution that toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Despite those failures, the Accountability Review Board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action now. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.

The report appeared to break little new ground about the timeline of the Benghazi attack during which Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — who were contractors working for the CIA — were killed. Stevens’ slaying was the first of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.

But it confirmed that contrary to initial accounts, there was no protest outside the consulate and said responsibility for the incident rested entirely with the terrorists who attacked the mission.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, administration officials linked the attack to the spreading protests over an American-made, anti-Islamic film that had begun in Cairo earlier that day. Those comments came after evidence already pointed to a distinct militant attack. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on numerous TV talk shows the Sunday after the attack and used the administration talking points linking it to the film. An ensuing brouhaha in the heat of the presidential campaign eventually led her to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s second term.

The review board determined that there had been no immediate, specific tactical warning of a potential attack on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. However, the report said there had been several worrisome incidents in the run-up to the attack that should have set off warning bells.

On Thursday, the State Department’s two deputy secretaries, William Burns and Thomas Nides, will testify in open sessions before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Clinton was to have appeared at Thursday’s hearing but canceled after fainting and sustaining a concussion last week while recovering from a stomach virus that dehydrated her. Clinton is under doctors’ orders to rest.

The Benghazi attack has highlighted the larger question of how U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers can do their jobs in unstable environments, as al-Qaida spreads across Africa, without also expanding their security. Diplomats have said that overreacting to the attack could produce what some are calling a “Benghazi effect” that would wall them off from the people they are supposed to be engaging.

In her letter to lawmakers, Clinton said, “We will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security” but she stressed that “our diplomats cannot work in bunkers.”

“We must accept a level of risk to protect this country we love and to advance our interests and values around the world,” she said.

h/t: Washington Post

Embattled U.N. envoy Susan Rice is dropping out of the running to be the next secretary of state after months of criticism over her Benghazi comments, she told NBC News on Thursday.

“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.

“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News.

Rice had been viewed as one of the front-runners to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation’s top foreign policy official.

She has been under intense fire from Republicans for initially characterizing the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as a spur-of-the-moment response to a crude anti-Muslim film.

“What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video,” Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” five days after the attack.

Her withdrawal leaves Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a possible candidate for the job, and Republicans have said he would have a smoother run.

"I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues," Collins said last month.

h/t: RockCenter.NBCNews.com

Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance is getting herself in the involved debate over UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s potential nomination to be Secretary of State. Nance has attempted to paint President Obama as somehow anti-woman by claiming his campaign is “misogynistic” and views women as “a bunch of cheap floozies.” She even mocked Obama supporter Sandra Fluke by saying she and her colleagues couldn’t afford birth control because they spent too much money on beer, while refusing to defend her from Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks. Nance’s group launched the SheVotes campaign to energize conservative women and during an Election Day interview with VCY America’s Jim Schneider, she insisted that polling data shows Obama’s efforts to reach out to women voters were a “disaster.”

Of course, Obama carried women voters by eleven points, but being completely wrong about the women’s vote in the election hasn’t stopped Nance from claiming that women across the country are appalled by his purported sexism.

How is he acting like a sexist now? By defending Rice from baseless Republican attacks.

Nance writes that Obama is acting like Tarzan and even threw out the debunked claim that the White House practices paycheck discrimination. She says that instead of speaking out in favor of Rice, he should be defending people like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and Michele Bachmann from “his own misogynistic attack dogs.” Speaking out against the attacks against Rice, Nance explains, is effectively “an admission that left-leaning women aren’t nearly as savvy and strong as conservative women and, therefore, need a little extra protection.”

Basically, if Obama doesn’t defend women like Palin, Coulter and Bachmann, it is sexist, and if he speaks out on behalf of a Democratic official like Rice, it is sexist and a sign that liberal women are weak. Get it?

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

National security journalist Tom Ricks appeared on Fox News to blast the network’s incessant coverage of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. After saying that “Benghazi was hyped, by this network especially,” Ricks went on to say that “the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of the Republican Party.”

Indeed, Fox has relentlessly hyped the Benghazi attack — and repeatedly pushed distortions of the events that happened beforeduring, and after the attack.

For example, Fox claimed that the Obama administration’s statements that an anti-Islam video played a role in the attack were indicative of an administration “cover-up”; in fact, reports confirm that some of the attackers say they were motivated by the video. Fox has also attacked Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., for linking the video to the attacks in a series of Sunday show appearances, even though Rice was accurately conveying the consensus of the intelligence community at the time. Fox even suggested that the Obama administration abandoned Americans to die in Benghazi, despite the fact that reinforcements were sent to Benghazi from Tripoli on the night of the attack.

JON SCOTT (co-host): Pressure mounting on the Obama administration over its response to the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi, as [Fox News correspondent] Catherine Herridge reported just minutes ago. Several top GOP lawmakers are backing off their criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, instead focusing on the White House. Two senators even expressing concerns about a possible White House cover-up. Let’s talk about it with Tom Ricks. He is author of The Generals. He has spent decades covering our military. He joins us now.

Senator John McCain said in the past he would block any attempt to nominate Susan Rice to become U.N. — I’m sorry, secretary of state. She’s currently the U.N. ambassador. He seems to be backing away from that. What do you make of it? 

RICKS: I think that Benghazi generally was hyped, by this network especially, and that now that the campaign is over,  I think he’s backing off a little bit. They’re not going to stop Susan Rice from being secretary of state.

SCOTT: When you have four people dead, including the first dead U.N. ambassador — U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, how do you call that hype?

RICKS: How many security contractors died in Iraq, do you know?

SCOTT: I don’t. 

RICKS: No. Nobody does, because nobody cared. We know that several hundred died, but there was never an official count done of security contractors dead in Iraq. So when I see this focus on what was essentially a small firefight, I think, number one, I’ve covered a lot of firefights. It’s impossible to figure out what happens in them sometimes. And second, I think that the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox was operating as a wing of Republican Party.

SCOTT: All right. Tom Ricks, thanks very much for joining us today.

RICKS: You’re welcome. 

h/t: MMFA

President Obama has not yet even made a final determination on whom he will appoint to serve as his administration’s secretary of state during his second term, but Congressional Republicans are already severely concerned about one possible nominee: Susan Rice, who currently serves as ambassador to the United Nations. Even though the House of Representatives has no role whatsoever in the appointment or confirmation of cabinet-level appointments, 97 House Republicans have signed a letter to President Obama opposing the possible nomination of Ambassador Rice to head the Department of State, presumably because House Republicans have never had anything better to do since their 2010 ascension besides attack the president for things he hasn’t even done yet.

The opposition to the potential nomination of Ambassador Rice is rooted in Republican desperation to turn the tragedy in Benghazi into a scandal for the Obama administration. The Romney campaign was licking its chops at the prospect of attacking President Obama on Benghazi until facts stubbornly got in the way. Joe Scarborough decided to interrupt an entire broadcast and repeated the word “Benghazi” no fewer than 23 times on air. And now, Republicans have it in for Susan Rice, who, according to the previously mentioned letter, is too incompetent to head up the state department:

“Though Ambassador Rice has been our Representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” the letter reads, later adding: “Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi affair.”

The accusations of incompetence leveled against Rice derive from her appearance on Sunday morning talk shows, in which she attributed the incident at Benghazi to protests against a sacrilegious anti-Islam movie, rather than a premeditated attack. Rice, of course, was simply repeating the most current intelligence assessments available at the time, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans in the House, as well as Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, from trying to stop any potential nomination of her in its tracks before it even gets started.

And yet, on January 26, 2005, Condoleezza Rice was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 85-13. Voting in favor? Lindsey Graham, as well as John McCain. Why? Because they, like so many of their Republican colleagues, are nothing more than hypocrites who believe that their past actions and statements can simply slip down the memory hole without anyone remembering.

Legendary civil rights leader and current Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.) felt that the accusations against Rice smacked of racial dog whistles—and given the way Republicans have acted since President Obama was first elected, that argument certainly holds weight. However, I feel it is preferable to compare this situation to the last time a black woman with the last name of Rice was considered for an appointment as secretary of state.

h/t: Dante Atkins at Daily Kos

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has not hesitated to voice his distaste towards U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who may be nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. On Face the Nation Sunday morning, McCain went even further than simply opposing Rice’s nomination and said that, “until we find out all the information” on the Benghazi consulate attacks, he would not support any Secretary of State nominee.

McCain at first said it “might be a beginning” if Rice could come on the program to explain her position. But when pressed by host Bob Schieffer, the Arizona senator dug in and refused to support any nominee “under the present circumstances”:

SCHIEFFER: Until then, you will remain opposed to her nomination?

MCCAIN: Under the present circumstances, until we find out all the information as to what happened, I don’t think you would want to support any nominee right now. Because this is very very serious and it has even larger implications than the deaths of 4 Americans. It really goes to the heart of this whole light foot print policy that this administration is pursuing.

h/t: Aviva Shen at Think Progress

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has rejected Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) request to establish a Select Committee to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11. In a strongly worded letter delivered to the former GOP presidential hopeful on Friday, Reid rebuked Republicans for politicizing the killings and baselessly claiming that the Obama administration is engaged in a cover-up of the incident. “I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks,” Reid wrote, noting that several committees in the House and Senate are already investigating the tragedy.

Earlier this week, McCain, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), held around the clock press conferences and media appearances insisting that U.N. Ambassador misled the public when she described, five days after the attacks, the incident as a “spontaneous attack” inspired by an anti-Islam video. McCain and Graham promised to block Rice should she be nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State; Ayotte said she would consider the nomination.

In his letter, Reid reminded McCain that “elections are over; it is time to put an end to the partisan politicization of national security and begin working together to strengthen our efforts to dismantle and destroy the terrorist networks that threaten us.” He also rebuked the Arizona senator for skipping a closed-doors committee hearing on Benghazi in order to hold a press conference demanding more information about the attacks.

Indeed, the GOP’s accusations of an administration cover-up seemed to fall apart after testimony from former CIA chief Gen. David Petraeus on Friday revealed that the CIA approvedthe declassified talking points used by Rice during her television appearances. The hearings also confirmed that the agency had received conflicting intelligence reports in real time during the attacks.

While one stream of intelligence “from multiple sources, including video at the scene, indicated the group was behind the attack,” other reports “emerged at the same time indicating the violence at the consulate was inspired by protests in Egypt over an ostensibly anti-Islam film that was privately produced in the United States.” Twenty intelligence reports “indicated that anger about the film may be to blame.”

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Security

Matt Steinglass makes a point about the whole Benghazi “coverup” narrative that I didn’t have space to make in my post yesterday. He agrees that Susan Rice did nothing wrong, but says there’s more to it:

This is absolutely right as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. At the most fundamental level, the reason it is absurd to suspect the existence of a “cover-up” over the Benghazi attack is that such a cover-up could not have had any conceivable goal. Back to the beginning: the underlying accusation about Benghazi is that the Obama administration deliberately mischaracterised the terrorist attack there as having grown out of a spontaneous demonstration because that would be less politically damaging. Such a cover-up would have made no sense because the attack would not have been less politically damaging had it grown out of a spontaneous demonstration. The attack on the Benghazi compound would not have been any less politically difficult for the administration if it had grown out of a riot, nor would any normal voter have expected it to be less politically damaging, nor would any normal campaign strategist have expected any normal voter to have expected it to be less politically damaging.

As best I can tell, the suggestion from the right has been that Obama didn’t want to admit that Benghazi was a terrorist attack because….well, I’m not sure, exactly. Something about how this would blow a hole in his claim to be decimating al-Qaeda via drone attacks. Or maybe it would remove some of the luster from being the killer of Osama bin Laden. Or something. But one way or another, the story is that Obama was deeply afraid of admitting that terrorists are still out there and want to do us harm.

This has never made a lick of sense. If anything, the continuing existence of terrorists justifies his drone attacks. And it certainly wouldn’t do him any harm in an election. The American public routinely rallies around a president responding to a terrorist attack.

Actually, there’s considerable evidence that on September 15, when Rice taped her appearances, the CIA told her there had been protests in Benghazi earlier in the day. The CIA turned out to be wrong about that, but it simply makes no sense for them to have made this up. If it does anything at all, it only makes their response look worse. This whole thing is a conspiracy theory with no conceivable motive. It’s  a wild, scattershot attack hoping to take down someone, somewhere, just to claim a scalp. It’s disgusting.

h/t: Kevin Drum at Mother Jones