Issa: We Meant the Other al Qaeda

Obama Administration

Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times fires back at the Right:

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has made a special crusade out of the attack on the American diplomatic and intelligence compound in Benghazi, was asked on “Meet the Press” to justify Republican claims that Al Qaeda agents planned and executed the operation. (The article found no evidence that Al Qaeda was involved.)

Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC put her finger on the political question when she asked Mr. Issa why Republicans “use the term Al Qaeda.” After all, she said, “you and other members of Congress are sophisticated in this and know that when you say Al Qaeda, people think central Al Qaeda. They don’t think militias that may be inspired by Bin Laden and his other followers.”

“There is a group there involved that is linked to Al Qaeda,” Mr. Issa said. “What we never said — and I didn’t have the security to look behind the door, that’s for other members of Congress — of what the intelligence were on the exact correspondence with Al Qaeda, that sort of information — those sorts of methods I’ve never claimed.”

I’m still trying to parse that sentence.

Sometimes weasel words do turn around and bite you, don’t they, Rep. Issa? I think, though, that these days the term “al Qaeda” (which just means “the base”) can mean just about anything one wants it to mean. It can mean a particular organization that is currently being run out of Pakistan, or it can refer to a kind of amorphous movement of dissociated anti-Western militias, and many things in between.

This makes weaseling pretty easy. A Republican operative can say “al Qeada,” meaning any Muslim from Turkey to Malaysia with an attitude about the West; and the followers hear “al Qaeda,” meaning the specific organization founded by Osama bin Laden.

(In Rightie World, a lie doesn’t count as a lie if they can argue there’s some literal truth to it, depending on how terms are defined, even if the statement is intentionally deceptive.)

The Weaseling continues:

On Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan insisted the story was wrong in finding that “Al Qaeda was not involved in this.”

“There was some level of pre-planning; we know that,” he said. “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya; we know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound — this is the compound before they went to the annex.”

What does any of that even mean? “Some level of pre-planning” in rightie speak could mean that in 2009 some Libyan sent an email to his brother-in-law in Islamabad calling for death to westerners. “There was aspiration?” “Individuals on the ground?” Please. Basically all he’s saying is that the Libyan militants had given some thought to how they might attack the U.S. compound before they attacked it — which nobody is denying — and that the group is ideologically similar to and admirers of the original al Qaeda — which nobody is denying.

Rosenthal continues,

For anyone wondering why it’s so important to Republicans that Al Qaeda orchestrated the attack — or how the Obama administration described the attack in its immediate aftermath — the answer is simple. The Republicans hope to tarnish Democratic candidates by making it seem as though Mr. Obama doesn’t take Al Qaeda seriously. They also want to throw mud at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who they fear will run for president in 2016.

Which brings us to one particularly hilarious theme in the response to the Times investigation. According to Mr. Rogers, the article was intended to “clear the deck” for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Rosenthal leaves out what I thought to be the most hilarious reaction to the Times story, from Bob Taylor in The Washington Times.

That does not mean, however, that the Times timing of the story should not come under some degree of scrutiny. A piece of journalism as extensive as this does not happen overnight. Obviously the Times set out well in advance with the idea of breaking the story on the weekend before the new year.

Obviously? It’s certainly not obvious to me.

One of the dirty little secrets about investigative media is that more often than not reporters already know the story they want to tell before they leave the building. The “investigation” results in seeking out the people who can corroborate the result the media outlet is seeking.

Ah, he’s been hanging out with the Fox News crew, I see.

If the Times discovered al Qaeda had been involved in the Benghazi attacks the investigation would have been for naught. It would have been a non-story.

That makes absolutely no sense. Actual evidence of a real al Qaeda connection (meaning the al Qaeda al Qaeda, not al Qaeda lite) would have been a huge scoop for the Times and The Story of The Year. It would have sold newspapers up the wazoo. Discovering that the attackers were just local yokels is the non-story.

So the question, or questions, become who is the Times protecting? Barack Obama? Hillary Clinton? Or both?

No, the question is, What kinds of drugs is Bob Taylor on?

For example, consider the phrase, “the raid was accelerated in part by anger over the video.” Not a definitive statement to say the least. Surely, given the amount of time spent on pursuing the report, the Times could have reached a more concrete answer than that.

Does Taylor speak English? “The raid was accelerated in part by anger over the video” seems pretty definitive to me.

The quote by Abu Khattala who “suggested that the video which insulted the Prophet Muhammad was justification for the killings” is hardly a strong verification either. “Suggested” merely refers to the “possibility” that the video was a culprit.

Or, it’s a accurate description of what Abu Khattala said.

Furthermore, the world “justification” is significant in any understanding of Islamic radicalism. The word “justify” appears throughout the Koran. In the Muslim world, if you can “justify” your actions it is all that is necessary to be free of any responsibility. Barack Obama uses such tactics all the time. It is one of the primary reasons many people believe he still has Muslim ties.

I’m guessing ol’ Bob is on something like Diazepam or Dopamine, but since I don’t know him personally I have no way to know that. It’s possible he’s just nuts. Sorry I can’t be more definitive.

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  1. Bill Bush  •  Dec 31, 2013 @11:03 am

    There is no reason, nor any reality, that these guys will accept that does not support their conspiracy of the moment. I sincerely hope a Duck Dynasty person converts to Islam just so I can watch the heads spinning.

  2. Buckyblue  •  Dec 31, 2013 @12:36 pm

    That was really a nice pivot to non-calling/calling Obama a Muslim. Very nice, impressive even. The faux authority of knowledge of the Quran and how Muslims lie and that’s allowed, even justified, by their religion. The ‘many people’ who also apparently use this justification and tie it to the president as proof that he, if maybe not a Muslim at least has Islamic sympathies. You know, I almost hate to dispute this, given that the logic is just so circular, and enforces every dubious point he claims the NYT was doing in their investigative report. How do their heads not explode from the cognitive dissonance? How can someone have such a disconnect from what they are complaining about and then do the exact same thing. Simply amazing, almost a work of art.
    Thanks for reading this slop, Maha, so the rest of us don’t have to.

  3. Buckyblue  •  Dec 31, 2013 @1:00 pm

    Oh, and also, too. Claiming that the NYT piece was simply an attempt to absolve Hillary and her presidential aspirations is especially rich. Fox’s push for the story in the first place was to cover Mitt Romney’s butt. When news of Benghazi first appeared candidate Romney showed his adept skill at shooting from the hip by criticizing the prez before any info was out and claiming it was AQ, and that the prez knew that and still let it happen. Wildly inaccurate and just simply unpresidential, and many people tho’t that as well. Romney, who looks presidential until he opens his mouth, was going to take a hit. Fox jumps in, pushes the story mainly to help Romney, who clearly was incapable of helping himself. So the manufactured story to save Mitt is all good; the real reporting, which wasn’t meant to just help Hillary but may well do that, is bad. Again, the cognitive dissonance is stunning.

  4. wmd  •  Dec 31, 2013 @1:47 pm

    Litmus test for whether al Queda is the one true al Queda – are they funded by the Saudi royal family?

  5. bruce  •  Dec 31, 2013 @2:31 pm

    wow, kudos to the Washington Times writer, not just for slipping in that “people believe” Obama “still (!!!) has Muslim ties”, but for making Obama’s attempt to justify his actions and policies the evidence! Man, that is some first class bulls–t right there, folks, that’s how it’s done..

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 31, 2013 @5:00 pm

    You know how I get by without having a cerebral hemorrhage when I encounter Conservatives and Conservatism?

    I look at FOX, Rush, Drudge, Conservative pundits and politicians, and all Reich-Wing mediums, print and electric, the whole ” Republican Rage Machine,” as Performance Art.

    Watch FOX, and tell me the people on that network aren’t Performance Artists.
    Ditto, Rush.
    Ditto Drudge.
    Ditto Bobo.
    Ditto, Issa.
    And, ditto, Conservative people – aka: rubes, suckers, fools, bobo’s, marks, nit/half/dim/f*ck-wits; oh, and especially Christian Conservatives.

    It’s all Performance Art.
    They’re all Performance Artists.
    Say it.
    Feel it.
    Absorb it.

    Grok that, and never forget it.

    Don’t you feel better already?

  7. erinyes  •  Dec 31, 2013 @6:04 pm

    Performance e artists, indeed. Their magical terms are al qaida, islamist, jihadist, militant, “suspected”militant, Taliban, and terrorist. This is Orwell’s news speak.
    If a country invades and occupies another country, the invading country should expect that the natives will be a wee pissed at the invaders who have smashed their homes and killed their kin. This seems pretty stinkin simple. They don’t need a corporate based regimented organization to counter attack. Apparently some people don’t understand the rules of assymetrical warfare. Jeesh !

  8. Swami  •  Dec 31, 2013 @6:09 pm

    It’s the boy who cried wolf syndrome. They’ve beaten the al Qaida moniker to death by attributing to al Qaida any event that can be used to tear down the Obama administration. I hear that al-Qaida is going to file a law suit against the GOP for trademark infringement and slander.

    It would be nice if the Repugs would devote the amount of energy they have devoted to the Benghazi incident to the creation of a jobs bill or the growing economic disparity that is fast consuming our country.

  9. Doug  •  Dec 31, 2013 @9:05 pm

    Robert Heinlein wrote in (I forget which novel) as a commentary about a personality type, that he was reminded of the literary historian who spent 40 year and his professional career trying to prove that William Shakespere did not write the plays credited to him. They were in fact written by a different English author with the same name.

    The degree of self-delusion necessary to maintain the right-wing paranoia boggles the mind.

  10. anthrosciguy  •  Jan 1, 2014 @12:35 am

    Ah yes, the conspiracy of having the story published just before the new year – at precisely the time people are more concerned with the holidays and family rather than news. That makes sense.

  11. David Evans  •  Jan 1, 2014 @5:48 am

    5 minutes research reveals:
    Occurrences of “justify” and “justified” in the Qur’an – 5
    Occurrences of “justify” and “justified” in the Bible – 52

  12. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 1, 2014 @9:46 am

    Great satirical music video:
    “The Tea Party – I Want My Country Back!”

  13. Swami  •  Jan 1, 2014 @1:43 pm

    Good video, Gulag…“When Hispanics, Blacks, and Women knew their place!” Ain’t that the truth.

  14. biggerbox  •  Jan 1, 2014 @8:45 pm

    When I get fed up with the righty weasel words about Al Qaida I often switch their words around with other semantic units that highlight how stupid they are being. For example, BP and Walmart are both “linked” in the practice of global capitalism, and you probably can find people working for one who are now working for the other. So when a new Sam’s Club outlet drives your home town business into dust, does that mean you can claim it was part of the BP plot against America?