Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Right hand, left hand

Well, this can't be good. Looks like the feckless Kenyan usurper has pulled the wool over America's sleepy eyes again! Basically, RUN!!!!!!!!

Or not. Come to that, before calling this an EXCLUSIVE!!!!! and sticking it atop the front page:

As President Obama ran to election victory last fall with claims that al Qaeda was “decimated” and “on the run,” his intelligence team was privately offering a different assessment that the terrorist movement was shifting resources and capabilities to emerging spinoff groups in Africa that posed fresh threats to American security.

... you might want to have a look through your own clip files. Or at least consult with the staffer who wrote, um, basically the same story back in May:

In the months before President Obama declared al Qaeda was “on a path to defeat,” his aides were telling Congress that the terrorist network was expanding and was capable of inflicting mass casualties in the U.S. 

I know, it's easy for stuff to get lost in the shuffle when a new editor comes in (particularly, ahem, when the new editor has a shirttail on the latest "exclusive"). But you do have to wonder a bit about exactly whom this seemed like a novel bit of reporting to. It still has some of the sour-grapes tone of the party that finally figured out that you don't measure public opinion by yelling at it:

... Many Americans believed when they voted in November that the president was justifiably touting a major national security success of his first term. After all, U.S. special operations forces succeeded in May 2011 in capturing and killing the al Qaeda founder and original leader, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.

OK, maybe the Times still hasn't learned that you don't measure public opinion by making it up, either. But the real point -- surprise! -- appears to be whether the Kenyan can be trusted now.

... With America approaching the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the one-year anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Mr. Obama will try Tuesday night to rally war-wary Americans to support military action by asking them to trust his description of the intelligence that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons.

The Times lets Mike Rogers, who by Michigan standards is a fairly rational member of the opposition, explain the credibility issue:

... “One, he wasn’t getting the information that the rest of us were getting, or two, he got the information and decided to disregard it for political purposes. Either of those is a problem for a commander in chief,” he said.

Which really makes you wonder why this observation was included:

... Mr. Obama did attempt such an explanation on at least one occasion during the campaign.

“We’ve decimated al Qaeda’s top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan,” he told an audience on Sept. 20 at the University of Miami. “But in Yemen, in Libya, in other of these places — increasingly in places like Syria — what you see is these elements that don’t have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we’ve got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.”

Shown those remarks recently, one intelligence source told The Times that “there’s really not a lot of daylight in that statement and where we were at the time in our assessments.”

Wouldn't it have been at least courteous to tell Rep. Rogers in advance that you were going to make him look like a tool? After you apologize to the reporter whose three-month-old fictional story you pinched, of course.


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