Jonathan Karl at ABC News:
When it became clear last fall that the CIA’s now discredited Benghazi talking points were flawed, the White House said repeatedly the documents were put together almost entirely by the intelligence community, but White House documents reviewed by Congress suggest a different story.
ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.
That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.
I’m concerned that Jonathan Karl’s reporting is coming dangerously close to advocacy. Can we shut him up in any way?
Speaking of shutting people up, a small Internet debate has been occurring concerning the question of whether that Nakoula fellow is a “political prisoner.” Those saying “yes” include folks like iowahawk and Adam Baldwin on Twitter. (UPDATE: And Instapundit, who has a refrain echoed in several posts: “filmmaker Nakoula is still in jail.” Thanks to Rob Crawford.) On the “no” side is Ken White at Popehat, who makes the eminently sensible argument, which we have discussed before, that Nakoula’s antics of being a fraudster using a phony name while being on supervised release and under orders not to use a phony name . . . well, that kind of thing tends to get you locked up. And rightfully so, I would think.
And yet, with an Administration that tried to get YouTube to remove his video . . . and with Hillary declaring: “We will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted” . . . it kinda feels like he was targeted for his speech, doesn’t it?
I think Ken from Popehat is giving short shrift to that concern in his post. He shows concern for the possibility that Obama has abused his position, to be sure, but he’s a bit harsh on the people raising that concern, in my view.
I guess my question is: if an Administration targets people for criminal investigation because of their speech, and it turns out some of them have committed crimes, does that make everything hunky dory? The answer, I think, should be no. If an Administration targets only critics of the President for IRS audits (not that any such thing could ever actually happen!!), and it turns out some of those critics have cheated on their taxes, I’m not sure those people should get a pass for their tax evasion . . . but I also think that President should be impeached.
In other words, there is a problem.
Ken promises a post on the law in this area soon. I look forward to it. I hope it concentrates, not just on the narrow question of whether a conviction should be reversed for selective investigation, but also what free speech concerns are raised by selective investigation, and what the remedies for that might be.