Now there is only one, and it is the worse one. Based on the persuasive testimony of ex-CIA boss David Petraeus, it is clear the Obama administration made a deliberate decision to mislead Congress and the American people.
The repeated claim that the attack was spontaneous and grew out of a demonstration against an anti-Islam video — a claim made by the president and secretary of State as they stood next to the bodies of four dead Americans — was a monstrous lie. It was vile and done for the basest of reasons.
The timing helps tell the tale. Just days removed from his Charlotte convention, where he danced on the grave of Osama bin Laden and boasted that al Qaeda was decimated, Obama couldn’t bear to admit that affiliated groups were thriving in North Africa. And he certainly couldn’t admit they had carried out a murderous attack on our consulate on the 11th anniversary of the most awful day in American history.
To do so would be to acknowledge the failure of his decision to ignore hard-line Islamists and that his team had erred egregiously in rejecting pleas for more security from Libya Ambassador Chris Stevens.
So the president lied, including in a speech to the United Nations, where he cited the video as the reason for the attack. He sent out reams of flunkies to do the same, including his snide press secretary, Jay Carney.
Most notably, UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on five Sunday television shows to spin the nonsense about the hijacking of a demonstration — a demonstration that never existed. Rice made a fool of herself, and now, she, too is damaged goods.
Oddly, Petraeus, brought down by the reckless affair with his biographer, nonetheless looks like the only honest man in the drama.
A briefing he gave soon after the attack is now more suspect because it adhered to the party line, despite his belief that it was always a terrorist attack.
But Friday in his testimony behind closed doors, Petraeus told the truth as he knew it, even though the administration announced the day before that it was investigating his conduct at the CIA.
If that was meant to pressure him to protect the president, it failed spectacularly. Whatever his personal failings, Petraeus reinforced his reputation for professional integrity.
The next move is up to Congress. While Democrats are predictably and shamefully trying to deny the significance of Petraeus’ revelation, Republicans say they are determined to get the full truth, wherever the hunt takes them.
Especially as the president begins a new term, and huge economic and tax difference must be resolved, the country would be better served if the administration co-operates. But their behavior up to now does not make that seem likely. Having built their web of lies, it would be hard to suddenly come clean.
In that case, the full power of the constitution must be brought to bear. Nobody is above the law, even the president.
Topsy-turfy egomania of NY politics
It was cold when President Obama visited Staten Island — and it wasn’t just the weather. The always-chilly relationships among New York’s top politicians have turned absolutely frosty.
The feuding was so obvious that Obama felt compelled to warn against “turf battles.”
“We’re going to have to make sure everybody’s focused on doing the job, as opposed to worrying about who’s getting the credit or who’s getting the contracts,” the president said of rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
His words, ostensibly a reassurance to distressed business people and homeowners standing in front of him, were in fact an extraordinary public scolding of Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, all of whom were nearby.
As I’ve said before, the public’s scorn for pols is matched only by the scorn most pols feel for each other. Off the record, they bash each other, while pretending to be best buds when the cameras start rolling. Cuomo and Bloomberg have an especially strong mutual dislike.
Obama blew away their cover, no doubt motivated by a desire to escape the crossfire. The immediate issue is Cuomo’s pitch for $30 billion in federal recovery aid, a bid that caught the mayor and the senators by surprise. And when pols are surprised, their knickers twist.
Although personal feuds matter, much of it is a turf battle, so Obama was right to warn against it. The practical side is that, at a time when the federal budget needs a haircut, a united front is more likely to get more for New York.
So, children, play nice.
‘Hev’ and a ‘Hev’-not
The decision by the New York parole board to release disgraced former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi is curious, to say the least. The 20 months he will spend behind bars for selling access to state pension funds was no walk in the park, but springing Hevesi while saying no to his partner in crime, Hank Morris, smacks of a strange double standard.
Hevesi, a Democrat, repeatedly betrayed his office, which gave him sole power over pension investments. Morris, his campaign guru, also has spent about 20 months in prison for his role and may have been the mastermind. But he was a private citizen and could not have pulled off the scam without Hevesi and others in the comptroller’s office, yet he stays locked up.
The parole board based its decisions on remorse, saying Hevesi showed it and Morris didn’t. Perhaps so. Or maybe Hevesi is just a better liar.
He gets an annual pension of about $168,000 for his “public service,” meaning taxpayers will get ripped off as long as he lives.
‘Permitting’ the homeless
A California town near Sacramento, Nevada City, found the liberal sweet spot between big-government compassion and public order. It will ban homeless people from sleeping on the streets — unless they get a permit from City Hall.
With the Golden State heading for insolvency, the permits could soon be the hottest tickets around.
Times critic a nitpicky eater
After The New York Times’ scathing review of Guy Fieri’s restaurant in Times Square, it’s only a matter of time until the paper of record drops the bomb on other tourist hot spots. Beware, Red Lobster and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — your days are numbered.