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More Misdirection from the White House

4:16 PM, Oct 31, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The White House continues to offer only this line on Benghazi:

The White House on Wednesday shot down rumors that President Obama nixed an operation to rescue U.S. diplomats under attack in Benghazi after former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made the claim on national television.

“Neither the President nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi during the attack,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Hill via e-mail.

Gingrich told Fox News Tuesday evening that he'd been told by a “fairly reliable” U.S. senator that at least two news networks have emails “from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down.” Gingrich qualified the statement, however, saying “I want to be clear, it’s a rumor.”

This is the only line the White House has offered in the last week—a response to rumors. Here's the reason: Responding to rumors allows the White House to go after a straw man. It was always unlikely the president and the White House would have explicitly denied a request for assistance during the attack, since it's unlikely such a request would have been presented formally to the White House in the first place if there was a sense the White House wouldn't approve it.

The real questions have to do with the decisions the president made or didn't make that evening in consultation with his national security team. For example: How and to whom did the president issue his alleged directive to do anything possible to help the Americans under attack? About that and other relevant questions, the White House continues to provide no answers at all.   

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