Chad’s Morning Brief: Emails Show White House Involved in Benghazi Spin, NBA Bans Clippers Owner for Life, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 30, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Early Voting for City and School Board Election: TODAY – May 6
Election Day for City and School Board: May 10
Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23
Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27
According to FOX News, emails suggest that a White House aide was involved in prepping Susan Rice on the video explanation for what happened in Benghazi.
Newly released emails on the Benghazi terror attack suggest a senior White House aide played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her controversial Sunday show appearances -- where she wrongly blamed protests over an Internet video.
More than 100 pages of documents were released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a Sept. 14, 2012, email from Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
The Rhodes email, with the subject line: "RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET," was sent to a dozen members of the administration's inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Press Secretary Jay Carney.
In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.
The email lists the following two goals, among others:
"To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
"To reinforce the President and Administration's strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges."
The email goes on to state that the U.S. government rejected the message of the Internet video. "We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence," the email stated.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the documents read like a PR strategy, not an effort to provide the best available intelligence to the American people.
"The goal of the White House was to do one thing primarily, which was to make the president look good. Blame it on the video and not [the] president's policies," he said.
The Rhodes email was not part of the 100 pages of emails released by the administration last May -- after Republicans refused to move forward with the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director until the so-called "talking points" emails were made public.
The email is also significant because in congressional testimony in early April, former deputy CIA director Michael Morell told lawmakers it was Rice, in her Sunday show appearances, who linked the video to the Benghazi attack. Morell said the video was not part of the CIA analysis.
"My reaction was two-fold," Morell told members of the House Intelligence Committee, regarding her appearances. "One was that what she said about the attacks evolving spontaneously from a protest was exactly what the talking points said, and it was exactly what the intelligence community analysts believed. When she talked about the video, my reaction was, that's not something that the analysts have attributed this attack to."
Incidentally, three leading Republicans on Monday night sent letters to the House and Senate foreign affairs committees asking them to compel the administration to explain who briefed Rice in advance of the Sunday talk shows and whether State Department or White House personnel were involved.
"How could former Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, during the five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, claim that the attacks on our compounds were caused by a hateful video when Mr. Morell testified that the CIA never mentioned the video as a causal factor," said the letter, from Sens. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina; Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire; and John McCain, of Arizona.
The Sept. 14 Rhodes email does not indicate whether there was a "prep call" for Rice, as it suggests. If the call went ahead, it does not indicate who briefed her. Fox News has asked the White House if Rhodes prepped Rice for the Sunday shows, and, if he didn't, who did -- as well as what intelligence Rhodes relied upon.
The newly released emails also show that on Sept. 27, 2012 a Fox News report -- titled "US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm" -- was circulated at the most senior levels of the administration. This included going to then-deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough; then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan; Morell; and Rhodes, among others, but the comments were redacted, citing "personal privacy information."
Banned for Life
The NBA took action against LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday. According to FOX News, the NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million dollars.
The NBA threw the book at LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, banning him for life, fining him $2.5 million and raising the possibility of a forced sale of the team over racist remarks he made to an ex-girlfriend that surfaced on a tape recording.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement at a New York press conference moments after Sterling told Fox News that he was not interested in selling the team. When reached after the press conference by Fox News' Jim Gray, Sterling declined to comment.
Silver, who succeeded David Stern as NBA commissioner in February, said the league interviewed Sterling during its investigation. He said NBA investigators determined that the voice heard on the audio tape obtained by TMZ was Sterling's and called the comments "deeply offensive" and vowed to “do everything in my power” to force a sale of the team, which could be worth more than $500 million.
“The hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage,” Silver said. “I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers association or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, he may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or decisions involving the team.”
Silver said a forensic expert confirmed tape made by Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano, was not altered. In the tape, which was released by TMZ on Saturday, Sterling is heard telling Stiviano, who is of African-American and Mexican descent, not to associate publicly with “black people,” especially at Clippers games. The tape was released shortly after she posted a picture of herself with Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson on Instagram.
Silver told the room full of reporters that he is banning Sterling for life from any association with the team or the NBA. The ban, he said, includes attending games and team practices. He said the $2.5 million fine was the harshest under NBA rules. Silver said Sterling's representatives found out about the ruling just before the press conference and stressed that the ban is independent of the effort to compel Sterling to sell the team.
"Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver's ruling," Johnson tweeted after Silver's announcement.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tweeted, "I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling."
On Monday Cuban made comments that showed he wasn't extremely comfortable taking someone's ownership rights away because of comments made in a private setting. According to Reason.com, Cuban said that people are allowed to be morons.
What Donald said was wrong,” Cuban said. “It was abhorrent. There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with, and I don’t want to be associated with people who have that position.
“But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.
“Again, there’s no excuse for his positions. There’s no excuse for what he said. There’s no excuse for anybody to support racism. There’s no place for it in our league, but there’s a very, very, very slippery slope.
“If it’s about racism and we’re ready to kick people out of the league, OK? Then what about homophobia? What about somebody who doesn’t like a particular religion. What about somebody who’s anti-semitic What about a xenophobe?
“In this country, people are allowed to be morons.”
Good points by Mark Cuban.
Other Top Stories:
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