The Washington Post dismantled President Barack Obama’s insistence on Monday that his administration has, from the beginning, acknowledged last year’s Benghazi, Libya embassy assault as a terrorist attack.
At a Monday news conference, Obama told reporters, “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.”
The paper put that statement through its venerable “Pinocchio Test,” a sort of tongue-in-cheek star-rating system (they use Pinocchios instead of stars) that assesses the degree of B.S. in various officials’ public promises.
The Pinocchio Test found Obama’s verbal legerdemain to be worthy of the most dubious of honors: Four lying Pinocchios out of a possible four:
During the [2012 Presidential] campaign, the president could just get away with claiming he said “act of terror,” since he did use those words — though not in the way he often claimed. It seemed like a bit of after-the-fact spin, but those were his actual words — to the surprise of Mitt Romney in the debate.
But the president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.
Indeed, the initial unedited talking points did not call it an act of terrorism. Instead of pretending the right words were uttered, it would be far better to acknowledge that he was echoing what the intelligence community believed at the time – and that the administration’s phrasing could have been clearer and more forthright from the start.