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Obama Team Scrambles To Explain Plan’s Origins

From BuzzFeed:

Administration Changes Russian Proposal’s Origin Story

Back-dating a policy.

By Rosie Gray | September 10, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s explanation of how a Russian proposal to get rid of Syrian chemical weapons came to be has morphed rapidly in the past 24 hours from being portrayed as an unexpected slip-up to — in its new incarnation — a plan that U.S. officials were involved in as early as last week.

“I had some conversations about this with my counterpart from Russia last week,” Secretary of State John Kerry said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, referring to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “President Putin raised the issue with President Obama at St. Petersburg. President Obama directed us to try to continue to talk and see if it is possible. So it is not something that — you know, suddenly emerged, though it did publicly. But it cannot be allowed to be a delay.”

How long has Mr. Kerry been having these memory blackouts? Should he apply for disability? Is Kerry now saying that he was for this plan before he was against it? And now he’s for it again?

Later, under questioning by Rep. Hank Johnson, Kerry said he had not made a mistake when he suggested the proposal in a press conference in London on Monday. “I didn’t misspeak,” Kerry said. “I was asked about it. I responded because I was asked.”

He wasn’t asked about "it." He was asked if there was anything Assad could do to avoid an attack. And Kerry tossed out a ‘hypothetical’ that he said was completely impossible. The State Department then chimed in to say it was impossible. And Kerry then contacted the Russians to say it was not a proposal.

A State Department official confirmed to BuzzFeed that Kerry and Lavrov had spoken about getting rid of Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles last week.

“He has been talking with the Russians about the importance of securing chemical weapons back to his trip to Moscow and before,” the official said. “That is what he was talking about.”

This is not a confirmation of what is now being claimed. Talking about the importance of securing chemical weapons is not the same thing as saying that if Syria agrees to hand over its weapons to the Russians we won’t attack. Of course the goal has always been to ultimately secure these chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned the Kerry-Lavrov discussions in a speech on Tuesday, saying he had instructed the two diplomats to “get in touch” and “try to move this idea forward” and that he and Obama had “indeed discussed” the idea on the sidelines of the G-20.

Putin will say anything to help move this deal along. It is a win-win-win for him and his Syrian client, Assad. Besides, if Kerry was moving the idea forward, he soon forgot all about it.

The administration has quickly changed its line on an idea that it scrambled to play down yesterday in the White House and State Department briefings even as the Russians immediately followed up by making the proposal to the Syrians, who “welcomed” it.

Kerry “was making a rhetorical statement about a scenario that we find highly unlikely,” State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters yesterday.

Harf said the administration would “take a hard look” at the proposal but that “we have serious and deep skepticism that the Syrian regime would actually do this.” She presented the plan as purely a Russian proposal, saying that “the secretary was not making a proposal.”

Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken echoed Harf in the White House briefing on Monday, telling reporters that “I believe [Kerry] was answering questions, speaking hypothetically about what if Assad were to do this.”

A senior administration official even described Kerry’s statement as a “major goof” to CNN.

These people just don’t understand nuance. In fact, Kerry doesn’t even understand his own nuance.

The administration’s tone changed abruptly Monday night, with President Obama himself throwing his weight behind the idea in a series of television interviews.

“It’s certainly a positive development when the Russians and Syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons,” Obama said, while cautioning that the plan will only make sense if it is “real.” …

Notice that even Obama made it sound like the proposal was new to him.

But the Obama administration claims about this are instant revisionism at an almost Stalin-esque level. But, once again, if we are to believe Obama and Kerry and people at the State Department were looking into this plan since last week and longer, how come Kerry didn’t know about it? How come the State Department didn’t know about it?

How come Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser didn’t know about it? And how come nobody in Congress knew anything about it?

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Obama Team Scrambles To Explain Plan’s Origins”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    DOWN THE MEMORY HOLE and on to the next lie.

    99% of the public has no skills to discern what they are being told. They don’t follow the news carefully enough to know any better. Whatever the new timeline is, then that’s what it is. Obama says it was all part of his plan, and that is in the news cycle, then that must be what it is. Why would people lie? The news tells us what the news is, that’s their job and people believe it.

    To those who have been paying attention, we would just ask,
    “If this proposal was known before, then why all the threats, “red line” statements, national addresses, congressional votes, and needless news coverage?”

    • Noyzmakr says:

      Once my mother reached her late 70’s she began to do less work in the garden and more sitting in front of the TV and CNN was on all during the daylight hours since her favorite soap operas were off the air. It drove me crazy, but it wasn’t my place to correct her.

      She constantly told me how terrible the world was, and what a mess we were in. I reminded her that things were always like this, for the most part, it’s just that now you hear about every murder, rape, robbery and war that happens in the world, and that when she was young she would be lucky to get news from the next county.

      I also let her know that everyone you see on TV has an agenda. They are selling an idea, a book, movie, TV show or a product or service and she should take with a grain of salt whatever they were saying, including the anchors and reporters on the news. Her reply said all there was to know about her generation and the trusting nature of that group, and also the fall of journalism as a serious occupation. She said “People can’t lie to you on TV. Isn’t that against the law?” Sadly, I destoyed her sense of what news was that day. From that point on she watched less and less news and more and more game shows.

      I felt terrible about it for a couple of days because I had burst a bubble of trust in my mom, but she didn’t trust CNN anymore, so it was all worth it.

      PS. Mom wouldn’t watch Fox News because she said she didn’t watch the news to look at womens legs…….lol……..hell, that’s why I watch.

  2. mr_bill says:

    Forget MiniTruth’s new history revisions, I’m still trying to figure out why this administration seems to think that aiding al-qaeda is something worth going to war over.

  3. Astravogel says:

    “99% of the public…” I hazard that about 2% or less
    even pay attention anymore. Why bother, when what
    was our government lies to us. If it wasn’t for Drudge,
    S & L, Fox News, and the overseas news organizations
    available on the Internet, we’d be totally Orwellian now.
    Enought of us still do care, however, and hopefully
    elect folks who’ll put the wellfare of the Country first.
    Way to go, Colorado!

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