It's always interesting when Fox News challenges Republican politicians. Mainly for it's rarity but sometimes it's a way for the politician to pre-empt more difficult questions from less friendly network. On Sunday Chris Wallace confronted Darrell Issa on Benghazi, whose most egregious conspiracies have been largely debunked.
What's interesting in the exchange isn't so much the challenge but Issa's reasoning about claim that soldiers were told to stand down:
So what is it called when you begin using a term throughout a debate (in this case for months and months) and then when that term has been found false you switch it to a totally different meaning from what had been taken up to that point?A fact check last year had found that Issa was wrong to assert that Clinton approved an embassy cable in Libya because her “signature” was on it. In fact, the secretary’s signature is stamped on all cables.
“For the second time, they gave you ‘Four Pinocchios,’ which is their highest level of falsehood,” Wallace told Issa on Sunday.
Issa defended himself by saying he was just “quoting something that was in somebody else’s report” when he accused Clinton of approving the embassy cable.
And in the case of the so-called “stand down” order, he said that the former secretary of state was responsible for the overall normalization policy in Libya.
“Witnesses have told us that they asked for help,” Issa opined. “The president himself implied that he told Leon Panetta, then-secretary of defense, to use what efforts they could. And what we know for a fact is, not one rescue of DOD was launched to get there in that 8.5 hours.”
“But to be honest, you do not have any evidence that secretary Clinton told Leon Panetta to stand down,” Wallace pressed.
Issa argued that he wasn’t using the term ‘stand down’ as it normally applied to military operations, “but rather, the failure to react.”
“The fact that only State Department assets, and only assets inside the country were ever used,” he declared. “That members of the armed forces, gun-carrying trained people were not allowed to get on the aircraft to go and attempt the rescue. Those kinds of things, through State Department resources, represent a stand down.”
“Not maybe on the technical terms of ‘stand down, soldier,’ but on what the American people believe is a failure to respond when they could have.”
Or am I reading this wrong and Issa meant 'failure to respond' all along and he was just using the term 'stand down' with this new meaning?