Guest Editorial

BY LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD | APRIL 9, 2014

Does anyone in Washington DC tell the truth?

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Lawrence SellinMuslims are permitted to lie to infidels in order to advance the cause of Islam. There are two forms: taqiyya – saying something that isn't true and kitman – lying by omission.

It seems politicians and federal officials are permitted to lie to the American people if it advances the cause of the government or their career aspirations.

Did former acting CIA director Michael Morell mislead Congress and the American people during his testimony about the Benghazi attack before the House Intelligence Committee?

I don't know, but it may demonstrate how Washington DC constructs the truth to preserve the corrupt status quo.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have accurately defined the political strategy of truth construction when she said: "the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?"

In other words, what good would it do to hold government officials accountable? It won't bring back the dead. Let's move on.

Clinton continued: "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."

Unfortunately, the truth would not advance the cause of government or promising careers.

As reported by Fox News, Morell overruled the guidance provided by the CIA chief of station in Libya that the attacks were "not/not an escalation of protests" in favor of the narrative eventually promoted by the Obama Administration that the attacks were an outgrowth of demonstrations in response to an anti-Islamic video. Morell is accused of heavily editing the so-called Benghazi "talking points," which were the basis for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's controversial comments on several Sunday shows that also blamed the attacks on a protest spawned by a video.

A 2011 article "The Rise of Another CIA Yes Man" described Morell thusly: "as with many other successful CIA careerists, his strongest suit seemed to be pleasing his boss and not antagonizing the White House."

I cannot say Morell lied during his testimony nor do I know his motives for the actions he took. I do think he made a critical choice in the hours and days following the attack. Morell chose the narrative favored by the Obama Administration over what appears to be the more likely scenario described by those on the ground in Libya. Obviously, the former choice was the path of least resistance and, perhaps, also the one leading to greater professional opportunity and financial benefit. The latter may have been career-ending.

Morell is now a Counselor to Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic advisory firm specializing in International Policy, Defense, Cyber, Intelligence, and Homeland Security. Among other Beacon employees are:

-  Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine described as Hillary Clinton's "principal gatekeeper;"

-  Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to Leon Panetta, Obama's CIA Director and Defense Secretary;

-  Andrew Shapiro, Hilary Clinton's policy adviser at the State Department; and

-  Republican J. Michael Allen, who was a former majority staff director for the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, the man who led the interrogation of Morell.

Bill Allison, whose Sunlight Foundation is a nonprofit that supports government transparency, likened Beacon to "a [government-lobbyist] revolving door on steroids."

Critics of the Obama administration's handling of Benghazi have raised questions about the "talking points", suggesting they may have been adjusted to protect Hillary Clinton's image. The CIA edited "al-Qaeda" out of their Benghazi talking points after the State Department's spokesman raised concerns about aspects of the talking-points draft.

Islamic scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to "smooth over differences," either by taqiyya – saying something that isn't true or kitman – lying by omission.

Sounds like a description of Washington DC bipartisanship.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of "Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution ". He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.