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KNIGHT: Lies, lies and more presidential lies

The Obama White House has become the home of the whopper

- - Sunday, January 5, 2014

One bad thing about our media-mad age is that it's difficult to keep up with all the lies we're being told by our government. The good news is that falsehoods don't have the legs they once had.

Remember when Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper was asked by Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, during a hearing on March 12, 2013, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Mr. Clapper answered, "No sir not wittingly."

After Edward Snowden spilled the National Security Agency's beans three months later, Mr. Clapper retreated to his Ministry of Truth persona when asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on June 10 why he lied to Mr. Wyden: "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying, 'no.'"

Mr. Clapper in February 2011 told a Capitol Hill hearing, whose audience he apparently assessed had fallen off a turnip truck, that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular." His office released a clarification of that one even before the day ended.

On Dec. 22, National Security Adviser Susan Rice insisted in a "60 Minutes" interview that NSA officials "inadvertently made false representations." I'm glad that's cleared up. She also defended the NSA's snooping on Americans by saying that "the fact that we have not had a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11 should not be diminished."

That would be news to the survivors of the Islamist massacres at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, and the Boston Marathon last April 15.

Miss Rice is getting good at this. She was U.N. ambassador when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was assaulted on Sept. 11, 2012, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. On four Sunday talk shows and for days afterward she, along with other administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, insisted that it was not a terrorist attack, but rather a spontaneous riot inflamed by an anti-Muhammad video on the Internet. Miss Rice was later promoted to her current post.

The video story eventually fell apart. Then the administration switched to blaming the CIA for giving Ms. Rice bad talking points. Maybe Mr. Clapper got some, too, for his NSA fib.

Incredibly, The New York Times on Dec. 28 tried to resurrect the video ploy with a 7,000-word article. Written by David D. Kirkpatrick, "A Deadly Mix in Benghazi" dismisses the claim that al Qaeda played any role in the attack. Instead, the newspaper reports, local Islamic militants cased the consulate and engineered the assault.

Security analyst Kenneth R. Timmerman, who is writing a book about Benghazi, noted in a Jan. 3 column in The Washington Times that "the CIA station chief in Tripoli and the chief of base in Benghazi were regularly briefing their bosses in Langley as well as U.S. diplomats in Libya on the al Qaeda presence and specifically on Ansar al-Shariah," the group that initially claimed credit for the attack.

According to The New York Times article, some in the mob who joined the attack allegedly said they were there because of the "Innocence of Muslims" video on YouTube that had triggered an attack earlier that day on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. So what?

According to Fox News, people who were in Libya that awful day and night hotly dismiss The New York Times' scenario and its re-emphasis of the video. "It was a coordinated attack. It is completely false to say anything else. It is completely a lie," one witness told Fox News.

Could it be that the newspaper is blowing smoke over Benghazi so that future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton can later claim that it was all just too confusing to sort out?

In terms of lies, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may be in a class by itself in the Hall of Shame. Americans were promised a "transparent" legislative process and instead got one-party, closed-door sessions. We got a massive new tax law that originated, unconstitutionally, in the Senate instead of the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took a House bill, gutted it, changed its name, and stuffed it with 2,700 pages of Obamacare.

President Obama told Americans point blank that the legislation did not constitute a new tax. However, when the law came before the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with Mr. Obama's attorneys and upheld Obamacare as ... a new tax.

The whopper of them all, as agreed upon by even liberal media, was Mr. Obama's claim made over and over that people can keep their health insurance under Obamacare.

In his weekly address on June 6, 2009, he offered three lies at once: "If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you'll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold."

Some lies take years to expose, and often require repeated doses of the truth to make an impression. That may yet be the case with Benghazi.

With Obamacare, millions are "getting it" immediately upon receiving their pink slips, insurance premium hikes or the news that their doctor is no longer their doctor.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.