John McCain's latest battle against reality and U.S. foreign policy arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon, with the Senator claiming that references to al Qaeda should have remained on unclassified CIA talking points used by would-be Secretary of State Susan Rice on those Sunday talk-show interviews that got him so upset in the first place. As we've pointed out, McCain and his posse of Senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte had previously been harping on the fact that Rice deviated from her talking points and that Rice blamed the "Innocence of Muslims" video for the Benghazi attack. In this word-for-word comparison between the CIA points and her talk-show transcripts, you can see that Rice didn't deviate so much as blame the reaction in Libya on the reaction in Cairo (which was spurred by the video).
Which means, yes, today the battle has shifted slightly and McCain is now complaining about the actual CIA talking point, and the al Qaeda references. McCain's office released the following statement:
I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012...
(You can read the whole thing here.)
On the surface, McCain's latest complaint sounds somewhat reasonable. But you have to remember that McCain himself said he doesn't have the full facts on Benghazi and what went on over there, and even skipped a closed-door Senate briefing to complain about just how little he knows. Someone who does know what went on is David Petraeus, and Petraeus in a closed-door hearing of his own on Friday said that the al-Qaeda references were scrubbed so the CIA could its thing and not tip off terrorist cells or groups.