Thoughts on the Benghazi talking points
Off topic really, but that entire process is so very typical of the Federal bureaucracy (and maybe of other ones, I was a Federal bureaucrat only). The most important thing to a bureaucrat is not truth or falsity, but The Position. The Position is the only reality, and ruling upon it settles every question. Determining it requires a collective effort, usually by people who have no direct knowledge at all. In this case, the final editing of the talking points appears to have been done at a meeting of Deputy Assistant Secretaries (I'm assuming that was the deputies meeting referred to, although State may have more than one Deputy Secretary, I'm not going to research it). None of them had any direct knowledge of anything. Quite likely, none of them talked to anyone with direct knowledge. The memo they were working on was itself probably drafted by people with no direct knowledge, and who may not have spoken to anyone with it.
To a bureaucrat, none of this was important. What is important is a collective determination of The Position. Once that is settled, it becomes collective reality and no one will even think of questioning it. And everyone higher in the chain of command will be told only The Position, not that there are questions about or differences of opinion on it.
I once wrote a one-page memo on what happened in a courtroom. It was very dry. We argued this, they argued that, and the judge ordered this. No policy statements, no recommendations, just what was said.I sent it to the client agency FYI. My boss's boss got a copy and became very worried. I'd told the client agency what happened, without making sure it was Our Position on it. I asked, how can we have A Position on what happened in a room? I was in the room, no one else here was, and it was a public proceeding, anyone who wants can buy a transcript. It did not reduce his fears.
At one point Secretary Lujan began calling individual attorneys to ask how interesting court cases were going. We got written orders to refuse his call! He must go thru the chain of command, so that every answer was vetted by the branch, the division, and then the Solicitor (who knew only what the division told him), and The Position would then be given to the Secretary. There would be no "oh, we had a hearing on preliminary injunction last Tuesday, I figure we have a 50-50 on winning."