Shortly after the 2012 elections, David Petraeus announced his resignation as director of the CIA, which led to a series of new conservative conspiracy theories, including the assertion that he stepped down to avoid congressional testimony on Benghazi -- a claim that was quickly debunked.
And as it turned out, Petraeus disappointed Republicans for reasons that had nothing to do with his personal misconduct. When he testified in congressional hearings, Petraeus told GOP lawmakers what they didn't want to hear: the Benghazi talking points weren't dictated by politics, the White House didn't have a political agenda, and no one politicized the process.
Six months later, the new Republican line is that Petraeus is no longer trustworthy. Consider this exchange on "Meet the Press" yesterday between David Gregory and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
GREGORY: Chairman, my reporting of the immediate aftermath of this talking to administration officials is that CIA Director David Petraeus made it clear when he briefed top officials that there was a spontaneous element to this, that it was not completely known that this was a terrorist attack right away. You don't give any credence to the notion that there was some fog of war, that there were conflicting circumstances about what went on here?ISSA: David Petraeus said what the administration wanted him to say is the indication.
Right. So in November, the Republican line was, "We need to hear to hear from David Petraeus, whom we trust to tell us the truth." In May, the Republican line is, "Er, never mind, David Petraeus isn't that trustworthy after all."
Indeed, let's be clear about what Issa told a national television audience yesterday: the former director of the CIA gave sworn testimony, which is no longer credible because Issa believes he was covering for the Obama administration.
To bolster the serious allegation, Issa pointed to ... nothing in particular.