That’s the semantic translation of this sentence: “Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut have started to destroy classified material as a security precaution amid anti-American protests in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.” You always want to destroy the paperwork ahead of time; when the mob actually shows up at your door with torches and various hand weapons it’s usually too late. And while sensible regimes always send along agents to make sure that embassy staff (well, the foreigners, at least) make it out alive*, they’re also there to make sure that as little paperwork as possible gets destroyed. But you also don’t want to do it too early, either. Or at all, if you can help it.
Apparently, they decided not to take the chance**.
But don’t worry! The President is on the case!
President Obama didn’t watch SNL season opener this weekend; watched a lot of football, per Josh Earnest on AF1 gaggle.
— Amy Gardner (@AmyEGardner) September 17, 2012
…sort of. Look, at least he didn’t move too far from where the White House staff parked him, OK? That’s… progress, if you squint and look at it right.
*Don’t let this administration’s apparent disinterest in the murder of our Ambassador to Libya fool you; that was a legitimately big deal, and there eventually will be a proportionate response to it.
**By the way: just because something is ‘routine’ doesn’t mean that it’s not significant. It’s actually routine to destroy the documents when you think that you’re about to lose control of your diplomatic station.