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Washington (CNN) -- Ever since Watergate became the shorthand for a government run amok, the political cliché of our time has been about the political lesson of that era: That the coverup can be worse than the crime.Apply that cliché to Benghazi -- and questions about the motive for removing the terror link from talking points about the Libyan attack in the heat of an election. Maybe there's a corollary question that we ought to be asking: In politics, when did spin trump everything, even the truth?We're in dangerous territory right now, although the president himself seems to be having none of it, calling the investigation a "political circus." Sure it is.But in the center ring is something that still begs an explanation, despite the president's dismissiveness: How -- and why-- did the account of what happened at Benghazi (i.e. the infamous talking points) go through a dozen iterations, beginning with a fairly detailed description of the potential involvement of al Qaeda that morphed over the course of a day into a simple, gauzy, bland (and false) theory?Administration officials say, of course, that this is just part of the regular, interagency "process" of consultation that occurs before information is released. In other words, this is the way intelligence always gets scrubbed and vetted.