He had been engaged in a testy e-mail exchange with a journalist who was asking tough but fair questions related to the State Department’s handling of the attack in Libya in which the American ambassador was killed — and then Reines escalated.
“Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” he asked.
“Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bull[expletive] for a change?” replied the writer, BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings.
“I now understand,” Reines parried, why the Defense Department “concluded beyond a doubt that you’re an unmitigated [expletive]. How’s that for a non-bull[expletive] response? Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, have a good day. And by good day, I mean [Expletive] Off.”
Reading the full exchange when BuzzFeed published it Monday, I recognized it as vintage Philippe: savage, sardonic and over-the-top in the service of the cause that is his life’s work and his reason for being: the reputation of Hillary Clinton. Such traits have caused many to revile Philippe (like Madonna, who performed in Washington this week, he is known here by one name only). Journalists in particular have found him to be ruthless and sometimes dishonest in his unwavering loyalty to Clinton, his patron of the past dozen years.