National Security

Jen Psaki Won’t Be a ‘Backseat Quarterback’

It's 4th-and-15 and you're looking at a full-court press

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki crossed her metaphors during Thursday's briefing, saying she would not play "backseat quarterback" regarding the review of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

She meant "Monday Morning Quarterback," an expression akin to having 20/20 hindsight with the implication that one always knows what to do the day after the event has taken place, or "Backseat Driver," a term for an annoying passenger telling the driver what he or she's doing wrong from a position of comfort:

Q: If there were repeated warnings from members of your team in Benghazi that there was a growing al Qaeda threat, there was a growing presence, was there any consideration in the building to hire private security to help buttress the support of the ambassador's protection?

PSAKI: Well, as you know, there was an extensive review of what happened that night and a number of recommendations made, which are being implemented. So beyond that, I'm not going to play backseat quarterback. Obviously, there are several circles of security that — (inaudible) — (cross talk) — I probably messed up the — I probably messed up the sports analogy.

Q: Monday morning quarterback.

Q: Backseat quarterback? That sounds like something that — (inaudible) —

Q: Backseat driver — backseat driver, Monday morning quarterback. (Laughter.)

PSAKI: OK. Let's get back on track.

The moment calls to mind the comedy The Naked Gun, when Det. Frank Drebin uses three sports analogies in one sentence informing a suspect that "I'm playing hardball. It's 4th-and-15 and you're looking at a full-court press."