Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Captiol Hil

In the 34 days since the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, one could surmise the Obama administration was trying desperately to lay blame for said attack at the feet of the Bush presidency, as has been their wont for nearly four years. Alas, they've gone to that well all too often.

So who in the administration could take the fall without the President and Vice President looking any more foolish than they do already?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bucks stops with her when it comes to who is blame for a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

"I take responsibility" for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, were the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said.

"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.

The attack killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans at the consulate.

Over at his place, may pal Mr. D makes a couple of savvy observations.

I assume this is a Janet Reno-style taking of responsibility, in which the head of the bureaucracy in question takes "responsibility," but doesn't actually have any accountability afterward.

D is of course referring to the US Attorney General in the Bill Clinton administration. In Waco, TX in early 1993, cult leader David Koresh was leader of a religious compound where there were allegations of child abuse. As such, the Clinton administration authorized the use of tear gas to force the "Branch Davidians" out of the compound. The final standoff took place in April '93 when the FBI launched a second assault. As a result, a fire engulfed The Mount Carmel Center, resulting in the deaths of more than 70 men, women and children. Reno ultimately assumed responsibility for the raid gone bad but still served out a full two terms as US Attorney General.

Another shrew observation by D :

There's one question that remains unanswered, however -- who directed Susan Rice to go on the Sunday chat show circuit and blame the attack on the YouTube video? Did Clinton? Did someone else in the White House? If I am not mistaken, the Ambassador to the U.N. is these days a cabinet-level position and Rice reports directly to the President, not through State. If Rice made the decision to make these assertions herself, she either (a) did not know the truth 5 days after the fact or (b) knew it and told the country something that she knew not to be true. Either way, her position is untenable. This question needs to be resolved, and quickly.

This is an issue that The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes addressed recently.

There are two possibilities. Either the intelligence community had a detailed picture of what happened in Benghazi that night and failed to share it with other administration officials and the White House. Or the intelligence community provided that detailed intelligence picture to others in the administration, and Obama, Biden, Clinton, Susan Rice, and others ignored and manipulated the intelligence to tell a politically convenient—but highly inaccurate—story.

If it’s the former, DNI James Clapper should be fired. If it’s the latter, what happened in Benghazi—and what happened afterwards—will go down as one of the worst scandals in recent memory.

It seems far more likely that it’s the latter. After all, is it conceivable that White House officials at the highest levels were not actively engaged in interagency meetings to determine what happened in Benghazi? Is it conceivable that intelligence officials, knowing there was no evidence at all of a link between the film and Benghazi, would fail to tell the president and his colleagues that their claims were unfounded? Is it conceivable that somehow the latest intelligence on the 9/11 attacks was left out of Obama’s intelligence briefings in the days after 9/11? It would have been a priority for every professional at the CIA, the State Department, and the National Security Council to discover exactly what happened in Benghazi as soon as possible. Is it conceivable that the information wasn’t passed to the most senior figures in the administration?

No, it’s really not. And therefore, the fact that these senior figures misled us—and still mislead us—is a scandal of the first order.

Another question I have: Will this conveniently timed mea culpa (one night before the second Presidential debate) by Sec. of State Clinton absolve the President in the eyes of the undecided voters? We know for dang sure the likes of the New York Times et al will be complicit in attempts to make it so.

By the way, did you notice which members of the Obama administration have been put out front the most on the Benghazi issue? Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice. Nearly twenty years earlier, AG Janet Reno was the key figurehead in the investigation of the tragedy in Waco, TX. Throw in the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s and you have the past two Democrat presidencies who have waged a "War on Women."

Irony is fun.


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