Well, I Think We Can See Where THIS is Headed: Ethics Observations On The First Hour Of Hillary Clinton’s Appearance Before The Benghazi Committee

Benghazi hearings

1. Last night I watched “All The President’s Men,” and found it newly chilling, and disturbingly relevant. At the end of the film, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards , Jr.) is talking to Woodward and Bernstein—outside his house, because they think it might be bugged—after Woodward has told him that the Watergate cover-up was being orchestrated from the White House (according to Deep Throat). Bradlee says:

“You know the results of the latest Gallup Poll? Half the country never even heard of the word Watergate. Nobody gives a shit. You guys are probably pretty tired, right? Well, you should be. Go on home, get a nice hot bath. Rest up… 15 minutes. Then get your asses back in gear. We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the, uh, first amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys fuck up again, I’m going to get mad. Goodnight.”

After more revelations from the Post’s investigative reporters, (and after the action of the movie ends), the Senate began its hearings led by Democratic Senator Sam Ervin. His Republican counterpart, Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, didn’t make speeches about partisan witch hunts (though that was the Nixon White House’s tactic) nor did he denigrate the investigation, nor did he act as a impediment to the process, or waste time gushing over every Republican witness. He did his job in a competent, cooperative, non-partisan manner and sought the truth.  Even then, it took a long time to get to it.

At issue was the fact that the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence community appeared to be part of the conspiracy. The attorney general and his predecessor, John Mitchell, were poisonously partisan and refusing to investigate the unfolding scandal. The FBI and the intelligence community could not be trusted; former CIA agents had participated in the Watergate burglary. In the absence of an executive branch that could be trusted to investigate itself and be held to account, the legislative branch, aided by the judiciary, had a solemn obligation to do the job. Fortunately, it did. This was only possible, however, because Republicans didn’t attempt to aide in the cover-up and obstruct the search for justice.

2. Such bi-partisan dedication to the nation over politics was also more possible, not to say it was easy, because Richard Nixon was never popular. He had won a landslide re-election only because the Democratic candidate was far left of the nation (he’d be a conservative to many of today’s Democrats), and obviously unqualified. Barack Obama, in contrast, is unbreakably popular with almost 15% of the population, a key Democratic constituency, due to group identification and little else. This has been sufficient to eviscerate any integrity among Democrats regarding the Benghazi hearings and a lot more.

3. The reason the hearings have dragged out so long, as Chairman Trey Gowdy laid out in prosecutorial fashion in his opening statement, is that the Obama Administration, like the Nixon administration, has been stonewalling, delaying and obstructing justice. The contentious issue of Hillary’s e-mails explains why this is true. The fact that Clinton’s e-mails were hidden on a private server made them unavailable to the investigation, and yet without them, the investigation couldn’t be complete. Why didn’t the State Department make this known before 2015? Why has it dragged its metaphorical feet in producing them so egregiously that a judge had to order it to comply? Why didn’t Clinton comply with a committee subpoena. and why did she destroy “personal” e-mails she knew would be requested before they could be examined by anyone not in her employ? If it looks like a cover-up and quacks like a cover-up, it might well be a cover-up. The committee has a duty to the American public to find out what’s going on. Gowdy also said the the public deserves the truth. Why did Clinton and Obama, as well as their designated liar Susan Rice, continue to tell the news media, the public and even the U.N. that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous uprising sparked by a YouTube video when all the evidence indicated that it wasn’t, including the CIA analysis? It’s obvious why, of course: Obama was running for re-election, so the Administration set out to deceive the public. That alone is worth proving, and if it takes a House investigation to do it, fine. We need to know when the country is being run by liars who set out to manipulate elections. No, what Obama did in this instance isn’t on the same level as Watergate. It would still warrant impeachment, however.

4. Is the investigation partisan? Sure, to some extent. The Watergate, and Iran-Contra, and Whitewater, and all such investigations were partisan in part; that’s one reason the two party system works, or used to. The party out of power is more motivated to investigate shady dealings by the other party than the party engaged in the dealings is, and if something bad is found, the opposing party benefits. The Watergate era Democrats weren’t  investigating to get Jimmy Carter elected President (who would want that?), but they knew if the Republican President could be shown to be “a crook” (in Nixon’s words), then it would be “Happy Days Are Here Again!”for Democrats is the next set of elections, and it was.  Still, the party whose officials are under suspicion have a duty to seek the truth, not throw up smokescreens to allow the abusers of power to escape. Most Republicans in the House and Senate discharged that duty during Watergate. If there has been a single Democrat who has shown similar integrity regarding Benghazi, please, someone, tell me who it is so I can designate whoever it is as an Ethics Hero.

5. The other reason the Benghazi committee is justified is that unlike Watergate, the news media isn’t doing it’s job. It is largely corrupt and assisting in multiple cover-ups for the Obama Administration. Someone has to fight for the nation’s right to know, now that the news media is an agent of the Democratic Party.

6. Committee Vice-Chair Elijah Cummings, a member of that group that would support President Obama until their dying breath regardless of the circumstances, made a thoroughly partisan statement intended to discredit the inquiry, as he has throughout the investigation. He complained about the time and expense the investigation has required, as if  his own active obstruction did not contribute to both greatly. He did not address any substantive issues, the e-mails, the Susan Rice lies. All Cummings did was follow  the Clinton scandal strategy  plan that is always the same: deny, drag it out, make everyone sick of the issue, and argue that it’s a Republican plot. And, like the plan’s creators, he lied doing it.

7. Cummings repeated the Clintonista taking point that inarticulate boob and GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy “admitted” that the Committee was always just a partisan plot to hurt Clinton’s Presidential aspirations. Here’s what McCarthy said (to Fox’s Sean Hannity, who’s mere presence lowers the IQ of anyone near him:

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable. But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

That doesn’t confess to anything. If Sam Ervin had said in 1974,

“Richard Nixon had just been re-elected in a landslide. But we put together a Watergate special committee, a select committee. Yesterday he resigned.”

Would you say he “admitted” that the Watergate Committee was a partisan effort to get Richard Nixon?

The Committee discovered that the Secretary of State had improperly and perhaps illegally, definitely incompetently, handled her e-mail in a suspicious manner, and that those e-mails might well contain  evidence so far withheld from the investigation. Is it a good thing that this caused Hillary’s poll numbers to drop? It is a good thing any time the public learns that a potential leader is not trustworthy, and yes, if that was the only new information to come out of the investigation, the investigation was worth however much it took. Similarly, the fact the another President of the United States was using his position to get blow-jobs from subordinates and was lying under oath to cover it up more than made us grateful for the Whitewater investigation. That’s what investigations are for: to discover things that the powerful are hiding.. If they are thorough and complete and don’t find anything, that’s valuable too.

8. Then Cummings falsely portrayed Gowdy’ correct command to Republicans who were not serving on hsi committee to shut up about waht they know nothing about as an attempt to prevent “the truth” about the motives of the investigation from coming out. “Charman Gowdy told his colleagues to “shut up,” said Cummings. Talk about deceptive and selective editing: here is what Gowdy actually said:

“Shut up talking about things that you don’t know anything about. And unless you’re on the committee, you have no idea what we have done, why we have done it and what new facts we have found.”

Cummings is shameless. He knows most citizens won’t fact-check his false characterization. This was the performance of a political hack.

9. Then Cummings quoted Republican Presidential candidates, all in campaign mode, to make the case that this is all one big attack on Hillary Clinton. Well, of course they’re using the issue to attack her, that’s their current job. What does Mike Huckabee, who has held no political office for nearly 8 years, have to do with the Benghazi committee? Who cares what he says? Mike Huckabee says that slavery is technically legal. Mike Huckabee thinks the Bible can over-rule the Constitution. At that point, his speech slipped into pure partisan demagoguery.

I’m sure the New York Times will pronounce it immortal oratory.

10. Finally, Hillary gave her statement, my head exploded, and I could only last a little bit longer before turning off the TV and getting an ice cream scoop and a bucket. She actually lectured the Republicans on the Committee, saying,

“We should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those with who(m) we disagree.”

You know, like calling the opposing party her “enemies” during the Presidential debate.

__________________________

Graphic: CNN

 

 

56 thoughts on “Well, I Think We Can See Where THIS is Headed: Ethics Observations On The First Hour Of Hillary Clinton’s Appearance Before The Benghazi Committee

  1. Jerry Doyle posted today that unless Hilary has a complete meltdown, which she won’t, she will emerge unscathed. He may be right. Tomorrow we will all be hearing how the GOP bumblers didn’t lay a glove on her.

  2. “Why did Clinton and Obama, as well as their designated liar Susan Rice, continue to tell the news media, the public and even the U.N. that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous uprising sparked by a YouTube video when all the evidence indicated that it wasn’t, including the CIA analysis?”

    This entire premise is wrong. Some CIA analysts said it was a spontaneous uprising, and some said it wasn’t. We do have attackers on camera saying that their motivation was retaliation for the video, and one of the captured terrorists said the same thing a year or two letter. The statement that it was a spontaneous protest was corrected within two weeks.

    The idea that the Obama administration lied about this to help his election doesn’t even make sense–if he was trying to hide the fact that this was a terrorist attack, why call it an “act of terror” the day after it happened? If he knew it was an orchestrated, pre-planned attack (something even the House Committee wasn’t sure of in their report two years later,) why would he tell a lie he knew would be disproven so soon? What was the point? The election wasn’t even about foreign policy, it was always about the economy, and a Machiavellian strategist like Obama had to have known that by September 12th.

    That’s not to say there wasn’t any shady business going on in Benghazi, but the working conspiracy theory doesn’t add up.

    • You’re either hostage to old spin, Chris, or perpetuating it. I went though all this in previous posts—just check them out. Rice did not say there was a variation of opinion—she said, unequivocally, that the video was to blame, when the vast majority of analysis in the hands of the White House stated otherwise. And please don’t play that “acts of terror” versus “terrorism” and “terroristic acts” game, that Obama used in the debates. These are terms of art. “Acts of terror” means stuff that terrorists do, not what is a planned act of terrorism. obama used jargon to confuse the public, create the ability to have it both ways…that’s deceit, and I resent deliberate muddying of the water, by Presidents or commenters.

      • “Rice did not say there was a variation of opinion—”

        That’s exactly what she said.

        RICE: Well, Jake, first of all, it’s important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.

        But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

        We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.”

        http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/11/16/flashback-what-susan-rice-said-about-benghazi/

        These are the remarks that caused such controversy? Wow.

        And I’m sorry–there is no meaningful difference between “acts of terror” and “planned act of terrorism,” and to claim that there is is semantic game-playing.

        • What a difference bolding can make…

          “RICE: Well, Jake, first of all, it’s important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.

          But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

          We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.””

        • You’re just wrong. These are terms of art as used by this administration. See this, from earlier this year, not even referring to Benghazi. From FRONTLINE:

          “Is the distinction between terrorism and “Acts of Terror” significant? Apparently to Obama Inc. it is.

          “State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki declined on Friday to directly say whether the murder of three U.S. civilians at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday—which the Taliban claimed responsibility for–was an act of terrorism.

          At Friday’s State Department press briefing, CNSNews.com asked: “The Taliban has taken credit for murdering three American civilian contractors at the Kabul airport yesterday. Were those murders an act of terrorism?”

          “Well, one, I think the Department of Defense has spoken to this a bit so I’d point you to their comments,” said Psaki. “There was a shooting at the North Kabul International Airport Complex yesterday. We’ve seen reports that the Taliban have claimed responsibility. There’s an investigation going on into this incident. Obviously, any attack that kills contractors, that kills individuals who are working there in harm’s way, is horrific and a tragedy but I’m not going to put new labels on it today.”

          AP Reporter Matt Lee later returned to the question asking Psaki: “I’m just not sure why you wouldn’t just say of course it’s a terrorist attack.”

          “It’s an act of terror when American citizens are, individuals, are killed, like contractors, absolutely,” Psaki said.

          Later, Lee asked her: “Is there anything that has been uncovered in this investigation into what happened at the Kabul Airport to suggest that it was not in fact a terrorist attack?”

          “I was not suggesting that,” said Psaki, “but I think we have a responsibility as the U.S. government to let processes see themselves out and that’s what we’re doing.”

          There’s a lot of pointless back and forth there, but the interesting thing is that Psaki is willing to echo Obama’s general “Acts of Terror” reference in preference to describing a specific act as a terrorist attack. It would appear that they don’t consider “Acts of Terror” to be formally terrorism, but something that sounds like to it to the untrained ear.”

          That way they can have it both ways, issuing condemnations that appear to reference terrorism without actually doing so.

        • What do you mean, she said there was a variation of opinion? Where in this statement did she say, “The majority opinion appears to be, however, that this was a well-organized, perhaps Al Qida planned, terrorist attack, and far from spontaneous”?

          So a woman gives credibility to the least plausible of two explanations, doesn’t mention the alternative that is already the one the White House and State believe, and you call THAT direct and honest?

    • “We do have attackers on camera saying that their motivation was retaliation for the video,”

      So… just to extrapolate. It doesn’t matter what the chatter was, it doesn’t matter what they knew or when they knew it, what matters is an anecdotal account of what someone on the ground says. Well, following that logic, The KKK Never has to be called racists again, all they have to do is get one of their hooded minions to say the cross burning is a testament to their love of God and they’re back to being a plain old vanilla Christian Organization, right? Or the Tea party, all they need to do is for a guy at a rally to say that they’re about personal liberty and we’ll believe him, right?

      • Terrible analogy. People who commit acts of terrorism are usually fairly transparent about why they do so–they want the world to know why they’re attacking. And it wasn’t one anecdotal account. Numerous journalists who were on the ground reported that this was the stated motivation.

        • Terrible because….Why exactly? Not terrorists? Well then, how many days before Al Qaeda claimed responsibility? Meanwhile, if during the Boston Marathon bombing someone said it was about a lack of water cups on the track, do we believe them? How about Dylan Roof’s shooting… .Lets say some voices on the ground said that it was about a cop that was shot in New York.

          You have to realize that the first statements were issued before the violence was done…. Even if terrorists are prone to brag, they don’t often do it WHILE terrorizing. And we aren’t talking about the media, we’re talking about our leadership. They knew. The Emailed correspondence proves they knew, and they lied to us. And you’re defending them… And I have no idea why.

    • http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/06/white-house-benghazi-emails-show-susan-rice-got-a-bad-rap/

      This is pretty fair. Rice was indeed the designated liar as the representative and spokesperson of the White House. Did she know she was lying? Doesn’t matter: she had an obligation to know. It is clear from the time line that the White House was withholding information to deceive the public. Partial truth is a favorite method of lying in DC, because people like you will make the false argument that half-truths are truths. They aren’t. They are tools of deception.

      • Why did they lie, Jack? It can’t be to save the election–Benghazi was never going to be an election issue. Republicans tried and failed to make it one. It can’t be because they thought they wouldn’t get caught. Isn’t it more logical that this was simply an intelligence failure?

        These guys are unethical, but they aren’t idiots.

        • Agree. The average American understood very well the problem with Watergate: a sitting President encouraging the payment of money to burglars to cover-up a criminal conspiracy to mess with elections.

          The average American couldn’t put together a coherent sentence to describe the narrative about Benghazi. What is the theory of the case? I have yet to hear one beyond the despicable campaign ad that says Clinton knowingly caused the death of four Americans. Ridiculous, and everyone knows it.

          • Did anyone REALLY care that Bill was getting blown in the oval office, or did people care more that he lied to congress? Benghazi was bad, but it’s the brutal dishonesty making the story now.

        • Don’t you get it? If they could spin this about a spontaneous uprising, there would be no intelligence failure. This is a group that is so responsibility adverse it doesn’t matter whether the perceived scandal would actually have repercussions, they’re all about saving face. Obama would blame the FBI if his shoe was untied and Hillary would claim she wore velcro.

        • The Republican failed because Obama kept lying and the newsmedia aided and abetted him, as Candy Crowley did during the debate. The Obama Administration has a long established record of delaying bad news until elections are over. This was far from the first or last example.

    • He didn’t call it an act of terror the next day. From the washington post we have 3 different statements of general policy, which don’t actually indicate that benghazi was one itself. Given that they spent the next two weeks blaming it on a video, they get no consideration for context, because if it ‘spontaneous reaction’ had actually been accepted as the truth, they could have turned around and denied calling it an act of terror.

  3. “Is the investigation partisan? Sure, to some extent. The Watergate, and Iran-Contra, and Whitewater, and all such investigations were partisan in part; that’s one reason the two party system works, or used to.”

    I think you’re off the reservation on this one. If you can’t tell a politically charged committee like Benghazi from a model case of non-partisan investigation, well – I just don’t know what to say.

    I watched Watergate, live, voraciously. Compare Trey Gowdy to Sam Ervin – I mean, you’ve got to be kidding. And look at Howard Baker for that matter – equally dedicated to the pursuit of the truth. By comparison, while I think Gowdy is ridiculously political, I’ll be the first to admit the Dems are equally politically motivated at this point. The contrast with the Senate Watergate committee could NOT be more blatantly obvious.

    How can you suggest this is equally political as Watergate? Much less blame it on Obama? How about blaming it on the party of Wingnuts, who are so obsessed with socialist Kenyans that they’re willing to blow up a major national political party, obsessed with eating their own, and scrambling to stay to the right of each other.

    I’m watching Bloomberg News: hardly a socialist hotbed of media. And their commentator says, unequivocally, “this is clearly a hearing and a committee driven by politics.”

    What hearing are you watching? What version of Watergate are you recalling?

    • One of your most flagrantly biased and partisan comment Charles. For example, I didn’t compare Ervin to Gowdy, I compared Baker to Cummings, and the contrast is stark.

      Republicans in Nixon’s denial corner were making the exact same comments you are now, Charles. You think we should avoid finding the truth because Democrats want to kep it buried, and because only Republicans are willing to fight past the stonewalling, it’s just partisan. I just heard democrats after Democrats run out the clock, not lifting a finger to ask Clinton anything substantive, acting as Clinton’s lawyer rather than a US patriot.

      Unless they find secret tapes, it may work. I wouldn’t expect you to be on the side of obfuscation and lies, however. FACT: if this happened under Bush, Reagan or Nixon, the journalists would have been looking for the smoking gun, and this Committee would have been necessary until after it was found.

      • “FACT: if this happened under Bush, Reagan or Nixon, the journalists would have been looking for the smoking gun, and this Committee would have been necessary until after it was found.”

        Embassy attacks DID happen under Bush and Reagan. Some of them were preventable in the same ways Benghazi was preventable. Where were the investigations then?

          • Beirut, 241 marines dead, Reagan.
            Beirut again, CIA station chief kidnapped and killed, Reagan.
            Athens, 2007. Bush.
            Serbia, 2008. Bush.
            Kuwait, 1983, Bush 1.

            You could look it up.

              • This is what sticks in my craw.

                The administration’s first (and as far as I can tell, only) instinct was to place blame on someone else. Not even a political rival — that would be at least understandable — but on a single vulnerable American citizen. Not a model citizen, but that doesn’t make it any better. We’re talking about civil rights and due process, not Kindergarten gold stars.

                They threw a man and his First Amendment rights under the bus, and then rolled it back over him again and again for days, just to make themselves look better.

                Despicable.

                If Reagan or Bush I or Bush II did such a thing in reaction to their foreign security failures, I missed it. As for the current hearings, I don’t know enough to judge whether they’re necessary or not. But as far as I’m concerned, they brought it on themselves.

              • Do you mean by the terrorists themselves? None of them. The terrorists who attacked Benghazi, however, did blame their homicidal rage on a video.

                Does that answer your question?

                • Only if I were a partisan hack. Part of the reason, I think, that people have a hard time having discussions is that they have discussions on completely different foundations. Atheists having discussions with Christians have a hard time believing that Christians really believe the premises of Christianity, and Christians have a really hard time believing that Atheists don’t. I want to say this very clearly: No. I do not believe that this uprising was a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video. I do not believe that Hillary Clinton believed that, I even have doubts that Susan Rice did. I think that it was a cheap and easy excuse for something that they’d planned weeks in advance anyway. I think the administration knew better and they either lied,allowed the lie to happen, or directly influenced the spread of that lie. I believe that you believe the administration though.

                  Have you ever heard of drinking the Koolaid? Not as a social term, but as a legal one? It’s this fascinating phenomenon where defense attorneys in personal injury claims not only provide their clients with a good defense, they actually believe their client are actually blameless angels, despite a ridiculous amount of evidence to the contrary. It’s this mixture of group and confirmation biases, cognitive dissonance, the drive people have to believe they’re doing the right thing, and the righteous way in which humanity can justify almost anything after having done it.

                  I think you’ve drank the Koolaid. Sorry.

            • Mmhmm, and let’s not forget Khobar Towers, 1996, Clinton, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Clinton, 1998, 200 dead, and Peshawar, 2012. You could look THAT up, but of course you won’t, because that would undermine the point that this kind of thing only happens under GOP admins except this tragic error. You also said nothing about how these incidents were preventable. I’m not going to guess what incidents you mean and how they were preventable.

              • “Around dawn on October 23, 1983, I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with the equivalent of twenty-one thousand pounds of TNT into the heart of a U.S. Marine compound, killing two hundred and forty-one servicemen. The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marines’ presence as a non-combative, “peace-keeping mission,” had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded. The only real resistance the suicide bomber had encountered was a scrim of concertina wire. When I arrived on the scene a short while later to report on it for the Wall Street Journal, the Marine barracks were flattened. From beneath the dusty, smoking slabs of collapsed concrete, piteous American voices could be heard, begging for help. Thirteen more American servicemen later died from injuries, making it the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

                Six months earlier, militants had bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, too, killing sixty-three more people, including seventeen Americans. Among the dead were seven C.I.A. officers, including the agency’s top analyst in the Middle East, an immensely valuable intelligence asset, and the Beirut station chief.

                …The story in Beirut wasn’t over. In September of 1984, for the third time in eighteen months, jihadists bombed a U.S. government outpost in Beirut yet again. President Reagan acknowledged that the new security precautions that had been advocated by Congress hadn’t yet been implemented at the U.S. embassy annex that had been hit. The problem, the President admitted, was that the repairs hadn’t quite been completed on time. As he put it, “Anyone who’s ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would.” Imagine how Congressman Issa and Fox News would react to a similar explanation from President Obama today.

                http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/ronald-reagans-benghazi

        • Uh, yes. But there were not equivalent indications of cover-ups and manipulated news, either. OR UN ambassadors going on five news shows in one day to spread a White House cover story.

          You do like the tactic of using collateral issues to distort the main issue, don’t you? OK, I properly should have said, “Nobody can reasonably doubt that this slanted media would be treating this incident with far more diligence had it occurred under a Republican administration.” And I’m pretty sure that’ what everyone who read it, including you, understood it to mean.

          • No, I will not roll over for that distortion either. We have cases of precisely the opposite of what you suggest.

            Here’s from reporter Jane Mayer, about a GOP President, a military disaster, and the honorable behavior by both parties, but particularly Democrats:

            “I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with the equivalent of twenty-one thousand pounds of TNT into the heart of a U.S. Marine compound, killing two hundred and forty-one servicemen. The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marines’ presence as a non-combative, “peace-keeping mission,” had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded. The only real resistance the suicide bomber had encountered was a scrim of concertina wire. When I arrived on the scene a short while later to report on it for the Wall Street Journal, the Marine barracks were flattened. From beneath the dusty, smoking slabs of collapsed concrete, piteous American voices could be heard, begging for help. Thirteen more American servicemen later died from injuries, making it the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

            “Six months earlier, militants had bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, too, killing sixty-three more people, including seventeen Americans. Among the dead were seven C.I.A. officers, including the agency’s top analyst in the Middle East, an immensely valuable intelligence asset, and the Beirut station chief.

            “There were more than enough opportunities to lay blame for the horrific losses at high U.S. officials’ feet. But unlike today’s Congress, congressmen did not talk of impeaching Ronald Reagan, who was then President, nor were any subpoenas sent to cabinet members. This was true even though then, as now, the opposition party controlled the majority in the House. Tip O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like today’s opposition leaders in the House, demanded an investigation—but a real one, and only one. Instead of playing it for political points, a House committee undertook a serious investigation into what went wrong at the barracks in Beirut. Two months later, it issued a report finding “very serious errors in judgment” by officers on the ground, as well as responsibility up through the military chain of command, and called for better security measures against terrorism in U.S. government installations throughout the world.

            “In other words, Congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful recommendations. The report’s findings, by the way, were bipartisan. (The Pentagon, too, launched an investigation, issuing a report that was widely accepted by both parties.)

            “In March of 1984, three months after Congress issued its report, militants struck American officials in Beirut again, this time kidnapping the C.I.A.’s station chief, Bill Buckley. Buckley was tortured and, eventually, murdered. Reagan, who was tormented by a tape of Buckley being tortured, blamed himself. Congress held no public hearings, and pointed fingers at the perpetrators, not at political rivals.

            “If you compare the costs of the Reagan Administration’s serial security lapses in Beirut to the costs of Benghazi, it’s clear what has really deteriorated in the intervening three decades. It’s not the security of American government personnel working abroad. It’s the behavior of American congressmen at home.

            Exactly.

            • “Reagan, who was tormented by a tape of Buckley being tortured, blamed himself. ”

              You mean… His Secretary of State didn’t lie to his correspondent to blame it on YouTube?!?!

            • Exactly what? Was there a cover-up? Did US officials lie about what happened to stall the truth during a campaign? There was an investigation, and the Reagan Administration didn’t set out to impede it. Biggest difference: O’Neil trusted Reagan. There is no reason for anyone to trust Obama, or Rice, or Hillary.

              For example, this...

              We’ll never get transparency if people like you, Charles, who should be leading the way to accountable government, become an enablers.

      • Totally agree that the contrast between Cummings and Baker is also clear. The point is, BOTH parties behaved honorably in Watergate; NEITHER is behaving honorably here. One committee modeled bi-partisanship; the other is drenched in combative political animus.

        Yet you’re claiming there’s no big difference. There’s a broad side of a barn worth of difference here.

        “Republicans in Nixon’s denial corner” were not seated on the Senate committee. This committee is loaded with political animals; I can’t find one committee member who isn’t. And yet you claim the two committees are somehow equally political – I’m not seeing it.

        Carl Bernstein knows a coverup when he sees one, and here’s what he says: “This is not Watergate or anything resembling Watergate; Watergate was a massive criminal conspiracy led by a criminal president for almost the whole of his administration. We’re talking total apples and oranges here.”

        “This is about an ideological scorched earth politics that goes on throughout Washington, on Capitol Hill and by the media…it goes to general coverage…the story ought to be examined in a fact-based way…and it’s not that difficult to do in a sane atmosphere – we don’t have a sane atmosphere here.”

        Exactly.

      • More from Carl Bernstein:

        While he’s also critical of the Obama adminstration for withholding one document, he’s also clear where the balance of blame lies:

        “We need to look at players in context. Was Susan Rice trying to deliberately lie? It sure doesn’t look like it to me, but look at the record. But the scale to which the GOP right has made this issue an over-poliiticized and over-ideologically tainted item is wrong and is taking the thing totally out of context.”

  4. I just trashed, not spammed, a long comment that was just an anti-Republican rant that didn’t address the issues in the post at all. The comment policies require more—I know I sometimes am lenient, but, for example, when the post explains why it is dishonest to say that McCarthy “admitted” that the Committee was purely political, I not accepting a post that says “McCarthy admitted the committee was purely political.” I want a rebuttal on the points I made. Writing that just makes me wonder if a commenter read the post he is commenting on. As we get into election season, I’m going to be severe on comments that sound like they were drafted by the DNC or RNC

  5. I would love to see what would happen if we could all go back in time and watch events unfold as they happened. With everyone watching simultaneously the exact same event Charles and Chris would find a way to tell us we can’t believe our lying eyes and ears.

  6. Jack, imagine for a moment that Susan Rice had immediately said, “This was a pre-planned terrorist attack. We made several security errors that led to an event like this being possible. We will try and address those errors. This event was, strangely, completely unrelated to the violent protests in other major Muslim cities over the anti-Islam video that has been floating around.”

    Would that have made any difference to the November 2012 election results? More importantly, would the Obama administration have had any reason to believe that this would have made any difference?

    • The issue isn’t what happened afterwards. Nixon won by a landslide—the Watergate burglary was unnecessary. The point is, the Republicans in power thought it was. I don’t think it would have changed the result. The point is, they did…or why did they obfuscate? Why didn’t she say that? At that point, Romney was within striking distance. If that was the reason we were manipulated, I want to know. I also want to know if it was all a big mistake.

      Worth the investigation.

    • “At this point, what difference does it make?”
      “Let them eat cake.”

      Would it have changed the election results? I doubt it. Is that really the point? You keep coming back to this, and I think that it’s because that’s the soup you swim in, a party that doesn’t value honesty… Or if it does, doesn’t value it more than winning. What matters is that they lied.

      But why did they lie? Because they were also breathing. It’s what this administration does. They thought they could spin the issue so as to look less guilty, and possibly forward some talking points at home. The problem is that on top of being serial liars, this administration is also incompetent and tone-deaf. I believe that if Obama thought he could have plausibly linked the Tea Party to the cause of Benghazi, he would have.

  7. OK, I did some more research.

    It is of course possible that Clinton “knew” the video did not play a role in the attack (or, rather, that she sincerely believed it played no role, even though later information from the horses’ mouths show it clearly did play a role), and deliberately chose to lie to the American people, with the full assent of the Obama administration.

    It is also possible that despite her initial opinion, related in her e-mail to her family (which, why is she giving her family classified information like this in the first place? That’s the real problem) was revised later given the conflicting information.

    And yes, even the Republican-led House of Representatives report in 2014 concluded that there was conflicting information:

    “After reviewing hundreds of pages of raw intelligence, as well as open source information, it was clear that between the time when the attacks occurred and when the Administration, through Ambassador Susan Rice, appeared on the Sunday talk shows, intelligence analysts and policymakers received a stream of piecemeal intelligence regarding the identities/affiliations and motivations of the attackers, as well as the level of planning and/or coordination. Much of the early intelligence was conflicting, and two years later, intelligence gaps remain.

    Various witnesses and senior military officials serving in the Obama Administration testified to this Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee that they knew from the moment the attacks began that the attacks were deliberate terrorist acts against U.S. interests. 125 No witness has reported believing at any point that the attacks were anything but terrorist acts.

    Along those lines, in the Rose Garden on September 12, 2012, President Obama said that four “extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi,” and said that: “[ n ]o acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

    However, it was not clear whether the terrorist attacks were committed by al-Qa’ida or by various groups of other bad actors, some of who may have been affiliated with al-Qa’ida. Early CIA, NCTC, DIA, and CJCS intelligence assessments on September 12th and 13th stated that members of AAS and various al-Qa’ida affiliates “likely,” “probably,” or “possibl[y]” participated in the attacks.”

    http://fas.org/irp/congress/2014_rpt/benghazi-hpsci.pdf

    Clinton, of course, said the latter in her book:

    “I myself went back and forth on what likely happened, who did it, and what mix of factors–like the video–played a part. But it was unquestionably inciting the region and triggering protests all over, so it would have been strange not to consider, as days of protests unfolded, that it might have had the same effect here, too. That’s just common sense. Later investigation and reporting confirmed that the video was indeed a factor. All we knew at that time with complete certainty was that Americans had been killed and others were still in danger.”

    Look, I don’t think Clinton is a trustworthy person. I think the e-mail scandal is very real, and I won’t be voting for her.

    But I still think the Benghazi thing is a nothingburger.

    • 1. Obama also calls the IRS scandal a “nothingburger.” It’s ridiculous to trust anything any in the administration says.
      2. It might be a non scandal, but the only way to know is to investigate, They withheld the need information—this was the first of the inquiries to know about the e-mails, for example. That alone makes it necessary.
      3. Good research, and good analysis

      • Thanks, Jack. I will admit that the new revelation of this e-mail did give me pause. It’s not quite the “smoking gun” Republicans are claiming it is, given the conflicting info that came to light after that e-mail was sent. But it does make me more sympathetic toward the view that more investigation is warranted.

      • I agree. There very well might not be an issue with Benghazi itself. But the process has shone a damning light on the integrity of the people involved. If there really is nothing… Why make this process so difficult? It’s the question that has been asked time and time again. I’ll give it to you: There probably wasn’t much they could have done differently in advance. So why make the process so ugly? Why belittle the system? Why is there new information just coming to light… Obviously crucial information… three years later?

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