This is really starting to piss me off:
The Benghazi-Industrial Complex
Will the pseudo-scandal be enough to stop Hillary from running?
Perhaps if the Republicans can’t beat Hillary Clinton fairly in 2016, they can make her so disgusted by the prospect of running that she’ll stay out of the race.
That’s where the Benghazi-Industrial Complex comes in.
Clinton’s 20-year sojourn in public life has been bracketed, jarringly, by two pseudo-scandals, both involving the tragic and less-than-fully-explained death of an important man in Hillary’s orbit. In between there have been assorted smears and public humiliations, including real traumas like Monicagate, the cumulative effect of which has been to make Hillary reluctant to reenter the political game. Or so many of her friends and aides say, and so Republicans must be hoping.
It all began in 1993 – just six months into her term as first lady – with the death of her close friend, deputy White House counsel Vince Foster, whose shocking suicide on a grassy knoll outside Washington fed a never-ending meme of Clintonian perfidy. (Rush Limbaugh still sometimes makes jokes about Hillary’s opponents ending up “in Fort Marcy Park.”)
As Clinton left Foggy Bottom two decades later, she was hounded by angry right-wing allegations in the final months of her tenure as secretary of state that the Obama administration had covered up the real reasons for the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2012—in part to fend off Mitt Romney’s campaign criticisms and perhaps even, in the more elaborate version of this conspiracy theory, to protect Hillary’s 2016 ambitions.
I am not a Republican and I am not trying to stop Hillary from running in 2016. I campaigned and voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. I voted for Hillary in 2008. Once upon a time I assumed I would be voting for Hillary again in 2016.
Not anymore, and Benghazi is the reason.
Benghazi is indeed a scandal. Just because there is no sex involved doesn’t mean it’s not. Actually, it’s several scandals rolled into one big FUBARed clusterfuck.
First there is the scandal of our intervention in Libya. This was part of the Obama-Clinton “Arab Spring” foreign policy initiative. We decided to help overthrow poor old Muammar Gaddafi, who had been a toothless tiger for years and a de facto ally in the region since 9-11. So we gave weapons and assistance to some rebels in Libya. It turns out that some of those rebels were Islamic extremists affiliated with al Qaeda. Libya is now in chaos and armed militias exert control over a divided country. That’s a failure of policy and Scandal Number One.
The second scandal has to do with the lack of adequate security at our Benghazi consulate. Warnings were sent to Washington and ignored. The meager forces we had in Benghazi were reduced. We basically hired some locals to provide security, and they either helped with the attack or skedaddled as soon as trouble started. That’s incompetence and Scandal Number Two.
The third scandal concerns what our people in Benghazi were doing there in the first place. Seymour Hersh:
In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)
The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.
The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’
That’s Scandal Number Three.
The fourth scandal is the lack of a timely response when our consulate fell under attack. The White House was aware within minutes that it was an organized attack. According to some reports they were able to watch part of the attack via a drone. Hours after the attack on the consulate there was a second attack on the “CIA Annex” whose existence and purpose has never been explained.
The two attacks lasted hours, but no military assets were dispatched to Benghazi. In a time for quick action the White House basically did nothing. No one has ever accounted for Obama’s whereabouts and activities during the attacks, but we do know he wasn’t in the “Situation Room” at the White House. We also know that he left for a fundraiser in Las Vegas early the next morning. That’s Scandal Number Four.
The fifth scandal is the cover-up. Even though the White House was aware from the beginning that what took place was an organized terrorist attack the story was spread that it was a spontaneous demonstration caused by an obscure YouTube video. Obama, Hillary and Ambassador Susan Rice all participated in disseminating a lie to the American people and to Congress. Of the three, Susan Rice is the only one who can plausibly claim that she did not know it was a lie. That is Scandal Number Five.
The cover-up efforts continue to this day. That is Scandal Number Six.
(As far as I am concerned, Scandals Five and Six are impeachable offenses.)
Perhaps the most outrageous and harmful scandal is the seventh and (so far) last scandal. That is the abject failure of the U.S. news media to investigate and report the truth about Benghazi. They aren’t merely incompetent, in many cases they are complicit in the cover-up. That is Scandal Number Seven.