Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Benghazi Attack Becomes the Benghazi Cover-up
Dear readers, mark your calendars - tomorrow, 7 May 2013 is the day that the Benghazi attack becomes "The Benghazi Cover-up" affair. It was Senator Lindsey Graham who first announced it last week on Fox News. “Come Wednesday, you’re going to start hearing the truth about Benghazi,...Our people were abandoned. They were denied assistance,” Graham said in an interview via satellite from Greenville, SC. “And what you were told by this administration after the fact was a complete political smokescreen.” Tomorrow, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California, will hold widely anticipated hearings on the September 11 attacks at the Benghazi consulate, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed. Career State Department employees - self-described Benghazi “whistleblowers” - will testify. They are Gregory N. Hicks, a foreign- service officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission-Chargé d’Affairs in Libya; former Marine Mark I. Thompson, the State Department’s acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya. Nordstrom was the top security officer in Libya in the months leading up to the attacks. Graham told Fox that Hicks was Stevens’ deputy and that “he was on the phone with Chris right before he died" and will give "a chilling story of what it was like and how little help he received." Graham said, “This is not the fog of war,” referring to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s explanation of her department’s inability to obtain reliable information as the assaults were unfolding. “She was not confused by the fog of war. This White House, seven weeks before an election, tried to continue the narrative that 'bin Laden’s dead, al-Qaida’s receding in terms of influence and power' -- and Benghazi destroyed that narrative and that story line.According to Hicks, the State Department Accountability Review Board "report itself doesn’t really ascribe blame to any individual at all. The public report anyway....In our system, people who make decisions have been confirmed by the Senate to make decisions,...The three people in the State Department who are on administrative leave pending disciplinary action are below Senate confirmation level. Now, the DS (Diplomatic Security) assistant secretary resigned, and he is at Senate confirmation level. Yet the paper trail is pretty clear that decisions were being made above that level." CNN reported that Hicks then told Commitee members that"for there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens' front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. And secondly, if he had reported it, he would have been out the back door within minutes of any demonstration appearing anywhere near that facility. And there was a back gate to the facility, and, you know, it worked." Hicks reportedly stressed that although he was the senior diplomat in Libya after Stevens was killed, he wasn't consulted at all before Rice went on Sunday talk shows to discuss the attacks. House committee chairman Issa told CBS that “Clearly there was a political decision to say something different than what was reasonable..." he said. Issa added that he was "dumbfounded” to hear Obama say last Tuesday that witnesses were not being withheld from Congress, noting that initial statements taken from survivors two days after the assaults were still being held by the FBI. Graham told Fox that he would remain vigilant on Benghazi until the Obama administration is “held accountable for the fact that four people were allowed to die. “Seven-and-a-half hours, they were under attack. Nobody could come to their aid - and on 9/11, of all days, our consulate became a death trap....This administration needs to be held accountable for Benghazi and the four Americans who were abandonesd by their government when they needed their government the most." And today, on the eve of the Benghazi whistleblower testimony, Issa went a step farther. He said there is “no question” that Hillary Clinton or someone in her “circle” was involved in the cover-up of administration missteps in the early days of the Benghazi consulate attack last September, Appearing on CBS News Monday, Issa repeated claims of Clinton’s involvement in a potential cover-up of the September 11, 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. The State Departnent whistleblower testimony makes these charges seem much more plausible, even provable. The question now is “who is responsible?” Is it Hillary Clinton or someone in her inner circke at State? “If Hillary Clinton is not responsible for the before, during and after mistakes…it’s somebody close,” Issa says. “There certainly are plenty of people close to the former secretary who knew, and apparently were part of the problem.” ~~~~~ Dear readers, if Hicks follows through and testifies publicly that everyone (who matters) thought it was a terrorist attack “from the get-go” - completely contradicting the Obama administration’s evolving talking points, Ambassador Susan Rice’s talk show tour immediately following the attack, President Obama’s own comments in a presidential debate with then-opponent Mitt Romney, and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s testimony on the attack shortly before leaving office as Secretary of State - then we will be looking at a classic Washington cover-up. And, with it, perjury and possibly other criminal acts. If true, it will indelibly stain Clinton’s record as Secretary of State, and possibly end her 2016 presidential ambitions. Why would Hillary Clinton or the President and his men do anything so easily provable? Issa's answer is, ”it could be a general want to believe that we’re closer to the end of the war on terror than right in the middle of it. It also could have had a lot to do with the fact that President Obama was facing a major election at the time, as well." But, for me, dear readers, it is much more fundamental. The truly powerful players in Washington often finally believe their own PR. They think they are the chosen few, the best and the brightest, whose decisions are always right -- even when they are wrong.