By Donna Cole
The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" Glenn Kessler looks at the most recent Benghazi hearings and tries to dig out what is new and what is not. While Kessler is one of the better fact checkers in the media, many times what are facts can be quite subjective when put in the wrong person's hands. So, what did Kessler find out? And what does it all mean?
The first thing is the question of what did the folks down in Foggy Bottom (the State Dept.) know and when? The Deputy Chief ( the #2 guy) in Libya, Greg Hicks, testified he clearly knew this was a terrorist attack, Amb. Stevens told him they were under attack before he was killed. Hicks relayed this info to the State Dept., and he spoke directly to Hillary Clinton on the night of the attack. So, the whole story about the video was not true and the folks at State knew it.
Kessler has a bit of a different idea. He points out media reports cite the demonstrations over the video in Egypt and Libya, and from this he draws two possible conclusions as to why State went with the video story; "One generally presumes that top government officials have access to classified information and firsthand accounts not available to the media. But in this case either their judgments were colored by media accounts as well — or they took advantage of the media’s reporting to obscure some politically difficult news."
Let's destroy Kessler's idea that media reports "colored" the judgements of Clinton and her staff at State. Who did the media get that info from? A flying spaghetti monster? No. They got that info from State, or a large white building located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington D.C. So, are we to believe the media reports which came from them then colored their thinking, and took precedent over the intel they had right in front of them from people on the ground? No, the answer is Kessler's second conclusion, "they took advantage of the media’s reporting to obscure some politically difficult news."
Now we get into the why, which Kessler doesn't address. There are three possibilities. One, they did not want to admit this was a terrorist attack because it didn't fit President Obama's re-election narrative that he personally killed bin Laden and terrorism is over. So they didn't pull the military trigger because they have this misguided idea that you handle terrorism by having the FBI cuff somebody, give a non American American rights, then haul them into court so some lefty judge can babble about civil rights violations. That is the "Cops and Robbers" option. Two, they were scared this would turn into a Jimmy Carter Iran rescue mission fiasco, so they froze and didn't do anything. That one is the "Chicken Sh*t" option (Sorry, no other way to say it). Lastly, they are just plain incompetent, about five pay grades above their gray matter, and couldn't understand what was unfolding right in front of their eyes, so they didn't do anything because they didn't know what to do. You can call this one "Frozen by Stupidity", and it is anyone's guess which one is right.
(*Note* One of the many lies Hillary Clinton told about Benghazi was that we did not have a drone over head watching the events unfold in real time. We now know this statement was untrue, they literally were watching the events in real time. Clinton has tried to muddy the waters by saying she meant an armed drone, this drone was unarmed. Nice try Hillary.)
The next thing we learn about in Kessler's fact checking are a few things with regard to the now infamous video and what were the official talking points. Kessler gives the three talking points that UN Amb. Susan Rice worked from the day she made the Sunday show rounds telling the world over and over this attack grew from a demonstration over a silly video. The thing about the talking points is that they never mention the video, just protests and the idea the attack grew from them. Another important thing is the talking points say the US government is working with the Libyans to bring those responsible to justice. This again shows how the Obama administration thinks about terrorism. They do not see these events as an act of war to handle with extreme military prejudice. They see these events as one off crimes to be handled in the criminal justice system with all the rights provided to a defendant, who is a foreign terrorist by the way.
When Obama was first elected his AG, Eric Holder, offered us proof of this backwards thinking. Holder had the brilliant idea that he was going to drag all the Guantanamo prisoners up to New York and give them their day in court. That idea was quickly nixed, which was a political decision because it was so unpopular. Also remember that Obama wanted those Navy Seals to capture bin Laden if they could and haul him back here for his day in court. Thank God they killed him and saved us from that multi year televised soap opera. What this all really tells us is that liberals do not understand that this is a war (or don't want it to be), against people who started it with us for no good reason (unless you are part of the blame America crowd), and who very badly want to kill us, not take us to court. That would be kill everybody, nice kindhearted liberals and mean old conservatives, wishing it away does not change that fact.
Back to UN Amb. Rice. It would seem that Rice kind of went off on her own bringing in the video thing, if we are to believe she was working from the official talking points and nobody whispered this idea in her ear before she went on TV (which is likely). But this is all pretty much known stuff. What is new is the fact of how badly Rice, by blaming the video, and more importantly said the attack was not "preplanned", insulted the Libyan president. He had just been on Face the Nation before Rice and said it was a preplanned terrorist attack that had nothing to do with a video and was timed to happen on Sept. 11 for obvious reasons.
Why did the Libyan president say that? Because the State Dept. told him so the day after the attack, and we now have the emails which show this and prove it. What Rice said angered and embarrassed him so that it took five weeks for him to allow the FBI into Libya, and by then the trail was long cold. This was a monumental foreign policy screw up on the Obama administrations part, but we have come to know they are a bunch of rank amateurs who see the world as they would like it to be, not how it really is. And they were much more worried about re-election than four dead Americans half way around the world, or if the Libyan president loses face among his people.
Even nearly a month after Rice's remarks on Oct. 10, Sec. Clinton's number two, Patrick Kennedy (Yes, one of those Kennedys) defended Rice by saying she said what we knew then. The facts prove Kennedy lied, or as Kessler says the new facts make,"Kennedy's statement now moot." If you were a Saturday Night Live fan back in the 80s, you may remember a skit with the Rev. Jessie Jackson playing host on a TV game show called "The Question is Moot" making fun of Jeopardy. Dam funny skit, too bad Kennedy's lies are not as humorous. Kessler does note "Kennedy did not respond to a request for comment."
The last part of Kessler's piece deals with the fact Hicks says he was demoted for raising questions about how and why State handled this, and because he refused to have a State Dept lawyer with him when he testified. State disputes this. Kessler leaves this up to a sort of he said-she said, and to be honest, I chalk it up to typical Washington D.C. stuff. The demotion was wrong, but shouldn't be a surprise in this situation.
What does all this tell us? Whether or not UN Amb. Rice knew what she was talking about, clearly she is an incompetent boob who should be flipping burgers at Micky D's and nowhere near the reins of government power. I do apologize to any Micky D's burger flippers I may have insulted there and too be fair to Rice, she is far from the only incompetent boob working for President Obama, and who he hires should tell you something about him.
The next thing we learned is that every person in the Obama administration who offered public comments (many of which were under oath) on what happened in Benghazi, and told the video protest story, either knowingly lied or told a lie that was given to them by somebody higher up the chain to pass on. This was done purely for President Obama's political interest and had nothing to do with the interests of the American people. As a matter of fact, since we are talking about fact checking here, the way the president has handled this was directly counter to any interest of the American people, or any search for truth or justice. He obstructed it, or at least his underlings did for him.
A sad fact is that due to how this was handled, the guys who did this have ridden off into the sunset to parts unknown and never to be found, and there never will be justice, legal or a bullet in the head, brought to those who murdered four Americans that night in Benghazi. We also know now that if the president hadn't sat on his hands that night, some of those Americans could possibly still be alive. If supporters of the president would like to argue he was not in the White House situation room that night, then who the hell was in command and why wasn't he?
One other thing that came out in the hearings, which Kessler didn't address, is that there was a
security team made up of Special Forces Green Berets in Tripoli. They
mobilized and had an airplane arranged to fly to Benghazi. They were
ordered to stand down even though they could have been on scene in a few
hours. This was well before the CIA Annex was attacked 7 hours after
the mission was attacked, meaning they could have made it there in plenty of time to join the fight and possibly save lives. These guys were under military control, not State Dept control. After they were ordered to stand down, the commander of this unit told Hicks it was, "The first time in his career the State Dept. had more balls than the military." Since we know that command didn't come from State, who made that call? It would most likely go back to that situation room and who was in command that night.
What happens next? I personally believe a case, granted a weak one but stronger than the one against former President Clinton, could be made to impeach the president for violating the Oath of Office. But that is not going to happen because the Republicans learned a lesson the last time they tried this and the political fallout for them would be nuclear. In other words, it's not politically worth it for them. A stronger case could be made to bring up several Obama officials, Hillary Clinton included, on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. That is not going to happen either for mostly the same reason. There will not be much political fallout for Obama because he has insulated himself from this pretty well, laying most of it on the State Dept., and he has the media on his side. Also the simple fact that he will never face the voters again, and this leads to another set of facts I know to be true. Obama knows these too, it's how he was re-elected.
At least half of the American public has no clue what Benghazi is, as my husband says, if you asked most would say something like, "Isn't she that prostitute working down on the corner of 3rd and Main?" Then we have Democrats who think all this was invented by Republicans, they don't care who attacked us, why they did, or if they are ever brought to justice. They like it this way because they do not have to confront the fact these folks are terrorists who want us all dead and not just a couple guys out for a leisurely evening stroll who out of the blue said, "Hey, let's kill a few Americans." You know, for sh*ts and giggles, nothing to do with their sick twisted religious beliefs and hatred of Western secular society. At least that's what Sec. Clinton seemed to think when she came unglued while facing tough questioning by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson during a Senate hearing, under oath.
I do hope, but have my doubts, all this will come back to haunt Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016. From her "Who cares who did this" remarks, to the fact that after four years of on the job training as the third highest ranking official in the executive branch of the United States' government she irrefutably proved she, like Obama, was not ready to take that 3 AM phone call.