Benghazi...Benghazi…Benghazi… the story that just won’t go away.
The lead story once again in today’s politics is the raid on the US Consulate in Benghazi. Chairman Darrell Issa and his Oversight Committee found another piece of red meat to chew on with the delayed release of an email that appears to contradict White House and State Department assertions that they believed the raid was a spontaneous act carried out by individuals who were protesting an anti-Islamist video.
The White House says that they believed the attack was a spontaneous event. They say their belief was based on talking points provided to them by the intelligence community.
Republicans believe that the White House knew that the attack was an orchestrated terrorist attack but that the administration did not want to appear weak on terrorism in the middle of an election campaign. According to Republicans the White House politicized the death of four Americans for political gain. The White house has consistently denied that allegation.
Here is what we think happened.
There were massive protests going on in Cairo over the anti-Islamist video. When the attack occurred in Benghazi the CIA and State Department assumed it was a spillover of those same protests. At some point in time the administration received “after action reports” detailing the RPGs and other heavy armaments used by the attackers. The munitions made it clear that this was no spontaneous attack but a planned assault by terrorists. Whether the terrorists were inspired by the video is anybody’s guess. By the time the reports came in the administration was too far into its assertion that the attack was spontaneous to suddenly change course and admit to the terrorism. This is not all that surprising given the administrations’ unwillingness to give any advantage to its political opponents. Now that the dust has settled and the facts are becoming clear the cover-up is proving to be more damaging than the story itself.
Issa and the Republicans are only too happy to pile on the criticism. Republicans have been extremely efficient at halting this president’s agenda and Benghazi offers another opportunity that is too good to pass up; especially in an election year.
Republicans are also happy to divert the public’s attention from their horrific congressional record. Blocking the president may be good politics but the American people want to see the country moving forward.
Politics aside, the real scandal here is why a US Consulate was left unprotected in a war zone. The State Department has requested an additional $350 million to beef up security at American embassies across the globe. The Republican House denied that request. The consulate in Benghazi had asked the State Department for additional security forces on two previous occasions. Those requests were denied. Once the attacks began, spontaneously or not, there was nothing the State Department nor could the US Military do in time to stop the carnage.
The Benghazi story lives on…and it’s not going away any time soon…especially if Hillary decides to run.