It’s clear from a reading of the interim report on Benghazi- and consultation with sources in the Intelligence Community (IC)- that policy and politics-- not intelligence failures-- led to the deaths of four Americans when Al Qaeda attacked the consulate in that Libyan city on September 11, 2012.
But we knew that already, didn’t we?
What we don’t know, still, is who in the administration is responsible for the alteration of key talking points generated by the IC in wake of the attack and who else knew about the alterations.
The report authors, who work for congress, have detailed information about the editors of the talking points, apparently. I’m guessing that they know very well who ordered them.
Why haven’t they named names?
Why have Republicans teamed up with the administration to conceal the fact that top Obama officials altered national security documents in a way that could be criminal.
“It is clear that the State Department expressed concerns — and was backed by the White House — that the information be removed to avoid criticism for ignoring the general threat environment in Benghazi,” the Washington Times quotes the report in saying.
And so he information was removed.
Here’s what you may not know: Talking points generated by security agencies for events like the Benghazi assault are official documents. The alteration of the talking points in order to protect senior members of the State Department and/or the White House is a felony that calls for up to 12 years in prison, a $25,000 fine and immediate dismissal from the service of the United States government --including elected officials-- with a lifetime ban from further federal employment.
The authors also reveal that Hillary Clinton denied requests directly for additional security, which is in contradiction to her testimony to congress that she never saw a request for extra security from Benghazi.
“Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department,” says the report. “For example, an April 2012 State Department cable bearing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.”
The word “signature” here is key. A signature—not a stamp or autopen—means that Clinton must have seen and signed the cable personally.
By testifying that she did not know of the request, Clinton opens herself up to contempt of congress charges.
But then when did the administration ever show anything but contempt for anyone, including the dead?
What kind of human mushroom can shed crocodile tears as Hillary did over the deaths of Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods when they are directly culpable for their deaths?
Oh, yes, a Clinton.
It’s laughable that political officials, appointed or elected, now pretend like they weren’t fully informed about the ongoing crisis in Benghazi. It’s not like the national security apparatus and intelligence community has no experience in managing information flow during periods of unrest and instability. That’s actually what they do for a living. But like in Boston, political and policy constraints, now covered up by a possible criminal conspiracy, are foisted on these professionals who too often pay for politics with their own lives.
“Evidence rebuts Administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information,” concludes the report, “or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).”
In fact, the email exchanges on the talking points edits were delivered over an unclassified network.
How does that happen with an administration worried about security?
Which leads back to the original question: Who altered the talking points and who knew about it?
Apparently Republicans in the United States Congress have the answers to those questions.
I think it’s time they told they American people as well.
It would be nice if the GOP in Congress did the job that they wouldn’t do on Fast and Furious, crony capitalism, Solyndra and several other violations of the law taken under the Obama administration. When people ask how Obama always gets away with it, the answer is easy: the GOP lets him.
We have a judicial system to deal with some of it, but we have a political system to deal with the rest. Too bad the GOP doesn't have the guts to use it.
Because what happens in Benghazi doesn’t just stay in Benghazi.
This month it traveled to Boston.
And the good men who know everything and who do nothing are as complict and corrupt as anyone else.