Benghazi, Part II

November 18th, 2012
This seems to be the core outcome of Petraeus' testimony, at least as far as Republicans are concerned:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), exiting yesterday from a closed door meeting with Petraeus, said the retired general told the House Homeland Security Committee that the original CIA-drafted talking points named two militant groups — Ansar al-Shariah and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — but that those references were removed from the version ultimately used by Rice. King, recounting Petraeus’ testimony, said, “It was a long process, an interagency process and when they came back it had been taken out.” There was instead only a passing reference to “extremists” in the final draft. Petraeus reportedly told the lawmakers he wasn’t sure which agency replaced the groups’ names with the word “extremist” in the final draft. “The fact is, the reference to al-Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community,” King said. “We need to find out who did it and why.”
Ah. So, in an intelligence report which informed the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., the names of groups seen as responsible were scrubbed somewhere along the line. Let me see, where did we see this before? Oh, wasn't that is the Bush administration, when Colin Powell went before the U.N. with all that fake info? Gee, what was Congressman King's reaction when he discovered that Powell's information was entirely wrong? Apparently, he was not very concerned and did not call for an investigation. In fact, King was later a vocal supporter of Colin Powell when there was speculation that Powell would Run for Hillary. Instead, King among others is calling Rice incompetent, apparently for reporting what she had been told. Whatever the case, incorrect information about security affairs was publicly given by the Obama administration. So, should I be condemning them the way I would equally condemn the Bush administration? Let's see. Powell's testimony was slanted, but we now know it was intentionally slanted by those inside the Bush administration. That testimony helped start a war which cost the lives of thousands of U.S. troops, tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, and helped bankrupt the nation. There is no outcome in the current case which is even remotely similar. No decade-long ground war in Libya or anywhere else that will begin as a result. With Powell's testimony, there was a clear motive for releasing false information. With Rice's testimony, there was no motive—Obama stood to gain nothing from misrepresenting the cause of the attack. In fact, he may be lauded for not crying terrorism—we recall that Bush, in 2004, did exactly that, inflating claims of imminent terrorism to make people more aware a policy area that favored Bush, just as that exact same policy area now favors Obama. Obama, however, was cautiously quiet, where he would have benefitted to make a big deal out of it. The opposite of a scandal. In the case of Powell's testimony, it was clear that the data was intentionally altered in order to promote an agenda of war. In the case of Rice's testimony, there was no motive for anything; it appears to be nothing more than a bureaucratic or clerical screw-up at least, or some minor intrigue within the intelligence community at most. We still do not even know how the names were taken from the reports, or even if there was any intent to do so. But even assuming the worst, there is nothing more than a need to fix that cog in the machine. So King, who overlooked an intentional intelligence scandal when his party was in charge, will likely be trying to invent an equivalent scandal where none exists. As will McCain and the rest of the GOP. Because, you know, they're all so bipartisan and stuff. America First. Reaching across the aisle to strangle the opposition.

  1. Tim Kane
    November 19th, 2012 at 12:02 | #1

    With only a cursory knowledge of this, it would seem to me that there was probably a definite screw up at the State department regarding security. It looks like the allocation of security was botched. I’m sure there could be several reasons for this: the person who allocates security resources at State, Congress for underfunding security, or even the ambassador who may have been a little reckless putting himself in harms way nearly 500 miles from the safety of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli.

    Seems to me, the most likely scenario is a combination of all three.

    It seems to me that there was an awareness that Benghazi posed some risk to the Ambassador. The Ambassador ought to have known this. He probably shouldn’t have proceeded to Benghazi without the right security arrangements.

    Seems to me that someone should have been fired at State for their part in this – the denial of added security arrangements.

    Seems to me that Republican congress attempted to benefit from their deliberately undermining the economy for the last two years in the last election, and likewise, here they are trying to benefit from their underfunding state department security, in both cases trying to cast it upon the President’s doings.

    Given the low ranking of congresses approval it would appear that the public is on to them.

    That’s the extent of it.

    Otherwise, to quote the Great George Bush, “there’s no there, there.”

    I hope this continues to trivialize the Republicans.

    This is hardly more credible than

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