#Benghazi headdesk moment: Why the review board stopped questioning Clinton

May 14, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

“Don’t ask questions”

Via PJM. This is one of those statements that makes you think “No, you didn’t just say that, did you?”

He did:

“Now, with hindsight, don’t you [Amb. Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the Accountability Review Board] think it would have been important to ask her about that conversation and other decisions she made that night? Because she [Secretary Clinton] was intimately involved,” [Wolf] Blitzer asked.

“We did. We did. We interviewed the senior staff members…”

“But why not her?” Blitzer pressed.

Pickering replied that they “felt that everything that we saw was fully and competently taken care of.”

“We didn’t have a reason in any way at all to suggest there was anything that she might have known that was not already relayed to us. It was straightforward. We thought they did an excellent job the night of. There were many different pieces of testimony we put together with respect to that,” he continued.

When asked if the ARB was trying to protect Clinton, Pickering said, “Well, the criticism may be the criticism. We will have to live with that, but the truth is that we didn’t feel there was a need to do that on the basis of all the evidence we had accumulated to date.”

“And knowing what you know now, was that the right decision?” Blitzer continued.

“Yes, of course it was the right decision.”

“To avoid any serious questioning with the secretary of state?”

“Well, if we had started down that line, where would it have ended?” Pickering asked.

Oh, gee, Ambassador, I don’t know. How about with “the Truth?” Clinton was on a 2 AM (Libyan time) phone call with DCM Hicks, by that time the highest American official in Libya because the Ambassador was missing in a besieged consulate and later found dead. He made no mention of a “demonstration” or a video. Every bit of evidence from our people on the ground –relayed to Clinton directly– and from intelligence that night indicated this was a terrorist attack. Maybe you could have asked her just where in the process of revising the talking points a dozen times the idea of a video being the cause of it all entered the picture?

And if that wasn’t in your purview, how about why repeated requests for additional security (or even just to keep the security they had) were denied? Why was the inter-departmental FEST counter-terrorism team never activated that night, despite repeated requests from the Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge to be included?

That’s why you ask the questions: You may not know where they’ll end, but, when you get there, you’ll have the accountability your board was supposed to establish.

Unless, in your dictionary, “accountability” means “whitewash.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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#IRS scandal: But, of course. They targeted Jewish groups, too.

May 14, 2013

Jewish groups that are favorable toward Israel. We all know how close the President is to Israel, now don’t we?

This just gets better and better.

Via Politico:

The same Internal Revenue Service office that singled out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny also challenged Israel-related organizations, at least one of which filed suit over the agency’s handling of its application for tax-exempt status.

The trouble for the Israel-focused groups seems to have had different origins than that experienced by conservative groups, but at times the effort seems to have been equally ham-handed.

(…)

Z Street filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 2010 alleging that one of its attorneys were told its application for tax exemption was delayed and sent to a “special unit…to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

“Special unit” probably refers to the same group vetting 501(c)(3) applications that’s been at the center of controversy the last few days. Seems they’re “looking into” anyone critical of Obama, his policies, or the direction of the nation.

But, really, “special unit” and “investigating Jewish groups” are thoughts you never want associated with your administration.

Ever.

More from The Jewish Press.

via Cuffé and J Hammer

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: White House counsel knew last April

May 14, 2013

Via Rick Moran at PJM, Politico is reporting that the White House counsel, the president’s legal adviser, knew about the IRS targeting conservative groups three weeks ago:

The White House counsel’s office was informed in April of an inspector general’s review of the Internal Revenue Service, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Carney told reporters that the counsel’s office was told of the examination into the targeting of conservative groups during the week of April 22, but not given details about the review’s findings. President Obama, Carney said, was not told about the review and learned of it only after news reports emerged Friday, just what Obama said earlier Monday.

Uh huh. Right. The Treasury IG hands the president’s lawyer bombshell revelations, and yet that lawyer never tells his client? “Uh… Hi, sir! Nice morning, isn’t it? Huh? Wha…? No, nothing going on today, sir! Nothing at all!”

Care to buy some swampland in Arizona?

I’m with Moran:

I do not believe that Barack Obama first learned of the IRS’s targeting of conservatives “from news reports” on Friday. That doesn’t pass the smell test, especially since a close aide was told of the program three weeks ago. Are we to believe that the president’s own counsel didn’t immediately go to the Oval Office after learning of this and tell Obama “We’ve got a big  problem, sir”? And the fact that the White House is now in full-blown circle-the wagons damage-control mode would suggest that their primary goal is to keep the president a thousand miles away from anything having to do with this scandal.

Good luck with that, guys. Just remember — it’s always the cover-up that gets ya.

Just ask any White House occupant circa 1974.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)