#Benghazi: consulate staff pleaded for help during attack

November 20, 2013
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

It’s enough to make one want to punch a wall in frustration:

State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year, according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel.

Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves “pleading” for their lives.

Let me interrupt for a moment to state something we all know in our hearts is true: If this had happened under George W. Bush, those Americans would not have had to beg for help. The operatives at the Annex would not have been told to stand down and they would not have had to defy orders in order to help those trapped at the consulate. Whatever his other failings, Bush understood a commander-in-chief’s  duties.

Unlike certain other Savior-Presidents I can think of.

Back to the story:

When the CIA team arrived from the annex about a mile away, they found the State Department employees without guns that could adequately protect them; one of the agents was found hiding in the consulate, apparently in a closet. The testimony lends more weight to repeated claims, in the wake of the attack, that the consulate was not adequately protected despite being located in a volatile and violent area prone to attack.

When the CIA personnel were asked for their reaction to the administration’s initial explanation that an anti-Islam video and a demonstration gone awry were to blame for the attack, Fox News is told they were seething with anger because everything on the ground — from their perspective — showed it was a premeditated attack.

At least three of the five — who were all in Benghazi — responded to the scene that night. The witnesses testified that five mortars rained down on the annex in less than a minute. They pointed to those details as more evidence of a professionally trained team, describing the attack on the annex as akin to a professional hit on the operation in order to drive it out of Benghazi.

Emphasis added. Be sure to read the rest. The testimony of the CIA personnel comports with the analysis given by Lt. Col. Wood in the now-retracted “60 Minutes” story on Benghazi. It also supports the contention of Dylan Davies, the British security specialist at the center of the “60 Minutes” controversy, that the consulate, located in a known al Qaeda recruiting area, was woefully insecure in spite of repeated requests to Washington for upgrades.

An article from yesterday, also by Catherine Herridge, raises new questions about the role of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, whose testimony in 2012 was strongly contradicted by that of the survivors of the battle:

This testimony is seen by lawmakers as more overwhelming evidence that the attack was premeditated terrorism and that these facts were known almost immediately by then-CIA Director David Petraeus – who downplayed the skill and planning needed to use mortars with such accuracy during his Sept. 14, 2012 briefing to Congress.

Somehow, I think the relevant committees of the House will have new questions for the disgraced war hero.

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

Obama, Clinton, and their immediate advisers are absolute disgraces to their offices and an embarrassment to the nation. We’re stuck with Obama until January, 2017, but Hillary Clinton should be confronted with her catastrophic incompetence at every chance until she is finally and thankfully hounded from public life.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: attackers knew where the “secret” safe room was

November 15, 2013
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Inside job

As if we needed more proof that there was no way this was the product of some “spontaneous” demonstration in protest against a video hardly anyone saw, one of the survivors has testified that the jihadis knew their way around the compound, including where the ambassador’s “safe room” was:

The terrorists who attacked the Benghazi consulate last year knew the location of the safe room where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security team sought shelter, according to a congressman who spoke for 90 minutes with the diplomatic security agent severely injured in the assault.

“He confirmed this – that it was a very well orchestrated, and well organized, almost a military operation, using military weapons and using military signals,” the late Florida Rep. Bill Young said after meeting diplomatic security agent David Ubben at Walter Reed Medical Center last summer, when both were patients there.

After Young’s death in mid-October, his widow, Beverly Young, gave Fox permission to use her husband’s comments about the Sep. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the record. The congressman had originally spoken to Fox on background last summer.

“He (Ubben) emphasized the fact that it was a very, very military type of operation they had knowledge of almost everything in the compound,” Young explained. “They knew where the gasoline was, they knew where the generators were, they knew where the safe room was, they knew more than they should have about that compound.”

Now, how could they have known that?

An August 16 classified cable, reviewed and reported on by Fox News last fall, showed there was an emergency meeting in Benghazi less than a month before the attack due to rapidly deteriorating security. The cable warned the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (1), and other State Department leaders in Washington, that the consulate could not sustain a coordinated assault.

The cable also reflected a grave concern among officials on the ground that the Libyan militia charged with protecting the consulate had been compromised, perhaps even infiltrated by extremists.

Don’t forget, that unit, the 17 February Brigade, melted away when the attack started. Wouldn’t want to get in their friends’ way, after all.

Ubben’s testimony supports the contention of LtC. Wood in the controversial “60 Minutes” interview that this was a well-planned, coordinated, professional assault.

Barack Obama’s largely avoided the consequences of Benghazi; barring compelling evidence of collaboration with the enemy, he won’t be impeached for it, though I suspect his dereliction that night warrants it.

However, Hillary Clinton is just as culpable, if not more so. The moronic “go softly” policy we undertook in Libya, to the extent of hiring local militias for security in a known al Qaeda recruiting zone, was hers. The failure to correct the security flaws were hers. The failure to press for sufficient forces pre-placed to launch a rescue mission in the event of attack was hers. And many of the lies told in the aftermath, including to the families of the fallen, were hers.

She was an incompetent, blundering, dishonest and dishonorable failure as Secretary of State and should never, ever come anywhere near the presidency. We can only hope that those investigating the events of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi keep digging and find enough to ruin whatever political future she has left.

That would at least be a measure of justice for the four Americans who died there.

via JWF.

Footnote:
(1) Who therefore lied about never having seen cables about security risks in Benghazi. Yet another example of the Sgt. Schultz administration in action.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


John Kerry throws freedom-seeking women under the bus

November 8, 2013

Amazing how progressives shout loudly for women’s rights, except in countries where women are truly oppressed. As for Kerry, the “Winter Soldier” is too dense to be called a “willing dhimmi.” He likely has no idea how he’s enabling totalitarian Sharia law.


Kerry on the Hill: “Assad used chemical weapons because Obama is weak.”

September 3, 2013

Wow.

Per Marc Thiessen of AEI, here’s what the Secretary of State said am few minutes ago while testifying before a Senate committee on the need to intervene in Syria:

One of the reasons Assad has been using these materials is because they have, up until now, made the calculation that the West writ large and the United States particularly are not going to do anything about it. Impunity is already working to kill a lot of people and to make things more dangerous. I guarantee you that is in their assessment.

As Thiessen points out, the leader of the West and the United States is the President of the United States. Ergo, Kerry is saying that Assad used chemical weapons because he assumed Obama can be safely ignored.

It’s the ultimate indictment of Obama’s blundering foreign policy and his incompetent Mideast grand strategy. His weakness has encouraged brutal dictators to use horrific weapons and, to stop it, we have to repair Obama’s self-image. What a great reason to start a war. At least the British had Jenkin’s ear.

Passing thought: What if this backhanded insult was Kerry’s way of getting revenge for being humiliated by Obama last week? Nah. He’s not that clever and is too anxious to be a team player.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Cover up complete, scapegoats rehabilitated

August 20, 2013

They’ve served their purpose, after all:

Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that the four State Department officials placed on administrative leave by Hillary Clinton after the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi do not deserve any formal disciplinary action and has asked them to come back to work at the State Department starting Tuesday.

Last December, Clinton’s staff told four midlevel officials to clean out their desks and hand in their badges after the release of the report of its own internal investigation into the Benghazi attack, compiled by the Administrative Review Board led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen. Those four officials have been in legal and professional limbo, not fired but unable to return to their jobs, for eight months … until today.

Former deputy assistant secretary of State Raymond Maxwell, the only official from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau to lose his job over the Benghazi attack, told The Daily Beast on Monday he received a memo from the State Department’s human-resources department informing him his administrative leave status has been lifted and he should report for duty Tuesday morning.

“No explanation, no briefing, just come back to work. So I will go in tomorrow,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell previously told The Daily Beast that the reasons for his administrative leave designation had never been explained to him. He contended that he had little role in Libya policy and no involvement whatsoever in the events leading up to the Benghazi attack.

“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” Maxwell had said.

The honor of the Department, however, and that of the United States, was sacrificed to preserve The Deal.

"Forget honor. What about justice?"

“Forget honor. What about justice?”

Good question.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: And, just like that, the missing colonel is found

July 19, 2013
American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Funny how that works, when Congress controls the appropriations leash:

The U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to make available to Congress a Marine Corps colonel who was in command of U.S. Special Forces in Northern Africa on the night armed terrorists staged a military-style assault on an American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

A series of requests for Marine Col. George Bristol’s testimony from Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, had fallen on deaf ears until Friday. The Pentagon had claimed that since Bristol had retired, it ‘cannot compel’ him to tell congressional panels what he knows about the Benghazi attack.

The Mail was able to locate the colonel’s home in Virginia, but the Pentagon was stumped. That lasted until the Marines Corps Times spilled the beans that he wasn’t really retired, yet.

Here’s why the committee wants to talk with Colonel Bristol:

On that day, Bristol was commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, placing him directly in the chain of command where decisions were made about evaluating and deploying assault teams when American personnel in Northern Africa are in harm’s way.  

Other military officials have testified before Congress, including Gen. Carter Ham, who appeared on June 26 before a closed session of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Bristol’s LinkedIn profile indicates that he led a task force with authority over military special operations in 12 countries, including forces tasked with countering violent extremist organizations.

During a change of command ceremony in March 2013 that saw him rotated out of command, he said ‘an evil’ had taken hold in Africa, and ‘it is on us to stomp it out.’

‘Africa is not the next ridgeline,’ Bristol told Stars and Stripes. ‘It is where the enemy is going now. And we are going to do something about it.’

The obvious question to ask the colonel, then, is why we didn’t “do something about it” in Benghazi. I’ll be interested in the answers.

So will the survivors of the four Americans who died there.

via The Anchoress

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Survivors pressured to sign NDAs?

July 18, 2013
American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

No wonder the House Oversight Committee can’t get to interview these people — State is trying desperately to hide them:

Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, said today on the House floor that survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements:

“On Tuesday I raised the question of why none of the Benghazi survivors, whether State Department, CIA, or private security contract employees have testified publicly before Congress,” said Wolf.

“According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks. Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer.”

“Asked or directed” meaning “sign or your jobs are on the line.” This is bunk: employees of the federal government cannot be made to sign “non-disclosure agreements” that are proof against an investigation by the People’s elected representatives. This is nothing but browbeating by a cabinet department and White House that is hoping anyone interested in what really happened that night will just give up and go away. It’s time to subpoena not only the survivors, but whoever issued the order to require NDAs and to require them to explain why.

But wait! There’s more!

Wolf continued: “It is worth noting that the Marine Corps Times yesterday reported that the Marine colonel whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa at the time of the attack is still on active duty despite claims that he retired. And therefore could not be forced to testify before Congress.

Here’s a quote from the Marine Corps Times piece:

When insurgents attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, last fall, Col. George Bristol held a key post in the region. As commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, he was in a position to know what options the U.S. had to protect Americans under fire.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the Sept. 11 attacks, sparking national outcry and a congressional investigation examining the lack of protection. Several U.S. officials have testified before Congress since — but not Bristol, a salty Marine whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa.

Defense Department officials have told members of Congress that Bristol cannot be forced to testify because he retired after stepping down during a March change of command ceremony, according to several media reports. The Pentagon reinforced that point of view to Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.

“Col. Bristol was not invited by Congress to testify before he retired,” said Air Force Maj. Robert Firman, a spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The DoD has cooperated fully with Congress and the Accountability Review Board since the beginning of this investigation, and we will continue to do so.”

That isn’t the case, however. While Bristol is preparing for retirement, he is on active duty through the end of July, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine spokeswoman, on Wednesday. He will be placed on the inactive list on Aug. 1, she said. That contradicts statements that Pentagon officials have issued to both Congress and the media.

I’ve mentioned Colonel Bristol, before, and expressed… “skepticism” at the claim that they just didn’t know where he is:

Sure, the Pentagon can’t find him. They have no forwarding address for his mail, no entry for a stateside residence, and no friends who might know how to get in touch with him. Nope. He just retired and walked out that door and vanished, and nobody in the vast US military bureaucracy knows where he is. It’s a real-life case of “Where’s George?”

And yet now we’re told he’ still on active duty for another week? This is looking a lot less like bureaucratic bungling and a lot more like obstruction of congress (PDF). I’m reminded of the wise words of the great Vince Lombardi.

And to whose benefit?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Odd detail about that break-in at the lawyers for the State Department whistleblower

July 9, 2013

Following up on this story, I ran across an odd item in US News:

Among the odd details about the robbery is that only one credit card was stolen from a drawer that contained four cards. It’s unclear to the attorneys why the crooks took one card from the drawer, but left behind three others and unsecured silver valued around $125.

The missing credit card was used for several retail purchases at Dallas’ Valley View Center mall around 4:45 p.m. on June 29, Mathias said.

Eerily, the shopping spree happened four hours before security cameras in the firm’s office building recorded two suspects first entering the building and then leaving with computers.

The report from Foreign Policy indicated nothing of traditional value to a thief had been taken, other than the computers from the law firm representing Aurelia Fedenisn, the former State Department investigator who’s made serious allegation of corruption and cover-up at State. The thieves ignored silver, computers in another, unlocked office, all sorts of things, just taking the attorneys’ laptops.

Except for one credit card?

So, what happened? Was there a third burglary earlier in the day that wasn’t caught on video? Did one of the thieves, under orders to steal only the laptops, get greedy and make a mistake that will enable the police to trace him? Was there an utterly unrelated theft, making this another in a chain of coincidences?

Who knows? Right now, it seems to be just a bit of interesting data. But it could be more. We’ll be watching to see where the police investigation leads.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Has the Obama administration gone “full Watergate?” Break in at whistleblower’s law firm.

July 8, 2013

Somewhere, G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord are thinking “copycats!”

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm’s file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.

The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutes and sexual harassment.

“It’s a crazy, strange and suspicious situation,” attorney Cary Schulman told The Cable. “It’s clear to me that it was somebody looking for information and not money. My most high-profile case right now is the Aurelia Fedenisn case, and I can’t think of any other case where someone would go to these great lengths to get our information.” 

According to the KDFW report, the firm was the only suite burglarized in the high-rise office building and an unlocked office adjacent was left untouched.

Among the allegations made by Fedenisn , which include accusations of a US ambassador and big Obama donor soliciting underage prostitutes, were charges that high-level officials of the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, interfered with eight investigations and then watered-down her report. When she complained to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), State Department agents came to her home and intimidated her children. At that point, she retained lawyers.

And now their office has been broken into.

Did we suddenly travel back to 1972, and no one told me? If so, I’d like to take my algebra final over again, please.

The Watergate break-in was once described as a “third-rate burglary.” Well, whoever undertook this one at Schulman & Matthias would probably be happy to get promoted to third rate, this was such a hack job. Consider: not only did they pass up on silver bars (roughly $18 per ounce), but they ignored an unlocked office with over a dozen computers there for the taking. Other than the minimal disguises one sees in the video, there was no effort to hide their activities or what they were after. Fedenisn’s lawyers insist they just don’t have a case right now as big and as full of potentially explosive political implications as hers.

But, could State agents really be this stupid? I think we can mostly rule out the attorneys’ other clients; the coincidence that they’re also a national-level whistleblower’s lawyers is just too great. But if so, who? People desperate to protect Hillary’s chances for the presidency? Obama flunkies looking to preserve “The Deal?” Friends of the ambassador or other agents named in the probe, or the agents themselves? Was it all just a huge coincidence and these two just a pair of petty burglars?

I don’t know, but there are too many coincidences with this administration for me to blithely write this off as yet another.

Final thought: Regarding the break-in, itself, the initial reaction of myself and others has been one of incredulity — they couldn’t be this lame, right? Not blacking out the cameras, not disguising what they were after, etc. I mean, a good checkout-line thriller novel by James Patterson would at least give you the basics.  If they were agents of the Federal government, they’d at least be competent, right?

Maybe not. Think back a bit and consider the case of CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson and her computers, also a clumsy operation. Attkisson, among other stories, had been digging for the truth like a dog after a bone in the Benghazi scandal. Fedenisn, on her part, exposed major corruption high in the State Department. What both scandals have in common is Hillary Clinton at the top with every incentive one could think of to suppress both. I think we all can see a potential pattern here.

I’m not saying this is what it has to be, but it does kind of make one scratch the old chin and think “hmmm…,” doesn’t it? smiley thinking

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Coincidence? US ambassador named in State Dept. scandal to be replaced

June 24, 2013

A case of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire?” Via The Weekly Standard, we learn that Obama has nominated a new ambassador to Belgium:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Denise Bauer – Ambassador to Belgium, Department of State

Now why, you may ask, is an ambassadorial appointment to a minor ally worthy of our notice? Well, think back about two weeks or so to an item that flared brightly, but briefly, amidst all the other scandals embroiling the Obama administration and touched the current ambassador:

A [Diplomatic Security] agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors.

“The agent began his investigation and had determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” says the memo.

“The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team . . . were well aware of the behavior.”

Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo.

Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.

This was part of a larger article in the NY Post detailing sex and drug scandals (1) in the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a scandal in which the whistleblower is claiming she is being threatened.

To get back to Ambassador Gutman, is it just a coincidence that he’s leaving soon after being named in a salacious scandal? According to his Wikipedia entry, a Belgian newspaper mentioned his tour ending early last May. But the whistleblower, Aurelia Fedensin, retired from State in December, 2012. It was her report, reportedly bowdlerized by Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s then Chief of Staff, that exposed Gutman’s “hobby.”

Call me cynical and suspicious, and this may just be a normal rotation, but doesn’t this look an awful lot like easing someone out the door who’s very embarrassing, after a decent interval to sweep things under the rug?

Not that cover ups would ever occur under Obama and Clinton. *cough!* Benghazi *cough!*

Huh. Must’ve had something caught in my throat.

Footnote:
(1) I know, I know. Sex, drugs, and the Clintons. Who would ever believe that?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Yet another scandal: A US ambassador soliciting underage prostitutes?

June 12, 2013

It started with the dial already set to “Bad:” accusations of sexual assault, illegal drug rings, and members of former Secretary of State Clinton’s security detail hiring call girls. On top of that were charges in an Inspector General’s report that high-ranking officials at State had interfered with investigations by the Diplomatic Security Service’s (DSS) criminal division and the Inspector General’s office. The charges were so serious that, as my blog-buddy ST reported yesterday, Clinton’s apologists broke out the ultimate Obama administration defense: “We knew nothing until we heard about it on the news!”

And yet now, what started out as “bad” has gone to “God awful:”

A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors.

“The agent began his investigation and had determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” says the memo.

“The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team . . . were well aware of the behavior.”

Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo.

Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.

Emphases added.

Jim Geraghty quotes Foreign Policy’s report of the Ambassador’s denial (1):

In a fast-developing story, U.S. ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman has been named as the diplomat accused of soliciting “sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to State Department documents obtained by NBC News. Gutman denied the allegations, in a statement to The Cable and other outlets.

“I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,” he said. “At no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.”

But notes that the Ambassador took no questions, either. Hmm…

If true, this is sickening on several levels. Not only was a US ambassador, who not only represents the United States but is also the personal representative of the president, trolling for hookers, but he may well be a pedophile, too.

On top of that, and if true, Ambassador Gutman created a huge security risk by exposing himself (ahem…) to multiple dangers. What if that Lolita under the street lamp had been a Russian or Chinese agent? Spring the honey trap and hello, blackmail! Or what if, while his security detail was wondering where in the heck he had gone (2), the woman-for-rent had been working with our jihadi enemies, and we suddenly found ourselves with an ambassador kidnapped and held hostage by al Qaeda?

The mind boggles at the stupidity. Does no one under this administration take their job seriously? Does no one have a sense of honor and duty?

Okay, we all know there are good men and women all throughout the US government who do. Four of them died doing their duty in Benghazi.

And the people named in these reports acting like drug-crazed satyrs are a disgrace to them all.

PS: If you read the linked CBS and NY Post articles, two names might easily jump out at you: Cheryl Mills, who was Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, and Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, both of whom reported directly to Hillary Clinton. Their names should be familiar to you because of the questionable roles they played in the Benghazi massacre and its aftermath: Mills, apparently known as Clinton’s fixer, had a fit when DCM Hicks talked alone and against instructions with Congressman Chaffetz, there to investigate what had happened. On the night of the Benghazi attack, Kennedy (or someone in his office) prevented an interagency team designed for just such an emergency from taking flight to Libya. If you see a pattern here, you’re not alone.

Footnote:
(1) Great title for a thriller, no?
(2) Or were out looking for their own, apparently.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#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)


#Benghazi: Hearings show Hillary Clinton really is “Lady Macbeth.”

May 9, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

“Banquo’s blood”

I’ve joked since the Clintons first came on the national scene that Hillary was a modern-day “Lady Macbeth,” willing to do anything and put up with anything to get power and keep it. Think about it: why else would someone suffer repeated public humiliations from a serial-philanderer husband, one widely reputed to be a rapist? Because she wants power, and needed Bill to have a shot at her ultimate goal — becoming president, herself.

That was the reason for her Senate “career.” Not to serve and represent the people of New York (where, in fact, she was a carpetbagger), but to give her a national stage from which she could launch a presidential bid in 2004 or 2008, widely expected to be an anointing… until a certain young, male, charismatic senator came along and snatched the crown —her crown!— from her. And there she was again, left making a deal with a powerful man to keep open the road to her dreams. I have no proof, of course, just a gut feeling based on watching Hillary over the course of 20 years, but I think the deal went something like this: In return for ending her primary battle against Obama and delivering her supporters’ votes, she received a plum cabinet post with global exposure and the unofficial title of “heir apparent.” (Really, no one other than Joe takes Joe’s own ambitions seriously.) The deal struck, all was set. Just a few more years and her heart’s desire would be hers.

Then came Benghazi, the truth of which had to be covered up, lest it expose her incompetence and ruin her last chance to be president.

But the ghosts of the men who died that night would not stay quiet, and questions of “why” ate at the consciences of three good Americans who would no longer suffer the truth be kept silent, and so came forward yesterday to tell the nation what they knew and saw and did.

And their testimony condemns Hillary Clinton.

Most damning was the testimony of Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya at the time of the attack, who became our top diplomat there when Ambassador Stephens was killed. Among other things, he attested under oath to the following:

  • That there was no demonstration in Benghazi. In two conversations with the Ambassador, demonstrations were never mentioned. In fact, Stephens’ last words to Hicks were “We’re under attack!” The embassy knew that night from Ansar al-Sharia’s Twitter feed that they were taking responsibility for the attack.
  • That the YouTube video Clinton and the Obama administration desperately tried to blame for the disaster meant nothing in Libya.
  • That he himself briefed Clinton herself over the phone at 2 AM Libyan time (8 PM EST), giving her a full update on the situation. Again, no mention of a video, no mention of a demonstration.

And yet, two hours later, Clinton was blaming the video. Days later, standing over the coffins of the four killed in Benghazi, she told the father of one that they would “get the guy” who made that video.  CIA analysis was scrubbed at State Department behest to remove references to terrorism. Our UN ambassador went on five different talk shows the following Sunday, five days later, and blamed the video. The President of the United States, himself, stood before the United Nations General Assembly and proclaimed the video to be the culprit.

Yet Hillary knew the truth the night it all happened. And she lied. She lied not only to the nation, not only to Congress, but to the father of Ty Woods, one of the retired Navy SEALs who died that night while trying to save American lives.

While she was trying to save her political career.

I’m not excusing anyone in the upper reaches of the administration. Not Susan Rice, not Leon Panetta, not Jay Carney, and certainly not Barack Obama. They all had to have known; they all had their own arses to cover, or those of their patrons. (See for example Bryan Preston’s theory.)

But it was Hillary Clinton who knew from the start, and hers were the policies that lead to inadequate security in Benghazi. Those were her personnel in Libya, and hers was the responsibility.

But “The Deal” had been made in 2008, and it had to be preserved. Thus a desperate lie about a video was born and a pathetic little videographer was made the scapegoat, and the First Amendment was crushed.

All to keep clear Hillary Clinton’s path to the throne she knew should be hers:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood,
Stop up th’access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’
–Lady Macbeth, “Macbeth,” Act I, scene v

What a pathetic, disgusting creature she is.

Afterthought: This isn’t over. Unanswered are questions about what other actors that night did then and in the days after, especially the President. Also, while Mr. Hicks testified that a stand-down order did come to the second relief team, he does not know who was on the phone with the Lieutenant Colonel in charge. The “chain” of that order needs to be made clear. Clinton herself should be hauled before the committee again, as should Susan Rice, Leon Panetta, and Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff and “fixer” at the time. And anyone else in that circle who was in a position to know. Somewhere in that rats’ nest is a new John Dean, waiting to talk.

RELATED:

Roger L. Simon compares Hillary to the Medicis.

“Seven Things We Learned From The Benghazi Whistle-Blower Hearings.” Must reading.

A good ABC News article on the Benghazi hearing.

Eli Lake on “They knew it was terrorism.”

One of the Benghazi whistle-blowers was demoted for asking too many questions.

Why was State’s FEST team not deployed?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Confirmed: #Benghazi consulate denied military help, administration cover up collapsing

May 6, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

“No authority”

Via Sharyl Attkisson/CBS News, this is just disgusting:

The deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks was forbidden from doing so by U.S. Special Operations Command South Africa.

The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized. Hicks gave private testimony to congressional investigators last month in advance of his upcoming appearance at a congressional hearing Wednesday.

According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

No assistance arrived from the U.S. military outside of Libya during the hours that Americans were under attack or trapped inside compounds by hostile forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

The fact that a relief team was available in Libya and was ready to go is important, if one bears in mind the question of cross-border authority. That means presidential authorization wasn’t necessary: the Special Ops guys were ready to board the plane and, as Hicks states later in the article in a transcript of his testimony to congressional investigators, the Libyan government wanted us to intervene:

Q: So what would have been the risk of — do you think it would have been risky for us to send someone, do you think it would have been counterproductive for us to send a fighter pilot plane over Benghazi without that permission?

A: We would have certainly wanted to obtain that permission. I believe we would have gotten it if we had asked. I believe that the Libyans were hoping that we were going to come bail them out of this mess. And, you know, they were as surprised as we were that American — the military forces that did arrive only arrived on the evening of September 12. Yeah.

Remember, Hicks was the Deputy Chief of Mission, our “Number Two” at the embassy after the Ambassador. With Ambassador Stevens dead, he was in charge. He was in a position to know the Libyan government very well and, by his words, it looks like the Libyans would have been happy to green-light almost anything we wanted to do.

But someone in no uncertain terms told that relief team to stand down. Just who gave that order and why the administration lied about it are questions the House Oversight Committee should focus on this upcoming Wednesday.

There are other questions regarding available military aid that night: Hick asserts that, had we flown a couple of fighter jets over Benghazi, we would have scared the jihadis off:

“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.

Attkisson points out that the Souda Bay Naval Air Station in Crete is only an hour away, while an earlier CBS article reported on available aid at Sigonella, Sicily, also an hour or so away. Yet, in an article at The Daily Beast, Eli Lake reports that Hicks says he was told the nearest fighter cover was at Aviano, Italy, too far away to help. That latter backs up then-Defense Secretary Panetta’s assertion to a Senate committee that no air assets would have been available quickly enough. But… no fighter assets at two nearby airbases, when we have a consulate that’s sitting in the middle of a jihadi recruiting ground? Forgive me if I’m skeptical, but, when I read in the same article…

[Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin] Dempsey said he could not have gotten troops on the ground within 13 to 15 hours.

Panetta was firm throughout his testimony that there were no “undue delays” in decision making and there was no denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders when the attack happened.

…and compare it to the testimony of the Deputy Chief of Mission who was there on the ground screaming for help with a team of Special Forces ready and anxious to go, well, forgive me if I think we’re being shoveled a load of horse manure.

In fact it’s plain to everyone, even Bob Schieffer (h/t The Jawa Report), that this administration has been lying through its teeth since the day this attack took place. They deliberately altered talking points (1) based on orders from “on high,” blaming a video no one had ever seen and vilifying the poor schmuck videographer, denying the attack had anything to do with al Qaeda, and then, when it couldn’t be denied any longer, hiding behind a whitewash of an “accountability report” that is itself now being investigated.

All this coverup and all these lies, and, near as anyone can figure out, it was all meant to protect Obama’s reelection and Hillary Clinton’s chances to succeed him.

Somewhere Richard Nixon nods in understanding.

Wednesday should be fascinating.

RELATED: The Weekly Standard with more on the stand-down order. Background on Gregory Hicks. The complete Benghazi timeline in spreadsheet format. Another whistle-blower reveals Secretary Clinton’s efforts to go around her department’s own counterterrorism bureau the night of Benghazi. Who the heck is Ben Rhodes, and why is a failed fiction writer making US national security decisions? (h/t Rick Moran)

Footnote:
(1) If you read nothing else, read that article. It’s devastating.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi whistle-blower names revealed

May 4, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

They called for help.

And these are people in position to know what happened:

Appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be three career State Department officials: Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and, upon the killing of Ambassador Stevens in those attacks, the highest-ranking American diplomat in the country; Mark I. Thompson, a former U.S. Marine and presently the Deputy Coordinator for Operations in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a Diplomatic Security officer who was formerly the regional security officer (RSO) in Libya, the top security officer in the country, in the months leading up to the Benghazi attacks.

More on Mr. Hicks:

Hicks is a veteran Foreign Service officer whose overseas postings have also included Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. According to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), another member of the committee, Hicks was in Tripoli at 9:40 p.m. local time on September 11 when he received one of Stevens’s earliest phone calls amid the crisis. “We’re under attack! We’re under attack!” the ambassador reportedly shouted into his cell phone at Hicks. According to Chaffetz, who subsequently debriefed Hicks, the deputy “immediately called into Washington to trigger all the mechanisms” for an inter-agency response. “The real-life trauma that [Hicks] went through,” Chaffetz recalled to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, “I mean, I really felt it in his voice. It was hard to listen to. He’s gone through a lot, but he did a great job.”

Read the rest. These hearings on Wednesday are going to be very interesting.

via JCinQC

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


State Dept. Inspector General investigating State Dept. Board that investigated #Benghazi

May 3, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

They’d like answers, too.

But, don’t worry. According to a State Department spokesman, this is just part of a standard review of “the process.”

Yeah, sure it is.

The State Department’s Office of Inspector General is investigating the special internal panel that probed the Benghazi terror attack for the State Department, Fox News has confirmed.

The IG’s office is said by well-placed sources to be seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — led by former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen — failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of the Benghazi attacks to the panel.

The IG’s office notified the department of the “special review” on March 28, according to Doug Welty, the congressional and public affairs officer of the IG’s office.

This disclosure marks a significant turn in the ongoing Benghazi case, as it calls into question the reliability of the blue-ribbon panel that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened to review the entire matter. Until the report was concluded, she and all other senior Obama administration officials regularly refused to answer questions about what happened in Benghazi.

But State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell disputed the characterization of the review, saying it is “simply false” to assert the panel is being investigated.

And that smoke you see is not indicative of a fire.

That’s why whistle-blowers who wanted to testify before the ARB are lawyering up in advance of next Wednesday’s House hearings — just “normal process:”

In an interview for the Fox News program “Geraldo” taped Thursday afternoon and set to air this weekend, Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, told host Geraldo Rivera that he is legally representing a career State Department officer whom the board failed to interview. DiGenova called the ARB a “cover-up.”

DiGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official who represents another State Department whistle-blower in the Benghazi case, said their respective clients will testify next Wednesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee being chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

The review board’s report was rightly regarded at the time as a whitewash, making scapegoats of senior officials well-below Hillary Clinton’s level and attempting to appease the public with severe punishments laughable wrist-slaps.

Jim Geraghty is right that this could be deadly to Hillary’s 2016 prospects, but there’s something else to bear in mind: if the question of “cross-border authority” discussed yesterday is is true, then what the whistle-blowers have to say –and perhaps wanted to say to the ARB– may well implicate the President’s actions or non-actions that night. It’s not hard at all to imagine pressure from both the White House and Clinton’s office on the ARB to “find some responsible flunkies, fast” because there were two arses that needed covering — Clinton’s and Obama’s.

Question: IF all this turns out to be true and IF it looks like “Hillary 2016” is about to go down like the Hindenburg, will she rat-out her former boss? It’s not as if there is any love lost between the Clintonistas and the Obama camp.

RELATED: Wait, al Qaeda operatives were at the Benghazi attack? You mean they were working for the video maker, too?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


One in the many reasons to send the United Nations packing

April 8, 2013

It’s corrupt from top to bottom and the only people who get punished are those who expose it:

A U.N. whistleblower who was awarded a fraction of the damages he says he suffered at the hands of the United Nations urged Washington on Monday to withhold 15 percent of the U.S. contribution to the world body in accordance with U.S. law.

American James Wasserstrom was last month awarded 2 percent of the $3.2 million he wanted by a tribunal that found U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Ethics Office failed to properly review claims he suffered retaliation for alleging U.N. corruption in Kosovo.

According to Section 7049(a) of the 2012 U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Act, the United States is required to withhold 15 percent of its contribution to any U.N. agency if the secretary of state determines that it is not implementing “best practices for the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation.”

(…)

Wasserstrom complained in 2007 to the Ethics Office that he suffered retaliation for reporting alleged misconduct while head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Oversight of Publicly Owned Enterprises in Kosovo.

He had told the United Nations he was concerned about corporate governance in Kosovo and alleged the possibility of a kickback scheme tied to a proposed power plant and mine that involved top politicians and senior U.N. officials.

Instead of being protected as a whistleblower, Wasserstrom claimed he suffered retaliation, which started with his U.N. public utility watchdog office in Kosovo being shut down and his U.N. contract not being renewed.

Although Wasserstrom eventually won his case, he was only awarded $65,000, despite the fact that he says his legal fees, lost wages and other financial damage incurred amounted to well over $2 million.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Secretary John “Global Test” Kerry to invoke this law to protect a wronged American; relations with the world body that represents the voice of the international community are too important, you see. (1) More likely, as Rick Moran acidly observes, Kerry will use the UN appeal process as a dodge to avoid doing anything that might upset things. And, I think, in the hope that this pesky little prole will stop bothering his betters with minor matters.

There was a time when, if an American was ill-treated by a foreign regime, the government would try to find a solution and, if that didn’t work, would figuratively go punch the offending government in the gut and keep doing it until they recognized their diplomatic obligations. See, for example, the Barbary Pirates and the Mexican War. (2)

Now, while we can’t declare war on the United Nations, cutting our contribution by 15% would also be an effective gut-punch, one that would command attention and, I bet, meet with wide public approval. (Just “sequester” it…) But, cynical me, I don’t expect this administration headed by  “citizens of the world” to do anything to help Mr. Wasserstrom.

That might make the next cocktail party in New York just too uncomfortable.

Footnotes:
(1) If you detect a note or two (or several thousand) of sarcasm and cynicism, your senses are not deceiving you.
(2) Yes, I’m grossly oversimplifying things, but the shabby treatment of Americans was among the causes of war in each case, as well as others.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good news! First Lady, State Dept. to honor “woman of courage” who admires Hitler – Updated

March 7, 2013

My God, don’t these supposed geniuses know how to use Google?

Tomorrow, Friday, Secretary of State Kerry and Michelle Obama will pay tribute at the State Department to nine women, awarding them the “International Women of Courage Award” for standing up to repressive governments on behalf of women’s rights. Nice, right? On its own, it’s a good thing to do; the US should stand for political liberty worldwide. And we shouldn’t be surprised to find Arab Islamic women among the recipients, given the crappy treatment of women in societies based on Islam’s totalitarian, misogynistic sharia law.

But one of the recipients, Samira Ibrahim, is… er… “problematic.” Samuel Tadros at The Weekly Standard explains:

On Twitter, Ibrahim is quite blunt regarding her views. On July 18 of last year, after five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed a suicide bombing attack, Ibrahim jubilantly tweeted: “An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news.”

Ibrahim frequently uses Twitter to air her anti-Semitic views. Last August 4, commenting on demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, she described the ruling Al Saud family as “dirtier than the Jews.” Seventeen days later she tweeted in reference to Adolf Hitler: “I have discovered with the passage of days, that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it. Hitler.”

Ibrahim holds other repellent views as well. As a mob was attacking the United States embassy in Cairo on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, pulling down the American flag and raising the flag of Al Qaeda, Ibrahim wrote on twitter: “Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning.” Possibly fearing the consequences of her tweet, she deleted it a couple of hours later, but not before a screen shot was saved by an Egyptian activist.

Because nothing says “America” like cheering on someone who hates Jews and approvingly quotes the guy who tried to wipe them out. Oh, and who hates our guts, too.

And, since anti-Semitism is rife in the Arab-Islamic world, this award is bound to be seen by many as our winking approval of Ms. Ibrahim’s views toward Jews.

Our administration’s “smart diplomacy” in action. smiley d'oh!

RELATED: More from Roger Kimball and Mark Steyn.

UPDATE: State, wiping a dozen eggs off its face, is “postponing” Ibrahim’s award. (h/t Patrick Poole)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


John Kerry, Secretary of State and SOOPER-Genius!

February 25, 2013
"I'm off to Kyrzakhstan, chaps!"

“I’m off to Kyrzakhstan, chaps!”

This man is so smart (1), he knows countries no else has ever heard of!

John Kerry has suffered his first gaffe as the new US secretary of state, inventing the nation of ‘Kyrzakhstan.”

In an embarrassing slip of the tongue, Mr Kerry last week praised US diplomats working to secure “democratic institutions” in the Central Asian country, which does not exist.

The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan.

The State Department kindly omitted the error in the official transcript of Wednesday’s speech, which Mr Kerry delivered on the eve of his first foreign trip as secretary of state.

Mr Kerry’s flub was all the more awkward, because Kyrgyzstan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a major recipient of US aid, which totalled $41 million (£27 million) in 2011.

I bet he thinks it’s ruled by “Genghis Khan.”

But the Telegraph shouldn’t be so hard on the noted Bostonian; all those “-stans” surely look alike from the bridge of one’s tax-dodging yacht.

Hillary with the reset button and now Kerry, who, as our top diplomat, can’t even remember who we’re working with in an active war zone. Obama sure can pick them, can’t he?

But it was Mitt Romney’s supposed gaffes that were a national embarrassment.

Footnote:
(1) So smart, he picked John Edwards as his running mate in 2004.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Unaccountable Government: in which @JimGeraghty depresses me

January 24, 2013

The depressing part, of course, is that he’s right.

Departing Secretary of State Clinton yesterday appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to finally give an accounting for her department’s performance during and after the Benghazi fiasco. The standout moment came when Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked her to explain how the administration could claim for several days that the assault arose from a demonstration in front of the embassy, when anyone could see from the video feed that there was no demonstration.

Her exasperated answer (1) is already infamous:

“What difference does it make?”

It matters for a lot of reasons, not least simple questions of the honesty and competence Americans should be able to expect of their government — their employees. Jonathan Tobin at Commentary provides a good rebuttal about why it makes a difference, and I’ll refer you to that.

But this goes beyond the events at and after Benghazi, maddening as those are. It speaks to the responsibility of government officials in general to the voters and taxpayers — the “owners,” as Clint Eastwood once said. We so often hear pious words about “accepting responsibility” and being “accountable,” but it’s an act, especially for progressives. Crocodile tears and feigned outrage and declarations of pride are all shields thrown up to deflect a real accounting, aided and abetted by hacks who put defending “one of their own” ahead of the nation’s interest. (For a nauseating example, see ST’s post on California Senator Boxer’s staged outrage when Senator Paul dared to take Hillary to task.)

In a thoughtful post at NRO’s Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty identifies the overall problem — there are no standards, anymore:

If the decision making before, during, and after the Benghazi attack is insufficient to get anyone fired, what decision in government will ever warrant that consequence? If Democrats on Capitol Hill can’t take off their partisan blinders for one day to attempt to hold people accountable for decision-making that resulted in American deaths at the hands of extremists, and then lying to the public about it, then when will they ever? If Hillary Clinton can exclaim that it doesn’t matter that the administration spent five days talking about a video when the video had nothing to do with it, and everyone on her side applauds, why should she or anyone else ever respond to an accusation with anything but audacious defiance?

This is it, folks. This is the government we have, and the lack of a public outcry about Benghazi ensures this is the government we will have for the foreseeable future.

The lack of public outrage is part of the problem, I’ll agree. It’s a result of too much trust in government officials, too little adult supervision of them, and a mainstream media that covers for those it favors  — Democrats.

But it’s not just Benghazi. After 9/11, no one from the Clinton administration was genuinely held responsible for what happened, though many of the problems that left us open to attack developed under their watch. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, Democrats again escaped accountability, even though the policies that lead to the bubble and its bursting were largely of their origin.

I’m not excusing Republicans completely; the evasion of responsibility is a bipartisan problem common to the Beltway elite in general, though the Republicans rarely have the MSM covering for them.  But contrast Hillary’s empty declarations and Potemkin outrage with the actions of the Bush administration after the 2006 election, which cost the Republicans the House and Senate, largely because the public was upset over how the war in Iraq was being conducted: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was fired, generals were sacked, and Bush went before the nation to take responsibility and pledge to fix the problem — and then actually followed through.

Bush was accountable.

And that’s what makes Jim’s analysis so depressing. Not just that we have to deal with four more years of the Obama administration’s arrogance, but that the entire leadership of one of our major political parties feels that it simply shouldn’t have to answer for itself, that democratic audit of its actions is almost an insult. This, I maintain, is partly a function of progressivism, itself: society is too complex to be governed by citizens and their representatives, and so much of it should be left to bureaucratic experts to run. And if one is an expert, one of the elite, then to be questioned seriously by one of the hoi polloi (in this case, a senator from flyover country — and a Tea Party favorite, at that) is exasperating. They just don’t understand, after all. (2)

It’s not democratic, it’s not representative, but it is a problem. A serious one.

And, at the moment, I’m not sure how it gets solved.

Footnote:
(1) Like most members of the limousine liberal ruling class, she was probably exasperated that someone would dare question her at all.
(2) Many Republicans have a similar arrogance, but that comes from being Beltway dinosaurs, not philosophy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)