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Former CIA director and deputy director endorse Benghazi Select Committee

Former CIA director and deputy director endorse Benghazi Select Committee

It might just have become impossible for Democrats to sit out the Benghazi Select Committee, which means the childish temper tantrums from people like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are going to cost the Party dearly.

At a forum held by his Panetta Institute in California on Monday, former CIA director – and major Democrat Party figure – Leon Panetta endorsed the new investigation, as did former Deputy Director Michael Morell, who played a role in preparing at least one set of Benghazi talking points for the Obama Administration.  As related by Politico, one of the reasons Morell favors a definitive Select Committee investigation is that he wants to make it clear the talking points he edited weren’t the same as the hyper-politicized gobbledygook that led the Administration to lie about “spontaneous video protests” for weeks on end:

“A lot of people have looked at this, but the polls show that the American people still have questions. I want to make sure that all of those questions are cleared up. There are still some questions about the role of the agency. And there are still questions about my own personal role and I want to clear that up,” Morell said during a panel discussion at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, Calif. “It might be surprising for you to hear me say this, but  I am a supporter of the creation of this committee because I want all the facts to come together in one place and be presented as one—by one entity as one thing, so the American people can see all of this.

“I am hopeful that at least getting the facts on the table will be helpful.”

[...] During his appearance Monday, Morell sought to make clear that he had no involvement whatsover in drafting Rhodes’s messaging memo and, in fact, didn’t even know about it until recently.

“It’s very important to remember that there’s actually two sets of talking points now. For months, there was only one set of talking points, now there’s two. The only set that I was ever aware of was the set that the CIA produced at the request of  Congress and those we reproduced by my analysts and they were edited by a number of people including me,” the ex-CIA official said. As for the memo Rhodes issued, “Nobody in the intelligence community ever vetted those. Nobody in the intelligence community was aware of those So, I just learned about those a couple of weeks ago, so I really don’t have anything to add on those points. The ones I can talk to are the ones that we produced.”

Morell also said he’s certain that the House panel will reject allegations that the talking points he prepared were intended to provide political solace to either Obama or Clinton.

“There is absolutely no truth to that and I am 100 percent confident that when this committee is done with its work that will be shown to be true,” he said.

The White House repeatedly tried throwing intelligence officials under the bus during its frantic efforts to keep Obama’s re-election campaign alive after the Benghazi attack.  It looks like there might be a few hard feelings about that, now that all the “good soldiers” kept their lips zipped until the elections were over.  The discovery of those White House “smoking gun” emails by Judicial Watch has been a truly seismic event.  The intelligence community wants to create some daylight between itself and the political hacks who cooked up the “video protest” story.

For some reason, it’s not mentioned in the Politico article that former CIA director Leon Panetta, who was involved in the panel discussion, also gave his blessings to the Select Committee.  For that, we turn to the San Jose Mercury News:

Panetta, a former Central Coast congressman and Democratic Party stalwart, said there needs to be an investigation to lay out the full story to the public. “The problem has been sometimes bits and pieces of information keep coming out” that raise more questions, he said.

“Obviously there is a concern whether it’s going to be a political effort to target an issue for a campaign,” Panetta said. “I hope Democrats participate, and it really is a legitimate effort.

The problem is that only bits and pieces of information dribble out?  Well, whose fault is that, Mr. Panetta?  Remember when these jokers were swaggering around and boasting that Barack Obama would head up “the most transparent administration in history?”  The White House could have put all the facts on the table as of September 12, 2012… but they didn’t.  They worked hard to obscure the facts, telling lies to the American people – including the families of the Benghazi dead, promised to their faces by Hillary Clinton that the evil maker of the YouTube video was responsible for the murders of their loved ones, and would be swiftly brought to justice.  They used the most outrageous stonewalling tactics to drag discovery of the truth out for as long as possible, giving their media allies time to dismiss facts that could have been mortal wounds to Obama’s re-election effort as “old news.”

We’ve only got the Select Committee that Morell and Panetta just endorsed because an outside watchdog group – not even a member of our vaunted mainstream media – used subpoenas to pry those smoking gun emails from the white-knuckled grip of the White House… which was protecting them as if they were classified military secrets, and defied a lawful congressional order to submit them months ago by claiming they weren’t really about Benghazi.  That might have something to do with the delivery of information in “bits and pieces” over the past 20 months, Mr. Panetta.

By the way, in case you’re wondering how the Obama Administration’s relentless manhunt for the actual perpetrators of the Benghazi attack are going, former FBI director Robert Mueller was at Panetta’s panel too, and brings us a little update via the Mercury News:

Mueller said FBI agents were on the ground in Benghazi after the attack and their international investigation continues.

“Substantial information has been pulled together identifying particular individuals,” he said. He wouldn’t say whether he expects arrests, but said one would ordinarily “expect out of that would come charges.”

Smashing.  There are some particular individuals, and one would expect some charges, mumble mumble mumble.  Maybe if the Administration hadn’t been so slow to secure the site of the attack and get the investigation started, instead of leaving FBI agents to cool their heels in Tripoli, we’d be a little closer to filing some charges.  Of course, if that investigation had proceeded more swiftly, the “spontaneous video protest” lie would have fallen apart immediately, and you can see why the Obama 2012 campaign didn’t want that.

It’s possible that some of this support for the Select Committee is politically calculated.  Panetta might think it’s simply too late for anything the Committee uncovers to inflict real damage on Obama (or, more crucially, Hillary Clinton), or that House Democrats are certain to turn the whole thing into a political circus he can wave off later.  But it’s interesting that he’d weigh in at the exact moment Democrats are trying to figure out whether their best play is to boycott and marginalize the investigation.  Clearly Panetta thinks that’s a bad idea.

It’s too bad Panetta couldn’t get hold of his Party colleagues in the Senate before they blocked Senator Ted Cruz’ motion for joint Select Committee between House and Senate.   It’s the second time Democrats have stopped such a resolution from Cruz.  Stonewalling duties this time fell to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was remarkably candid about admitting that he has no idea what the answers to the big questions about Benghazi are; he’s just certain that he doesn’t want any part of uncovering them.

“If this were a law enforcement investigation, it would be called obstruction of justice,” Cruz told Hannity.  At least a few heavy hitters in the Democrat Party are starting to look nervous about that.

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