The new round of Benghazi hearings are starting to look positively explosive. One way you can tell is that the mainstream media feels compelled to pay attention to them. That’s a lot easier now that Obama has been re-elected, of course, and his palace guard can take off their blindfolds and earmuffs, but the sea change in media attitude over the past week has been notable.
Here, for example, is CBS News on Sunday giving top-story coverage to the testimony of Gregory Hicks, who was the Number Two man at the U.S. embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attacks. Hicks – whose appearance at the hearings was discussed by House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa earlier Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation – says everyone at the embassy knew it was an organized terror attack immediately, and they were flabbergasted to see the Obama Administration try to pass it off as a “spontaneous protest” over a YouTube video. He’s also one of the whistleblowers who claims to have been threatened with career reprisals by the Administration.
Hicks also says the White House was lying when it claimed to be in close contact with the diplomatic team in Libya during the attack, which once again raises the question of exactly what Barack Obama was doing that night. (I think we all know the answer – getting ready for a fundraiser – but the Palace Guard media didn’t want voters dwelling on that before the election.)
Another stick of dynamite testimony at these hearings will come from a high-ranking State Department counter-terrorism official, who points the finger squarely at Hillary Clinton for politicizing intelligence about the terror attack – a breathtaking contradiction of the Administration narrative about anonymous rogue numbskulls in the intelligence community inventing the phony “spontaneous video protest” narrative and making fools of the White House. Fox News reports:
On the night of Sept. 11, as the Obama administration scrambled to respond to the Benghazi terror attacks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key aide effectively tried to cut the department’s own counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making, according to a “whistle-blower” witness from that bureau who will soon testify to the charge before Congress, Fox News has learned.
That witness is Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s counterterrorism bureau. Sources tell Fox News Thompson will level the allegation against Clinton during testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Fox News has also learned that another official from the counterterrorism bureau — independently of Thompson — voiced the same complaint about Clinton and Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy to trusted national security colleagues back in October.
[…] Sources close to the congressional investigation who have been briefed on what Thompson will testify tell Fox News the veteran counterterrorism official concluded on Sept. 11 that Clinton and Kennedy tried to cut the counterterrorism bureau out of the loop as they and other Obama administration officials weighed how to respond to — and characterize — the Benghazi attacks.
“You should have seen what (Clinton) tried to do to us that night,” the second official in State’s counterterrorism bureau told colleagues back in October. Those comments would appear to be corroborated by Thompson’s forthcoming testimony.
Thompson also claims to have been threatened into silence by “as-yet-unnamed superiors at State,” and charges that the State Department’s internal review – itself now the subject of an Inspector General investigation – deliberately suppressed his testimony.
Also likely to be discussed at this week’s hearings: the smoking-gun emails obtained by the Weekly Standard, which prove the Administration always knew Benghazi was a terror attack, and acted deliberately to scrub intelligence out of their talking points to keep the “spontaneous video protest” lie alive.
As intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of events unfolding in Libya, they concluded even before the assaults had ended that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.
These emails were provided to House and Senate investigators as part of the deal to get John Brennan confirmed as CIA director – which, of course, happened after Barack Obama was safely re-elected. It’s amazing what it takes to pry the truth out of this Administration, isn’t it?
“If the House report provides an accurate and complete depiction of the emails, it is clear that senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about Benghazi in order to mislead the public,” Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard concludes.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said we’ll hear testimony that “we did have some military options, we could have gotten some people there, and they were told to stand down.” He also suggested there are even more whistleblowers waiting to come forward, but until now they have feared retribution from the Administration.
In the same clip, you’ll see early signs of congressional Democrats scrambling to get clear of the Benghazi disaster and cover-up scandal, as Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) says of the Administration’s talking points, “Absolutely they were false. They were wrong. There were no protests outside of the Benghazi compound there. This was a deliberate and strategic attack on the consulate there.”
It sure would have been nice to hear some “courageous” Democrats talking this way before the election wouldn’t it? That way, an informed electorate would have been given a chance to pass judgment on the dangerous incompetence, and outrageous dishonesty, of Barack Obama and his team.
Hilariously, Lynch tries to get the President off the hook by describing his Benghazi lies as “a victory of hope over reality.” Those optimistic sweethearts in the Administration had their little hearts set on a completely one hundred percent false fairy tale about “spontaneous protests” that nobody with knowledge of Benghazi ever believed. They wanted it to be true so vewy vewy much that they ruthlessly threatened every whistleblower who could have contradicted them, and repeatedly lied to the American people. Hillary Clinton even lied through her teeth right into the faces of relatives of the Benghazi dead. Who knew optimism could be so harsh?
Here’s what really happened: Obama and his political team understand that timing is everything when a scandal like Benghazi breaks. He really wanted to hold on to that “al-Qaeda has been decimated” nonsense. He could not afford media coverage of the bloody disaster Libya has degenerated into, because he needed the fall of Qaddafi to be seen as a total foreign policy triumph. He couldn’t survive knowledge of “stand down” orders, or his Administrations’ bizarre refusal to provide the ambassador to Libya with adequate security, entering public consciousness within hours of the attack.
Obama needed to survive a couple of crucial news cycles to stand a chance of surviving the Benghazi disaster. He gambled, correctly, that the public could be distracted with other matters if he made it through the first few days. He knew the media sure as hell wouldn’t try to refocus their attention on Benghazi once the wheels of the Obama campaign bus got over those “bumps in the road.” As for future consequences… well, there are always a few people who can be thrown under that bus to protect the President. Ideally, it could be someone he doesn’t like much anyway, who became famous for an extremely inconvenient but memorable sound bite, such as “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
These upcoming House hearings will clear away the debris from a campaign operation that corrupted foreign policy, and national security, in order to control 72 hours’ worth of headlines.