• More Benghazi: A Preview of Wednesday’s Hearing

    May 7, 2013

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Libya

    See the Hearing live at 11:30 EST online

    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced three witnesses will appear at a full committee hearing, “Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage,” on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.

    The witnesses are Mark Thompson, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counterterrorism, Gregory Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission/Chargé d’Affairs in Libya and Eric Nordstrom, Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya. Only Nordstrom has testified publically before, basically pointing out tactical security failures.

    “I applaud these individuals for answering our call to testify in front of the Committee. They have critical information about what occurred before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks that differs on key points from what Administration officials – including those on the Accountability Review Board – have portrayed,” said Issa.

    Gotta Be Said

    OK, let’s get this initial stuff out of the way. Yes, yes, there are lots of important things about America Congress should address, but yes, this hearing is happening, And yes, of course it is aimed at Hillary 2016.

    But to play fair, Hillary 2016 is a big deal. If the election were held today, she’d be the next president. So maybe, albeit with some political mud slung alongside, we should pay attention to how she acted, how she failed to act, and whether she enjoyed some sort of coverup/soft-sell over what really happened in Benghazi. To paraphrase Mrs. Clinton’s own political rhetoric, we need to know how she’ll act when that tragic 3am phone call comes through. While past performance is no guarantee of future success or failure, it is how the smart money should bet.

    A Preview

    So let’s preview what might happen in the upcoming hearing.

    1) Easy Stuff: Lots of shout-outs to fallen colleagues, grieving relatives, brave troops, yeah, yeah.

    2) The Basics: Lots of in-the-weeds failures to be detailed. Interesting to see if much of this will be blamed on the Libyans, who should have intervened, or soft-pedaled along the lines of “mistakes were made.” Also, budgets cut, requests ignored. At great cost. To fallen colleagues.

    Someone else has already neatly discredited the story that some sort of special ops mission could have saved lives in Benghazi, including the possible use of Avis rental cars from their Benghazi outlet. Expect a fair amount of inconclusive, uninformed speculation about what the military should or could have done, but it is likely to hover above disagreement over tactics and below some sort of conspiracy-level move.

    Not to be discussed: How Obama’s intervention created a power vacuum in eastern Libya, which eventually led not just to this attack but the sacking of Mali, which was prevented only by the French military with U.S. help, essentially a new war to fix the mistakes of the previous war.

    3) The Coverup: Expect Susan Rice to be re-thrown under the bus, then thrown again one more time for good measure. Rice, you’ll recall, pretty much got on national tee vee the Sunday after the Consulate attacks and told fibs, blaming it all on some dumb anti-Muslim movie and trying to avoid any mention of terrorism. She is widely held to have tried to soft-pedal the attack in the run-up to Obama’s re-election in November 2012. Obama was bleating about defeating al Qaeda and crushing bin Laden with his bare hands at the time, so no one wanted a “successful” terror attack on the news. Rice was the designated messenger, with Hillary’s excellent sense of avoiding trouble guiding her into not making substantive statements about her own Consulate and her own Ambassador being murdered.

    There will also be a string of sleazy emails, featuring then-State Spokesdrone Victoria Nuland trying to rewrite the talking points to protect Hillary and, if possible, Obama. Absent some real surprise, these are unfortunately business as usual in Washington now. Don’t expect any discussion on how every administration seeks to buffalo the public and the media to its own advantage. Also, drones like Nuland are trained to never mention their boss’ name– Hillary Clinton– per se in any communication. They just say things like “our leadership” or “higher authorities.” This is a clever trick to ensure no name-retrievable documents are ever created, and allows deniability over to whom she was actually referring. It’s inside Washington stuff they don’t teach you at Georgetown kids!

    After weeks of delays in late 2012, to include a self-inflicted concussion, as expected, Hillary Clinton’s perfunctory testimony on the deaths of four Americans in Libya a) took “responsibility” for Benghazi in words alone, shucking blame and (in)action onto others, b) wrapped herself in the flag to shout down her questioners and c) revealed nothing new. Always eyes on the 2016 prize, that one.

    The re-death of Rice has been clearly signaled by the former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, Gregory Hicks, in his leaked statements slathered all over CNN. The Republicans will go red meat crazy over all this, but they won’t find any smoking gun at the White House or from Hillary Land. Both are too clever, even if they were involved, and Rice was too gullible and too disposable. Poor Susan Rice, she even now on Twitter is just a shell of her old self. Whereas pre-Benghazi she’d often be calling for the blood and stones of some dictator, her Tweets now are just sad little acknowledgments of some International Women’s Day or the like. She’ll hang around the UN where she does not matter and is outside Washington, or drift into some make-work academic slot. Bye.

    Proof that Rice is finished? Biden just confirmed the President’s “confidence” in her, even though no one asked.

    4) The Big Money Shot: How high did State Department malfeasance for the Benghazi attack go?

    Here’s where the action is. State’s own internal review, the so-called After Action Review Board, pinged only some relative worker bees, sending them into administrative leave purgatory. The highest ranking person spanked just changed job titles. The Board, hand-selected by Hillary, never even bothered to interview Hillary. Will the hearing find a way to stick some blame on her? Expect no discussion about the After Action process itself, or why Obama has not appointed an Inspector General for the State Department, a job empty since 2008.

    Or maybe not. Hicks’ leaked statement aims a bit higher, but only it seems as high as Under Secretary for Management slug Pat Kennedy. Inside State, this is a big deal, as Kennedy effectively runs the bureaucratic, administrative and personnel sides of the State Department and is thus a very powerful man in there (Diplomatic Security reports to him.) However, outside of State (i.e., on Fox News) he is a nobody. Still, if Kennedy were encouraged to retire after this, an awful lot of garbage would go out the door at State with him, to the betterment of the organization.

    If Kennedy is as high as it goes, it goes nowhere really. Kennedy is well-known for throwing himself on his sword to save his Boss, and the likelihood of him implicating Hillary is precisely zero.

    Zero with extreme prejudice.

    And in the End?

    Prediction: Much smoke, nothing more, at least a default win for Hillary 2016, even more for her if Issa makes an idiot of himself.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Expect Susan Rice to resurrect the lame Rice-erroni “who could have foreseen terrorists doing this?” excuse. Congress has to accept it because it knows State is a few fools short of a Flying Circus. The Benghazi fire will take HRC 2016 down in flames.

      05/7/13 1:39 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Rice may have been promised a position on Obama’s National Security team for her soft sell of the Benghazi incident. If that doesn’t happen and she has to stay at the UN she may go for vengeance. She’d be fine in Canada with her wealth.
      Hillary might have serious health issues which can keep her from a 2016 run but if not who will run with her? Rick Lazio? Maybe Ellen DeGeneres?

      05/7/13 1:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Vegas books have Paris Hilton as the favorite.

      05/7/13 1:49 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Maybe i am being cynical, but the Republicans are striking me exceedingly extra gungho in supporting whistleblowers.

      Yes, I know they want to embarrass the Obama administration but is there any thing in this that could embarass them? I do not understand who within State nixed requests for more security and who said no air support per the most recent claim one of these individuals had called and requested it. That part of the equation just hits a stone wall. Who said ‘no’?

      The Republicans have never been supportive of whistleblowers before. And why is that only high ranking former staff at State qualify for Whistleblower protection but not lower ranking staff?

      U/S Kennedy should be given the curb. But he knows where all the bodies are buried and it would be a sick irony if he too asks for Whistleblower status. No doubt higher ups in both parties would protect him, probably the only occassion, and a sad one, both political parties could work together.

      05/7/13 3:57 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”So let’s preview what might happen in the upcoming hearing.”unquote

      Preview. right. In reality, one only has to review Issa’s Barnum & Baily FAST & FURIOUS Circus ‘Fiasco to see precisely what will happen..ie..nothing. That is, unless you like the Clown act of course. Especially when they bang their fists and shout..”What difference does it make?”

      quote:”Absent some real surprise, these are unfortunately business as usual in Washington now. Don’t expect any discussion on how every administration seeks to buffalo the public and the media to its own advantage.” unquote

      Real surprise. Hahahahahahahahaha! If there is one, we’ll never see it. Think Executive Privilege.

      quote:”The Republicans will go red meat crazy over all this, but they won’t find any smoking gun at the White House or from Hillary Land.”unquote

      youbetcha. Red Meat=Contempt of Congress, which ultimately ends up in a Court whereby, behind closed doors the Legislative branch makes a deal with the Executive branch…voila! Everyone goes home a winner…except the dead.

      quote:”Prediction: Much smoke, nothing more, at least a default win for Hillary 2016, even more for her is Issa makes an idiot of himself.”unquote

      And a mockery of truth and justice and reaffirms the American Way. At least in WDC.

      Bartender…the regular. and turn up the TV.

      05/7/13 4:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Hillary and the clowns in State knew or didn’t care the situation in Benghazi was a fiasco in the making. What could go wrong?


      05/7/13 4:38 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Well, maybe we can all agree that 99% of Americans get the government they feel they deserve. The rest of us will have to make due with trying to live our lives as empire outliers.

      05/7/13 5:18 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- it is pretty chilling to hear the continued laughter from some in the audience while the bear is “playing” with the monkey. OK, I’ve drained the pool on this one- no need to climb out.

      05/7/13 5:24 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      OK, everybody back in the pool. Obama is probably pissed that he felt he needed to lie to beat Romney. He should have known it wasn’t that close.

      It seems very logical that the mess Obama had created with regime change in Libya had turned out monstrous but the American public could have cared less and it wouldn’t have cost him the election. He overreacted because he overestimated the intelligence of the American people. As long as their cable connection is working the hell with the rest of the world.

      05/7/13 10:18 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Good God, it was just like Nixon with Watergate. Insecure, paranoids all.

      05/7/13 11:15 PM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...


      Aside from possible health issues don’t rule out unforseeable events like another 9-11-01 as this era is ripe for them. We are now well within the window of a nuclear or WMD event occurring on US soil… Israel and Iran aren’t in a shooting war yet but by 2016 that war will likely have been fought and what will its outcome be? Will N Korea still be an independent state in 2016 or a glowing pile of debris? We are rapidly arriving at a point in history where, this may sound cliched, but we’re going to start needing leadership in the executive branch & a few million dead as the result of a tactical/strategic nuke exchange, depressed world financial markets, etc., I think will permanently derail a geriatric clown fart like Clinton from getting her wish. My guess is presidential timber in the next race will necessarily be of Hispanic ancestry, prior military & youngish. Just my two cents.

      05/8/13 7:16 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Agree with JVC – Clinton will be passe. After this administration, people are going to want a ‘doer’ or someone who seems like they are a doer, not someone like Clinton. There are also too many of the Clinton people in this administration and they are not exactly garnering a rep for movers and shakers. I remember Bosnia and that fiasco, and Syria for some reason is stirring up that memory

      05/8/13 11:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Sorry for sounding a bit jaded but i think the Bosnia policy was “wait ’til everyone is dead, then claim victory” and perhaps Syria is proving more difficult or more ironic, because lips are being compelled to move even if the words are swallowed

      05/8/13 11:22 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Clinton was passe years ago except to lesbians who worship her. The office of the presidency is pretty passé but that is an opinion. We need a new format of government. Our present one is spent.

      05/8/13 12:59 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:”Our present one is spent.”unquote

      Yeah, it’s spent all right.. at least 6 future generations of taxpayers labor, thereby guaranteeing the loans from China etc. Had someone told me after I was born that I was predestined to be enslaved to a system where the powers that be could spend my labor before I was born, I would have chose another route. That’s why I enlightened my children to the reality of their birth as a commercial vessel subject to the Commercial Codes, whereby their birth certificate is simply a commodity, as soon as they were able to understand. Which is more than I can say about most adults in this world, as that is exactly what you are.

      05/8/13 2:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      05/8/13 5:58 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- why hasn’t someone come up with a pocket size pacemaker pulse signal scrambler that works at 200 feet? You could go to one of his appearances and turn it on from deep within the crowd and cause his defibrillator to actually take him out. Hell, maybe the CPU of a Subaru Outback could be the main chip! Oh, well we can dream.

      05/8/13 8:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      Oh, yes. Certainly. Lectures on “leadership” from The Oxygen Thief himself.

      Boobie Conference Calls (9/11/2001)
      (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-linguistic retreat to Plato’s Cave)

      We see them in their meeting room
      The bumbler and the creep.
      The lips of one move awkwardly
      As English speakers weep,
      And snores emerge from Dubya’s mouth
      As Cheney falls asleep

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2006

      05/8/13 11:59 PM | Comment Link

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