May 15, 2014

“New Benghazi Investigation Spooks GOP Leaders”

Boehner, McConnell and the boys are nothing if not fearless — when it comes to attacking the conservative base they rely on for power and all the fruits of corporatism and crony capitalism that come along with such power.  But when it comes to the Obama administration?  Well, they’re as gutless now as they’ve ever been.  Eli Lake, the Daily Beast:

Last Wednesday, as the House was preparing for its new investigation into the Benghazi attacks, House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers gathered Republican members of his committee for a meeting. While the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss surveillance reforms the committee was about to pass, Rogers also warned his colleagues about the upcoming select committee to investigate Benghazi.

“He was saying this could be a rabbit hole,” one House member told The Daily Beast. “He was warning us that we should not let this investigation get into conspiracy theories.”

Contrary to the caricature of Republicans, as singularly obsessed for political reasons with Benghazi, the reality is quite different. There is deep unease within the Republican leadership that the select committee, which has yet to announce a schedule of hearings, could backfire, and badly. Investigate and find nothing new, and the committee looks like a bunch of tin-hatted obsessives. Investigate and uncover previously-hidden secrets, and it makes all of the other Republican led panels that dug into Benghazi seem like Keystone Kops.

In other words, like the progressives, they care far more about perception than they do truth — or rather, like progressives, they’ve learned to conflate the two.  However, unlike the Democrats, who use the media to create perception — to create narrative “truths” — the GOP is only worried about positioning themselves within the paradigm created for them by the left.  About which I’ve written extensively elsewhere.  The result?  Timidity to the point of abject cowardice and the abandonment of principles reframed as “realist” and “pragmatic.”

Honestly, it’s revolting.

Three Republican sources tell The Daily Beast that the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Armed Services, and Government Reform committees—Reps. Rogers, Buck McKeon, and Darrell Issa, respectively—all opposed the formation of a select committee on Benghazi. All three men have led their own investigations into the matter.

House Speaker John Boehner himself resisted calls to form the committee for nearly a year and a half. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, proposed a special select committee on Benghazi first in November 2012. Since then he worked to get a majority of Republicans to sign onto his plan.

But it was not until Judicial Watch in April uncovered a set of White House emails on Benghazi—emails that were not shared with Congress—that Boehner agreed to Wolf’s idea.

Boehner’s calculation was, in part, political, according to one House Republican aide. The Speaker was looking to mollify the Tea Party faction of his caucus who were upset with him about a range of issues, including the federal budget and immigration reform.

“There is a whole combination of factors here,” this aide said. “You have the email. But remember Boehner has also gotten a lot of resistance from House Republicans on immigration. He wanted to turn the page on this.” This aide said that Boehner’s view was that, “OK, I am giving you guys this committee, now it’s on you to make this work.”

Translation:  “Ooh, don’t make me do this.  Ooh, It’s tooo hard!”

[...]

Since the investigations into Benghazi began in earnest in 2012, the GOP has been divided on what these probes would ultimately uncover. While some claim there was a massive White House operation to cover up the attacks, Rogers and McKeon see a more nuanced story. Rogers has been highly critical of the administration’s failure to call the assault a terrorist attack; but he has not accused the administration of in any way abandoning the CIA officers protecting the agency’s base that evening. McKeon’s oversight work has focused on the failure of the administration to have key military assets in place for the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks when there was ample reason to believe al Qaeda would seek out soft targets to strike on that day.

When Rogers’s committee finally heard in a closed session last year from the CIA contractors who responded on the evening of the attacks, Rogers downplayed their testimony in interviews. On Fox News he said he did not believe the CIA was stonewalling his committee, as others had alleged.

Other lawmakers, however, such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who first contacted key State Department whistleblower Greg Hicks, say the Benghazi story is more about how the White House failed to deploy all of its assets on the evening of the attack to save Americans.

Chaffetz, who serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform but was not chosen for the select committee, came close to uncovering evidence for his view this month when retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell testified that the military did not even try to save personnel on the night of the Benghazi attacks, or in his words, “run to the sound of the guns.”

After Lovell’s testimony, McKeon issued a statement defending his own investigation’s conclusion that no assets were in place to conduct such an operation. “Lovell did not serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into operational options available to commanders during the attack, nor did he offer specific courses of action not taken,” he said at the time.

This tension between committees has often played out inside the Republican conference, behind closed doors. And the new, select committee may only make things worse.

“Look at this from their perspective,” one House Republican told The Daily Beast. “This [select] committee in many ways will be checking their work. No one likes that.” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican from Kansas, told Slate’s Dave Weigel last week: “Mike Rogers fought against this for a year and a half. They used to stand up in conference and say, ‘Quit worrying about it, we’ve got it all taken care of.’”

Boehner selected Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former career prosecutor, to lead the Benghazi committee. To date, Gowdy has played his cards close to the vest as to what the committee will actually investigate. Last week, at a press conference, Rep. Jim Jordan, who is also serving on the new select committee on Benghazi, said the panel will focus on the “before,” “during” and “after” of the attack. He later explained that this meant probes into why the State Department denied requests for security to the Benghazi diplomatic post and why the early talking points on Benghazi downplayed the possibility that it was a terrorist attack. But Jordan also said the committee would investigate, to borrow Lovell’s phrase, why U.S. forces weren’t “running to the sound of the guns.”

If the Benghazi committee uncovers new evidence that the Obama administration failed to do all it could to save Americans on the evening of the attack, it would be a vindication for their party and a scandal for the White House. But it may also end up revealing prior investigations from Congressional Republicans to be hollow.

If this committee, however, does not find that smoking gun, then it will also prove the low-key warnings of lawmakers like Rogers and McKeon to have been correct all along. [...]

Uh, only if one views “correct” through the lens of political positioning.  The fact is, the American people want to know the truth about Benghazi.  Obama has said virtually nothing and hasn’t publicly accounted for his whereabouts during the aftermath of the initial siege.  Instead, his administration’s media relations arm began working on stories that would cover up for what were embarrassing rebukes to his claim that Al Qaida had been decimated — all in the run-up to the election.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this kind of ass-covering behavior and scapegoating was going on alongside Senatorial pressure to sic the IRS on conservative groups.

Instead, I call it a pattern.  And rather than worrying about what it is they may look like after investigations are completed, the GOP should take the high ground and promise to deliver to the American people the truth on both accounts — on Benghazi AND the alleged reach of the IRS scandal — regardless of the outcome.

And they should make it clear that they are doing this because, regardless of the outcome, the administration, the State Department, higher-ups in the IRS, the White House, and the AG’s office, have all engaged in the kind of obstruction that is preventing a full accounting of the truth to reach the public.

But then, that’s principled. And the Karl Roves of the party establishment worry about how principle can get in the way of perception, how seeking for truth might actually find it — and that when it does, it may not spin well for the GOP.

Or to put it another way, if it means damaging the “GOP brand,” the GOP leadership would just as soon avoid getting to any of the truths that the Democrats have worked to keep hidden.

This is cynical and craven.  And it bespeaks a party leadership that has lost its way entirely and is completely out of touch with its base — and is in the process putting off those perhaps not affiliated with the party who nevertheless reject the hard leftism of the current New Left Democratic party.

Well done, boys.  Well done.

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:51am
41 comments | Trackback

Comments (41)

  1. Investigate and find nothing new, and the committee looks like a bunch of tin-hatted obsessives. Investigate and uncover previously-hidden secrets, and it makes all of the other Republican led panels that dug into Benghazi seem like Keystone Kops.

    Well, we know the House “leadership” is a bunch of Keystone Kops, so…

  2. Yes, I make to amend: All three men have led their own [manifestly inadequate] investigations into the matter.

  3. OT: those wascally Koch Brothers are stealing Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

  4. OT: those wascally Koch Brothers are stealing Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

    Cornering the monolith market?

  5. What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer

  6. Sometimes the Captain goes down with his ship solely because it was his damn fault it crashed into the rock. I find it ironic that in these days, when you’re not expected to give up your life, just the cocktail circuit, people are even bigger cowards to do so.

    What, you can’t order beer and pizza for your McMansion and hold a “fuck you” party?

  7. They forgot Cantor and McConnell

  8. >They’re called the Operation American Spring — and they’re vowing to oust the likes of Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner, Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Raw Story reported.<

  9. Sounds like a start, what does Putin get to annex?

  10. Damn you, Jeff Goldstein, damn you to Hell!

    I was going to blog about this this evening, but I see you beat me to it and even made many of the points I would have. I was unable to blog from work this morning, so I could not do it then.

    I’m a victim, I tell you — a victim of circumstance!

    I demand you compensate me for being victimized!

    My lawyer, Mzzzzz Allred, will be contacting you this evening.

  11. >They forgot Cantor<

    he goin' be primaried methinks

  12. Two words: gun running. (A specialty of this administration.)

    Two more words: al-Qaeda, Syria.

    Shine the fucking light, Trey. Damn the torpedoes.

    Hey, who did Stevens meet with the night he was murdered…?

  13. Hey, who did Stevens meet with the night he was murdered…? –

    Around 9:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET): In the walled Benghazi compound, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens says good night to the Turkish Ambassador Ali Kemal Aydin and retires to his room in Building C, a large residence with numerous bedrooms and a safe haven

    From an ABC news timeline November 2nd 2012.

  14. Sorry CBS news. Link.

  15. The linked page now reads May 13th 2013 but the one I saved on my computer back when this was a current event was from November 2nd 2012.

  16. >The linked page now reads May 13th 2013 <

    mr rhodes did a "correction".

  17. If gun running was an element to Steven’s death, evidence of that will be covered up by both parties. They’ve too much at stake to allow that massive a scandal to explode.

    This select committee might be allowed to slightly embarrass Barack and Hillary, but I’m not expecting any ugly heads to roll. I do hope that the videomaker is allowed to testify, and a public apology made to him for the scapegoating he took. An empty chair delivering the apology would be a nice touch…

  18. Pingback: The Camp Of The Saints

  19. mr. eastwood’s mt chair should be the 1st ‘witness’ for the hillarity mockery.

  20. do the daily show with trey gowdy

  21. “Shine the fucking light, Trey. Damn the torpedoes.”

    HARRUMPH!

    Obama has said virtually nothing and hasn’t publicly accounted for his whereabouts during the aftermath of the initial siege.”

    Somewhere I read that their is a diary/diarist that tracks all of the President’s activities. Let’s see if the committee can subpoena it/him (or her). Or force Odumbo to declare executive privilege.

    Also, the thought occurred to me that the IRS scandal has the potential to be even more damaging than Benghazi. If Judicial Watch can connect a few more dots to Odumbo, he’ll have a helluva lawsuit on his hands. And impeachment will have to be on the table.

  22. Oops missed one of these ” before the quote from Jeff above.

  23. The way D.C. bipartisanship works, the Select Committee is intended as a diversion from the IRS scandal

  24. Hey, water boarding is off the table for the Administration.

    Lighten up GOP Elites.

  25. Arms Continue to Flow From Benghazi to Syria

    So, how’s that working out for us?

  26. The adventures of a Libyan weapons dealer in Syria

    The Panel investigated a news report that a Libyan ship with around 400 metric tons of aid had supplied Syrian rebels with “the largest consignment of weapons … since the uprising”.

    The Panel found that the loading port was Benghazi, that the exporter was “a relief organization based in Benghazi” and the consignee was the same Islamic foundation based in Turkey that Haroun said had helped with documentation.

  27. From Pablo’s earlier link.

    On September 14, 2012, three days after Stevens was killed, Sheera Frenkel, a correspondent for the Times of London, reported from Antakya, Turkey:

    “A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

  28. Obsession with Benghazi is a sign of craziness. Obsession with the Koch brothers is perfectly sane.

    Keep it straight, people.

  29. I find it ironic that in these days, when you’re not expected to give up your life, just the cocktail circuit, people are even bigger cowards to do so.

    What, you can’t order beer and pizza for your McMansion and hold a “fuck you” party?

    If you’re a man of character, then you have no trouble standing up for your principles, taking the consequences, and throwing a big “fuck you” party to those who shun you for your inconvenience.

    If, on the other hand, you’re defined solely by your position among the Beltway wizards, then you’re hardly going to rebuke the ones you rely on to provide you your sense of meaning, are you?

  30. Turkey, leadership of which the WH is envious.

  31. I had no idea that the standard for investigating committees is to know the outcome before you start.

  32. Somebody should draw up a list of the things that spook GOP leaders.
    – Flash bulbs
    – Loud noises
    – Jacks-in-the-box
    – Investigating the murder of an Ambassador and its subsequent coverup
    – Zombie movies
    – Personal accountability
    – Cankles
    – Spiders
    – That one episode of Freakazoid where Candle Jack steals the children

    I’m sure there are lots more.

  33. Remember how Nancy Pelosi quaintly pretended to have known nothing of the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques used on three al-Qaeda jihadi captives when she sought to condemn “torture” conducted by the Bush administration, despite the fact that she was personally briefed on the scary-harsh interrogation techniques by the very CIA man who designed the program and saw to its carrying out?

    Ha, good times!

    Wonder if Mike Rogers will try that out?

  34. Why would GOP leaders be spooked by zombie movies? Zombies only attack people who have brains.

  35. ” I was going to blog about this this evening, but I see you beat me to it and even made many of the points I would have. I was unable to blog from work this morning, so I could not do it then. ”

    S’alright Bob. If you can’t be the Frontman/MC, and don’t know how to DJ or Beatbox, or then just be a hypeman.

    “Yeah! Whoo! What’d you say? Uh huh…. That’s right! Yeah! Uh huh…..”

    Like that!

  36. But, even though I’m a musician, I have no rhythm – a Victim again!.

  37. Elephant in the room:

    House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers gathered Republican members of his committee for a meeting. While the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss surveillance reforms the committee was about to pass, Rogers also warned his colleagues about the upcoming select committee to investigate Benghazi. “He was saying this could be a rabbit hole,” one House member told The Daily Beast. “He was warning us that we should not let this investigation get into conspiracy theories.”

    Now why would he be warning against investigating conspiracies if there wasn’t one he wanted covered up?

    The actions we are privy to from CINC down suggest that they were expecting an attack and wanted it to proceed unchallenged. They already had a cover story (the film) cooked up and briefed, apparently to both sides. Whether they expected our ambassador to be kidnapped or executed is not clear. Such a deep and dark op might be hard to expose to the light of day, but I believe that is where an investigation that truly uncovers the truth could go.

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