Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Benghazi Cover-Up

* A Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch (followed by a Court order) ended up in a release of some emails not previously released to Congress during Congress' investigation of Benghazi. On September 14, 2012, just three days after our Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed, Ben Rhodes sent an email to Susan Rice and others. Rhodes was then a deputy national security adviser and Rice was the US Ambassador to the UN. The email's subject was: "RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4p.m. ET." The next day Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows blaming the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on an anti-Muslim video.

* Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, later claimed that the only modifications made by the White House to the "talking points" provided to Rice were stylistic. Keep in mind that the Presidential election was only two months away. It is now clear that politics carried the day over truth-telling on those five talk shows; and in subsequent comments by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and by Obama. In the email from Rhodes, he told Rice that one of the goals was "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

* This is certainly not the first time that politics prevailed over truth in the White House. Recall the memos subsequently obtained by NBC News showing that Obama was advised by policy people in the White House back in 2010 that many would lose their insurance under the Affordable Care Act. However, the political advisers were not happy with the President giving such a message to the American people. Furthermore, it is likely that at least some Democrat Senators would not have voted for the ACA if they knew many of their constituents would lose their insurance coverage. So Obama went on to promise on countless occasions: "If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance."

* The Rhodes memo to Rice went on to say that she needed to "reinforce the President and Administration's strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges." So let's be fair. There is nothing terribly unusual about any Administration wanting to put the best spin possible on events that may be politically damaging. But at a certain point in time one would hope that truth would prevail; that the American people would be told what they are entitled to know. This is especially true from a President who promised the most transparent presidency in history. Or was that just another lie?

* The former Deputy Intelligence Director for AfriCom, Retired Brigadier General Robert Lovell, has now testified before Congress as follows: "What we did know early on was that this was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry." Furthermore, the newly released emails reflect that on September 14, within an hour of Rhodes' email to Rice, there were still references to "Al-Qaida" and an "attack." Yet those two references did not make it into the final "talking points."

* Speaker of the House John Boehner has now called for the appointment of a select committee to further investigate Benghazi. It is true that there have been Congressional investigations already. It is also true, however, that those investigations did not have all the information that has now been disclosed through the Freedom Watch FOIA request and Court order.

* It is ironic that just two months before the 2012 Presidential election, Mr. Rhodes was concerned about the perception of a "broader failure of policy." Looking back on Obama's second term to date, it is difficult to see where any of Obama's foreign policy efforts have either enhanced America's standing in the world, furthered US interests, or resulted in a more stable, peaceful world. From the Arab Spring, to the appeasement of Iran, to the "reset button" with Russia (including Obama's "tell Vladimir I'll have more flexibility after the election"), it is difficult to see how any of these situations have been helped by Obama.

* I am disappointed that Speaker Boehner has not seen fit to appoint a select committee to investigate the White House use and abuse of the IRS in dealing with political opponents, and those who have suffered consequences for merely criticizing Obama. Between the lies, the cover-ups, and the abuse of power, I can only imagine how many democrats would be calling for such a President's impeachment - especially if his name was Bush. Can any reader point to a more corrupt Administration in our lifetimes?