Thursday, May 09, 2013

Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing Round-up

I was on the road yesterday to visit a sick friend, so I was able to listen to much of the Benghazi hearing on the radio.  And, to be honest, more came out than I think I can get my arms around.   But, unlike many, I cannot ignore the hearing.  So I will post some helpful links.

Bryan Preston has the best summary of the day I’ve come across.  I heartily agree with him that the Republicans tried to cram too much in one day.  Several days should have been devoted to this if possible.  I also agree that a special prosecutor is called for.  As for his main points, I find the intimidation and punishment of the whistleblowers the most damning part of yesterday’s hearing:

4. Whistleblowers were intimidated into silence. Hicks testified to a pattern of behavior that leads to the reasonable conclusion that many officials within the State Department wanted him to remain silent after the Benghazi attack. He said that on the night of the attack he was personally commended both by Secretary Clinton and President Barack Obama. But he later questioned why Ambassador Rice blamed the YouTube movie, and from that point on his superior, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones, questioned his “management style” and told him directly that no one in State should want him on their team in the field again. He was eventually demoted to a desk job after having been deputy to Ambassador Stevens, and remains in that post. Hick also testified that the Accountability Review Board, convened by Clinton last fall allegedly to determine the facts of the attack, never had stenographers in the room during his tw0-hour interview. Nordstrom concurred. Thompson was not even allowed to testify to the ARB despite having direct knowledge of the attacks due to his position on the U.S. Foreign Emergency Support Team. Thompson testified that the FEST was designed to go from zero to wheels up very quickly but was not deployed at all. He wanted to tell his story to the ARB, but was not allowed to. Hicks also testified that for the first time in his career, the State Department assigned a lawyer/minder to attend witness interviews with the ARB. He also testified that Jones told him not to be personally interviewed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican House member who was investigating the attack on behalf of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. It all adds up to a pattern of witness control and intimidation.

We did learn at least two new, relevant facts from yesterday’s testimony. One is that Beth Jones, an official in the State Department, sent an email on September 12 bluntly acknowledging terrorists participated in the attacks (“The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”) The other is that Hicks said his “jaw dropped” when he heard Rice make her claims about spontaneous protests. Hicks testified that he later confronted her about the comments, and shortly thereafter he was demoted.

It was not a good day for Hillary Clinton.  For one thing, it came out she talked to Hicks very early on, yet went out and pushed the YouTube video untruth.  For another, her right-hand woman Cheryl Mills was fingered as very much involved in the cover-up.  Expect to hear more of that name.  And, of course, the Benghazi consulate was grossly underdefended and that after pleas for more protection.

As for the noos media, it was another shameful day.  When they weren’t downplaying the significance of the hearings, they focused on lesser things, namely the Jodi Arias verdict.  (By the way, if you paid more attention to the Jodi Arias trial than to Benghazi, you are part of the problem. Just sayin’.)  It’s not for nothing that Greg Gutfield commented, “I have to say that the media is really President Obama’s scandal condom.”

I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but . . . yes.

If Obama and Hillary politically survive Benghazi, the noos media will be the reason why.

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