Monday, August 11, 2014

Will GOP Candidate Ben Ghazi End His 2016 Presidential Bid?

by Sunnyjane

It came not with a roar, but with a squeak: The House Intelligence Committee, led by Republicans, has concluded that there was no deliberate wrongdoing by the Obama administration in the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans...  This, after investigation by eight different committees, during which numerous House hearings were held, since September 2012.  The HIC also found no wrongdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Among the Committee's other findings:

 -- Intelligence agencies were "warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened."
 -- "A mixed group of individuals, including those associated with al Qaeda, (Moammar) Khadafy loyalists and other Libyan militias, participated in the attack."
 -- "There was no 'stand-down order' given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind."
 -- The administration's process for developing "talking points" was "flawed, but the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis."

Twenty-three months and millions of tax-payer dollars have been spent on this witch hunt.  It's important to review what happened during that time.

Mitt Romney and The Opportunity 

Yay!  I can use the deaths of four Americans to fulfill the White Horse prophecy!
So fixated were both political parties on Romney's 47% disaster from his speech at a big-donors fundraising dinner in May 2012 that the rest of that night's message was lost.  But during the question-and-answer period, one attendee asked him if there was some sort of scenario that would duplicate Ronald Reagan's defeat of Jimmy Carter because of the Iranian hostage situation.  Romney admitted that his campaign was anxious for a national security crisis to occur so they could use it as an opportunity to display the President's weaknesses on geopolitical matters: I mean, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.

In July, he wagered on a trip to England, Israel, and Poland to give his campaign much-need momentum.  What he ended up with was a whole lot of nomentum.  Even Republican leaders were scratching their heads about the ill-fated excursion.  One high-placed GOP strategist said, I find this trip borderline lunacy.

Romney also knew the trip had been a disaster.  On the flight back to Boston he sent an email to some of his aides in which he said, I can only imagine what the media looks like at home.  And I don't think I want to find out.   A really swell opportunity down the drain.

Anxious to forget that disaster-lampooned-round-the-world, Romney concentrated on choosing a running mate.  Did he consider someone who had foreign relations experience?  Of course not.  He decided on a lamebrain budget wonk, who probably doesn't even possess a passport.  Smooth move, Mitt.

But never mind all that.  On September 11, before anyone was sure exactly what was happening in Benghazi, Romney decided he had found his opportunity, and issued a statement in which he proved he certainly didn't know what was going on: I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi.  It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

What got Romney's magical Jockeys in a jumble was actually a statement issued by the U. S. embassy in Cairo hours before the attacks even began, and which was neither written nor approved by the White House or the Secretary of State.  Cairo's statement was referring to the film produced by right-wingers in this country that disparaged the Islamic religion, and was not in response to the attacks.  Oops.

The White House response was swift and condemning of Romney's shoot-first-and-aim-second statement: We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.

The following day, President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden to brief the press and the American people on the tragedy and said, in acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the values we stand for.  The President also said in the same statementWe will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done in this terrible attack, and make no mistake: justice will be done.  And the response from the GOP on the capture of the Benghazi attack suspect twenty-one months later?  Basically, What took ya so long?

What the President said the day following the embassy attacks became a much-relished spectacle during the second debate, of course, when Romney made a complete fool of himself by asserting that it had taken President Obama fourteen days after the deaths in Benghazi to call the attack an act of terror.  Which part of no acts of terror Romney didn't understand is unknown and was never explained by his campaign.  This debate was also famous for the fact that Tagg wanted to take a swing at the President and Ann decided it was classy to give the President the finger.  Please proceed, Governor.

The Hecklers in the Peanut Gallery           

We're all responsible for what we say and what we do.*  John McCain, 11/14/12
Republican nerves were severely frayed after their election loss on November 6.  Though none of the GOP leadership ever really embraced Romney, they had badly wanted to make Barack Obama a one-term president and if Mitt Was It, so what?  Grover Norquist had readily admitted during the primaries that it didn't matter who their 2012 candidate was because he'd do as he was told so they should just Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.   Looks like Palin missed her big chance.

And speaking of attacks, John McCain decided to go after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for statements she had made five days after the Benghazi incident, which were talking points derived from faulty intelligence reports.  Rice's name had been floated as a replacement for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and McCain was having none of it.  He called Rice not qualified and not very bright. 

* Thank you, John, for asserting that one is, indeed, responsible for what one says and what one does.  Now let's talk about that time you selected an unqualified and not very bright individual to be your running mate, shall we?

Haaawww...I know all zee CIA's secrets and I vill tell zee terrorists everything!
For a year after the Benghazi consulate was attack, the were numerous of investigations into the incident; and then the Issa hearings began.  One of the most pressing questions the Republicans had was why there were security lapses at the compound, and they pounded hard on that issue before the election.  The answer could have been easily located in Paul Ryan's budget proposals.  Even though SoS Clinton had warned that slashing funding for embassy security would be detrimental to America's national security.  They did it anyhow.  Why?  Because as Jason Chaffetz said, We have to prioritize on the budget.  So obviously, the safety of Americans serving abroad is not a priority.  It should be noted that Ryan, Chaffetz, and Issa all voted for these cuts.  Hypocrisy lives and thrives in the Republican Tea Party.

In addition to the embassy budgeting indignity, Chaffetz and Issa managed during one of the hearings to reveal to the world -- including al Qaeda, of course -- that the compound was a CIA outpost.

Um...about those security lapses?

A New and Shiny Hearings Leader

The Democrats' Worst Nightmare?  In your dreams, Boehner.
Saying that there were still unanswered questions concerning Benghazi, John Boehner pulled the rug out from under Darrell Issa and his year-and-a-half obsession and appointed Trey Gowdy to head a new Select Committee.  Gowdy's three questions are: Why was our security profile in Benghazi so low on the anniversary of 9/11? Why were our assets not positioned across the globe in such a way that we could respond to northern Africa in time?  And thirdly, and in some people’s estimation most importantly, can we trust government?  Major yawn here.

Not one to take rejection lightly, Issa did a little number on Boehner by releasing details of a memo that confirms that the White House was correct on one aspect of the Benghazi issue: the right-wingers' video mentioned above.

Now that the House Intelligence Committee has released its No-Foul-Found  by the Obama Administration, will the Gowdy hearings go forward, just to keep the subject before the American electorate because they've got nothing else?  Is anyone even interested any more?

Let's ask these folks...

End Note

Fox News had absolutely nothing to say after findings of the House Intelligence Committee were released.

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