Surprise newsflash: The consensus Democratic frontrunner for president in 2016, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who graciously protected President Obama from blame for security failures at Benghazi in October, and allowed ambitious subordinate Susan Rice to be the administration's prime source of disinformation, misses key congressional hearings (due to a virus or a concussion or whatever), while the official administration report on State's failures focuses on subordinates and she embraces all 29 recommended changes, and she hopes that firing four subordinates cauterizes the wouund.
Hillary has clearly learned from her husband that lying under oath is a bigger risk than any misdeeds of omission or comission. But maybe, just maybe, the House Republicans and a few reporters beyond Fox will stick with it until the questions get answered.
Before the attack:
2. Were you personally aware of the department's security measures in Benghazi - the inadequate design of the consulate facility; the removal of the Libyan embassy's 16 member Site Security Team and three small emergency response teams; the removal of a quick-response transport aircraft; the absence of Marine guards and reliance on a Libyan militia for external security? Were you involved in any of these decisions?
3. If money is tight, why did you spend $750,000,000 to build a new embassy in Baghdad with a staff of 15,000?
During the September 11 attack:
1. What was the command structure for monitoring activity and directing responses during the seven-hour attack? Who were the senior officials involved from the White House, State, Defense, and the CIA? Did you have access to video from the on-site drone and ground surveillance cameras, telephone communications with the Ambassador and consular and CIA staff, and radio intercepts of the attackers?
2. Who determined the Rules of Engagement and what were they? Why did we not deploy the special operations team located in Italy? Was there a delay in authorizing the CIA contractors at the annex to assist in the defense of the consulate?
3. Did the desire to maintain a light footprint in the face of ongoing violent demonstrations across the region result in a decision to deny available assistance to the consulate?
After the attack:
1. With the breadth of information available during and immediately after the attack, why did the administration continue for a week to insist that the attack was a response to a video? Who was involved in the creation of this story?
2. Why was the investigation of the attack itself so leisurely pursued - a cursory on-site inspection of the consulate several weeks after the attack; no interrogation of an attack leader from Tunisia who was captured in Turkey; no effort to capture an attack leader openly living in Benghazi?
The media has largely given Barack Obama a free ride because they hated Bush and loved him. With media attitudes toward Hillary being more mixed, perhaps a reporter or two will even ask these questions of the woman who once challenged Barack Obama's competence to respond to a 3 AM phone call. Or maybe Congressional Democrats will call her back to testify ... if everybody promises to not ask where President Obama was.
This week's video is a seasonally-appropriate flashmob from the City of Brotherly Love where baseball fans boo the Seventh Inning Stretch.
bill bowen - 12/21/2012