Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’
May 12th, 2014 at 3:43 pm
New Poll: Majority of Americans Care About IRS/Lois Lerner Scandal, Too
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In last week’s Liberty Update, we debunked the claim by the Obama Administration, its Democratic Congressional apologists and the mainstream media that the Benghazi scandal is something about which Americans just don’t care.  According to a Rasmussen survey released last week, 51% say that the Benghazi affair merits further investigation, while just 34% disagree:

One can only imagine survey data on the matter if the media had bothered to cover it as it deserves.  Or, perhaps more to the point, if a Republican president presided over the attack and political coverup.  Nevertheless, it’s an encouraging sign that the American public not only expresses concern, but prefers continued investigation.  That should encourage Congressional leaders and media to get to the bottom of this important matter.”

Today, there’s more encouraging news in that regard.  Rasmussen also reports that a clear majority of Americans also say the ongoing IRS/Lois Lerner scandal merits further investigation:

Half of voters still believe the IRS broke the law when it targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, and even more think the matter needs to be looked into further.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of likely U.S. voters think the Obama administration’s handling of the IRS matter merits further investigation.  Just half as many (28%) say the case should be closed.  Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.”

Both Benghazi and the IRS persecution of conservative groups are critical matters, and Americans shouldn’t allow the Administration to bury them.  Fortunately, that’s not the case, which should encourage the media and members of Congress to pursue the truth in both cases in a responsible, thorough, public manner.

January 8th, 2014 at 12:37 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Latest Benghazi Victim
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 19th, 2013 at 1:22 pm
Trey Gowdy on Benghazi

… and on the press’ dereliction of duty. This is what more vulgar people would use a word starting with the letter after “E”, and then then word “awesome,” to describe. 

 

June 10th, 2013 at 7:03 pm
More Problems for a Hillary Clinton 2016 Run

On the day Hillary Clinton joins Twitter, the Washington Post reports that her popularity is dipping as Independents turn a bit sour on the former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady.

A big factor affecting the public’s perception of Clinton is the Benghazi scandal that helped to accelerate her exit from office. Because of her defiant testimony in the aftermath of the terrorist-led killings of four Americans, congressional investigators have been laying the groundwork to summon her to Capitol Hill to clarify her remarks, and this time as a private citizen.

A private citizen with an eye toward running for President of the United States in 2016, that is. So far, Clinton has been able to avoid culpability for Benghazi, in part because the fiasco seems like anomaly in an otherwise scandal-free tenure at State.

But as of today, that perception may be changing. Radically.

CBS News is reporting that “Uncovered documents show the U.S. State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal behavior ranging from sexual assaults to an underground drug ring.”

An internal investigation now made public cites examples of an ambassador being allowed to continue at his post despite deliberately losing his security detail “to solicit sexual favors from prostitutes,” and several instances where investigators “were simply told to back off investigations of high-ranking State Department members.”

If this story gets legs – and with all the attention paid to whistleblowers at the moment, I expect it will – it looks like the Hillary 2016 speculation will first have to overcome revelations of gross mismanagement that enabled criminal behavior and exposed four Americans to a deadly, and avoidable, attack.

Not exactly the profile of a future president.

May 22nd, 2013 at 11:17 am
Benghazi, in Short Form and in Long

The Heritage Foundation has a strong 2-minute video about the Benghazi affair, well worth watching. And I have a 2,000-word piece that explains, in detail, why it really is a scandal, and why the media is, as usual, focusing on the wrong things. An excerpt:

In both Fast and Furious and in Benghazi, the result of the administration’s incompetence (or worse) was that people died. (Lots of people.) When an administration tries to cover up the real reasons people died, that alone usually makes it a scandal by the usual Washington Post/establishment media standards. When the administration threatens or punishes those who try to correct the record, it’s more than a scandal; it’s almost always criminal.

What the Post calls conservatives “obsess[ing]” over Benghazi is actually, by all prior standards, an eminently reasonable insistence that corruption be outed and reversed. The State Department’s mendacious, 12-step emasculation of the Benghazi talking points, for political purposes related to maintaining an already ongoing lie about an Internet video, is just one part of a long series of Libya-related actions that together amount to a serious corruption of our political system.

If there was nothing to hide, why was Mr. Hicks so maltreated?

May 19th, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Artur Davis: Don’t Dismiss These Scandals

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis has done a smart, well-reasoned analysis of the underlying meaning(s) of Barack Obama’s week of scandals. He rightly notes that “Obama’s administration struggles mightily with the threshold concept of accountability.”

And:

The emerging argument, which seems to be that the Obama White House was detached enough to rely on the expertise of its department heads to resolve the dilemmas around each event in the current spotlight, would sound strained even if it came during a presidency that was famously disengaged….

More fundamentally, the “we left it to our division heads defense” would not excuse any executive leadership in the public or private sector from the imperative of setting values and standards of conduct for decisions made inside the organization’s own walls, and policing the extent to which those standards survive.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that at a minimum, if you credit its defense, that this government seems more rudderless than could have been imagined eleven days ago.

Also of great note, Davis rightly focuses on a supremely important facet of the Benghazi scandal that the establishment media seems to have willfully ignored, even though it is one of the most despicable aspects of the administration’s longer-term response to the attack:

Even if one buys the rationalization that Benghazi was only so much internecine backbiting between two old rivals, the State Department and CIA, that rationalization entirely omits the evidence that a career diplomat was punished for raising internal questions about security in advance of the Libyan attack, as well as about the unofficial chronicle, or “talking points”, regarding what led to the assault. What kind of leadership is oblivious to the immediate fortunes of a reasonably high ranking whistleblower?

Of course, this is hardly the first time that this administration has tried to bully whistleblowers. They did it to Justice Department whistleblowers J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates; they did it to five (!) different Inspectors General; and they at the very least undermined a whistleblower in the St. Paul, Minnesota case that has so badly (and rightly) harmed the confirmation prospects for Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez.

Anyway, Davis has a lot of other insights well worth reading in his post.

May 15th, 2013 at 10:38 am
The Single “Stylistic” Change That More Accurately Describes WH Press Sec. Jay Carney
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 10th, 2013 at 4:17 pm
Wolf Whets Appetite for Benghazi Bipartisanship

For many months now, the excellent U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, has been calling for the appointment of a special “select” committee to investigate all aspects of the 9/11 catastrophe in Benghazi, Libya. In the wake of this week’s explosive hearings, Wolf renewed his call today in a letter to Speaker John Boehner. His argument always had made sense: “A thorough inquiry will require witnesses from across government – including the Defense Department, State Department, Intelligence Community, Justice Department and even the White House.  Only a Select Committee would be able to bring the cross-jurisdictional expertise and subpoena authority to compel answers from these agencies.” Also: “It’s worth restating that the committee would be bipartisan, thereby putting an end to misguided criticism from some that this investigation is only being done for political reasons.”

Wolf’s arguments always have made sense. It’s not that Chairman Darrel Issa’s committee has been doing a bad job — far from it — but it is just a reality that the media has treated Issa’s inquiry as being partisan, and also that a select committee would have the advantages of sole focus and of cross-jurisdictional authority.

Today, the Wall Street Journal endorsed the idea, and it closed with a particularly strong argument:

“Mr. Boehner said on Thursday that the administration should release its email communications on Benghazi, but it won’t do so unless they are subpoenaed. Frank Wolf, one of the House’s most senior members, has it right. Benghazi’s explanation deserves the best effort elected officials can give it, and the right vehicle is a Select Committee with subpoena power and deposition authority.”

Those emails, by the way, are almost certainly the key. Boehner has been right to focus on them. As Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said in the past 24 hours, what really is important is not just whether there was a cover-up, but what was being covered up. What more can we learn about the State Department refusing multiple requests for added security in the months before the assault, and was the White House involved in those decisions. And, with what is more likely to have White House involvement, what about the now-confirmed story that rescuers were ready to at least try to fly to Benghazi, but were told to stand down? Who told them to stand down, and why? And where was Obama during all of this? Sleeping? Planning his fund-raising remarks for his trip to Las Vegas?

Anyway, a select committee can best look into all of this. As usual, Frank Wolf is right.

May 7th, 2013 at 9:31 am
Ramirez Cartoon: What Benghazi Cover-Up?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 3rd, 2013 at 8:46 am
Ramirez Cartoon: What Benghazi Whistle-Blowers?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 25th, 2013 at 10:05 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Difference Between Life and Death
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 28th, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Susan Rice Seems Cooked

Another day of congressional testimony for Susan Rice comes with more indications the Ambassador to the United Nations will not become the next Secretary of State.

But do pity Ms. Rice, at least a smidge.  With the finger-pointing circus around the Benghazi, Libya fiasco, it’s hard to keep the story straight on what exactly happened and who was responsible for hiding that information from the American people.

To clarify things, The Blaze website (quoting Buzzfeed) lists at least five official versions of the truth from the Obama Administration:

  1. References were removed to not tip off al-Qaeda and were substituted with “extremists,” according to David Petraeus.
  2. The links to al-Qaeda were too “tenuous” to make public by the Directorate of National Intelligence because the source wasn’t trusted.
  3. “The talking points were debated and edited by a collective of experts from around the intelligence community,” not just DNI, according to a DNI spokesman.
  4. The CIA told Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte the FBI removed references to al-Qaeda from the talking points “to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.”
  5. The CIA later called Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte back, saying they had misspoken to them and that they – not the FBI – had edited the talking points.

On the bright side for Ambassador Rice, so far none of the misrepresentations have implicated her or her office as the source of the misinformation.  At most (so far), we’ve got diplomatic (Rice and Hillary Clinton) personnel parroting information from the intelligence community whose job it is to resource diplomats.

As I understand it, it’s the DNI, CIA, etc.’s job to gather, interpret, and communicate information so that the diplomatic arm of the federal government can use it.  Sure, more and better questions seemingly should have been asked by Clinton and Rice, but ultimate responsibility for knowing and articulating what happened in Benghazi rests somewhere in the alphabet soup of the intelligence community.  Those lines of responsibility won’t change if Rice replaces Clinton at State.

Cold comfort, though, since it looks like scuttling Rice’s nomination will be the only chance the Administration’s critics get to actualize their displeasure.  Welcome to Washington.

November 20th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
Holder and Rice Under Fire? Republicans Must be Racists
Posted by Troy Senik Print

As regular readers know, I’m something of a collector of asinine punditry. In the past, Tom Friedman, Joe Klein, and Gail Collins have all secured their place in my pantheon. But look out for the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, who has been breaking land speed records for inanity of late. Here’s an excerpt from his latest, defending U.N. Ambassador (and likely Secretary of State nominee) Susan Rice:

… Are [Republicans] really considering filibustering the president’s choice to be the nation’s leading diplomat? That would constitute, among other things, an interesting form of minority outreach from the party that now says it’s so serious about winning over people of color. That party’s only two targets right now are Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder. Gee, what might they have in common, d’you think?

A couple points:

  • Ignoring professional incompetence on the basis of race is not a form of ‘minority outreach.’ It’s a form of moral cowardice.
  • These rabid right-wing bigots are masters of disguise. Tea Party enthusiasm for the likes of Allen West, Mia Love, and Herman Cain was obviously an elaborate misdirect. And we should probably add Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Susana Martinez to that list, since the hatred must extend to brown people as well.

The rest of Tomasky’s analysis has to be read to be believed.

He defends the choice of Rice to be the Administration’s public face on Benghazi (despite the president’s concession that she had nothing to do with the issue) by noting that “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have been the one to do those shows, and she was asked first, but she said no.” Oh, well, that explains that. Of course, why wouldn’t the Secretary of State be indisposed to respond to a security disaster involving American diplomats?

Defending Rice’s complete misrepresentation of what happened in Benghazi, Tomasky trots out the Administration’s excuse de jure: “David Petraus has confirmed that while he knew or sensed from the start that it was a terrorist attack, America’s 16 intelligence agencies weren’t ready to say that publicly, mostly for fear of tipping off the bad guys. So Rice said what she was told to say.”

It doesn’t matter if it came from Petraeus or not — this is an incredibly stupid excuse. You worry about tipping off terrorists when you have intel before an attack and think that keeping it quiet could thwart the plot and/or bring the terrorists to justice. You don’t do it after an attack, when said terrorist group is telling you they did it. Acting like you don’t know who’s responsible at that point doesn’t make you calculating; it makes you an idiot. And if the Administration wants to claim that it knew what was going on all along, then it behooves them to explain why they chose an affirmative lie rather than a policy of relative silence.

The upshot for Tomasky: ‘Benghazi … was a terribly sad tragedy, but the kind of thing that, in a dangerous world, happens.” A man who responds to avoidable homicide with fatalistic detachment. That about says it all.

November 14th, 2012 at 5:04 pm
Obama’s False Machismo
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham preempted President Obama’s East Room press conference this morning by announcing that they would attempt to block — through use of the filibuster, if necessary — the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Their rationale: Rice was directly responsible for propogating the Administration’s now completely-disproved contention that the Benghazi terrorist attacks were the product of an angry mob that spontaneously turned to violence. Whether Rice is guilty of incompetence or deception (there’s really no other plausible alternative), McCain and Graham argued, no one who was party to the Benghazi debacle should be expecting a promotion.

That stance led to the president attempting to go all alpha male in his remarks at the White House:

“When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me,” Obama said. “And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her.”

“Then they’ve got a problem with me?” Obama might as well have gone with “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

No one is actually afraid of this president. Which is why Graham’s response was so perfect:

Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.

Just so. The White House is going to need more than bluster to dodge accountability for what happened in Libya.

November 9th, 2012 at 3:51 pm
Petraeus Out at CIA

The reason given is that the married general-turned-Director of the CIA had an affair.  That’s horrible.  But if this is a smokescreen to dodge responsibility for the Benghazi fiasco, the story – and David Petraeus’ reputation – will get worse.

October 31st, 2012 at 1:39 pm
McCain Slams Obama on Benghazi Cover-Up
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Mark my words: if Barack Obama is reelected, he will be thrust into scandal perhaps before he even takes the oath of office for a second time. Though the media — with Fox as virtually the only exception — is studiously avoiding the scandal of Americans being abandoned during the terrorist attack in Benghazi, the implications are far too sweeping to be suppressed for long (particularly if, as Newt Gingrich has suggested, there is a damning paper trail floating around out there). The most concise reading of this development — and, in my judgment, the most accurate — is this one from John McCain:

This president is either engaged in a massive cover-up deceiving the American people or he is so grossly incompetent that he is not qualified to be the commander in chief of our armed forces. It’s either one of them.

Just so.

October 17th, 2012 at 6:18 pm
Another Take on This Week’s Debate
Posted by Troy Senik Print

I have a slightly different take on last night’s debate than Quin. Like my colleague, I thought that Romney’s performance was serviceable, though I won’t go so far as to say he ‘won.’ Truth be told, I don’t think either candidate did much to improve their standing with the small slice of the electorate that still remains undecided, as that group tends to prize style over substance and the constant sniping between the two candidates probably left the swing voters cold to the political process as a whole (that tendency also worked at cross-purposes with both campaigns’ efforts to win over female voters, who are notoriously averse to that kind of incivility).

I also saw a missed opportunity last night, but it wasn’t Obamacare (where I think Romney is unavoidably uncomfortable); it was Libya, where he completely botched an opportunity to call Obama out on his administration’s meandering, thumbless response to the attack in Benghazi (damage that was compounded by moderator Candy Crowley inappropriately — and incorrectly — intervening to agree with Obama that he had framed the assault as a terrorist attack from the beginning).

After the first debate, sources inside the Romney campaign made it known that they had encouraged the candidate to speak in a natural tone — as if he were addressing a group of investors — rather than memorizing sound bites and talking points. It worked for Romney as long as the topic was the economy, where he is in his element. But I hope that the team in Boston encourages a little more thoughtful planning as we head towards Monday night’s foreign policy debate.

Romney has never shown a particularly deep interest in — or understanding of — foreign policy, a trait which I’ve noted in the past could be a potential liability (though his instincts are, of course, far preferable to Obama’s). While I think next week’s debate will easily be the least consequential of the three (both because it’s last chronologically, and because foreign policy will not be a central issue of this campaign), Romney still can’t afford to be as lost at sea as he was at the end of last night’s town hall. Time to hit the briefing books.

October 10th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
A Brutal Takedown of the Obama Administration’s Middle East Mendacity
Posted by Troy Senik Print

It’s not an overstatement to say that the Heritage Foundation has done the nation a service with its new video chronicling the Obama Administration’s deceit and incompetence regarding the fatal attack on our consulate in Benghazi:


 

I’d love to see this turned into an ad aired during the presidential debate on foreign policy at the end of this month.