Benghazi!!! witch hunt is a bust

The House Select Committee on Benghazi!!! (aka the “Get Hillary” Partisan Witch Hunt Committee) has finally concluded, the longest congressional investigation in U.S. history — longer than the Kennedy Assassination, COINTELPRO, Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9-11, all of them — and it is a bust. House Benghazi Report Finds No New Evidence of Wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton:

BenghaziEnding one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report delivered a broad rebuke of the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts there that they could not protect.

Everyone but Congress itself for failing to adequately fund the security needs of State Department posts. What a convenient oversight.

The report, which included perhaps the most exhaustive chronology of the attacks to date, did not dispute that United States military forces stationed in Europe could not have reached Benghazi in time to rescue the personnel who died — a central finding of previous inquiries.

“The assets ultimately deployed by the Defense Department in response to the Benghazi attacks were not positioned to arrive before the final, lethal attack,” the committee wrote. “The fact that this is true does not mitigate the question of why the world’s most powerful military was not positioned to respond.”

But the lack of any clear finding of professional misconduct or dereliction of duty was certain to fuel further criticism of the length of the investigation — more than two years — and the expense, estimated at more than $7 million. It also bolstered Democrats’ allegations that the inquiry was specifically intended to damage Mrs. Clinton’s presidential prospects.

The Democratic minority issued its own report the day prior. House Democrats Release Benghazi Report to Blunt Republican Inquiry:

House Democrats on Monday moved to pre-empt the findings of a two-year Republican-led investigation into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed, by issuing their own 339-page report that cast the inquiry as a politically motivated crusade that wasted time and money.

* * *

In their counternarrative, the Democrats serving on the House Select Committee said they had been virtually shut out of the process of developing the report, and they accused their Republican counterparts of trying to besmirch Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, who was secretary of state during the Benghazi attack.

“Section II of our report documents the grave abuses that Select Committee Republicans engaged in during this investigation,” the Democrats wrote. “Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed marshals to the home of a cooperative witness and even conducted political fund-raising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.”

The Democrats also singled out Mr. Gowdy for criticism. “In our opinion, Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps,” they wrote.

* * *

The report includes some criticism: “The State Department’s security measures in Benghazi were woefully inadequate as a result of decisions made by officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.” But it absolves Ms. Clinton of responsibility, adding, “Secretary Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi.”

The Democrats accused the Republicans of spending more than $7 million on an investigation that they argued would not reveal any substantially new information that would alter the understanding of events as described in multiple previous inquiries.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post makes the salient point that people will always remember the salacious allegations — generated by the conservative media entertainment complex — but not the investigation’s conclusion of no wrongdoing. “Think about this as Whitewater Part II.” Republicans accomplish their Benghazi mission:

After two years and $7 million spent, House Republicans’ Select Committee on Benghazi finally released its report today, and there’s only one thing to say in response: Mission Accomplished, fellas.

It’s true that they didn’t achieve their ultimate goal, which was to find the proof that Hillary Clinton did something so vile, so shocking, so unspeakable that no one could possibly vote to make her president of the United States. But short of that, Republicans got exactly what they wanted out of this committee, which, as you’ll recall, was organized after seven other investigations (most of which were also run by Republicans) failed to provide a satisfactory indictment of Clinton.

* * *

So considered as a non-scandal milked for every last ounce of political advantage that could be squeezed out of it, Benghazi now stands second only to Whitewater in contemporary history. And the parallels with Whitewater [ The Clintons themselves were never prosecuted] are indeed striking. Whitewater began as a failed land deal in which, it would eventually become clear, Bill and Hillary lost some money but never did anything criminal, as their pursuers had hoped to find. Benghazi began as an awful attack on American personnel for which, it would eventually become clear, Hillary Clinton bears ultimate responsibility as Secretary of State but never did anything criminal, as her pursuers had hoped to find.

Along the way of the Whitewater investigation, the Clintons’ own Inspector Javert, Ken Starr, discovered that Bill Clinton had been having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Running down every prurient detail of that affair then became the focus of his investigation, and Republicans positively vibrated with ecstasy at the thought of impeaching the president they hated so much. Along the way of the Benghazi investigation, Trey Gowdy discovered that while at the State Department, Hillary Clinton used a private email server instead of the department’s system; Republicans were similarly aroused by the possibility that the email issue could be used to bring her down once and for all. Just as Bill’s affair with Monica was sordid but not an impeachable offense, Clinton’s decision to use private email was foolish and a violation of State Department policy, but not a crime (though we don’t yet have the final word on that from the FBI’s investigation).

Nevertheless, Benghazi long ago did its job, bringing down Clinton’s favorability ratings and spreading the idea that she’s untrustworthy, even if people don’t quite know what it was that she did wrong.

* * *

[Y]ou might ask what the point of all this was, if after this spectacularly lengthy and expensive investigation we didn’t actually learn much that we didn’t already know, other than some details here and there.

But ah, the emails. That we got. And that gives Republican officials and voters something they can hang their visceral loathing of Hillary Clinton on. Even those who long ago gave up hope in the absurd conspiracy theories swirling around Benghazi (like the idea that Clinton issued a “stand down” order that directly led to the four deaths) now say that it’s the email server that demonstrates the true depths of her villainy. “She oughta be in jail! Because, you know, that email thing!” they say (and Donald Trump says it too), which sounds a lot more like a substantive critique than “God I just hate that b-tch.”

Over on Fox News, they’re characterizing this report as a hundred-megaton bombshell of damaging revelations about Clinton. I’m sure that this afternoon all the conservative radio hosts will be singing the same tune. The fact that it didn’t actually find anything new about Benghazi to pin on Clinton isn’t at all important. As a political tool, which it was from the moment John Boehner created the select committee, it has amply served its purpose.

This is how the Mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing noise machine works, it has perfected the politics of personal destruction and the Big lie propaganda technique (where a known falsehood is stated and repeated so often that it becomes ingrained in the mind of the listener as if it is self-evidently true).

36 responses to “Benghazi!!! witch hunt is a bust

  1. You know, if I was not already convinced that Hillary is a decent human being AND a progressive/liberal who will do great things for the People, then the fact that the Right Wing Hate Machine is crapping in their pants at the thought of a Hillary Presidency would convince me that she is truly trying to help the People to the best of her very capable abilities. She’s going to be a great President.

  2. John Huppenthal

    We have Marines changing their uniforms 4 times trying to determine the politically correct apparel while people are dying?

    A White House meeting that is consumed with spinning the conflict while the conflict is happening?

    No one mobilizes and no one explains why? Still unanswered questions because of a cover up. Investigation is still not done. Why did Hillary go to bed while fighting was happening? Why didn’t they mobilize?

    Think of the way the brain is organized. You can have the smallest sliver in your skin somewhere and the brain immediately brings it to your attention and focuses you on the issue. In this situation, you have an entire toe being chewed off while the brain was completely unaware.

    Now, you all are crowing that the fact that the brain was unaware is vindication. Unaware of the security deficit, unaware of the conflict. No, it is incompetence of the worst sort.

    Bizarre culture of separation from reality. A common thread consistent with all big issues: security, taxation, global warming, regulation, welfare.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      60 dead in embassy attacks under Bush. Where was your righteous outrage then?

      Dec. 15, 2001: Unidentified assailants gunned down a Nepalese security guard of the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

      Jan. 22, 2002: Two assailants attacked the American Center in Calcutta, India. Five policemen died, and 15 others were injured in the attack.

      March 20, 2002: A car bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, killing nine people and injuring 32. The U.S. State Department reported no American casualties, injuries, or damage.

      June 14, 2002: A suicide bombing in front of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, left 12 dead and 51 injured.

      Nov. 9, 2002: The security supervisor for the U.S. embassy in Nepal was shot dead at his house in Kathmandu. Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for the incident.

      May 12, 2003: In a series of attacks, suicide bombers blew themselves up in a truck loaded with explosives in a complex that housed staff working for U.S. defense firm Vinnell in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (The contractors worked out of the U.S. embassy.) At least eight Americans were killed in the incident. Al-Qaida was suspected responsible for the incident. This was one of three attacks, involving at least nine suicide bombers and suspected to have involved 19 perpetrators overall.

      July 30, 2004: Two people, including a suicide bomber, were killed and one person was injured as a suicide bomber set off an explosion at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Israeli Embassy and the Uzbekistan Prosecutor General’s Office in Tashkent were also attacked in related incidents.

      Oct. 24, 2004: Edward Seitz, the assistant regional security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, died in a mortar or possible rocket attack at Camp Victory near the Baghdad airport. An American soldier was also injured. He was believed to be the first U.S. diplomat killed following the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

      Nov 25, 2004: Jim Mollen, the U.S. Embassy’s senior consultant to the Iraqi Ministers of Education and Higher Education, was killed just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad.

      Dec. 7, 2004: Gunmen belonging to al-Qaida in the Arabian Penninsula stormed the U.S. Consulate in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, triggering a bloody four-hour siege that left nine dead. One American was slightly injured in the assault.

      Jan. 29, 2005: Unknown attackers fired either a rocket or a mortar round at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. The strike killed two U.S. citizens and left four others injured.

      Sept. 7, 2005: Four American contractors employed with a private security firm supporting the regional U.S. embassy office in Basra, Iraq, were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their convoy. Three of the contractors died instantly, and the fourth died in a military hospital after the bombing.

      March 2, 2006: An unidentified driver detonated a car bomb while driving past the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing a himself, a U.S. Consulate worker and at least three others.

      Sept. 12, 2006: Islamic militants attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, with hand grenades, rifles, and a vehicle rigged with explosives. One guard and the four attackers died.

      July 8, 2007: Two Iraqi U.S. Embassy workers were killed when the wife went to deliver a ransom for her husband who had been kidnapped in Baghdad. One of the couple’s bodyguards was killed in the failed ransoming.

      Jan. 14, 2008: A bomb hidden on a north Beirut highway hit a U.S. Embassy vehicle, killing at least three Lebanese bystanders. The car’s Lebanese driver and an American at a nearby school were wounded.

      March 18, 2008: Al-Qaida’s wing in Yemen, Jund Al-Yemen Brigades, fired between three and five mortar rounds toward the U.S. embassy, but instead they hit a girls’ school nearby, killing a guard and a schoolgirl and injuring 19 others in Sanaa, Yemen.

      July 9, 2008: Four unknown gunmen killed three Turkish police at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

      Sept. 17, 2008: Suspected al-Qaida militants disguised as security forces detonated vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, fired rocket propelled grenades, rockets and firearms on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. A suicide bomber also blew himself up at the embassy. Six Yemeni police, four civilians (including an American civilian), and six attackers were killed while six others were wounded in the attack.

      Nov. 27, 2008: A Taliban suicide car bomber targeted the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing four civilians in addition to the suicide bomber and wounding 18 others. The embassy was hosting a Thanksgiving Day event as Americans and other foreigners were arriving at the venue at the time of the attack.

      • Oh, Not Tom, why do you ALWAYS want to talk about oranges, cantalopes and watermelons when I am talking about apples? Your habit of introducing non sequitors into a discussion does nothing to further the conversation I am trying to have with you. Not one of the incidents you mentioned bore the slightest resemblance to what happened at Benghazi.

        What happened in all the incidents you cited was immediate and over in minutes. NOTHING warned us of it happening and nothing after the fact could be done to mitigate further damage. At Benghazi, the incident went on for hours and the Marines could have had GREAT influence on what happened. The key phrase there is “could have had”…

        • Frances Perkins

          Splitting hairs. We did not have a multiple year investigations when the sainted Ronnie was in office when hundreds were killed in Beirut. But it was likely true that Ronnie was oblivious for eight years.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            St Ronnie cut and ran after the violence in Lebanon. Hundreds dead.

            I suggest Steve web search on William Francis Buckley in particular.

            Conservatives have such short memories.

            FYI, St Ronnie did the right thing, sometimes the answer to being someplace you shouldn’t be is leaving.

            But if Obama “cut and ran”, like Ronald Reagan did, conservatives would be screaming bloody murder.

          • Focus, Not Tom, Focus….

          • It is not “splitting hairs” to point out that there is a subject being discussed and someone is attempting to cloud the issue by throwing other issue not related to the subject at hand. For instance, Ronald Reagan. I realize it is very hard for Democrats to focus on the subject at hand because of all the bitterness and hatred built up inside of them, but it does make it difficult to discuss an issue with them when they cannot remain focused.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          In an interview on Fox News today, Gowdy responded to this newly released information by acknowledging, “Whether or not they could have gotten there in time, I don’t think there is any issue with respect to that — they couldn’t.”

          This conclusion is in line with the findings of previous Benghazi investigations. For example, after the House Armed Services Committee completed its investigation of the attack, Buck McKeon, the California Republican who was then the committee’s chairman, told reporters, “I think I’ve pretty well been satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened and how quickly it dissipated, we probably couldn’t have done more than we did.”

          After spending more than two years and $6.9 million asking questions that have already been thoroughly answered, it is time for this investigation to conclude. At a minimum, those who propagated lies about the military’s ability to respond that night should now apologize.

          Steve, as much as you want Evil Hillary to be blamed for Benghazi, there’s no “there” there.

          There are however endless real, factually accurate reasons to dislike Clinton.

          • (Deep Sigh!) I have never said a word about getting troops sent into Benghazi as a relief force. I agree it could not have happened fast enough to help. What I have been discussing – and you don’t seem to understand – is the use of the Marines assigned to the Embassy. They were on site and COULD have made a difference. Instead, Hillary dithered and waffled and went to bed and the Marines changed uniforms and hid their weapons and stood down and we had an Ambassador and his body guards murdered by terrorists. How hard is that to understand?

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Steve, I’m trying to verify that the Marines that were changing uniforms were onsite, as you claim here:

            “…is the use of the Marines assigned to the Embassy. They were on site and COULD have made a difference.”

            And I can’t find that anywhere. Can you let me know where you got that?

            Here’s what I found on several sites:

            “The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an “interim facility” not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies, POLITICO has learned.”

            It seems that about half our embassies do not have Marines onsite.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Also, dude, seriously, please stop making me defend Hillary. Please, I’m begging.

          • I am not forcing you to do anything…you are choosing to do so. This isn’t even a big issue on why Hillary is unfit to be a President. She has so many major flaws and is morally bankrupt. This just shows that she is unfit in small things as well as big things. Unfortunately I think she is going to be elected…

    • Frances Perkins

      You will have to explain how the brain is organized there, John.

  3. Frances Perkins

    Lucky they did not find the time to investigate the 48 Republican senators who voted for the Iraq war including the two Arizona knuckleheads.

  4. What would they find if they investigated the Goldman Sachs speeches?

  5. Frances Perkins

    We did not find anything on Hillary during the first eight investigations so let’s do another one for two years, trying to indict her for anything. Of course after Obama, their hatred for the Clonton’s and Obama are so irrational they would rather investigate for 20 years to get them on anything, and screw doing anything for the good of the country try as long as we can get Obama or the Clintons.

  6. You are willing to dismiss anything that indicts Hillary and/or her leadership abilities because you are a partisan hack. When her she and her State Department were unable to decide whether or not the Embassy Marines should even wear their uniforms, much less carry their weapons when the Embassy was under attack, out of fear of offending the Libyans, how could they handle the big issues…to say nothing of how she will handle the Presidency? That the Department of Defense and the CIA didn’t have the balls to overule also her speaks very badly about how she will handle her Presidency.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Steve, how would you feel if another country dropped bombs and troops onto a US city?

      Things are so simple in the real world.

      There are far better reasons to dislike Clinton than the hyped Benghazi disaster, and politicizing the deaths of 4 American’s the way the Republicans have is disgraceful.

      • captain*arizona

        agree like 5000 dead american soldiers in iraq for instances from her iraq war vote.

      • I wouldn’t like that at all. I also wouldn’t like putting firecrackers up my nose and lighting them. And both situations have about equal bearing on what I was discussing. Embassy soil is, by treaty, considered soverign soil by the Nation that occupies it. U.S. Marines are assigned to the Embassy to protect that soil, even through the use of deadly force. There should be no question about allowing them to be in uniform and armed when the Embassy is threatened.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates knocked critics of the Obama administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, saying many have a “cartoonish view of military capabilities.”

          “We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, despite all the turmoil that’s going on — with planes on strip alert, troops ready to deploy at a moment’s notice — and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible,” Gates told interviewer Bob Schieffer.

          Steve, please don’t blow you nose with firecrackers, no matter how cartoonish that would be, my point was that there are real reasons to dislike Clinton without spending 7 million dollars on Congressional hearings that found nothing.

          • I agree with you completely, Not Tom, there are MANY reason I do not like and do not trust Hillary. However, I rarely have an opportunity to discuss them and stay on point on this Blog. So I go for what I can.

            I am aware there is no “ready reaction force” standing by to respond…that is what the Marines guarding Embassy are for. They are remarkably effective if used. In this case Hillary’s inability to make a decision and desire to placate the local populace led to the death of an Ambassador and six body guards whose hands were not tied by Hillary’s inaction. In most organization’s, someone’s head would have rolled at the death of an Ambassador, but with the usual “Clinton teflon” no one was touched by the debacle.

  7. The final, final (maybe) report on the Benghazi attack came out after 2 years and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio on CNN yesterday talked about his report on the report (really?) …that Clinton lied to the public because at 10:08 pm on the night of the attack, Hillary Clinton made a statement about the inflammatory video about Islam but, immediately after that she emailed her daughter to let her know that terrorists attacked Benghazi…
    So, I ask you, is this a smoking gun?…or should she have told her daughter that FRIENDS attacked Benghazi!

    • Out of the entire report, this is all you found incredulous?!?!?

      I realize (because there are polls that flat out state it) that Democrats don’t care if Hillary lied (or will lie), cheated (or will cheat), stole (or will steal), or was guilty of the worst malfeasance possible (or will be in the future). They will support her to the bitter end. ALL that matters is Hillary winning.

    • Out of that entire report this is all you found worthy of comment?!?!? Such blind loyalty to Hillary is a major reason why she cannot be trusted as a President.

      • Actually, Steve, my comment was in response to an ‘important interview’ with Jim Jordan on CNN about why he and Mike Pompeo, both Republicans on this committee, wrote a separate report besides the 800 page report and it was Jim who exclaimed that the public must know that Hillary was saying one thing to the public and another to her daughter…that the fact that Hillary used the word ‘terrorists’ in her email was a ‘smoking gun’..and I think not.
        So, if you want to get angry with someone, get angry with Jim Jordan; because as you said; “Out of that entire report…”..this is what he chose to say on CNN

        • I didn’t get angry, I was surprised. I am sorry for taking you to task for something you didn’t do.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Steve, you still haven’t explained how non-existent on-site marines were supposed to save the embassy.

            There were no marines assigned to that embassy.

          • There are Marines assigned to every Embassy, Not Tom. The Marines are also responsible for any Legation Offices assigned to that Embassy. Part of my Father’s career were assignments as an Officer in charge of Embassy Marines. For me, those were some VERY interesting assignments and I was familiar with how they functioned and what their duties were.

            To answer your earlier question – which I just read this morning – the Marine situation is discussed in the Benghazi report. It is just one of many examples of Hillary’s dithering and indecisiveness.

          • Tamar Rala

            Thank you.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Google “benghazi marines interim embassy” and then tell me again there were marines stationed in Benghazi.

            I don’t understand why you keep pushing this myth that there was some army onsite.

            https://diplopundit.net/2012/10/26/benghazi-where-the-hell-were-the-marines-yo-half-our-embassies-have-no-marines/

          • (HUGE Sigh!!) Please read the article you sent me, Not Tom. It makes a distinction, as have I, between Embassies and Consulates. Despite the misleading title, Embassies always have Marine Security Forces (MSF). Consulates do not, BUT they are protected by the MSF at the responsible Enbassy. All that is needed is for them to be given the order to go.

            Much as I enjoy our verbal ripostes, this discussion has reached the point of repitition where it is becoming boring. I am, once again, hanging up the proverbial spurs on this.

  8. captain*arizona

    lucky they didn’t spend time investigating hillary clinton;s iraq war vote.