Benghazi: What Difference, At This Point, Does It Make?

A lot.

animatedC-SPANIt was one of Hillary Clinton’s most infamous utterances during her tenure as secretary of state: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” The comment came at a Senate committee hearing on the attack in Benghazi, and it encapsulated the attitude that Barack Obama’s self-described “most transparent administration in history” has taken to actual transparency.

At issue was who knew what and when about the nature of the Benghazi incident. Was it a preplanned attack by terrorists or a spontaneous response to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube? The question didn’t seem to matter to Clinton, who pushed the YouTube narrative, leading the way in placing blame for the violence on an American’s exercise of free speech. A little later in the same answer, she offered these thoughts about accountablity: “it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.”

When the attack was fresh, the story of a mob killing on a whim was embraced both by officials and their boosters in the media. (“It’s all about the video,” Chris Matthews told a Romney supporter last October. “Read a newspaper.”) Yet just three days after the assault, a report in The Independent suggested senior officials were becoming “increasingly convinced” the assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi had been “planned.” Last week’s hearings helped drive home the fact that the YouTube video had nothing to do with the violence. A New York Times editorial published just last week managed to miss the point, denouncing the “Republican obsession” over Benghazi while neglecting to mention the deliberately misleading statements government officials had made about the nature of the attack.

The Sunday after the Benghazi assault, UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on the political talk-show circuit to push the narrative of a spontaneous protest. It’s now been revealed that the talking points she relied on had been edited several times to excise all reference to any terrorist connection. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected concern about that by pointing out that Republicans knew about the process. But that’s not relevant. The issue is that the government decided to mislead the American people. Whether the revisions came from the CIA or the State Department, they sought to conceal facts from the public. And government officials didn’t lean on any supposed national security concern for that deception, merely the understanding that what the American people were informed of is what they ought to know.

This “move along, nothing to see” attitude is hardly new to the Obama administration. But this president and his apologists have wrapped themselves in “the truth” in a way few of his predecessors have, even while acting in a relentlessly untransparent manner. Obama promised his would be “the most transparent administration in history,” yet his administration has brought up more cases against leakers (six) than all his predecessors combined, a fact that came up in reporting on the government seizing two months’ worth of phone records from the Associated Press.

The phone record seizures are part of the Department of Justice's efforts to identify who leaked information about a foiled terrorist plot in May 2012 involving an IED and a CIA operation in Yemen. "Once someone leaked information about interdiction of the IED and that the IED was actually in our possession," CIA Director John Brennan explained, "it was imperative to inform the American people consistent with Government policy that there was never any danger to the American people associated with this al-Qa'ida plot." Days before the AP found out about the foiled terrorist plot, the administration was busy insisting there was no terrorist threat around what was the one-year anniversary of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The leak forced the administration to acknowledge there was something where it insisted there was nothing—but Brennan's comment suggests he doesn't think the government should have had to tell the American people anything about it if it hadn't been leaked. The most transparent administration in history doesn't like to tell us all that much. 

And so it is with Benghazi. When the government said it was a spontaneous reaction to unfettered online speech, the media, by and large, believed what officials said. Now the president would like us to believe it’s all just a sideshow, even as important questions remain unanswered. And the most transparent administration in history becomes just a little more transparently not so.

Related video: 3 Reasons Benghazi Still Matters (original release date: May 10, 2013)

 

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  • Duh||

    Almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and we blamed Osama Bin Laden, despite the fact that President Bill Clinton issued several warnings to the Bush Administration on the matter when he was leaving office. Now 4 Americans die in Lybia and attacks regarding a lack of oversight, transparency and preventative action are being thrown from every direction. Get real.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and we blamed Osama Bin Laden"

    Pretty dumb idea, none of the rest of us thought that.

  • Duh||

    Really what did you think then?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    It was because the Moozlims don't like Americanz making moooviez with all their free speach and whatnot.

  • Reard1978||

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  • Sevo||

    Duh| 5.14.13 @ 4:44PM |#
    "Almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and we blamed Osama Bin Laden, despite the fact that President Bill Clinton issued several warnings to the Bush Administration on the matter when he was leaving office"

    Uh, yeah? Did he also warn Bush about the stain under the desk?

  • DarrenM||

    Ah. So Clinton knew terrorists were targeting the World Trade Center and when they planned on attacking it?

  • Sevo||

    Nope, Duh didn't say that. He said Bubba 'warned' Bush about something.
    That means precisely nothing, but Duh is stupid enough to think his innuendo is not going to be caught, right Duh?

  • sam the man||

    Duh

  • Sevo||

    Exactly.

  • ||

    and we blamed Osama Bin Laden

    Crazy, right? Everybody knows JEWS DID WTC!!!!! I mean, uh, Clinton knew about WTC. Er, tried to stop it. That is, he warned us about it. Because he kinda knew about it. Not enough to stop it. But enough to, you know... Did I mention BOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH?

  • Sevo||

    "Did I mention BOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH?"

    Pretty sure Duh did. And I think he wasn't being sarcastic; the idiot *bleeves* it!

  • sam the man||

    So are you saying Bush didn't do it? But there weren't enough Zionist jews in the Clinton administration! It had to be Bush!

  • Contrarian P||

    We blamed Bin Laden because he planned and ordered the execution of the operation that brought down the twin towers, then took responsibility for the attacks. The fact that Bill Clinton (who had his own opportunities to target and kill Bin Laden without taking advantage of them) warned the Bush administration that Bin Laden wanted to stage a massive terror attack on U.S. soil doesn't make George Bush responsible for the attacks. I don't think there's been evidence that Bill Clinton knew the specifics of the plot in advance, so his warnings were at best vague in nature.

  • sam the man||

    "We blamed Bin Laden because he planned and ordered the execution of the operation that brought down the twin towers"

    Technically wasn't that KSM?

  • Sevo||

    Contrarian P| 5.14.13 @ 9:30PM |#
    ..."I don't think there's been evidence that Bill Clinton knew the specifics of the plot in advance, so his warnings were at best vague in nature."

    Much as I despise FER, the claims that he 'knew in advance of the Pearl Harbor' raid are flat out fantasy.
    Yes, he knew that the Japanese were planing an attack, yes he knew that there had been intelligence gathering re: Pearl, yes, he knew all sorts of things.
    None (certainly including his 'untidy' mind) gave him the foreknowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    He was caught flat-footed.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Kinda, sorta true. At the time of the attack, there were, scattered through the government, pieces of intelligence that, if put together, would have strongly suggested an attack on Pearl on 12/7/41. Trying to blame FDR for the absence of an intelligence co-ordinating function seems a bit of a stretch, though.

  • Sevo||

    "At the time of the attack, there were, scattered through the government, pieces of intelligence that, if put together, would have strongly suggested an attack on Pearl on 12/7/41"

    There was also, scattered through the government, pieces that said 'the Philippines'.
    Hindsight allows people to now say, 'well, if they picked exactly the right pieces and ignored the others...'

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Yeah, because "Osama bin Laden and Al Quaeda want to attack the U.S." was just so SOOOOPER SEEEKRIT and, like, completely actionable.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    You know, during the financial crisis I noted that, at some point, we'd see higher stock prices. I must be the greatest financial forecaster since...forever!

  • Sevo||

    On El Camino, south of San Fran, there was a roofing company with a big, bill-board sized sign:
    "Call us now. It WILL rain again".

  • JohnD||

    I guess you forgot that Clinton had the opportunity to get Ben Laden but didn't act because he did have "a legal reason" to do so.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Almost 3,000 Americans died on 9/11 and we blamed Osama Bin Laden, despite the fact that President Bill Clinton issued several warnings to the Bush Administration on the matter when he was leaving office."

    You would think they'd have some hearings on that or something. Maybe congress should just investigate 9/11 until we enter the next ice age...errr until the oceans flood the world, because nothing else is worth knowing except for this.

  • Duh||

    I think there's been exhaustive hearings on 9/11...and Benghazi...time to move on..

  • ||

    Uh, yeah. The 9/11 commission and the Benghazi hearings. Virtually indistinguishable. You had me at "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

  • Tony||

    Why do you guys never mention that there's already been an independent investigation into these events, resulting in heads rolling? At this point to call this anything but desperate political theater is to be complicit with it.

  • Duh||

    You got it Tony!

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    At this point to call this anything but desperate political theater is to be complicit with it.

    I LUVS ME SUM LIARS WHEN DEM-O-CRATS DO IT A BLOO BLOO BLOO!"

  • sam the man||

    This comment confirms that you are a retard.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.14.13 @ 5:12PM |#
    "Why do you guys never mention that there's already been an independent investigation into these events, resulting in heads rolling? At this point to call this anything but desperate political theater is to be complicit with it."

    Poor, poor shithead. Getting called on bullshit all day long...

  • JohnD||

    That's classic Tony.

  • lap83||

    No, to call it anything but political theater is to not be a desperate progtard.

  • Tony||

    It's still not selling with anyone but the FOX News set. Do keep trying though! I think there needs to be an impeachment movement.

  • ||

    It's still not selling...

    It's a good indication of just what a slimy piece of disgusting shit you are that the only thing you care about is how a thing is "selling". Some of us are interested in knowing the truth, regardless of how it "sells". Democrat cum doesn't taste any different than Republican to those who aren't swooned by one or the other.

  • Tony||

    Sane people think of this as a tragedy and a terrorist attack. Insane people are still trying to find out the "truth" despite the fact that everyone knows it already.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.15.13 @ 10:12AM |#

    'Shithead apologists think of this as a tragedy and a terrorist attack'

    Fixed, shithead

  • ||

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    'Sane' people meaning liberals? You mean, the same ones who went with the 'it's the video, we're so insensitive' narrative and then switched when it was clear what a bunch of naifs you were?

    People like Tony should be FORCED to sit down with the families of the dead and talk shit like this. See where that goes.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.14.13 @ 7:16PM |#
    "It's still not selling with anyone but the FOX News set."

    So, shithead, your blinders are still in place? Not surprising.

  • Contrarian P||

    Which heads, exactly? What concerns people is why the government, when the evidence shows they knew the attack was a planned raid associated with terror, continued to insist to the American people and the rest of the world that it was all because of a Youtube video. Maybe people are kind of tired of being deceived by those who are supposed to represent them? Maybe they would really like to know why the government didn't try to rescue their people who were under attack, or why they didn't listen to the repeated pleas for increased security? I don't think those are unreasonable questions.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Which heads, exactly?"

    Well, Nokula's in prison.

  • Tony||

  • Sevo||

    " All four individuals have been placed on administrative leave pending further action.”"
    Yep, shithead, *that'll* teach 'em!

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Yeah and the Bush/Gore election had an independent investigation and Bush won. Let it go. Oh, but you need desperate political theater, I forgot.

  • DarrenM||

    Obama promised his would be “the most transparent administration in history,”

    Anything is justified to get elected. After being elected, any promises are immediately obsolete. It's foolish to rely on what any politician *says*, especially during a campaign, and Obama appears to always be in campaign mode.

  • sasob||

    Obama appears to always be in campaign mode.

    In other words he's always lying. Uh, yeah, I'd buy that - he's the biggest bullshit artist we've had in Washington for quite some time.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    The reason the Obama people didn't want this to be a terrorist attack and pushed the youtube excuse was because Obama's intervention in Libya was very unpopular and they didn't want the perception right before the election that he'd gotten us involved in another failed foreign intervention like Mogadishu. It wasn't just that it was a terrorist attack; it was that it was terrorist attack in a country Obama had involved us in. People are forgetting that the Libya intervention was very unpopular. Obama would have been sensitive about that just prior to the election.

  • Sevo||

    Lady Bertrum| 5.14.13 @ 8:50PM |#
    "The reason the Obama people didn't want this to be a terrorist attack and pushed the youtube excuse was because Obama's intervention in Libya was very unpopular and they didn't want the perception right before the election that he'd gotten us involved in another failed foreign intervention like Mogadishu."{

    Exactly. And for that political purpose, Obozo and crew are more than willing to both stamp all over A-1, and flat-out lie.
    This is a sleazy example of humanity who sees no principle more valuable than his personal power and reputation. Nixon would admire the asshole.

  • Dirk Nowitzki||

    What I hate the most about this is that it's so obvious that if an American ambassador died under Bush, Bush would have been excoriated by liberals. It's amazing that liberals do not accept any criticism of Obama on this. When questioned by Glenn Greenwald, Bill Maher literally said "I don't care, I'm bored".

  • Sevo||

    "When questioned by Glenn Greenwald, Bill Maher literally said "I don't care, I'm bored"."

    Ah, yes. Innocent deaths as a result of government activity would bore a sleaze-bag like Maher.

  • sam the man||

    Maher? A sleaze bag? Just because he went on non stop about how Bush fucked up with Iraq and now supports the war because "there's bad people out there" now that Obama's in office does not make him a sleaze bag!

  • Sevo||

    ..."does not make him a sleaze bag!"

    You're right!
    Does 'Pile of shit' do a better job of describing him? 'Steaming pile of shit'? Perhaps 'Lying asshole'?

  • sam the man||

    I'm more of a visual insult guy so I'm gonna have to go with "donkey-faced shitweasel"

  • Tony||

    Lots of people died needlessly under Bush. And he even gets a pass for all the Americans who died in terrorist attacks.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 5.15.13 @ 10:15AM |#
    "Lots of people died needlessly under Bush"

    Yeah, shithead, and your main squeeze said he was going to fix all that instead of making it worse as he has.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Yes they did die needlessly under the cowardly Bush regime. They continue to die needlessly under the cowardly Obama regime. The more effective evil, because the Tonys of the world, while willing to come out against Bush, blind themselves to reality when it comes to Obama.

  • JohnD||

    Bill who?

  • felicia755||

    my co-worker's half-sister makes $69/hour on the computer. She has been without work for six months but last month her payment was $15232 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site http://www.fox86.com

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Maher makes a little too many appearances in these threads. I just don't get the fascination with the polito-comedy acts.

    As for the 'what difference does it make?'

    Look! It's the 'I didn't do it boy!"

  • Concerned Citizen||

    This is Hillary's Chapaquiddick. This, plus the IRS scandal and Justice Dept vs AP scandal are Obama's Watergate.

  • sam the man||

    Considering Chappaquiddick did absolutely nothing to damage Ted Kennedy's career in the long run I don't find the comparison all that reassuring.

  • Gamblorr||

    Yet unfortunately all the more accurate.

  • Sevo||

    It did one thing: That asshole could never run for Prez after that.
    It would have been far better if they'e have tossed his sorry ass in the can for 15-20 years. He might have dried out.

  • JohnD||

    It doomed any hopes he had of running for resident.

  • JohnD||

    resident? .... er ... President.

  • Sevo||

    Concerned Citizen| 5.14.13 @ 10:42PM |#
    "This is Hillary's Chapaquiddick. This, plus the IRS scandal and Justice Dept vs AP scandal are Obama's Watergate."

    I wish, but it seems you scheme absent the press' lap-dog status with Obozo.
    Yes, they're pissed right now, but he'll offer them a treatee and toss a frisbee and all will be fine. They'll be lined up just waiting for a scratch!

  • sam the man||

    "...they're pissed right now"

    I'm not sure that's true.

  • PACW||

    This is Hillary's Chapaquiddick. So true, sadly.

  • JohnD||

    Sadly? Haven't you had enough of that harridan yet?

  • Anders||

    What difference does it make at this time.

    Indeed.

    An embassy / consular outpost / security facility was over run by a very co-ordinated attack by terrorists.

    This was potentially terrible optics for the election. The actions of a few Americans saved the vast majority, those few then died.

    It was possible to sell this to the supine media as 'bad luck'.

    The best possible PR result for the 2012 elections - bolstering POTUSes claims that aside from these freak accidents, Islamic terrorists were history. Let's keep rolling on the hope and change.

    Indeed - what difference does it make? Some truly cynical bureaucrats thousands of miles away signed off on the execution of some heroic Americans. They'd say they did that to support the greater goodness of the O Foreign Policy.

    Smart Power - accept it.

  • natas||

    isnt that the exact argument against gun control?

  • Sevo||

    natas| 5.15.13 @ 1:33AM |#
    "isnt that the exact argument against gun control?"

    WHAAT?!

  • HenryC||

    Of the living, Susan Rice may well be the biggest victim in this. Her credibility has been destroyed for no reason other than she believed the information the administration gave her.

  • jb4479||

    Not hardly. As the UN ambassador she has the same access to the intelligence briefings as the WH and all members of Congress. There is no way she didn't know what was going on.

  • JohnD||

    That's what happens when you work for a corrupt Marxist.

  • lukescott610||

    what Valerie implied I'm taken by surprise that a person able to make $9303 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you look at this web page http://www.sea12.com

  • Chuckie||

    As a news consumer, what right do I have to be offended when I am lied to and I keep buying the same old newspaper and watch the same old cable channel?

    We have allowed the traditional press to become a branch of the Obama administration, and they have willingly slanted the news to help them out of difficulties.

    What do they get in return? Wire tapped phone lines, red lines drawn as to what they can and can't report unless they want an IRS audit.

    Obama originated from a Chicago political machine that is legendary in it's corruption, and we're surprised? The media is just beginning to understand that the ass they have been kissing has been charging them rent.

  • Great+Grandma||

    What is the most important to me is the fact that the Benghazi embassy BEGGED the state department for more protection for months and the state department turned them down THREE TIMES! That is the real scandal here! Now with four people dead this administration seems to think there is no reason for people to complain about the unnecessary deaths.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I get the feeling Democrats will say Obama's not responsible and that these illegal/inappropriate actions don't need to be investigated. Miller has resigned, so what does it matter [sarcasm alert]? Clinton and Panetta are gone out of their jobs as well, so what does it matter?

    But what does it say about Obama who'd choose people who take the initiative to commit illegal/inappropriate actions that benefit Obama at the expense of the public? It says he's a lousy leader, or he's rewarding them for their actions including falling on their swords to help Obama's efforts to get re-elected.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Nancy Pelosi is already saying it.

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