Peter Bergen's recent piece pretty much jibes with what I have been saying all along regarding the GOP mental meltdown over Benghazi. Mr. Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad."
What is the Republican theory of the case against Rice? It appears to boil down to the idea that leading Democrats covered up the involvement of terrorists in some way connected to al Qaeda in the Benghazi attack during the run-up to the close presidential election because President Obama and others in his administration had for some time said that al Qaeda was close to strategic defeat.
I guess that's it but, again, I have to wonder...where was the outrage after 9-11? Then we had 3000 civilians killed on our home soil in the worst attack in US History. This was an attack in a massively destabilized country on a CIA listening station (not an embassy or consulate as is commonly thought) with a US Ambassador, who knew the risks, two CIA contractors and a Navy seal losing their lives. To the Right, this means that all of our women and children were raped/tortured/killed by Islamists whilst they were shitting on the flag.
Anyway, Bergen raises an interesting question, which I put to all of you..
Does this case make sense? First, you would have to accept that Obama, Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all knowingly deceived the American public about what had happened at the Benghazi consulate.
Second, it was the intelligence community, not officials at the White House or State Department, that eliminated from the talking points used by Rice after the Benghazi attack the suspected involvement of the Libyan jihadist group, Ansar al-Sharia.
That's right. How do we know this?
According to accounts of former CIA director David Petraeus' closed door testimony about Benghazi to congressional intelligence committees earlier this month, the intelligence community eliminated references to Ansar al-Sharia in the talking points so as not to tip off members of the terrorist group that the CIA believed that they were responsible for the attack.
The conspiracy therefore was not to mislead the American public but to mislead America's enemies.
Hmmm...sounds familiar, eh?
If Rice had gone beyond her unclassified talking points and said that Ansar al-Sharia was suspected to be behind the Benghazi attacks, no doubt she would now be being hounded for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Bergen also raises a third point that isn't discussed enough.
Third, it is worth recalling that whenever there is a news event in a chaotic country on the other side of the world, first accounts about the event are often wrong.
Remember the erroneous reports about another big news event last year; the death of Osama bin Laden. Initially, it was portrayed by the Obama administration that bin Laden had died during a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan and had used his wife as a human shield.
As more accurate information subsequently came in from the field, administration officials clarified that bin Laden put up no resistance and had not used his wife as a shield.
This is not conspiracy; this is the fog of war.
If the Obama administration had said, "We don't know what happened" how would that have honestly looked? McCain and his little band of pants squirters know this and they are just playing politics.
Some more great points...
It is also worth recalling that the situation in Benghazi was so chaotic and dangerous that it took three weeks for the FBI to get in to the city to investigate what had happened at the consulate.
And it took even more time for the facts to emerge that the Benghazi mission wasn't really a consulate in any conventional sense, but was more of a CIA listening station and that two of the four Americans who had died in the attack weren't diplomats as initially portrayed but were, in fact, CIA contractors.
Facts, folks, are stubborn things.
I have no doubt that the witch hunt is going to continue and accusations will be flying around about cover-ups and the suffix "gate" is going to be attached to all of this. But I predict that right around that time or maybe a little after, we're going to catch some of the guys that were responsible for the attack and then the truth will come out.
And that's when McCain and the others are going to realize why the GOP keeps losing elections.