Wonder Why We’re Not Hearing More About the GOP’s Benghazi Witch-Hunt?

Per Dana Milbank, certified member of the Media Village at the Washington Post:

When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.

The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron.

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks. “Point of order! Point of order!” he called out as a State Department security official, seated in front of an aerial photo of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, described the chaotic night of the attack. “We’re getting into classified issues that deal with sources and methods that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this.” …

Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted. “I would direct that that chart be taken down,” he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN. “In this hearing room, we’re not going to point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.”…

The Republican lawmakers, in their outbursts, alternated between scolding the State Department officials for hiding behind classified material and blaming them for disclosing information that should have been classified. But the lawmakers created the situation by ordering a public hearing on a matter that belonged behind closed doors.

Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd….

Marcy Wheeler(Emptywheel) questioned these GOPidiots’ motives more than a week ago:

… [W]hy would a slew of “whistleblowers” go to Darrell Issa with their complaints about missed intelligence rather than Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee? After all, if there was an intelligence failure, then it is HPSCI’s job to do something about it.

The question is all the more curious given that Issa’s Committee does not have the clearance for some levels of intelligence (the kind that sources who could well be these very same whistleblowers have already been sharing with Lake).

Meaning this letter will have an utterly predictable result: State will respond that they can’t share the information that Issa is seeking. And then Issa will escalate this, turning his “investigation” into Son of Fast and Furious.

Moreover, this intelligence should have already been shared with the House (and Senate) Intelligence Committees (note that Peter King, a leaky sieve, sits on both committees). If it hasn’t been, then Mike Rogers has all the more reason to escalate this issue. The only possible reasons for Issa to investigate this, then, is if 1) Rogers is failing to do his job and/or 2) this is just a stunt to turn a legitimate intelligence issue, the Benghazi attack, into a political attack on Obama…

Of course no Very Serious Person is going to pay any attention to a DFH firebagger like Ms. Wheeler, but now that the polecat is out of the bag, can we perhaps dare to hope that the vast creaky permanent bureaucracies responsible for keeping the USS Global Megapower afloat might be getting just a tiny bit tired of the proud Galtian GOP “revolutionaries” getting their sticky paws all over a lot of very complicated machinery?

And just as a partisan aside, can you imagine the shrieking outrage from the Wingnut Wurlitzer if those “truth-seeking” soopergeenyuses had a (D) after their names? Every Fox bobblehead would be demanding immediate rendition to Gitmo for Issa and Chaffetz, and maybe Peter King on general principles. I just hope that Rupert Murdoch has some skilled chiropractors on speed dial, because some of his highest-paid talent must be twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify this newest FP idiocy.

55 replies
  1. 1
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Cue Bernard Finel, foreign policy expert to tell us how this is Bad News for Obama.

  2. 2
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I’m sure Bernard will be along post haste to let us all know how this is excellent news for John McCain Mitt Romney.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Hubris says:

    Huh? The CIA-annex stuff was reported weeks ago by the NYT.

  5. 5
    catclub says:

    I noted earlier that the cuts made to State department security budgets, by the House GOP, will keep Issa quieter than usual on this.

  6. 6
    catclub says:

    @Hubris: so what, it is still news to Jason Chaffetz. Was it on Fox news? WSJ editorial page?

    Then it does not exist.

  7. 7
    legion says:

    These guys really could fuck up a ham sandwich.

  8. 8
    the Conster says:

    Whoever said in an old thread that Republicans love this country like OJ loved Nicole nailed it.

  9. 9
    Hill Dweller says:

    Romney hasn’t paid a price for comparing an ex-SEAL sacrificing his life while helping the ambassador to his own campaign.

    Said SEAL’s family were furious with Romney for using him as a campaign prop, but I’ve seen little in the media.

    Conversely, Obama makes one mistake(bad debate) and they’re ready to boot him out of office, despite all the shit he’s had to go through trying to pull this country from the brink of an economic abyss.

    I still can’t believe this campaign is close, even after Obama’s less than ideal debate. I realize the state polls look better than the national polls, but do people not remember Romney bumbling through the campaign for months?

  10. 10
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @Hubris: Classified is classified, regardless of whether it was reported in the paper or not.

    Issa’s pet board of inquisitors have just royally screwed the pooch.

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    I just hope that Rupert Murdoch has some skilled chiropractors on speed dial, because some of his highest-paid talent must be twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify this newest FP idiocy.

    They don’t twist themselves into knots at Fox, ever.

    They have a simple linear message: Republicans/Conservatives = Good, Democrat/Liberals = Bad.

    Obama=Democrat=Bad, therefore anything that happens, when President Obama has authority is bad. Obama should’ve known and taken action by sending Chuck Norris and Delta Force into Libya to kick some butt.

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    It does kick up a storm about how Obama isn’t good at foreign policy and portrays Obama (and Democrats by extension) as soft on terror, appeasing our enemies, etc. and lets Republicans get a bit of their “tough guy” appeal back on national security issues.

    Look for Mitt to hammer Obama repeatedly over the head with Benghazi.

    The right-wing media, Issa, et. al. have already pushed it the crazy-noise-factor on this issue beyond 11. What was a Romney gaffe – blaming President Obama before the bodies were even cold – is turning into a well orchestrated assault on President Obama’s foreign policy credibility.

    Forget the fact “bin Laden is dead”, because that’s yesterday’s news.

    Hell, President Carter did more for “Peace in the Middle East” than any other President and he’s considered a failure on foreign policy, because of the Iran Hostage Crisis.

    What have you done for us lately, that’s what gets remembered.

  12. 12
    Hill Dweller says:

    @gene108: The GOP voting to cut embassy security funding will blunt a lot of their attacks. As we saw yesterday, they have no answer for it.

  13. 13
    👽 Martin says:

    @Hubris:

    The New York Times agreed to withhold locations and details of these operations at the request of Obama administration officials, who said that disclosing such information could jeopardize future sensitive government activities and put at risk American personnel working in dangerous settings.

    Apparently the Oversight and Government Reform Committee didn’t agree that withholding the location was that important.

  14. 14
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gene108: OK so I will hide under the bed and cower, because Mitt is going to be a big meanie to Obama, how will that help Obama though? I am tired of all the concern trolling among the so called Obama supporters.

  15. 15
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    And then Issa will escalate this, turning his “investigation” into Son of Fast and Furious.

    Fine with me. Issa’s one of ten people in the country who actually thinks that’s a scandal, the other 9 being commenters on RedState.

  16. 16

    Issa’s totes gonna rescue this by investigating the BLS stats. Every time I drive by Issa’s office I have to say earmuffs for my daughter and curse Issa’s existence. So glad he’s not my rep. So sad he is other peoples’ rep.

  17. 17

    @the Conster:

    Whoever said in an old thread that Republicans love this country like OJ loved Nicole nailed it

    So does this make David Gregory == Kato Kaelin?

  18. 18
    Gozer says:

    immediate rendition to Gitmo for Issa and Chaffetz, and maybe Peter King on general principles

    Now there’s an idea I can get behind!

  19. 19
    Bill T. says:

    So, when you say they “accidentally blew the C.I.A.’s cover,” you say this as opposed to the deliberately blown C.I.A. cover of Valerie Plame? I need some clarification.

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.

    Gee. It seems like it was only yesterday when GOP sponsored goons were claiming that Obama’s “celebrating” over the demise of bin Laden was revealing America’s precious security and operations secrets to the enemy.

    @Hill Dweller:

    Said SEAL’s family were furious with Romney for using him as a campaign prop, but I’ve seen little in the media.

    It’s been in the media, at least out here in Southern California. What happens though, is that Republican leaning talk show hosts just refuse to run with it and make an issue of it.

  21. 21
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Issa’s pet board of inquisitors have just royally screwed the pooch.

    Doesn’t matter.

    The Republicans haven’t balanced a budget since Eisenhower — and they’re still ‘the party of fiscal prudence and restraint’. They will be, too, until everyone who remembers Ike is dead.

    I expect them to still be ‘the party America turns to in a dangerous world, the natural leaders in national security’, long after everyone who reads this is dead.

  22. 22
    gwangung says:

    The question is all the more curious given that Issa’s Committee does not have the clearance for some levels of intelligence

    Um, isn’t that kinda important?

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    No pretzel needed. Everything is Obama’s fault. See previous point.

  24. 24
    Culture of Truth says:

    Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane to land in Turkey’s capital of Ankara on Wednesday amid suspicions that the aircraft may have been carrying arms, exacerbating already high tensions with Syria that have raised fears that a wider war may be imminent.

    The fears have prompted the United States to dispatch 150 troops to Jordan to help the authorities there formulate contingency plans for the crisis next door in Syria, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said at a news conference in Brussels.

  25. 25
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Brachiator: This story topped Page One last night on the BBC World News front page. Fat lot of good it will do. The world doesn’t vote in our elections.

  26. 26
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Culture of Truth: That’s how our invasion of Libya began.

  27. 27
    kindness says:

    Not meaning to thread jack but

    The GIANTS WON!!!!!

    I’m shocked.

  28. 28
    gene108 says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I realize the state polls look better than the national polls, but do people not remember Romney bumbling through the campaign for months?

    The constant anti-Obama drumbeat of the right-wing media keeps pumping people with armed with ready made notions about why Obama sucks. They are willing to chew off their own leg to make sure they can drag themselves to the polls to vote against Obama before he traps them in a Kenyan-Marxist-Socialist-IslamoFascist America.

    Once you get passed that threshold, this recovery has been painfully slow.

    Democrats underestimation of how bad things would get and moving to other things besides jobs, in 2009 and 2010 turned some folks off; they were feeling the pain of a bad economy, but weren’t seeing anything tangible from Dodd-Frank or the PPACA.

    The other group is just pissed off that more isn’t done and since Obama’s the man in charge, he gets the blame.

    Then you have loyal O-bots.

    The only thing that really happened in the summer is the second group of people – as they started finding out about Romney – realized Obama’s not so bad and Romney is just loathsome.

    Maybe the last debate changed some minds or reinforced earlier doubts about President Obama, that have persisted for 2-3 years.

    I don’t know.

    I just know things aren’t as easy as they seemed after the conventions, but they are far from hopeless.

  29. 29
    Steve Crickmore says:

    A former defense secretary for Ronald Reagan says he implored the president to put Marines serving in Beirut in a safer position before terrorists attacked them in 1983, killing 241 servicemen.

    “I was not persuasive enough to persuade the president that the Marines were there on an impossible mission,” Caspar Weinberger says in an oral history project capturing the views of former Reagan administration officials.

    Imagine the wingnut hue and cry, if Obama had done something like this rather than their teflon saint, Saint Ronnie.

  30. 30
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Romney hasn’t paid a price for comparing an ex-SEAL sacrificing his life while helping the ambassador to his own campaign.

    It’s just grist for their mill. As long as it furthers their political aims, they are more than willing to sacrifice a few lives. Will we ever know how many assets were liquidated by the Plame outing?

  31. 31
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    Imagine the wingnut hue and cry, if Obama had done something like this rather than their teflon saint, Saint Ronnie

    They scatter like giant wharf rats when you mention Beirut or Dubya.

  32. 32
    gene108 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I think some Obama supporters aren’t aware of all the anti-Obama sentiment that’s out there.

    For all his personal charisma, President Obama still has a good bit of the population questioning why he did what he did.

    People like him, they think he is sincere but they don’t – for a lack of a better word – entirely trust his judgement.

    The take down of bin Laden really changed this, in my opinion, but I also think sustained attacks from the right about his judgement in Benghazi and not beefing up security may open doubts people had earlier.

    When ever I read a statement like, “why is this election even close”, I figure people may not be seeing things from the perspective of others in the electorate.

  33. 33
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @gene108:

    I just know things aren’t as easy as they seemed after the conventions, but they are far from hopeless.

    I missed most of the we’re-all-gonna-die threads, so maybe someone’s made this point already, but: Obama had one of the greatest winning streaks in modern politics for about a month and a half. Likewise, Romney had a severe, even for him, run of completely tripping over his own feet. And all it takes is one off night for Obama and one good debate for Mitt for everyone to start fucking panicking? I swear to god, some people seem to have a psychological need to feel sorry for themselves.

  34. 34

    This is outrageous. They quoting the debunked hacks at the New York Times.
    Republicans leaked classified CIA info that was in the NY Times
    Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts

  35. 35
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gene108: What I object to is his so called supporters running around in circles and screaming and shouting, that all is lost. That is counter-productive if you want Obama to win, if not, you are just being a concern troll.

  36. 36
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    At holiday time, Issa and Chaffetz will be invited to look at family photos, and scream “just don’t look behind the sofa”.

  37. 37
    aimai says:

    I hate the “why is this election even close” thing–its so stupid and its so incredibly disrespectful of the President. The election is fucking close because half the country is too stupid to walk and chew gum and always has been. People barely know what a political issue IS, let alone what a policy debate looks like. They vote from the gut, from a feeling, or they don’t vote at all. Most people don’t pay any attention to what is actually happening in Washington and they think they are incredibly “savvy” because they heard one thing on the news and it stuck with them. Its the same people who watch Jim Cramer’s show for stock tips and imagine that they are “insiders” finding out something that others don’t know. That’s just how gullible they are.There are people out there who will never vote for the Democrat under any circumstances–Obama could give CPR to their grandma, pump up the bicycle tires, and walk on water and they’d still tell you they feel more “comfortable” with Romney.

    aimai

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WWStBreitbartD:

    Contrary to what Dick Cheney tried to claim, information does not magically lose its “classified” status just because it gets reported in the newspaper.

    In their zeal to attack the Obama administration, Republicans put CIA operatives at risk of being exposed and killed. Good job! I’m sure St. Breitbart is proud of you.

  39. 39

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    And then Issa will escalate this, turning his “investigation” into Son of Fast and Furious.
    Fine with me. Issa’s one of ten people in the country who actually thinks that’s a scandal, the other 9 being commenters on RedState.

    From the Reality based community
    Fast and Furious was a dud.
    No one in the Obama DOJ/BATF has resigned or plea the 5th over Fast and Furious.
    The DOJ IG report confirms the Grassey letter/Fortune Mag report that no gunwalking took place and that no DOJ/BATF personell should be punished in any way.

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    also we lost an embassy official in Yemen today

  41. 41
    gwangung says:

    @WWStBreitbartD: No, they didn’t. At least, they dedacted all the material that was exposed by the Republicans…

  42. 42
    Hob says:

    @gene108:

    For all his personal charisma, President Obama still has a good bit of the population questioning why he did what he did.
    People like him, they think he is sincere but they don’t – for a lack of a better word – entirely trust his judgement.

    Could you possibly put any more weasel words into those two sentences?

    “A good bit” of the population, a.k.a. “people”, are questioning why Obama did… something.

    And you’re just saying this for the benefit of “some” Obama supporters, who just emerged from a coma and are unaware of the existence of people who don’t support Obama.

    “For lack of a better word,” indeed.

  43. 43
    General Stuck says:

    Of course no Very Serious Person is going to pay any attention to a DFH firebagger like Ms. Wheeler,

    Fixed for twoof.

    Obama Provides Paper Protection for Whistleblowers … Why Now?

  44. 44
    Emma says:

    @aimai: Amen, sister.

  45. 45
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Meanwhile, for your latest 538 panic update, the President’s chances of winning dropped … one percent. EVERYBODY PANIC!

  46. 46
    jwb says:

    @gene108: What I learned from the aftermath of the debate is that what passes for the left side of the media and blogosphere really does not have Obama’s back. There were certainly some who responded well and wisely, but for the most part it was five days of nonstop taking potshots at the President with little attempt to call Romney to task. The left had a worse meltdown over one mediocre debate performance than the right had over a whole summer and September of Romney making major gaffe after major gaffe. It does not bode well for the election if the left can’t get its shit together. Obama can’t save us from ourselves.

  47. 47
    the Conster says:

    @jwb:

    Thank you. I had this exact same conversation with my sister just this morning, about what Sully and the asshole “left” concern trolls should be doing, which is putting Obama on our collective shoulders and carry him over that finish line, while calling out each and every Romney lie and flip flop at every opportunity to everyone. Jeebus, Democrats and liberals suck at pulling together all at one time.

  48. 48
    gelfling545 says:

    Obama’s “celebrating” over the demise of bin Laden was revealing America’s precious security and operations secrets to the enemy.Obama’s “celebrating” over the demise of bin Laden was revealing America’s precious security and operations secrets to the enemy.

    Because they didn’t know he was dead, I’m sure.

  49. 49
    Maude says:

    @Culture of Truth:
    The 150 US troops are helping with the Syrian refugees. It’s becoming a crisis.

  50. 50
    wrb says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    also we lost an embassy official in Yemen today

    I’ve been wondering if it could be related to the hearing blowing the cover. I’d be surprised if the CIA didn’t have an operation in Yemen that looked a lot like the one in Libya.

    Those on the other side suddenly had a fingerprint to look for.

    I’ve been having visions of George Smiley watching his network go dark after being compromised.

  51. 51
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    I think some Obama supporters aren’t aware of all the anti-Obama sentiment that’s out there.

    Are these people living under a rock?

  52. 52
    wrb says:

    @jwb:

    What I learned from the aftermath of the debate is that what passes for the left side of the media and blogosphere really does not have Obama’s back.

    Exactly.

    I think Sully etc. did real damage. They took the focus off the lies, filled the RW base with passion (they love making lefty fa**ots like Sully and Mathews howl), and drowned out the jobs report.

  53. 53
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I don’t think the public buys that anymore after Bush and then Obama getting OBL. The pundits, maybe, but they’re stupid.

  54. 54
    Tonal Crow says:

    Paging AG Holder! Unauthorized disclosure of classified information in hearing room 1!

  55. 55
    Spike says:

    @legion: Reminds me of my grandfather, who once swore after one of my clumsy attempts to “help” him with some construction project: “Son, you could fuck up an anvil with a rubber mallet!”

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