19 October 2015

What to Make of Benghazi and This Week’s Hearing

The terrorist attack on the U.S. Libyan consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans happened more than three years ago, but Washington remains divided between those still seeking to affix blame and those more inclined to treat it as a case of “sh-t happens!”

Well, sh-t definitely happened and boneheaded decisions were definitely made with regard to that particular consulate’s security. And perhaps the former wouldn’t have happened had the security been up to par.

Americans will get to relive Benghazi again this Thursday when the House Select Committee on Benghazi holds its fibenghazi-select-committeerst public hearing in 10 months of what has been a 17-month, multi-million-dollar probe…Oh, and this on top of the seven other Congressional investigations into Benghazi.

Perhaps we wouldn’t be reliving Benghazi once again had the Obama Administration been more upfront about what actually happened instead of attributing blame to a spontaneous “mass uprising” spurred by anger over an anti-Muslim video. Perhaps a more upfront and contrite admission that “mistakes were made” may have alleviated the still building pressure to affix blame, and quieted the emerging “conspiracy” rumors before they took root.

But no, whether to hide State Department incompetence, CIA ineptitude, or for political reasons, Administration officials continued to hem, haw and sugarcoat how the Benghazi attack evolved until most of the specific details slowly emerged during the various investigations. And while the American public pretty much now knows how the attack unfolded, blame has yet to be officially affixed.

Actually, the blame can pretty much be fixed on Ansar al-Sharia, and any number of other Islamic militant groups vying for power in Libya, many of which have ties to either al Qaeda, ISIS or both. After all, if they hadn’t lobbed grenades, fired machine guns, set off bombs, dropped mortar rounds, and set fire to the consulate, we wouldn’t be talking about “Benghazi” right now.

Perhaps a bit of blame should also go to Ambassador Stevens, too. After all, he reportedly knew that security was too light at Benghazi, so why in the world did he–a potential top-level target for terrorists like al Qaeda–decide to stay there that night rather than return to the much more secure embassy in Tripoli? There had been numerous and increasing attacks against western targets in Benghazi in the four months leading up to that final attack, and yet he chose to stay there with a small five man U.S. security detail and a small contingent of marginal Libyan security guards?

Consular staff and the ambassador had been requesting increased security for weeks. In an email reportedly sent to a colleague in the weeks before the attack, the ambassador half-joked, “Maybe we should ask another government to pay for our security upgrades because our government isn’t willing to do it.”

This certainly speaks to State Department ineptitude with regard to consular security, but also points to the ambassador’s own lack of good sense. Again, what was that man thinking?

And now we’ve got this Thursday’s hearing with former State Department secretary and current presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, as the primary witness for the day’s testimony. Most Democrats will claim that the Republicans are using Benghazi as a means for hurting HIllary’s candidacy. And there’s likely much truth to that as Republicans have been trying to affix some of the Benghazi blame on her since the first congressional investigation.

Thus far nothing’s stuck, and with regard to requests for increased security for the consulate, she said, “I didn’t see those requests, I didn’t approve them, I didn’t deny them.”

Guess the former secretary isn’t familiar with the concept of “The buck stops here.”


Anyhow, Thursday’s hearing is likely to be a big yawn fest with no new information unless the subcommittee has happened upon some interesting tidbits from Hillary’s private email server. But don’t expect any such tidbits to be earth shattering, let alone campaign shattering. After all, It’s not like Hillary gave the order to attack the consulate….

–M.J. Moye



M.J. Moye