In January 2013, two months following the re-election of Barack Obama and four months following the planned, deadly, terrorist attack on America's Benghazi Consulate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before Congress about the attack, the State Department's security arrangements for the Consulate, and the manner in which the Obama administration represented the attack on television in the immediate aftermath of the attack and in the heated last weeks of Obama's re-election run.
Before going further, here's a link to an excerpt of that testimony. Please watch it again. I know most of you have seen it before. But, please, remind yourself of exactly how Secretary Clinton presented to the Committee her "What difference does it make" rebuke:
A lot of ink has been spilled in pursuit of political agendas and in pursuit of the truth, over the Consulate Benghazi attack. The pursuit of truth, of course, was substantially impeded by the known lie offered by the Obama administration immediately following the attack. You do remember the known lie, yes? That the attack on Benghazi was the result of outrage in the Islamic community over a youtube video that blasphemed that religion?
That was the lie told five times on a Sunday morning five days after the attack by Susan Rice, then the President's National Security Adviser. That lie was not a spontaneous error made once and then forced to be repeated on subsequent talk shows. It was the planned lie. Indeed, it was planned as a deliberate distraction from what the Benghazi attack might really be seen to reveal: the foreign policy failures of the Obama administration.
We know that last fact thanks to the work of Judicial Watch. Its FOIA lawsuits have forced the Obama Administration to produce damning emails.
One of those damning emails came from Ben Rhodes.
Rhodes serves as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting to President Obama. Rhodes has siblings. In a wonderfully delicious coincidence, his brother is the President of CBS News. Given the absolute failure of CBS News to substantively analyze, or question, the agenda-driven (re-elect Obama), completely false narrative she offered on Face the Nation, it leaves one wondering just how cozy the relationship between CBS's Rhodes and the White House's Rhodes is.
Rhodes emailed tips about preparing Rice for her Sunday morning talk show appearances. Among his tips: "underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video, and not a broader failure of policy." No, no, certainly not a broader failure of policy. We certainly would not want our National Security Adviser to get on the TV Sunday morning shows and say, "Benghazi was a cluster-f#ck of monumental proportions and is the fault of our failed policies." So, what would she say instead?
Apparently whatever lie Rhodes suggested.
In some way, it may seem unfair to require one to answer for the lies of another ... unless one used their position to lend credence and weight to the false narrative. So while you might sympathize with Hillary Clinton, when called to task on Capitol Hill, no sympathy is warranted. Particularly, no sympathy is warranted because she did not come to Capitol Hill to clear the air, resolve ambiguities, or tell the truth.
How do I know that to be the case?
Well, it's all right up there in that video.
Hillary came to Capitol Hill to continue the venerable Democratic (and governmental) practice of telling bald-faced lies.
Here is the transcript of the relevant exchange between Republican Senator Ron Johnson and Secretary Clinton in that video linked above:
Johnson: But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?
Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—
Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown --
Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, 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.
Do you see the lie?
What does Hillary say?
"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans?"
You have to literally take the blow by blow with Hillary to catch the full nuance of complete and utter falsehood she unloads in that statement.
Notice the hands and her gaze toward Senator Johnson:
So far, you would be right to conclude that she had not yet lied.
The next moment, however, she will begin to unload 100% Grade A falsehood. But before I explain, here is a bit more background.
When the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee was beginning its investigation into Benghazi, it sent a letter to Secretary Clinton. That letter details an extended series of attacks on American and other foreign facilities and personnel in Libya in the months leading up to the planned terrorist assault on the Benghazi Consulate and the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. This chronology showing the increasing danger of circumstances in Benghazi is based on their letter:
- April 6, 2012, BENGHAZI – IED Attack on Benghazi Consulate
- April 11, 2012, BENGHAZI – Gun battle, including antiaircraft guns and RPGs, within 5 km of the Benghazi Consulate
- April 25, 2012, TRIPOLI – A US Embassy diplomatically plated vehicle detained and Embassy-issued radio seized
- April 26, 2012, BENGHAZI – Fistfight and gunfire while a Foreign Service officer attended a trade-related event at the International Medical University
- April 27, 2012, BENGHAZI – Two South African contractors kidnapped by armed men while walking through a residential area of Benghazi
- May 1, 2012, TRIPOLI – The Deputy Commander of Embassy Tripoli’s Local Guard Force carjacked, beaten and detained by a group of armed youth.
- May 22, 2012, BENGHAZI – Two RPG rounds were fired at the Benghazi office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), approximately 1 km from Consulate Benghazi
- June 2012 – In June 2012, a posting on a pro-Gaddafi Facebook page identified Ambassador Stevens daily exercise schedule and directed a threat against the Ambassador with a photo of him
- June 6, 2012, BENGHAZI – An IED on the north gate of Consulate Benghazi blew a hole in the security perimeter “big enough for forty men to go through”
- June 10, 2012, BENGHAZI –June 10, 2012, a convoy carrying the British Ambassador was attacked with an RPG.
- Late June 2012, BENGHAZI – The International Committee of the Red Cross building was attacked again, this time in broad daylight while people were inside.
- August 6, 2012, TRIPOLI – Armed assailants attempt to carjack vehicle with diplomatic plates driven by US security personnel
- WEEKS BEFORE September 11, 2012, BENGHAZI – Unarmed Libyan guards were warned by family members to quit guarding Consulate Benghazi due to rumors of an impending attack
As the chronology above mentioned, there was also an RPG attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross in Benghazi. The photo below shows where the rocket propelled grenade entered the ICRC building:
National Security Adviser Susan Rice took to the airwaves and pushed the administration's lying line, recounting a false narrative, that a video that defamed Islam stirred anti American sentiment. White House Creative Writing expert Ben Rhodes urged the lie so that no one would think the Benghazi attack reflected a more general failure of US policy.
Of course, that is precisely what the attack reflected.
The Obama administration shares responsibility with other nations for supporting the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. What ever ill one may speak of that dictator, he kept the more disruptive and violent components of Libyan society in check. Supporting his removal, and his murder, put us in the position of killing the engineer on a train speeding down a straight track into town, knowing that the track curves precipitously in the downtown area. If you do that, you are agreeing to the mayhem that results. And this administration was warned by human rights groups about the dangers to Libyan minority groups inherent in such destabilization. Yet the administration made removing Gaddafi a key component of its middle eastern strategies.
What followed, then, was the trail of disturbances and violence. Nor was our Benghazi consulate the sole target of the violence, as the chronology above showed. And that chronology does not address the domestic harms of the failed policy of this administration for Libyan minorities and ordinary citizens.
So, when Hillary came to Capitol Hill, and did so after the House Committee's letter, mentioned above, pointed to the intensifying violence and danger, and inquired about security arrangements and requests for enhanced security for the Libyan mission, Secretary Clinton obviously practiced and came prepared ... to lie.
Notice, in the video, she omitted "protest over a video defaming Islam. Now, she simply asks, "Was it because of a protest?"
Remember, when she spoke that phrase, she already knew that it was NOT BECAUSE OF A PROTEST. It never was. Yet, in setting up her counterpoise of two competing narratives -- each of which exonerates the Obama administration for failing to respond to security enhancement requests -- she clings to a part of the narrative, that the attack was "because of a protest."
The answer, as the Secretary knew, was, "No, it wasn't because of a protest."
Then she proceeds immediately to offer the alternative, equally false narrative;
So, having proposed that it might have been the result of a protest, she immediately leaps to the alternative, equally false narrative. "Was it because a group of guys were out walking one night and decided to go kill some Americans?"
Well, again, Secretary Clinton knew that the answer to the question was, "No, it wasn't because a 'group of guys were out walking one night and decided to go kill some Americans.'" That narrative offers a skin of truth: that a group of guys decided to kill Americans. But that skin of truth was stretched overly tightly around a lie of enormous proportions. The lie was the impression left by the question that the attack was an unplanned event isolated in time to the evening when it occurred. One has the sense, from hearing her words, that she is suggesting that a group of radicals were strolling in the park and decided
What difference, at this point, does it make?
It makes the difference that the President and his administration -- in a planned act of direct lies -- told America that the attack on Benghazi was the fault of a video. They knew when they said it that they were lying. Why say it? Because they knew the alternative, truthful, explanation was damning to the President's re-election: a more general failure of policy in the region. Now one of the principal architects of that falsehood, an agent of deception that used flourish and art to spin out two further developed and completely false narratives, would be President.
No, it wasn't a group out for a walk that spontaneously decided to kill Americans.
No, it wasn't a protest against a video that simply spun out of control.
The two previous IED attacks directly on the compound, including one that blew a hole in the compound's fence large enough for forty men to charge through, show that there was deliberation, planning, probing for weaknesses in security taking place in the months leading up to the attack. The Gaddafi regime that Obama toppled was, certainly, troubling. The wreck left in the wake of topping that regime, however, was the failure of Obama's policy. A person of honor would have resigned their post rather than assist in propping up Obama's policy and his lies to the American people. We have seen American political leaders demonstrate that honor.
During the investigation into the break-in of the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, then-President Richard Nixon gave in to pressure and appointed an independent special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. When Cox's investigation discomfitted Nixon, he decided to fire him.
The decision of the President to terminate an official of his administration is nothing new. In our history we had episodic fits between Congress and the President over that power. Ultimately, Congress enacted a law, the Tenure in Office Act, during the administration of Pres. Andrew Johnson.
In 1867, having grown wary with Edwin Stanton's service as secretary of war, Pres. Johnson wrote a telegram to Sec. Stanton advised him that his resignation from office would be accepted. Stanton did not respond and continue to exercise the powers of his office as secretary of war. Stanton, part of the radical Republican wing of the Republican Party, and others believe that Johnson's policies of reconstruction were insufficiently rigorous and disciplinary of a South which had fought against the union. Ultimately, Pres. Johnson ordered Sec. Stanton to suspend the exercise of his office and appointed Ulysses Grant to service Secretary of War in his place.
In response to the president's actions, Congress enacted the Tenure in Office Act over Johnson's veto. The act prohibited the president from discharging any government official whose appointment required the advice and consent of the Senate, without obtaining the consent of the Senate to the discharge. Because Johnson's discharge of Stanton violated the act, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson. Although this Senate failed to convict Johnson it was the first time in our nations history that a president was subjected to a trial for impeachment.
A century later, Pres. Nixon, embattled in the White House over the Watergate break-in, face the rigorous investigation by special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon concluded that Cox should be fired. He directed the Atty. Gen. of the United States, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refused.
Rather than fire Cox, Richardson resigned. Nixon then ordered the Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Like Richardson, Ruckelshaus refused. He resigned his office.
In the absence of an Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, the solicitor General of the United States is the acting head of the Department of Justice. At that time Robert Bork was the Solicitor General of the United States. Nixon requested that Bork terminate Archibald Cox has special prosecutor. Bork terminated Cox, in his view the president had the sole prerogative to terminate from employment with the federal government any employee.
Richardson and Ruckelshaus set a clear precedent for a person holding high public office under the government of the United States to resign from office rather than to participate in folly or crime. Clinton, who served as an attorney to the Watergate committee investigating Nixon, knew that Richardson and Ruckelshaus acted honorably in the face of Nixon's demand for the firing of Archibald Cox. Apparently that lesson of history was lost on Secretary Clinton. Hillary Clinton chose poorly.