Want Evidence Benghazi Is A Phony Scandal?

Blog ››› ››› ARI RABIN-HAVT

The president's remark during his economic speech in Tennessee Tuesday that "for most of this year, an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals have shifted focus from what we need to do to shore up the middle class" once again revved up the conservative outrage machine.

Their fervor was only increased when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed that the ginned-up controversy about Benghazi talking points was among the "phonyscandals" President Obama was talking about.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz appeared on Hannity last night and accused the Obama administration of  "try[ing] to personally disparage the people that are trying to get at the truth," and concluding that it's something "we should not stand for."

This sentiment was simply a repetition of what was being stated by conservative media figures such as Rush LimbaughMichelle Malkin, and the hosts of The Five as they simultaneously ignore the fact that each of their Benghazi charges are falling apart, now in fairly rapid succession.

Take for example the latest conservative media accusation -- that CNN was able to interview the purported perpetrator of the Benghazi attack yet the FBI has done nothing.

Eric Bolling claimed this was evidence that "President O" has "no suspects, no interviews, no leads, and no answers."

Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry questioned Jay Carney on this in the White House briefing room:

HENRY: How is it that someone who is potentially the lead suspect in this terror attack could sit down with a media organization for a couple of hours and never be contacted by the FBI?

Hopefully Henry and Bolling were watching Greta's show later that evening when she interviewed former FBI Special Agent Jonathan Gilliam and queried him on why CNN's suspect had not been interviewed by the FBI:

GILLIAM: [L]et's just go back to investigations 101 and think about this. First off,why in the world would an open investigation, that's active, would the investigators go and talk to a suspect? When I was in the FBI I could have talked to a thousand of the suspects that we were looking at. But we knew where they were, we knew what they were doing, and that's what leads an investigation.

And once again another element of the Benghazi scandal turns out to be phony. It's no surprise -- we have consistently witnessed over the past eleven months conservative accusations about Benghazi fall flat in the face of truth.

  • The President or Secretary of Defense refused to deploy forces to assist those under attack -- the House Republicans' own report undermines that claim [emphasis added]:

In addition, the House Armed Services Committee conducted a review of air assets available to respond to Benghazi.  No U.S. government element refused or denied requests for emergency assistance during the crisis. The evidence also does not show there were armed air assets above Benghazi at any time or that any such assets were called off from assisting U.S. personnel on the ground.  According to witness testimony, the security officials on the ground did use laser sights, but they did so as an escalatory demonstration of force in an effort to deter some attackers.  They were not lasing targets for air assets.

The House Armed Services Committee also examined the question of whether the Defense Department failed to deploy assets to Benghazi because it believed the attack was over after the first phase.  The progress report finds that officials at the Defense Department were monitoring the situation throughout and kept the forces that were initially deployed flowing into the region.  No evidence has been provided to suggest these officials refused to deploy resources because they thought the situation had been sufficiently resolved.

  • We could have buzzed the compound with fighter jets -- Robert Gates,former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, called that "sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces." He went on to explain: "[G]iven the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Gaddafi's arsenals, I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances."
  • A stand down order prevented forces from going to rescue our personal in Benghazi -- once again a Republican committee report contradicts that accusation:

Contrary to news reports, [the commander on the ground in Tripoli] was not ordered to 'stand down' by higher command authorities in response to his understandable desire to lead a group of three other special forces soldiers to Benghazi.

  • The President engaged in a cover up of the attack -- yet even lead congressional Benghazi investigator Jason Chaffetz cannot articulate what was being covered up.

From bad reporting about the authoring of talking points, to parsing the difference between an "act of terror" and a terrorist attack, to Hillary Clinton concussion trutherism, this has been a phony scandal from the start.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
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