It may be because we as a culture have become so desensitized that even true scandals do not surprise or offend us much, or that when one occurs, everyone rallies to whichever side they are on with little concern for the truth. Benghazi may be an example of this. No one would argue that it was not a tragedy, and only the most partisan of people would argue that the administration did not make any mistakes in failing to prevent the attack. What the House Oversight hearing this week revealed strongly suggests that the Obama administration knowingly misled the American public about what happened in Benghazi.
The testimonies of Mr. Hicks, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Nordstrom, all closely engaged with the situation in Benghazi, were truly heartbreaking and stunning. I submit that the people saying that those testimonies revealed nothing new were going to say that no matter what the witnesses revealed. Those willfully blind deniers are motivated only by their politics, trying to protect mostly Hillary Clinton and President Obama. As Guy Benson points out, there were at least a dozen revelations from the hearing.
Among the most important revelations from the hearing were that Hicks, who was on the ground in Libya, received a call from Hillary and her staff around 2 AM. According to Hicks, during that call–the transcript or recording or which we do not have and should try to obtain–Hicks and Hillary were on the same page about what was happening, and no one even mentioned a demonstration or a YouTube video. The folks on the ground in Libya all realized right away that they were being attacked by terrorists. Hicks testified that he was told that fighter planes were 2-3 hours away, yet never came, and that someone apparently gave a “stand down” order that prevented US forces in Tripoli from coming to help.
Mr. Nordstrom, the head of US security in Libya, testified that it was well-known that the US facility in Benghazi did not meet safety standards, and that Hillary would have known about the requests for additional security at the facility. Thompson, a former Marine, added more head-scratchers, recounting that his unit in the Counterterrorism Bureau was excluded from high level administration meetings and was cut out from the process. Thompson’s unit is supposedly trained and specialized for emergency situations like the one in Benghazi.
The cover up, which it almost certainly was, was confirmed when Hicks said that the YouTube video was a non-factor. Hicks testified that he was embarrassed when Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows and blamed a video that had nothing to do with what had happened. When Hicks asked his superiors on Hillary’s staff about why that false narrative was being offered by the Obama administration, he was excoriated and demoted after having received praise from his superiors in the administration for the way he had handled the situation. That this was a cover up was made even more clear by intelligence reports that initially mentioned terrorist attacks, were scrubbed to remove those mentions, and never talked about a video.
Any objective observer of the investigations into what happened in Benghazi who heard this week’s testimonies would conclude that the administration knowingly misled the American public. It is still not completely clear who made which decisions, but the testimonies in this past week’s House Oversight hearing confirm the cover up and other mistakes that were made. It would be a shame if we ignored this simply because we did not want to hurt our favorite political celebrities, which is surely a concern for many media outlets who would rather bury this story to protect their political interests.
UPDATE: Andy McCarthy adds commentary about the call between Hicks and Hillary, summarizing the situation concisely:
To sum up: State’s main guy on the ground in Libya tells Clinton in Washington that State’s people in Benghazi are under attack by the local al Qaeda franchise, Ansar al-Sharia, which might have captured the U.S. ambassador. Yet, over the next few days, with what we now know to be monumental input from the State Department, the Obama administration purges references to Ansar al-Sharia from the talking points that it uses to explain the attack to the American people. Instead, it concocts a story claiming the anti-Islamic Internet video was the culprit.
McCarthy interestingly notes that shortly after Hicks spoke to Hillary–a phone call that Hicks testified had them on the same page about the terrorist attack–President Obama called Hillary. Shortly after the President’s call, a statement was released for Hillary that blamed the video. It is not hard to come up with the subsequent question.