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Benghazi Interview: Pickering Dissects Congressional Follies, Media Coverage, And ‘Cover-Up’ Charges

Memo Pad Politics

Benghazi Interview: Pickering Dissects Congressional Follies, Media Coverage, And ‘Cover-Up’ Charges


No doubt the degraded quality of congressional oversight astonishes Thomas Pickering, the distinguished American diplomat who oversaw the State Department’s Benghazi review board — although he tries not to say so too directly. For his demanding and difficult effort  – only the most recent in a long history of public service under both Republican and Democratic administrations — Pickering has found himself under sustained attack by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the excitable partisan who chairs the House Government Reform Committee.

Last Friday, Issa subpoenaed Pickering to deliver a taped deposition to the committee behind closed doors, without offering a public chance to answer the charges already lodged by Republicans against the Accountability Review Board report authored by Pickering and retired admiral Mike Mullen.

Immediately prior to this latest skirmish, Pickering spoke with The National Memo about the ARB report, political maneuvering by the administration’s adversaries, and media coverage of the Benghazi “scandal.”  Asked whether he had ever experienced or seen anything resembling Issa’s conduct, Pickering said, “No, I haven’t.…I suspect that on this particular issue, this guy [Issa] is driven by whatever will maximize his capability to be tough on the administration. This seems to be one effort he’s kind of landed on to make that happen. But I’m only guessing here,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pickering hasn’t noticed much attention being given on Capitol Hill to the extensive recommendations that he and Mullen made to improve security in dangerous posts around the world. “I can’t tell you whether anyone [in Congress] has sat down and examined them and wanted to have hearings on [the recommendations]” – instead of the notorious “talking points” developed by the White House last September. “So far I haven’t seen any evidence of that.”

For Pickering, the subpoena issued by Issa must be especially confusing. Ever since the Government Reform committee announced its planned hearings on Benghazi last winter, its leadership has repeatedly failed to establish a time when the review board chairman  — perhaps the most important witness – could testify. Although at first Pickering says he thought they were “genuinely interested” in getting his testimony, he became “increasingly less inclined” to appear before the committee “as the thing became more politicized.”

Before the May 8 hearing, he made a final effort to arrange to testify publicly. But via the White House and the State Department, he learned that his presence was not desired. Before Issa issued his subpoena to Pickering on Friday, he and Mullen had sent a letter requesting an opportunity to testify publicly – and said that they are “not inclined to give testimony in a closed hearing before that [happens].”

Having listened to Issa and others take potshots at him, Mullen, and their report for several weeks, Pickering wants to rebut some of the misinformation they have propagated, for the record.  He wants to address claims that the military “could have relieved or in fact changed the situation by sending men or equipment or both the night of the event” – and specifically assertions by Gregory Hicks, the former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, that four Special Forces soldiers should have been dispatched to Benghazi from Tripoli. Pickering says those four officers would have arrived in Benghazi too late to help and were needed in Tripoli anyway to treat the wounded, who were brought there after the Benghazi attack.

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. Lynda Groom May 20, 2013

    Now Issa wants to have a closed door meeting. After all of the noise now he wants a secret meeting away from the eyes of the public and the press. I suspect that he knows that Pickering will eat his lunch and expose the witch hunt for what it is. If the alleged reason for the investigating committee is to get to the ultimate truth…then why the secrets?

    1. RobGinChicago May 20, 2013

      Issa wants the closed door deposition so that his staff of lawyers (rather than idiot Congressmen) can handle the actual questioning, and in an effort to limit/box-in Pickering’s testimony so that they hold him to those limited and pointed deposition answers at such time as he appears before a public hearing. Issa doesn’t want surprises or unrestricted narratives. This is not a bad tactical move on Issa’s part, even if it does acknowledge that Pickering is smarter than he is and would eat him for lunch at a televised public hearing. This also serves Issa’s purpose in keeping the waters boiling and dragging this “controversy” out for fun, profit (campaign contributions) and politics. Anything that sucks the air out of the Obama Administration’s second term agenda, maintains the distractions favored by the Republicans over actually dealing with critical governance issues, and keeps the Obama Administration on the defensive works to Issa’s and the Republican’s advantage.

      1. Dominick Vila May 20, 2013

        Another goal is to discredit Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State. The GOP is already getting ready for 2016.

        1. montanabill May 20, 2013

          Hillary has already provided more than enough discredit material. The Dems best be looking for a young up and comer who is more a centerist in the mold of Kennedy or second term Clinton.

          1. Jane Rimmer May 20, 2013

            “The Dems best be looking for a young up and comer who is more a centerist in the mold of Kennedy or second term Clinton.” You mean…like Barack Obama?

          2. montanabill May 20, 2013

            Well, he was certainly an up and comer, but hardly centerist. My biggest regret is that he was never really vetted, not that the far left would have cared anyway. Way too many people simply didn’t recognize a gas bag and now are slow to accept that they were fooled.

          3. Sand_Cat May 20, 2013

            No, you’re right: he isn’t all that much of a centrist: he’s a conservative.
            And you and your delusional friends wouldn’t know the “far left” if it actually came to take your guns and money as you keep fantasizing it will.

          4. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

            Exactly, calling Obama anything but a slightly to the Right centrist is comical at best.

          5. montanabill May 21, 2013

            Another anarchist heard from.

          6. montanabill May 21, 2013

            Sorry, I hadn’t heard that borderline socialists are now called ‘conservative’. I presume that renders you to the left of anarchists.

          7. Lynda Groom May 21, 2013

            Where do you get the idea that Obama was not really vetted? That is a very strange idea even coming from the right. Was Romney or Ryan properly vetted? Of course they were, but they just lost.

          8. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

            Actually, Hillary has them running around in blind panic, and she hasn’t even announced if she’s running yet. This ferfluffle is a desperate attempt to get something on her before she squashes them like the bugs they are.

          9. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

            Too bad for you, Clinton will be president in 2016.

          10. montanabill May 21, 2013

            Other than getting my taxes raised, Obama hasn’t had much effect on me. Hasn’t been too good for my employees though. Everything costs more. Healthcare looks pretty iffy and our expansion has almost stopped due to the tax increases. I doubt that Clinton could do worse. The people being hurt are the workers and those wish they could be working. But I’m sure that as long as you can keep getting government assistance, your life will be ok.

          11. Justin Napolitano May 21, 2013

            Tax increases? Please name them?

          12. montanabill May 21, 2013

            My effective tax rate was raised to 39.5%. The limit on my Medicare contribution was eliminated. Didn’t you get the memo?

          13. Lynda Groom June 1, 2013

            I so pleased to see that your earn over $400 grand a year. Good for you.

      2. sigrid28 May 20, 2013

        If there is a plus in all of this, it is the old argument that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Ambassador Pickering would be well-advised to dig into whatever hearings he might encounter with aplomb, enjoy exercising his immense skills as a diplomat with a complicated but important agenda, and take this witch hunt for all it is worth. The same goes for Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mullen. The more the pages to testimony pile up, the more these testimonies are repeated on a loop in the 24-hour news cycle, the more the truth will emerge.

        A good example is Gregory Hicks’s testimony, which Representative Issa hoped would make it seem that Hicks’s pleas for help the night of the attack were ignored and his staff left in the lurch. Instead, Hicks’s testimony underscored the chaos that dominated that terrible 24 hours; the heroism of CIA and diplomatic staff who bravely remained in place first, in the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and then in its annex, once the embassy was itself under attack; and the role played by cooler heads in the DOD, trying to allocate what resources were available in the most timely and effective way possible. Hicks and his staff were heroic, and they had better help than they thought at the time.

      3. docb May 20, 2013

        The Congress members must ask the questions..not the lawyers…they can only advise. As to the subpoenas…cheney and many of the bush admin ignored them!

        With President Obama’s approvals going up, this may be the overreach end games for the repub baggers The line from the song comes to mind..’.which way will this old pony roll! The public WANTS JOBS…not this $30 million dollar and counting bagger boondoggle!

    2. Fern Woodfork May 20, 2013

      Issa Is An Ex Con And Still A Crook!! He Has No Business In Office Let Them Have All The Close Door Meeting They Want Cause All That Plotting Is Only Going To Blow Back Up In Their Lying, Cheating, Stealing And Gerrymandering Little Evil Faces!!! Let So Many Of Their Dirty Little Tricks Have Done!!

      1. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

        How is he an ex-con?

        1. Lynda Groom May 20, 2013

          He pled guilty to having an illegal firearm, was put on six months probation and paid a small fine.

          1. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

            I think that labeling him an “ex-con” for that is a big stretch. I don’t particularly like him, mainly for his generally snotty demeanor, but in my opinion he’s not an ex-con.

          2. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

            Though ‘current con man’ might be apropos . . .

          3. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

            He was also denied an insurance claim as he was investigated for arson and as the one igniting his business. There’s a reason he didn’t challenge the insurance company’s denial, if we follow Issa & GOTP logic. Cover-up!!

      2. idamag May 20, 2013

        I think the people who sent him to Washington owes the American people an apology.

    3. idamag May 20, 2013

      Probably because they came up looking like the bullies, they are, when they questioned Hilary Clinton. They are trying to destroy her popularity so they can get one of their dippies elected.

  2. Dominick Vila May 20, 2013

    Typical Republican tactics. Demonize a person, subpoena the person, and don’t give him an opportunity to clear the record in public. Hearing Rep. Issa, the Middle Eastern Republican crusader, challenge the explanation given by Adm. Mullen concerning the reason for not dispatching four military officers from Tripoli to Benghazi is pathetic. Not only would those officers not have arrived on time to help, their departure would have compromised the safety of our Embassy in Tripoli. Had they left the embassy undermanned, and had the embassy had been destroyed, the hearings today would have been about the irresponsible decision to leave our embassy without enough security to ensure its safety. Rep. Issa is a cynical ideologue that, in the end, is likely to cause more harm than good to the GOP and the country…and Priebus and others are well aware of that fact.

    1. Fern Woodfork May 20, 2013

      This Witch Hunt Will Blow Back Up In Their Faces I Do Believe!! I Sure They Will Bring Up The Fact That This No Good Congress Cut Funds Twice Plus The Fact That Stevens Himself Turn Down The Extra Help!! These Thugs Are Just Relentless In Getting Their Way Even If They Have To Destroy This Country And It’s People To Reach Their Goals!!! 🙁

    2. montanabill May 20, 2013

      Before you get yourself locked into a position simply based on ideology, you might want to wait for the whole story. A lot of very high ranking military people are taking exception to the official story. Here is but one of them:
      http://www dot wnd dot com/2013/04/general-on-benghazi-this-thing-runs-very-deep/

      1. Dominick Vila May 20, 2013

        Every act of terrorism should be investigated, if nothing else than to minimize the probability of a sequel. Unfortunately, that is not what is going on in Washington. People like Rep. Issa are not interested in curtailing the high incidence of terrorist attacks that have taken place during the last 25 or 30 years. His goal is to demonize a man he hates and derail Hillary Clinton’s anticipated nomination.
        Reports from high ranking military officers also confirm that a detail of 6 Special Forces soldiers arrived minutes after the two ex=Navy Seals were killed in the consulate annex by a mortar attack. An additional four could not travel from Tripoli to Benghazi because of unknown problems with the Libyan C-130 that was supposed to take them there. I would not be surprised if Embassy security personnel also considered the logic of leaving the embassy undermanned while a terrorist attack was ongoing in Benghazi. Sending jet fighters was considered, but that was canceled because there were no refueling tankers in the area.
        Our Armed Forces are second to none, but there are limitations concerning their ability to respond on short notice to attacks or threats in areas not involved in active warfare.
        It will be interesting to learn that final conclusions reached by Congress, but I would not be surprised if those conclusions do not reflect the feeback given to them by our military leaders and diplomats.
        Ideological imperatives are not easy to ignore when we consider the contrast between the way investigations were conducted following terrorist attacks against our diplomatic missions in years past, and the investigation that has been ongoing since the only terrorist attack against a U.S. diplomatic facility since President Obama was inaugurated.

        1. montanabill May 21, 2013

          You greatly underestimate the capabilities of our Armed Forces. To a significant number of senior officers, those excuses just don’t fly. But, today, how about joining me in contributing to www dot redcross dot org/okc?

      2. Warren Nicholson May 20, 2013

        There were 12 attacks under each of the Bushes with more than 3,000 Americans killed.
        Here’s the Bush Years there were 12 attacks with more than
        3,050 deaths including more than 3,000 Americans:
        2001 – World Trade Center, New York and Pentagon, DC; 3,000 Americans killed.
        2002 – US Consulate in Karachi Pakistan attacked, 12 killed; 51 injured.
        2003 – International Compound, Saudi Arabia, 17 killed .
        2003 – US Consulate, Karachi, Pakistan, 2 killed.
        2004 – US Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan, 2 killed 9 injured.
        2004 – US Consulate Saudi Arabia, 8 killed.
        2006 – US Consulate, Karachi, Pakistan, 4 killed including US diplomat.
        2006 – US Embassy, Syria, 1 killed and 13 wounded.
        2007 – Grenade launched into the US Embassy in Athens.
        2008 – US Embassy, Serbia, attacked by thousands, no one killed.
        2008 – US Consulate, Turkey, 3 killed.
        2008 – US Embassy in Yemen bombed, 13 killed.
        – Under George HW Bush, there were 12 Embassy or
        Consulate attacks with 60 being killed.

        1. montanabill May 21, 2013

          I see you found the standard far left talking points on this issue. I’m sure you also know it is a totally specious to the issue.

          1. Stephanie Parks May 21, 2013

            Why are these attacks untrue? Did they not happen?

          2. montanabill May 21, 2013

            I didn’t say they weren’t true, they simply have no bearing on Benghazi.

          3. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

            Those are the facts, anybody spouting talking points it’s you.l

          4. montanabill May 21, 2013

            So they are facts. They don’t have a single thing to do with Benghazi and a President didn’t get on TV and lie to us about them.

          5. Lynda Groom June 1, 2013

            It was Rice who came on TV, not Obama.

          6. montanabill June 1, 2013

            September 20 — 9 days after the attack
            President Obama at a town hall meeting organized by the Spanish-language Univision Network, responding to a question about the possible involvement of al Qaeda

            “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

      3. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

        wnd? Surely, you jest little con.

    3. DukeDacat May 20, 2013

      Rep. Issa, the Middle Eastern Republican crusader………………..
      He is a Sen Mc Cartty “Tailgate Joe” Tea Party wanna be………..
      Issa will end up in the same Sordid Dust Bin of history,,,,

  3. BPI Squirrel May 20, 2013

    Issa wants a closed-door hearing for two reasons: (1) so he can prepare “gotcha” questions for the public hearing; and, (2) so he can then claim Pickering and Mullen changed their stories from what they said in private. Pickering and Mullen are right to reject the closed-door hearing, as its only purpose is to keep alive a narrative that will collapse if they testify in public.

    1. Fern Woodfork May 20, 2013

      I Remember Clearly Of One Of Those Close Door Meeting Where Barack Obama Was Going To Be A One Term President !! LOL See How That Worked Out For Them!!! LOL

      1. idamag May 20, 2013

        That wasn’t even closed door. Mitch (turtle) McConnell proudly announce the goal on the floor.

        1. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

          That’s how stupid he was and how much he underestimated Obama probably because he saw him as the black guy with a fluke win. It was no fluke senator..

    2. montanabill May 20, 2013

      That makes no sense. If Issa (or anyone) has gotcha questions, they want the targets out in the open. Don’t forget that half of the committee is composed of Democrats. Any claims made by Republicans about answers that are denied by Democrats would not serve any purpose. It would be more useful to assume that because Pickering and Mullen have had respected careers, tough questions that might embarrass them might best be done behind closed doors.

      1. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

        Selective editing and doctored leaks are generally how the Republicans operate – like the ‘e-mails’ that they shopped around and got Jonathan Karl to bite on. Of course, you would think that the media would have learned to be wary, but like most fish, they are fascinated by the possibility of scooping the competition, and will bite on another lure yet again. A pity there’s no penalty for being wrong in the media . . . they generally don’t even bother with apologies or retractions any longer.

        1. montanabill May 20, 2013

          In your world, the noble left does none of that?

          1. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

            Not to that degree. But then, to be honest, the Democratic party is not staring extinction in the face. When they went through their crazy days back in the ’70s, they took a good, long look at themselves and took corrective actions. However, the GOP has a long established history of doubling down on crazy at every opportunity, and now it’s caught up with them.

            That’s why conservatives are thrashing the way they are, and why they have abandoned any and all scruples or ethics. They’re dying, they know they’re dying, but their base will not allow them to take any kind of actions which would allow them to recover from the fever of madness which afflicts them. They embraced hatred, racial division, rank greed, and as a result, that’s all they have left. That’s why everyone with brains, or any sense of moral values at all has left the party and become an ‘Independent’ (like me – I used to be a Republican until the party went mad, and I left in utter disgust).

            Right now, the progressives can bide their time while they gain new voters every day and the old farts which comprise the GOP base succumb to the ravages of old age and dementia.

            The Libertarians will be the conservative party of the 21st century, and the Geriatric Old Party will be reduced to a rump party festering in the deepest depths of the old Confederacy, marginalized, useless, and as impotent as its members fulminating and remembering the gool dold days when they were actually still important.

            I wish the Libertarians the best of luck, we need an intelligent, principled, and rational conservative party to maintain the dynamic our democracy demands. We’ll see if they can provide that, or whether they, too, shall fall to madness.

          2. montanabill May 20, 2013

            If the Republican party was staring extinction in the face they wouldn’t have the majority in the House and a nearly tied Senate. The 2014 elections should be interesting. But I do think more Republican leaning people are looking for a more conservative approach than the old guard. But your assessment of racial division, rank greed and hatred is more accurately pointed at the Democrats since they play the race card every chance they get and the language from the left is nothing short of vitriol. But I would replace rank greed with wealth envy.

          3. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

            All a matter, of perspective, then . . . though I would invite a visual comparison of video from both the Democratic and Republican convention floors, then reflect on the expected future life spans of the respective attendees.

            And the only reason they still hold a House majority is because they carefully gerrymandered safe districts for themselves. Even then, the GOP lost seats in both the House and Senate, when they were expected to make gains in the House and take control of the Senate. The current civil war within the party should make the ’14 midterms interesting, indeed. I read some of the conservative blogs, and sites like RedState and their ilk have no love whatsoever for the ‘RINOs’ (which I actually think is a misnomer – the establishment party IS the Republican party, and it’s the Tea Partiers who are ‘Republicans in name only’). A house (or party) divided cannot stand . . .

          4. Sand_Cat May 20, 2013

            They play the “race card” because it’s the truth, which is why you and the Republicans hate it so much.

          5. Sand_Cat May 20, 2013

            Once again, there is no “left” in America, noble or otherwise, other than a few marginalized groups and individuals, plus a party which is somewhat to the left of the Republicans: but so is just about every other sane party in the world. That doesn’t make them “the left.” And if you don’t like it when the opposition does it, why do you support it when your friends do? Or is this just another right-wing projection: they all do it, so one’s no better than the other, except you seem to think the one that does it more is better.

      2. Lynda Groom May 20, 2013

        Actually Bill the committees are never half and half. The majority party in House always has the bigger half in those committees. That is the advantage of being in the majority. You get to chair the committees, appoint the key members and decide what to bills to consider within the confines of the particular committee.

        1. montanabill May 20, 2013

          True, but there are enough Democrats on the committee to support my original premise.

          1. Sand_Cat May 20, 2013

            On a closed-door meeting, the Republicans are free to lie about what was said, and they know that if they do so loudly and persistently enough, the media and the public will likely buy it. Also, closed-door meetings deny the the public the opportunity to view the stupidity, hypocrisy, politics playing, pettiness, and downright ignorance often displayed in public hearings by representatives of both sides. So no, I don’t think your premise really holds.

    3. docb May 20, 2013

      Amb Pickering has huge and long honed diplomatic skills. Issa will be a boned fish if he attempts to play game with him..He can eviscerate issa before he knows what has happened to him… Issa is nasty because he is dumb and knows it! He, Pickering, is also at that age that he suffers NO FOOLS!

  4. JDavidS May 20, 2013

    All of this nonsense is straight out of the RepubliCON playbook. Scream “cover-up”, scream “scandal”, put on your best fake outrage. But, for Gods’ sake don’t let the facts come out, for, as we all know, facts seem to have a liberal bias… and for the CONs facts are just an inconvenience to be twisted, distorted or ignored.

    1. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

      It’s straight out of the McCarthy era.

  5. rafibaby May 20, 2013

    This is just another example of Republicans wanting to sabotage everything the President and Democrats try to do, in an effort to make them look bad to the American people. However, with so many Americans losing so much because of Republican tactics, Republicans are only beginning to feel the blow-back from the American people. The Republicans have sabotaged the economy, jobs, homes, for all Americans. Then they have gone ahead and sabotaged any social support that can be provided to those that have already lost so much.

  6. Robert P. Robertson May 20, 2013


  7. montanabill May 20, 2013

    Pickering made sure he wasn’t tough on the administration. No interviewing people on the ground. No interviewing the Captain of the ship of State. Harsh words for low level functionaries. He didn’t find any ‘evidence’ because he didn’t look. He should be happy he is being allowed to testify behind closed doors. That will allow Cummings to come out and declare ‘witch hunt’ without the rest of us hearing the testimony.

    1. Lynda Groom May 20, 2013

      And exactly how is it that you know he did not want to find any ‘evidence.’ Do you actually have something here or is this navel gazing?

    2. Patricia Barille May 20, 2013

      You would not understand it anyway. What would you do with this knowledge? Be the big man at the target range, or the pub?

    3. metrognome3830 May 20, 2013

      As a wise man once said, Bill, “Don’t get locked into a position based on ideology.” Good advice, don’t you think?

      1. montanabill May 21, 2013

        Absolutely. How about joining me in contributing to www dot redcross dot org/okc?

        1. metrognome3830 May 22, 2013

          OK, Bill. The contribution has been made.

      2. Judie V-c May 21, 2013

        Bill wouldn’t know truth or evidence if it jumped up & bit him in the nose.

    4. Sand_Cat May 20, 2013

      And of course you, with your superior sources and discernment are generous enough to share your opinion as fact with us mere mortals.

  8. Patricia Barille May 20, 2013

    The republicans are reprehensible. They are traitors to the good of the country. Vicious, evil Americans! They are not patriots, they are what our culture has produced. What have we done? They only have love for each other and have no moral compass. They know not what they they do, but go to church and praise Jesus. They just run like locusts and blame the rot on the pisemires. And say our president has only Muslem sensibilities. How low will they go? Bottom feeding hypocrites.

    1. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

      They are not traitors. I don’t agree with their extremist philosophy, but labeling them traitors is wrong.

      1. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

        Treason implies they are selling their country out to an enemy. They are simply selling the country out to themselves. I’m not quite sure what you’d call that, though I’m sure that political scientists will coin a term for it as they dissect the mouldering corpse of the Republican party over the next few decades.

        1. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

          Mr. Heydrich:

          You have a tendency to use hyperbole in your comments.

          1. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

            Yes, but I do it with flair and panache . . .

      2. Victoria Lamb May 21, 2013

        They are fighting against the interests of their fellow Americans, when they were elected to serve them. What do you call that?

        1. CPAinNewYork May 21, 2013

          I would call it partisan politics, because it’s one view opposing another. If you were successful in defining it as treason, you would effectively stifle debate, as anybody who disagrees with the opinion of the rulers would be committing treason.

          1. Sand_Cat September 10, 2013

            Precisely why it was defined in the Constitution: to prevent abuse of dissidents.

        2. Sand_Cat September 10, 2013

          The Constitution calls it not treason. Use some other word. please.

  9. Rudy Hunter May 20, 2013

    The whole intent is nothing more than a sham in order to keep our President from getting anything important done before his term is up. If they can stop him from accomplishing anything, then they have met their goals.

  10. latebloomingrandma May 20, 2013

    Does bringing back dueling fit into the 2nd amendment narratives?.

    1. charleo1 May 20, 2013

      I don’t know. But, it would make one heck of a reality show!

    2. CPAinNewYork May 20, 2013

      No. It’s illegal. It’s also a career killer. Killing Alexander Hamilton destroyed Aaron Burr’s career and almost ruined Andrew Jackson’s.

      1. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

        Then they need to update the weaponry. Say, hand grenades at ten paces. Both win, both lose, and everyone else benefits from the removal of two crazy people who were nuts enough to duel. Actually, a bit of historical trivia – the main reason the US Navy outlawed dueling in the 19th century was because they found they were losing more midshipmen to duels than to enemy action . . .

  11. charleo1 May 20, 2013

    If I was Darrell Issa, I wouldn’t let this guy anywhere near a camera! If I was
    Issa, and had clawed my way into politics, by clawing my way to the top of
    the auto alarm business, I would use everything I had learned about getting
    people to pay attention to false auto alarms, to get them to pay attention to
    false, and alarming, investigations. Sound effects and all. eeee!ooo!eee!ooo!
    konk,konk konk.konk…eee!ooo!eeeooo!!

  12. Siegfried Heydrich May 20, 2013

    I think that Ambassador Pickering and Admiral McMullen both need to sit down for a 60 Minutes interview and lay out their side of the story before the American people without Issa being able to shut them up as he frantically wants them to do. The politicization of this affair has been sickening, beginning with Mitt Romney’s press conference even before the site had been cleared. The desperation of the GOP to find something, ANYTHING to try to pin on both President Obama and Hillary Clinton is both sad and pathetic. And the voters are seeing this farce for what it is.

    I really think that this is going to come back and bite the Republicans badly in the future . . . Their base will never be convinced that this is anything but a scandal, but to be honest, their base believes that EVERYTHING is a scandal, and it’s futile to waste time trying to convince them otherwise.

    1. Kathy Noonan May 20, 2013

      Best solution I have heard so far. Issa is a joke, but it is important to get the facts out. Jonathan Karl-type reporting on this story needs to be addressed. Kudos to Ambassador Pickering for not putting up with Issa’s attempts to hide the facts.

  13. RobertCHastings May 20, 2013

    It is apparent that Issa wants to muzzle Pickering before the truth gets out. Pickering has already been ordered to keep silent before he appears before Issa’s committee, this after Pickering has offered to be questioned in public. Treating a cooperative witness as
    a hostile one means only that the Republicans onthe committee want Pickering silenced so they can continue with their witch-hunt.

  14. Alfred Sonnenstrahl May 20, 2013

    When will these Republican whiners discontinue the manipulation of American ignorants and resume the respect from American intelligents?

  15. emadis41 May 20, 2013

    Darrell Issa is a political thug, he has no conscience and wants only to create a scandal for Obama and the Dems. I do not believe that he is really inquiring about the truth in Benghazi, because the truth is above him and above his narrow minded Tea Party.

    Let me repeat what I said before: the situation in Libya is out of our jurisdiction, it is the Libyan responsibility to safeguard the foreign embassies and consulates in their country, and no attempt to send a force would have helped the situation, whether there were a Go Ahead or Stand Down. So what is the hearings going to reveal:The ambassador was offered military help and declined twice! or that the post was a CIA station! It is for Issa to really tell us what is the whole darn thing is all about. Also, Libya is awash with weapons, and that we failed to collect these weapon and to help the Libyans in regain the security needed in their country after Qaddafi was deposed.

    Benghazi hearing is a storm in a teapot on the shores of the Mediterranean and is another whole where Mr. Issa wants to throw our taxes $ in.

  16. howa4x May 20, 2013

    Issa has no military background and never served in the overseas service so his only agenda is partisan

  17. johnny depp May 21, 2013

    incredible…Pickering concludes Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with Benghazi, without even interviewing her (under oath) for her testimony…nor interviewing any witnesses on the ground.

    A “complete” (wink) investigation….lol

    …sounds like he got and relied upon credible hearsay from Jay Carney


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