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Republicans’ Benghazi Report Seeks Repetition, Not Truth

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Republicans’ Benghazi Report Seeks Repetition, Not Truth

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton comments on the just-released Benghazi report as she speaks at Galvanize, a learning community for technology, in Denver

When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her approval ratings hit an all-time high. Republican luminaries Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain — the list goes on — all sang her praises.

Then she ran for president.

The applause stopped, and the Republican opposition searched for a scandal, real or made-up, to pin on her. They landed on the terrorist attacks that cost the lives of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton was to be blamed for the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2012.

As Democrats have noted, the Republican-run probes into the Benghazi fiasco have gone on longer than did the inquiries into the Sept. 11, 2001, assault, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But they’re meant to go on. That’s the whole point of them.

The House Republicans’ “final” report on Benghazi contains no new dope on Clinton, but the authors don’t need “new.” They’re looking for repetition. Spread the innuendo often and thick enough and a good chunk of the public will believe it.

Thanks to their efforts, the word “Benghazi” has become an incantation no longer attached to details. Even some Bernie Sanders liberals picked up on it, using “What about Benghazi?” as a talking point against Clinton. (Sanders himself did not.)

The latest report has about 800 pages of almost nothing not already reported. That did not preclude two Republican reps, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Pompeo of Kansas, from writing a 48-page addendum taking extra swipes at the Obama administration.

The report failed to counter the most salient fact in Clinton’s defense. The U.S. military in Europe could not have reached Benghazi in time to save the Americans.

Was there adequate security at the American compound in Benghazi? Obviously not. That was the conclusion of an independent report led by retired diplomat Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen. Though highly critical of the State Department’s security arrangements, they laid blame on lower-level officials rather than on Clinton. That wasn’t what the partisans wanted. Not at all.

They were peddling the ludicrous notion that the secretary of state personally manages the security of every U.S. embassy and consulate in the world. That’s like saying the CEO of Wal-Mart was to blame for two deaths when a tornado hit a store in Joplin, Missouri. (Wal-Mart was sued over that, by the way.)

American diplomats operate in the more unstable corners of the earth. That’s their job. The brave men and women who take on these dangerous assignments accept the risks. They are a lot like soldiers, except they generally don’t get to sleep in defended military bases.

Such harsh realities were swept aside, for there were politics to be played. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy spilled the beans in a regrettable interview last September. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” the California Republican said. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today?”

Hillary Clinton is not a Teflon politician. Things stick to her. But what Clinton lacks in Teflon, she has in cast iron.

Last October, her Benghazi tormentors subjected her to eight hours of televised hearings. This followed seven previous investigations. Point is, Clinton never cracked. The latest report may have taken a bite out of the U.S. paper supply, but one doubts it will put another dent in Clinton.

Will House Republicans ever stop flogging their conspiracy theories about Clinton and Benghazi? They most definitely will, and we know the date. It will be Nov. 9, the day after the election.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton comments on the just-released Benghazi report as she speaks at Galvanize, a learning community for technology, in Denver, U.S. June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Froma Harrop

Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in over 150 newspapers. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has been a guest on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is a frequent voice on NPR and talk radio stations in every time zone as well.

A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop was also a Scripps Howard Award finalist for commentary in 2010. She has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has given her five awards.

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12 Comments

  1. Theodora30 June 30, 2016

    The only way a politician is covered with Teflon is if the media willingly overlooks their flaws. Reagan is the classic example. Poppy Bush also was allowed to get away with breaking the law and violating the constitution with his deep involvement in Iran Contra. Contrary to his repeated assertions of being out of the loop, Bush was a principal player and involved in the planning meetings. It was his right hand man and close friend Donald Gregg who ran the Contra op. This would have become clear when Caspar Weinberger’s diary was introduced as evidence at his trial, a trial that never happened because Bush pardoned him before it could take place. The media outcry over that was not remotely comparable to the fit they threw over Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, (something the Israelis urged him to do).
    Colin Powell is another public figure that the media covers with Teflon. The Iran Contra investigations final report (an investigation led by Republican Lawrence Walsh) made it cleared that Powell had lied to them. Powell denied that his boss Weinberger had kept a diary of the meetings. And where is the media outrage over Powell having all of his emails as Secretary of State erased? Today the media is buzzing about Hillary failing to turn over 100+ work related emails but shrug off Powell’s destruction of thousands of his emails. The media also has not put Powell on the spot about endorsing Trump as far as I know.

    Reply
    1. FireBaron June 30, 2016

      My personal favorite – where is the outrage and investigations over the 60+ diplomats killed in attacks on US Consulates, Embassies and Missions between January 21, 2001 and January 20, 2009? I haven’t heard of one committee formed to investigate these attacks and the appendant lack of security.

      Reply
  2. plc97477 June 30, 2016

    The only change in Nov. will be that it will change from a get Hillary Clinton to an impeach Hillary Clinton. It will get them no where.

    Reply
  3. AgLander June 30, 2016

    Seven weeks…..Thirty five days.
    That’s the amount of time that passed before Hillary Clinton had the decency to contact any of the survivors of the Benghazi Islamic terror attack. An attack she played a key role in due to her failures in the months before the attack and also during the attack……Thirty five days.
    And she only contacted 1 out of the 36 survivors for a brief conversation. And that contact was made only after her aide, Huma Abedin, INSISTED she make the contact. One out of 36………..
    And this woman want to be our Commander-In-Chief?
    Question: Who do you think the families of those slain and these 36 survivors will be voting for in November?

    Reply
    1. Bob Eddy June 30, 2016

      Of course everything you say is refuted by EIGHT investigations including two separate right wing kangaroo courts, but who needs facts when hate is your motivation?

      Reply
      1. AgLander June 30, 2016

        I have to conclude you also are speaking to the survivors and families of the slain with your comment? Shame on you. Self reflection is long overdue in your heart.

        Reply
    2. johninPCFL June 30, 2016

      Just did a quick search. Under GWB and two SoS, there were over a dozen attacks and over 35 Americans killed, not counting 9/11. Rice never called any of the families. Powell never called any of the families.
      Maybe the “Hate Hillary” gang should go find a life. There’s gotta be a rock out there somewhere to crawl under.

      Reply
    3. drdroad July 1, 2016

      Total Baloney. Facts Ag, facts.

      Reply
      1. AgLander July 2, 2016

        It’s documented, grasshopper. You need to enlarge your sources of information beyond leftist wing nut internet sites.

        Reply
        1. drdroad July 2, 2016

          And the fact that you didn’t document anything, proves you have no documentation because it is all, like I said, baloney!

          Reply
          1. AgLander July 2, 2016

            I’m not your administrative assistant…..use your own Google search with the key words and pick any source that pops up immediately. We both know if I pick one of the many links available, you’d find some silly reason to say it isn’t one you trust.

            “To make conservatives angry, lie to them.”
            “To make liberals angry, tell them the truth.”

            Reply
  4. Thomas Martin June 30, 2016

    800 pages of hot air and bs. What a waste of tax payers dollars. Do something productive like pass legislation that benefits the American people.

    Reply

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