The hearings on Wednesday regarding the attack in Benghazi were powerful, saddening, frustrating, and infuriating. I will get to the reasons why in just a minute.
But first, I just have to share something a friend mentioned at Facebook. This is so insulting, so tone-deaf, and so idiotic, I warn you to not drink anything while reading this headline. Okay. Here goes: “Susan Rice Honored With ‘Great American’ Award The Night Before Benghazi Hearing.” Yes, you read that right. Susan Rice was HONORED with a Great American award the NIGHT before the Benghazi hearings. If you have been keeping up on this issue, and watched ANY of the hearings, you know how incredibly offensive and insulting such a choice was.
One thing you should bear in mind in reflecting about the Benghazi hearings is this little tidbit mentioned in the article:
[...] So what did Joey Choo Choo* say about Susan Rice at the gala, one day before Hicks said he was stunned and embarrassed by her bogus anti-Islamic YouTube video story?
Rice has “the absolute, total, complete confidence of the president,” Biden said at a gala for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, according to press reports. “When she speaks… no one wonders whether or not she is speaking for the president.”
[...] (* “Joey Choo Choo” is Joe Biden. Click here to read the rest if you can stomach it.)
Holy crap. Are these people for REAL?? When you hear the video below of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) interviewing Greg Hicks, you will know how incredibly offensive this is.
And bear in mind, Susan Rice, according to the Vice President, SPEAKS FOR THE PRESIDENT:
Because of Susan Rice’s appearance on those 5 talk shows, Libya delayed the FBI from investigating the consulate for 2 1/2 weeks. Why? Because she EMBARRASSED the Libyan President Magariaf by calling him a LIAR when he said what happened in Benghazi was terrorism. Because of HER, and the fabricated talking points she spewed, she delayed the investigation, and the consulate was not secured during that time.
Susan Rice speaks for the president. That says it all.
The hearing was indeed powerful, and saddening. Listening to these three men, Greg Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, and Mark L. Thompson, was painful. Both Nordstrom and Hicks choked up during their opening statements, these seasoned veterans of security and diplomacy, choked up as they spoke of their fallen colleagues. The depths of these men’s sorrow at what happened that day, when their country let them down, and the families of the fallen,
was palpable and heartbreaking. Nordstrom had asked repeatedly for more security. Rather than get more help in the face of Al Qaeda attacks in Benghazi, their force was DRAMATICALLY reduced. Wow.
The question was raised to Gregory Hicks just why, given the trouble in Benghazi, was Ambassador Chris Stevens even sent there. The answer is disturbing:
[...] “Yes, I did tell the Accountability Review Board that Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent,” said Hicks. “Ambassador Pickering looked surprised. He looked both ways on the–to the members of the board, saying, ‘Does the 7th floor know about this?’ (The secretary of state and other top State Department officials have their offices on the seventh floor of the department’s headquarters.)
Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa followed up on this exchange to clarify the point.
“I just want you to say it unambiguously–if that’s the correct way to say it–without a flaw, one more time,” said Issa. “The reason the ambassador was in Benghazi, at least one of the reasons was x?”
“At least one of the reasons he was in Benghazi was to further the secretary’s wish that, that post become a permanent constituent post, and also there, because we understood that the secretary intended to visit Tripoli later in the year,” said Hicks. “We hoped that she would be able to announce to the Libyan people our establishment of a permanent constituent post in Benghazi at that time.”[...] (Click here to read the rest.)
In other words, the Secretary of State wanted to “normalize” the area, a word specifically used by Hick yesterday. You know, to make it appear Al Qaeda was good and gone when they were anything but.
There were so many important moments in this hearing, I cannot possibly cover them all. But it is worth noting that Gregory Hicks, who has received NUMEROUS honors, both personally, and for group work, who received phone calls from both Obama AND Clinton for his exceptional work, was demoted. Why? Good question. Because he questioned Susan Rice’s talking points. And then the intimidation from Clinton’s right hand woman, Cheryl Mills, and Beth Jones from State, began. Unbelievable.
I have to mention the behavior of the Democrats during this hearing. With the exception of Rep. Tammy Duckworth, every single one of the Democrats tried to blame this on Republicans for cutting the Security budget. That talking point was roundly dismissed by Charlene Lamb of the State Department back in October, 2012, when she testified, UNDER OATH, that money had nothing to do with their decisions to cut security, NOTHING. Yet, that did not stop the Democrats.
By far the worst offender was Rep. Elijah Cummings. Not only did he continue to regurgitate these erroneous talking points, and not only did he make offensive comments about Rep. Darrell Issa, but this statement was he made in addressing the witnesses:
And, as I listen to your testimony I could not help but think of something that I said very recently — two years ago now — in a eulogy for a relative. I said that death is a part of life, so often we have to find a way to make life a part of death. And, I guess the reason why I’m saying that, going back to something Mr. Nordstrom said, he wanted, I guess all of you said this, he wanted to make sure we learn from this.
Well, gosh, Rep. Cummings, did that relative die because the military was told to stand down MORE THAN ONCE in coming to the aid of these diplomats and their aides? Did they die because their president and Secretary of State wanted to pretend for POLITICAL GAIN that an area wasn’t dangerous? Was that relative’s life cut short by TERRORISTS??? I am going to guess not. So SHUT THE HELL UP already. WOW. What an incredibly assholic thing to say to these men, who have seen horrors Cummings cannot even IMAGINE.
There are a number of good articles being written about the testimony given, and I want to highlight a couple. One is this piece from PJ Media, “Seven Things We Learned From The Benghazi Whistleblower Hearings” (h/t Helenk), a very good summation. This one highlights how the Administration is stonewalling to keep another witness from coming forward (h/t Katmoon): “Fourth Benghazi Witness Gagged By Red Tape.”
All in all, it was a compelling day of testimony. I look forward to Congress having more hearings on Benghazi. We ain’t done yet, folks…