Thursday, May 21, 2015


There's more in The New York Times today about Hillary Clinton's emails, specifically about communications she had with Sidney Blumenthal around the time of the Benghazi attack.

Now, there are a couple of reasons this might be of interest to the public. I think it's valid to ask whether it was wise for Mrs. Clinton to put so much stock in emails from Blumenthal, a Libya neophyte, and to pass them on to State Department personnel as serious intel.

But that doesn't seem to be what fascinates right-wingers about today's stories. What concerns conservatives? As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey explains, what concerns them is exactly what they've been obsessed with for years, to the utter exasperation of the rest of America:
... the e-mails ... show why the Benghazi Select Committee went to the trouble of subpoenaing Sidney Blumenthal. On the day after the attack, Blumenthal chalked it up to the same cause that the White House pushed for at least two weeks, a demonstration over a YouTube video that spiraled out of control. The very next day, however, Blumenthal had changed his tune, emphasis mine:
The next day [September 13], Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said. “We should get this around asap” Mrs. Clinton said in an email to Mr. Sullivan. “Will do,” he responded....
This email shows that Hillary Clinton was made aware by her close friend that the YouTube/spontaneous demonstration narrative was nonsense two days after the attack. She even forwarded that knowledge to other administration officials, underscoring its importance. Yet four days later, Susan Rice repeated the nonsensical talking points on five Sunday talk shows, and Hillary herself told families of the victims the same false narrative later....

Now, one could say that Hillary didn’t consider Blumenthal a reliable source. If so, though, why tell Sullivan to “get this around asap”? Why continue to tell the “spontaneous demonstration” story even while the DIA had circulated a memo on September 16th that corroborated what Blumenthal had told her personally?
The charitable explanation is that the administration went with one story while exercise an overabundance of caution before switching to the other story. The less charitable explanation, obviously, is that the administration was shielding the president from possible political fallout during campaign season.

But, ultimately -- to use a phrase with which the right is obsessed -- what difference does it make? The administration abandoned the video story within a couple of weeks, and did so well before Election Day. If there was a coverup, it broke down almost immediately. And if there was a coverup, who is dead now who'd be alive in the absence of that coverup? What perpetrator of the attack is at large who wouldn't be at large?

What's the remedy conservatives seek? As far as I can tell, the only appropriate remedy for them would be a rerun of the 2012 election, which they regard as stolen. But it's absurd that they consider it stolen. Democrats as well as Republicans may have believed that Benghazi was radioactive for Obama in 2012, but Americans are used to reelecting presidents despite foreign policy failures -- George W. Bush won in 2004 despite Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and a general atmosphere of failure in Iraq. Ronald Reagan won in a landslide in 1984 despite three fatal embassy attacks in Lebanon from 1983 to the fall of 1984.

Of course, they'll take a win in the 2016 election as a substitute for 2012.

But the remedy they seek isn't one that has anything to do with the attack, or with pursuing those responsible for it. It's all about domestic politics. Maybe the American public would respond favorably to right-wingers' Benghazi crusade if we had any sense that they care about the actual attack, rather than the culpability of Clinton and Obama. Right-wingers cry great rivers of crocodile tears for the Benghazi dead, but they don't give a damn about the four victims, except as bloody shirts to wave.


Glennis said...

You would almost think, by their thought processes, that wingnuts don't actually have ANY experience working in complex organizations with complicated hierarchies and protocols, as they seem unable to imagine the methods of communicating, verifying, and vetting information commonly used in such contexts.

And then they think they should be running the country.

Victor said...

Conservatives don't care what the truth is.

They want to spread misinformation as much, and as often, to as many people, as possible, to see what will stick!

Hillary, like and non-conservative knew, that any mis-step would be spread far and wide.

And now, she wants her e-mails sent out ASAP!
She'd have been better off if that had been her position from Day 1.

But, she didn't choose to do that - so, it's yet another "Clinton Conspiracy Theory."
One of thousand's - if not more....

trizzlor said...

That's what I could never understand about Benghazi-gate. In her fateful interview, Rice starts by saying "first of all, it's important to know that there's an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired." and ends by saying "We'll wait to see exactly what the investigation finally confirms, but that's the best information we have at present.". So if you're going to focus on a cover up, why the heck would you choose one where the mastermind explicitly says that their claims are all still provisional.

Unknown said...

Let's remember that it was Petraeus' CIA who relentlessly drove the video-as-cause message. But how smart would it have been for them to assert with mixed claims, that of scores of attacks throughout the middle east that day, with dozens of deaths, that only one (Benghazi) was NOT a result of the video??

petrilli said...

Here's an idea for Clinton. Want to get the public off of Benghazi? Take a stand on something.

Unknown said...

The public is not "on" Benghazi, and the partisan operatives who are will cling desperately to that fake issue no matter what.

Ken_L said...

It's remarkable how quickly the right changed their story from "Dumbass Hillary listened to blundering amateur Blumenthal instead of the professionals" to "Blumenthal was right! WHY DIDN'T SHE LISTEN TO BLUMENTHAL?!?!?!"

Totally opportunistic. We'll know next year, but I really think their relentless yelling of 'scandal' for the last 6+ years will mean nobody outside their echo chamber takes much notice of their blatant propaganda any longer.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between "the video story" and the real story? IIRC there was a demonstration about the video, and then some hardcore terrorists took advantage of the demonstration--"hijacked" it, per Susan Rice--to go hog-wild. You know, kind of like how there were demonstrations against police brutality, and then some knuckleheads started breaking stuff?