Benghazi: Cover-up of a Cover-up

By | May 13, 2013 | 0 Comments



Barack Hussein Nixon

Richard Milhous Obama


For younger readers, let me briefly review the Watergate scandal. Before the 1972 election, officials at the committee to re-elect President Nixon hired burglars to break into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.
The motive for the break-in probably was to obtain damaging information on Democratic nominees. But the burglars were inept and were promptly arrested. One had the phone number of a Nixon aide in his pocket, and that started the unraveling.
The Democrats in Congress pursued an investigation with tenacity, and the liberal media did the same. Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein became famous for the revelations they had been fed by an insider known as “Deep Throat.”
There was no proof that Nixon knew about the burglary before it occurred. But there was evidence that he ordered a cover-up. Nixon taped everything in the Oval Office, and Congress subpoenaed the tapes. The Supreme Court upheld Congress, and Nixon turned over the tapes.
The tapes revealed that Nixon indeed ordered the cover-up. This was deemed an impeachable offense. It appeared that a majority of the House would vote impeachment. As a result, Nixon resigned, the only president to do so, despite the fact that it was unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate would vote to convict and remove him from office. Unlike Bill Clinton, Nixon did not want to put the country – or himself – through this trauma.
This was Watergate – a second-rate burglary, but a cover-up that brought down a president. Some people learn from others’ mistakes. Other people learn nothing, then go on to make similar mistakes.
This brings us to Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12. Some people anticipated an attack on the anniversary of 9/11; others did not. The U.S. Consulate, legally U.S. territory, was attacked by a large group armed with machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. There were multiple prior attacks of a less serious nature, and Ambassador Christopher Stevens made repeated requests for more security.
The requests were denied – but by whom? If then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did so, she is clearly responsible. But if an assistant did so and Clinton was unaware, she is still responsible – for mismanagement of her department.
When our consulate was under attack and our ambassador was in danger, the call for help went – where? From what I understand, such a message must have been “flash,” the highest priority. It must have gone to the State Department, the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, and the White House. An ambassador is the representative of our country. He ranks with a four-star general. And when contact with him was lost, the urgency was even greater.
It is difficult to believe President Obama and then-Secretary Clinton were not aware of the critical situation in Benghazi. Obama had removed the Sixth Fleet from the Mediterranean, so fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and Marines were not available on short notice.
But what is not clear is why the four (only four?) special operators in Tripoli were not allowed to get on a plane and do what they could. And what is utterly unclear is why special operators in Europe were not assembled and flown in. Yes, they might have been too late, but they could have tried. Not succeeding may be bad luck. Not even trying is something more serious.
As a result, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed. The last two were on another mission, but they heard the consulate was under attack and – typically – went to help. The two State Department people may have died early, before any help could have arrived. But the two former SEALs died hours later, perhaps as much as seven hours.
It seems likely that something could have been done. A fly-over by jet fighters might have frightened away the attackers. Special operators from Europe might have arrived in time. But we’ll never know because nobody tried.

The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.
Joseph Heller, “Catch 22”

Is Benghazi the equivalent of Watergate? No, it’s much worse. Watergate was a botched burglary in which no one was hurt and nothing was stolen. Benghazi was a disaster in which four Americans including our ambassador were killed, our sovereign territory was invaded, and our country was humiliated before the world.
But what about the cover-up? White House tapes revealed that Nixon ordered a cover-up, and as a result he was forced to resign. Covering up a crime, even a minor one, is a crime in itself. The Democrats in Congress – and even some Republicans – were determined to uncover the truth. And the liberal media worked tirelessly to bring Nixon down.
Now things are different. Congressional Democrats – and even some Republicans – just want to “go along to get along.” They enjoy making speeches and posing for photos, but they dislike confrontation. And the mainstream media are aggressively pro-administration. Investigative journalists have been replaced by political activists.
If it were not for Fox News and talk radio, we would know little of Benghazi – and nothing of the cover-up. No wonder a liberal (former) friend of mine calls Fox News “the enemy.” Silly me, I thought our enemies were the people who crash airliners into office towers, cut the heads off reporters, and blow the legs off marathoners. No wonder liberals want to regulate the Internet and muzzle talk radio. They want a total monopoly of “public enlightenment,” as Dr. Goebbels so charmingly put it.
And then there is a legalistic problem. Yes, Watergate was a second-rate burglary, but it was a crime. And covering up a crime is itself a crime. But Benghazi, though it was much more serious, was not a crime. It was a terrible blunder that was fatal to four Americans and damaging to American foreign policy and prestige.
Is covering up a fatal blunder a crime? I leave that to lawyers. It surely is a heavy blow to our trust in the government. It is much worse than Watergate in any objective sense, but perhaps not in a legalistic sense.
Nevertheless, testifying falsely before Congress is a crime. Inducing someone to testify falsely is also a crime, and intimidating witnesses from testifying may be a crime. If any of these charges can be proved – by means of subpoenaed e-mails, memos, tapes, altered “talking points,” or even a new “Deep Throat” – then the administration may be in deep trouble. But this seems unlikely, in view of our comatose Congress, moribund media, and somnolent citizenry.
The mainstream media coverage of the Congressional hearing on Benghazi ranged from minimal to nonexistent. Fox News covered the hearing for one hour 48 minutes, but CNN devoted only 17 minutes, CBS five minutes, and MSNBC no time at all. Google News and Yahoo News also gave the hearing minimal coverage.
What we have is a cover-up of a cover-up.
President Obama, then-Secretary Clinton, and U.N Ambassador Susan Rice insisted that the attack at Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration by a mob that was angered by a brief anti-Muslim video on YouTube. In answer to Hillary Clinton’s question, “What difference does it make?” we must reply: It’s the difference between the truth and a lie. We thought you knew that. If we remain silent, we are participating in the lie. And no, Madam Secretary, “guys out for a walk” don’t carry machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. We thought you knew that, too.
Barring some unforeseen event, I believe the only result will be more partisan bickering. Oh wait, that’s not the only result. There already are two other results: (1) The maker of the video was promptly sent to jail on an alleged parole violation. In fact, as Mark Steyn points out, the government sent more armed men to arrest the video maker than to rescue the Americans at Benghazi. (2) Chris Stevens’ deputy in Libya, Gregory Hicks, was demoted for daring to tell the truth to Congress, while his colleagues were intimidated. Yes, indeed, there are results – negative ones.
In case you feel that raising the specter of Watergate is unfair, consider this. One of the charges against Nixon was that he used the Internal Revenue Service to harass political enemies. Recently the IRS targeted conservative organizations, including religious organizations. If this was a basis to impeach Nixon, why is it not a basis to impeach Obama? What has changed? Perhaps we have.
The Congress that investigated Watergate and subpoenaed Oval Office tapes, the media that pushed the investigation, and the citizens who demanded the truth, came from another America. That America no longer exists. Most Americans today never heard of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, or Glen Doherty. And thanks to the media that act as administration claques, they never will.
Can the tree of liberty continue to flourish in this barren environment? Stay tuned.
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