Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Mulligans on issues of national security!

It's a simple thing to understand. Yet as we close in on the two-month anniversary of the attack of Benghazi that took the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens, it's a thing that seems beyond the ken of this Administration.

After meeting today with Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Kelly Ayotte, UN Ambassador Susan Rice released the following statement (my boldface):
Today, Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and I met with Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte to discuss my September 16th public comments regarding the attack against the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and the intelligence assessments that formed the basis for those comments. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues directly and constructively with them.

In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.

The Administration remains committed to working closely with Congress as we thoroughly investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi and bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the tragic deaths of our colleagues, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. We also look forward to the findings of the Accountability Review Board and the FBI investigation.
Note the portion in bold: "neither I [Susan Rice] nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead..." That's an admission that Rice's statements did mislead people. Faced with the facts in the behind-closed-doors meeting with the Senators, Rice and the Administration have been forced to concede what everyone with a clue has known for some time now: the attacks in Benghazi had nothing to do with any protests about a nothing video and this fact was known to people in the Administration prior to Rice being sent forth with doctored talking points.

Did Rice know the reality? Doesn't matter anymore. She was a part of the deception or a simple dupe; either way, the intent to deceive existed somewhere in the White House and Rice's latest statement indicates that no one is going to man-up and take the fall for this.

Instead, Rice and the Administration seem to be asking for a Mulligan, a do-over as it were, on the whole thing. Note how Rice is now referring very clearly to a "terrorist attack" and to the "terrorists" responsible for it. It's a transparent attempt to wipe the slate clean and chalk up all of the misleading statements--i.e., the lies--of the past to some sort of judgement error.

Sorry, no. That kind of judgement--even if we take Rice at her word--has no place in positions of critical import when it comes to national security. U.S. Ambassadors to foreign nations don't get killed, executed, or assassinated while on the job. And if they do, there should be hell to pay, both with regard to those responsible and to those in charge who were ultimately responsible for the safety of the Ambassador.

The Election may be over, we may be dangling over a "fiscal cliff," the holiday season may be upon us, but none of that matters here. This kind of major league screw-up demands substantial action. And those who allowed it to happen, who tried to soft-sell reality, should be out on their asses. At the very least, they should not be promoted to a position with even more authority over national security. That's just stupid.

Cheers, all.

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