Guy Benson | May 17, 2013
CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson -- last heard from explaining that although her bosses have been supportive of her Benghazi reporting, her network's shows and producers don't seem interested -- has chased down another major scoop. This time, she quotes unnamed White House officials admitting that administration leaders determined they would not deploy a counterterror response team to Benghazi from the get-go:
So someone high up in the administration decided "from the start" that a FEST crew wouldn't be sent to Benghazi, even though the team's leader says his group was designed to handle exactly that sort of emergency. We don't know who made the decision to shut down the FEST option, or why. These questions must be answered. The FEST chain of command resides inside the State Department and the White House. Attkisson reports that much like the Tripoli response team that was ordered to stand down twice, FEST members were shocked when their services weren't required in Benghazi:
That last statement is telling, in terms of the administration's mindset. Also, the "they wouldn't have gotten there in time" excuse still doesn't wash because it (a) doesn't apply to the grounded Tripoli team, and (b) is irrelevant because nobody knew how long the siege would last. We now know that deploying a FEST team was taken off the table from word one, a fact that further invalidates the administration's misleading post hoc explanation. Which brings us to the latest line from the White House, via one of Attkisson's sources. In short: We're not malicious. We're not liars. We're just incompetent idiots (their words):
What a ringing endorsement. So under the best case scenario, the administration is populated with self-assessed "idiots" who bungled the immediate response to a terrorist attack against an American consulate and made bad decisions from the very beginning. But the cover-up angle is still very much in play, as evidenced by the State Department's extensive edits to Susan Rice's talking points. These revisions removed potentially damaging intelligence details for specifically political reasons. USA Today runs down a useful list of remaining questions about the talking points alone, and members of Congress are pointing out thatthousands of pages of Benghazi-related White House emails remain unreleased. Earlier today, Watergate reporter Bob Woodward said the redactions and substantive scrubbing of relevant information from the administration's "official story" on Benghazi is reminiscent the Nixon administration's illicit behavior. As such, he warned the media not to "dismiss" this scandal:
I'll leave you with Charles Krauthammer's typically excellent column on Benghazi. It entails a clear summary of the subject, and some sage advice for Republican investigators.