The admission this morning on CNN by Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz that he's "absolutely" voted against administration requests for increased embassy and consulate security funding should, in a rationally ordered world, put an end to this whole Benghazi business. I mean, it really takes a set of onions to do this. Vote down increased security funding, then a tragedy happens, then try to exploit it to help your presidential candidate because it happened to occur in September of an election year. This deserves the word disgusting.
Now, why it took Soledad O'Brien to elicit this fact, and not Chaffetz's Democratic counterparts or the White House a month ago is a disturbing question that for the moment I'll set to the side. But the Christian Science Monitor has the goods on two votes, in 2011 and 2012:
Scott Lilly, who spent three decades as a senior staffer for Democrats in Congress, often working on budget matters, and now a fellow at the Center for American Progress in DC, says the cuts sought by Congress have been steep since the new House sat in 2011.
The Worldwide Security Protection program (WSP), which the government says provides "core funding for the protection of life, property, and information of the Department of State," and a separate embassy security and construction budget, which in part improves fortifications, have both been under fire.
"In 2011 they came in and passed a continuing resolution for the remainder of that fiscal year. The House proposed $70 million cut in the WSP and they proposed a $204 million cut in Embassy security," says Mr. Lilly. "Then the next year, fiscal 2012, they cut worldwide security by $145 million and embassy security by $376 million. This year's bill is the same thing all over again. The House has cut the worldwide security budget $149 million below the request."
I mean, hypocrisy is run of the mill in this town. But this is off the charts. Obviously, the four deaths resulted in a more direct sense from decisions taken at State and from a hundred small things that happened that night. State officials had to make calls about where to use resources. But thanks to the Republicans, they had fewer resources to use.
I still don't see where the political, Obama-related scandal is here. Some people at Foggy Bottom made some decisions that ended up letting a tragedy happen. They must be held accountable. Maybe lose their jobs. The truth needs to be known.
But Chaffetz and these other phonies aren't interested in the truth. They're interested in trying to convince people that Barack Obama let all this happen because he's a secret Mooslem and is now at the center of some massive cover-up.
There are some interesting intra-administration politics going on here. State is distancing itself from the Nat Sec people. This is partly--I'm guessing here, I hasten to point out to you, but it's informed guessing--that Hillary is not Susan Rice's biggest fan, because they had been friendly but Rice then backed Obama in 2008; and that there's some kind of struggle between the State and Nat Sec camps (Rice and Tom Donilon) to succeed Hillary as secretary. So all that is playing out too.
But pin this on Obama? Especially now that we know that his administration sought diplomatic security funding that the Republicans cut? The only scandal here is that hypocrites like Chaffetz and Darrell Issa have the kinds of jobs that permit them to subpoena people.
And here, by the way, is what the Ryan Budget would do to the State Department. Unbelievable people, these are.