Benghazi Thing Explained

04.30.13

The Obama Press Conference

Well, we learned something new about what's going on in wingnut land. Apparently, you see, there are four--no; make that at least four!--diplomatic officials who are in possession of vital information about Benghazi: the department's (er, Hillary's) refusal to increase security in the months before the attack; the diplo security forces (er, Hillary's) failure to respond to the attack in the most forceful way; and finally, the administration's (er, Hillary's) cover-up and lies in the aftermath.

Ed Henry asked about this right off the bat, injecting a dose of Breitbartism into the proceedings. Like everyone else in America who tries not to patronize the fever swamps, I went "huh?" Then I Googled it and got this Fox News piece laying out the whole vast conspiracy:

Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.

“I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”...

...“It's frightening, and they're doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we're going to kill you,’ or not ‘we're going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they're taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

Ah, Toensing. Of course. She's been a hard-core partisan for years. Now it all makes sense.

Obama said he wasn't aware of people being prevented from talking. Look, I don't know that there isn't anything here. But asking a question about this at a presidential press conference is obviously something that's designed to try to break this story out of the right-wing ghetto. We'll see. Meanwhile, I feel less bad about being gobsmacked by what a self-regarding bore Ed Henry seemed to be Saturday night, at least for the portion that I watched (no, I didn't go).

Other tidbits: Syria. It was also Henry trying to push Obama to say something totally irresponsible and war-mongering about Syria. Obviously, this is an immense tragedy. And equally obviously, we can't really do much of anything about it. Arming the rebels will lead to the next step, then the next step, then the next, and then we'll be committed, and then we'll be in a regional ground war, with Syria and Iran, which would be irresponsible and immoral from every perspective (military, diplomatic, fiscal, you name it).

Immigration. The counter-argument to the argument that Obama is supposed to be able to wave his LBJ wand and make Republicans go all Raymond Shaw on him is gaining some traction. Obama was good on this at a WHCD, with that bit when talked to Michael Douglas, which was a direct smackdown of that stupid Dowd column. And he hit the point again this morning.The sooner people like Dowd realize that the president doesn't possess fairie dust, maybe they'll start applying the pressure where it needs to be applied, on the party that refuses to behave like a normal American political party.

Gitmo. Obama said it's not our policy to keep people there without charges forever. But from the looks of things, that pretty much is the policy. This also is more Congress' fault than his, but he could at least be pushing this issue more into the center of the action.