As the Benghazi Plot Thickens, Congress Must Not Get Sidetracked
As Fox reports, the agency says, "The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 1349 was issued [by Obama]. Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless." (Emphasis added.) The assertion that intelligence agents did not have authority is not a denial that they detained prisoners without authority. We already know they lacked authority -- that's why the allegation that they detained prisoners is controversial in the first place. And the reference to "the detention business" obviously relates to post 9/11 CIA practice, under which the agency was systematically detaining terrorists. It is not necessarily a denial that they ever detain anyone under any circumstances. You could easily imagine a slippery government spokesman rationalizing that the systematic "detention business" would not apply to a one-off detention episode in Libya; therefore, saying you're out of the former does not necessarily mean you refrained from the latter. Besides, the Rice fiasco reminds us of the Obama administration penchant for having forceful statements issued by people who have no idea what they're talking about. So until someone with competent knowledge specifically and convincingly denies that the Benghazi facility was used for detention, this is an open question.
It has also been suggested that the U.S. facilities in Benghazi were the hub for an Iran-Contra-style program to gather weapons from Libyan jihadists for shipment to Syrian jihadists trying to overthrow the Assad regime. The latter are being given safe haven by the Islamist government of Turkey, where the CIA covertly steers arms to them, according to the New York Times. Lo and behold, Turkey's consul general was -- for some reason -- meeting with U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens shortly before the September 11 siege began and Stevens was murdered. What on earth was going on here? The State Department's explanation that Stevens convened a night meeting with a Turkish official in an enormously dangerous place (which had previously been attacked) on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities in order to have a "diplomatic meeting" he could easily have held in Tripoli is, to be generous, dubious.
Conclusion: The false Mohammed-movie narrative: discredited yet still working.
The false Mohammed-movie narrative is working. No, nobody any longer maintains or believes that the obscure movie caused the Benghazi massacre -- that misdirection effort has been blown out of the water. But a three-ring circus has been erected around the false video narrative, with the Petraeus/Rice/Clapper follies detracting attention from the three essential issues: the Obama administration's disastrous Libya policy, the president's dereliction of duty on September 11, 2012, and the troubling goings-on at the Benghazi consulate that wasn't a consulate.
The cover-up here is not worse than the crime. Congress must not allow itself to get sidetracked. What matters most is what the administration is hiding -- not the fact that the administration is hiding it.