No matter what happens with Darrell Issa's congressional committee meetings this week, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, and the cause is Benghazi. It's impossible to overestimate the blowback that has been gathering steam for the past seven months, now about to erupt with full force. Few reputations will emerge unscathed, Obama's presidency will be crippled, Hillary Clinton's 2016 candidacy will be destroyed -- and perhaps some new heroes will be born.
My New York Post column on Friday, which was also linked at RealClearPolitics, sets the stage:
On Wednesday, the FBI released photos of three men present at the deadly jihadist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya; the bureau has asked the Libyans’ help in identifying them.
Which nicely highlights the fact that it’s been more than seven months since Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed — and yet there’s been no justice, nor even vengeance, in the matter.
Nor much exposure: We know little more today than we did in the immediate aftermath of the fiasco.
That's because, right from the jump, the administration has been lying through its teeth about what happened on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 -- the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, as it happens. It transparently lied about the Mohammad video, threw the scapegoated filmmaker in jail (where, last time I looked, he still is), and convened a bogus "accountability" board to whitewash the whole damn thing so as not to disrupt the precious Narrative that Osama was dead and al-Qaeda was on the run.
It was all a lie, of course, and some of us knew it at the time. I wrote about it repeatedly on the Post's Op-Ed page: you can find examples here, here and here. In this case, however, what happened in Benghazi, Foggy Bottom, the White House, and the Obama re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago was (as the saying goes) worse than a crime: it was a blunder. And that blunder may now bring down the man who never should have been president in the first place, for grotesque dereliction of his duty as commander-in-chief:
Indeed, the State Department’s Inspector General is now investigating the Accountability Review Board that reported on Benghazi in December, Fox News reported yesterday. What Fox called “well-placed sources” say the IG is trying to find out if the State panel failed to interview key witnesses who’d come forward.
In fact, Washington power attorney Victoria Toensing — a Reagan-era deputy assistant attorney general with a strong background in intelligence work — says she’s got a whistle blower inside State who’s itching to go public.
But so far she’s been stymied by officials who won’t act on her request for a security clearance so she can deal with classified material the case entails. Other attorneys for as many as three other potential witnesses from inside State and CIA say they’re having the same problem.
In fact, some whistleblowers allege that they’ve been threatened with reprisals should they come forward — even though federal law explicitly protects whistleblowers.
At his Monday press conference, President Obama shrugged off questions about all this, saying, “I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying.”
There's another lie -- this one of Nixonian quality. From the moment Obama learned of the attack on the Benghazi compound -- learned in part from Ambassador Stevens' frantic phone calls to Washington, begging for help -- what did he do? He went to bed early and flew off to Las Vegas in the morning for a campaign appearance; after all, first things first. And since Barry's only real function in this administration is as its frontman/pitchman, he was only doing what he does best.
He’ll be aware soon enough. Next week, the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), will open new hearings on Benghazi — and they could be explosive. He promises to expose new information the administration “has tried to suppress.”
Issa — who previously held the administration’s feet to fire over the still-unresolved Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal — has twice requested guidelines from State, but a department spokesman recently denied that any whistleblowers have come forward and scoffed at reports that they’ve been intimidated.
In fact, word is that some of the whistleblowers may testify that help in the form of a rapid-response force was only hours away — but, for whatever reason, was not authorized.
This is going to be a significant test for Issa, who spearheaded the Fast and Furious investigation but wound up frustrated and impotent, unable to get the truth out of Eric Holder et al., although he did managed to get the attorney general cited for contempt of Congress. The Southern California congressman had better bring his A game and his best fastball as he goes up against seasoned prevaricators like Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state whom the late Bill Safire once memorably called -- in the pages of the New York Times, no less -- a "congenital liar." In fact, what Safire, writing about Whitewater and other Clinton scandals, said back in 1996 is worth revisiting:
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.
Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit...
Therefore, ask not "Why didn't she just come clean at the beginning?" She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.
The leopard hasn't changed her spots, and it will be interesting to watch the Bill-Hill dynamic play out once again, this time with her as the object of the prosecutor's and public's wrath. Nor has there ever been any love lost between Hillary and Obama; she felt cheated out of the nomination by an upstart nobody with a negligible record of accomplishment in any field, but swallowed her pride and took one for Team Clinton in order to maintain her viability to succeed Obama. If he decides to throw her to the wolves over Benghazi, there will be hell to pay.
And hell is what is coming, one way or the other, because this time -- unlike the Clinton impeachment -- the big dogs are in play, in the form of hordes of very pissed-off special ops agents, patriotic spooks, forcibly retired generals and clandestine operatives who know where the bodies are buried. If the Obama administration turned its back on Chris Stevens and the three other brave Americans who died that day for crass political purposes -- and, worse, if it let them die as collateral damage in its own gunrunning operation to Syria -- the men and women who stand watch for this country all through the night are going to come out of the shadows, quickly.