Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a briefing with members of Congress Thursday regarding the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo. Clinton was the Obama administration’s highest-ranking member present in the briefing that included Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (he’s the genius who said the Muslim Brotherhood is “mostly secular”) and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Judging from the reactions of most of the Republicans who were present, that third person may as well have been Ashton Kutcher.
“They’re trying to cover their behinds,” Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) told The Hill upon leaving the House briefing…
On the Senate side, things were no different according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) “That is the most useless worthless briefing I have attended in a long time,” shortly after the administration officials made their case to the upper chamber.
“I really think they hurt themselves tremendously from the standpoint of trying to build trust,” he told reporters. “It, if anything, built far greater distrust in what’s happening than in answering questions. It was pretty unbelievable.”
“From this administration, I have never gotten information that I have not seen or heard before,” McCain said. Including Thursday’s Libya briefing, the White House has maintained “a perfect record” in that regard, he added.
Apparently the briefing had two problems: It was about a week too late to be useful, and Obama administration officials from Clinton on down kept making the unbelievable argument that the attacks were not pre-planned. By now, the whole world knows that they were.
Why they keep making that case is a bit of a mystery. No one believes it at this point, least of all members of Congress who may be getting their own briefings from the intelligence community. Maybe it’s to save Susan Rice’s job, since she went on no less than five talking head shows last weekend to sell that story. Maybe it’s to build up the Libyan government by making it look more serious and credible on terrorism than the government of the United States. If the latter is the case, mission accomplished.