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Senator John McCain got himself worked up into a righteous lather on Sunday’s "Meet the Press" over what he continues to insist was a “massive cover-up” on the part of the White House about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi .

"There are so many answers we don't know," McCain told host David Gregory. "We've had two movies about getting bin Laden and we don't even know who the people were who were evacuated from the consulate the day after the [Benghazi] attack. So there are many, many questions. So we've had a massive cover-up on the part of the administration."

Pressed by Gregory on what he meant by “a massive cover-up”, McCain could only sputter, “I'm asking you, do you care whether four Americans died? And shouldn't people be held accountable for the fact that four Americans died?"

"Well, what you said was the cover-up -- a cover-up of what?" Gregory pressed on.

"Of the information concerning the deaths of four brave Americans," McCain replied. "The information has not been forthcoming. You obviously believe that it has. I know that it hasn't. And I'll be glad to send you a list of the questions that have not been answered, including 'What did the president do and who did he talk to the night of the attack on Benghazi?'"

McCain’s phony and self-perpetuated outrage over the attack in Benghazi is not only disingenuous but monumentally hypocritical. It’s nothing more than a disgraceful attempt to squeeze political capital out of tragedy.

Contrary to what the McCain and his fellow Republicans in Congress would have you believe, American embassies and consulates are attacked quite frequently, or at least they have been over the last few decades. During the Bush administration, for instance, American diplomatic missions were attacked, by my count, 14 times. Scores of people, including Americans, were killed and wounded in those attacks. Did any of the people who continue to clamor for a formal investigation into what happened in Benghazi raise any questions about President George W. Bush’s role or whereabouts in the wake of any of these attacks? Is the papacy a lifetime job?

Were the Republicans this aggressive in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in which 2,996 people were murdered right here on American soil? In that case we actually have solid evidence demonstrating that President Bush disregarded warnings of an imminent attack on American soil. What else would you call a CIA national security brief dated August 6, 2001 entitled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US”? But it’s the Benghazi attack that has Republican knickers in a twist. Surely I’m not the only one that finds that not only odd but infuriating.

Where was all that concern for our men and women serving in embassies and consulates across the globe when these other attacks and killings occurred?

June 14, 2002, Karachi, Pakistan - A truck with a fertilizer bomb driven by a suicide bomber was detonated outside the United States consulate. Twelve people were killed and 51 injured, all Pakistanis.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

February 20, 2003, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – A truck bomb detonated in front of an international diplomatic compound kills 20, seven of them Americans.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

February 28, 2003, Karachi, Pakistan  – Motorcycle-riding gunmen killed two police officers and wounded five other officers and a civilian in front of the U.S. consulate.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

March 15, 2004, Karachi, Pakistan – Pakistani police discovered and disarmed a van filled with nearly 200 gallons of liquid explosives hooked up to a timer and two detonators parked in front of the U.S. consulate.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

July 30, 2004, Tashkent, Uzbekistan - Suicide bombers struck at the entrances of the U.S. and Israeli embassies. Two Uzbek security guards were killed in each bombing.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

December 6, 2004, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Armed militants stormed the American Consulate, breaching the compound's outer wall. A Yemeni, a Sudanese, a Filipino, a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan—all employees of the consulate—were killed by gunfire, and about ten others were wounded.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

March 2, 2006, Karachi, Pakistan - A suicide car bomb killed four people and injured thirty outside the Marriott Hotel, 20 yards from the U.S. Consulate. Among the dead was David Foy, an American diplomat and three Pakistanis. It appears that Foy was the direct target of the bomber, who detonated his vehicle in the car park behind the consulate as Foy arrived.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

September 12, 2006, Damascus, Syria - Gunmen tossed grenades over the perimeter walls of the U.S. Embassy before opening fire with automatic weapons. A car bomb was detonated outside the embassy, although a truck bomb filled with pipe bombs and gas cylinders failed to explode. A Syrian security guard was killed, and thirteen people were wounded, including two security guards and a Chinese diplomat.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

January 12, 2007, Athens, Greece - A rocket-propelled grenade was fired into the U.S. Embassy. There were no injuries.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

October 1, 2007, Vienna, Austria – A man was prevented from entering the U.S. Embassy with a backpack full of explosives.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

February 17, 2008, Belgrade, Serbia - A mob of 2,000 protesters vandalized the Slovenian Embassy and burned portions of the United States and Croatian Embassies.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

March 18, 2008, Sana’a, Yemen – Three mortar rounds were fired at the U.S. embassy but missed, landing outside a nearby girls’ school. Three policemen and 13 students were wounded.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

July 9, 2008, Istanbul, Turkey – Gunmen attacked the United States consulate killing three Turkish police officers.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

September 17, 2008, Sana'a, Yemen – The American Embassy is attacked by assailants armed with rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles, grenades and car bombs. A 20-minute battle results in 13 deaths and 16 injuries. Six members of the Yemeni security forces and seven civilians, including one American, were killed in the attack, and sixteen people were wounded.

Calls for congressional investigation: none.

Quotes I could readily find from John McCain pertaining to any of these 15 incidents: zero. And I spent the better part of a day combing through the newspaper archives.

Frankly, I would not have called for a congressional investigation of any of these attacks either. The United States has 275 embassies and consulates around the world, and it’s patently absurd to expect the president - any president - to be personally involved in the security arrangements for each one of them, even those that might be perceived as being at greater risk than others. The United States it at war. We have enemies everywhere. The world is too full of terrorists, militants and just plain fanatics to even pretend we can guarantee the complete safety of any American mission or diplomatic employee. We do the best we can with what we have, and, all things considered, we're doing pretty well.

Of course, it would easier if some of the most willful enemies of national security were not right here at home. House Republicans, out of purely partisan spite, cut the Obama administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in 2011, and $331 million in 2012. It takes some mighty big cojones to cut funding for diplomatic security and then try to exploit a tragedy resulting from weakened security at a diplomatic post.

So, let it go, Senator McCain. Perpetuating this hypocritical and baseless witch hunt is not only disrespectful to all those who lost their lives defending our diplomatic missions abroad, but an embarrassment to yourself, your party and your country.


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