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On September 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the creation of an independent panel to investigate the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The need for such a probe is clear, given the tragic loss of life, questions surrounding the security breach and conflicting statements from the Obama administration as to whether the incident was a planned terror plot.

And yet, on the same day that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement explaining that DNI "revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists," former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee nevertheless suggested President Obama should be impeached.

But before Huckabee's Republican allies begin the chants of "cover up" and "worse than Watergate," they might pause to remember their party's reaction to calls to create an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks that killed over 3,000 people right here in the United States. After all, until they yielded to overwhelming public pressure, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and GOP leaders in Congress opposed the 9/11 Commission charged with learning the truth about the worst attack on the U.S. homeland.

In May 2002, Republicans circled the wagons around President Bush after revelations that the administration had been warned about possible Al Qaeda plans to hijack aircraft. But when Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle asked "Why did it take eight months for us to receive this information?" and called for a blue-ribbon commission to investigate, the GOP's top brass railed to Bush's defense. Daschle's Republican counterpart Trent Lott denounced the demands for an inquiry:

"I really think there's nothing more despicable ... for someone to insinuate that the president of the United States knew there was an attack on our country that was imminent and didn't do anything about it. For us to be talking like our enemy, George W. Bush instead of Osama bin Laden, that's not right."
Lott's colleague Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) agreed:
"I don't think that anyone should start pointing fingers in a personal way or suggest that people are trying to cover their political backsides. I just think that's ridiculous. I think we need to go forward. We need to be positive. There are failures. We need to get to the root of it and try to make our country more secure."
Vice President Dick Cheney and the soon-to-be disgraced Tom Delay took a different tack, claiming an investigation into the catastrophe of 9/11 would itself hinder the war against Al Qaeda. As Delay groused:
"A public commission investigating American intelligence in a time of war is ill conceived and, frankly, irresponsible. We need to address America's challenges in intelligence gathering and terrorist prevention. But we don't need to hand the terrorists an after-action report."
Cheney, meanwhile, suggested that trying to find out what President Bush knew and when he knew it would provide aid and comfort to the enemy:
"An investigation must not interfere with the ongoing efforts to prevent the next attack, because without a doubt a very real threat of another perhaps more devastating attack still exists. The people and agencies responsible for helping us learn about and defeat such an attack are the very ones most likely to be distracted from their critical duties if Congress fails to carry out their obligations in a responsible fashion."
For his part, President Bush echoed that assessment. As CBS reported on May 23, 2002:
President Bush took a few minutes during his trip to Europe Thursday to voice his opposition to establishing a special commission to probe how the government dealt with terror warnings before Sept. 11.

Mr. Bush said the matter should be dealt with by congressional intelligence committees.

CBS News Correspondent Bill Plante reports that Mr. Bush said the investigation should be confined to Congress because it deals with sensitive information that could reveal sources and methods of intelligence. Therefore, he said, the congressional investigation is "the best place" to probe the events leading up to the terrorist attacks.

"I have great confidence in our FBI and CIA," the President said in Berlin, adding that he feels the agencies are already improving their information sharing practices.

(Bush's reticence wasn't surprising, given the continuing revelations about the repeated warnings he received about Al Qaeda throughout the spring and summer of 2001.)

Continue reading below the fold.

The previous week, New York GOP Rep. Peter King came to the defense of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. After Rice protested that "don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon," King told CNN's Paul Begala:
"No it's not factually false. Paul, what she's saying - what Dr. Rice is saying quite clearly is that nothing in the report that was submitted to the president on August 6th indicated that type of hijacking nor was there any real emphasis given on the question of hijacking. There was any number of things that al Qaeda could have done. There was no reason to think that between August 6th and September 11th that any hijacking of a plane, which would crash into a building would take place."
Of course, that was then and this is now. And now, a Democrat is sitting in the Oval Office and a different Rice--Susan Rice--is representing the U.S. at the United Nations.  Now, a decade after Condi Rice warned of the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud, Rep. King is insisting that Ambassador Rice must resign for her statements last weekend that the Benghazi attack was not pre-planned. As King explained to the National Review, "She is America's foreign policy spokesman to the world as ambassador to the U.N.... but the fact is she gave out information which was either intentionally or unintentionally misleading and wrong and there should be consequences for that." On Friday, King repeated his demand to CNN:
"I believe that this was such a failure of foreign policy messag[ing] and leadership, such a misstatement of facts as was known at the time ... for her to go on all of those shows and in effect be our spokesman for the world and be misinforming the American people and our allies and countries around the world, to me, somebody has to pay the price for this."
Pay a price, that is, if they are working for a Democratic President.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent diary, as usual, John (4+ / 0-)

    and timely too.  My partner listens to the wingers to know what they are saying and according to what she's hearing and you're saying, the republicans are doing their damnest to make these specious allegations stick.

    All of this has to do with the immediate fog following the aftermath of an attack.  The president has said that he doesn't like to comment on issues before he has the facts.

    IYO, is this something we should be actively disputing or are we conceding ground to the wingers? Anyway, I'm glad you wrote another well sourced diary on this issue.

    •  9/11 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, RockyMtnLib

      I don't think it's worth disputing because that gives the claims some credence, I think it should just be shown as an example of how the Republicans are willing to play politics with every single issue no matter what it is (this fits in well with Romney's despicable immediate reactions to it) ... just another example of the right wing hate machine not willing to side with the President no matter what.

      A comparison to how the Democrats didn't play politics at all after 9/11/01 seems apt.

  •  How is this relevant to finding out what happened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdMass

    in Benghazi?

    •  What don't we know? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, kurt

      There are a number of (small) anti-American groups in Libya which is not a great surprise since we helped overthrow the dictator that they depended upon.   There are a large number of heavy weapons left lying around after the revolution.   If we can use cell phones to get thousands of people to participate in a zombie "flash mob", others can surely use cell phones to get 40 or 50 of their supporters to coordinate an attack in a country with minimal government.

      It is hard to imagine that we will find much more interesting than this about the attack.   I suppose the RWs will try to pin the blame on Iran somehow and CTers will pin the blame on Romney or Israel.    Otherwise the story is pretty simple, we had a lightly defended new consulate in a very unstable country.   To be a world power we have to take some risks, and fortunately we have some brave diplomats who do so.

    •  Go back to the first paragraph (4+ / 0-)
      On September 20, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the creation of an independent panel to investigate the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The need for such a probe is clear, given the tragic loss of life, questions surrounding the security breach and conflicting statements from the Obama administration as to whether the incident was a planned terror plot.
      This illustrates that the Obama administration wants the truth to come out, while the bush administration and its allies in Congress wanted anything but the truth to come out, lest that reveal just how badly the bush administration stumbled.

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 11:00:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ridiculousness (3+ / 0-)

    This whole thing just shows how ridiculous the Republicans are. They turn everything into some conspiracy. They always attack the President no matter what.

    Recently Chris Matthews said that if 9/11 happened with a Democrat in the White House the GOP would waste no time attacking/blaming the President (rather than what we saw in 2001 which was a pretty unified country) ... now we've got this BS to prove him right.

    I think most of the country has just shut off the right wing noise machine. They're tired of their manufactured scandals about every single thing that happens.

  •  This is a tricky one, imo... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdMass, CrissieP, erush1345

    Obviously, King and the RWNM are just engaging in one of their favorite pastimes, namely witchhunting. The actual issues involved with the situation in Benghazi (intelligence, chronology et cet) aren't of interest to them as they grasp for political advantage on the back of tragedy.

    That said, the Administration's belabored unwillingness to let go of "this had to do with the film" is inadequate.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 10:48:18 AM PDT

  •  Wait, What? (0+ / 0-)
    After all, until they yielded to overwhelming public pressure, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and GOP leaders in Congress opposed the 9/11 Commission charged with learning the truth about the worst attack on the U.S. homeland.
    9/11 history, forewarnings and tale began January 21, 2000?

    I thought DKos had settled its position on 9/11 years ago.  

    Benghazi is not the Twin Towers.  

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 10:56:15 AM PDT

  •  I was surprised that RWers were still beating the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, OleHippieChick

    (to me) dead horse.  The administration released the information it had when it had it, with caveats that they didn't want to simply jump in and assume it was a planned terror attack when the info they had at the time didn't yet show that.  With shifting information, I can see why they didn't want to deliberately commit to such an assumption until they had more definitive info.

    Still, given the nature of embassies in general, even in the worst parts of the world, and the general parsimony of funding allowed the state department by 'budget hawks', I don't think anyone can seriously claim there was security malfeasance.   Even the pentagon took damage on 9/11, and the DoD has a hell of a lot more money and security available to it.

  •  There was probably a good tactical reason the (0+ / 0-)

    admin. was slow to call this a terror attack. The gop are idiots.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 01:50:57 PM PDT

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