On the heels of Craig Unger's excellent piece at Salon yesterday (GOP's October Surprise?), the first major move in the Romney/Ryan/GOP macabre politicization of the 11 September events in Benghazi is now apparent. In an AP piece (via WaPo) are some details of a letter sent by Issa (R-CA) and Chaffetz (R-UT) of the House Oversight Committee to Secretary of State Clinton regarding planned hearings concerning the events in Benghazi.
WASHINGTON — American diplomats in Libya made repeated requests for increased security for the consulate in Benghazi and were turned down by officials in Washington, leaders of a House committee said Tuesday.These hearings are planned for (surprise, surprise) 10 October, one day before the vice-presidential debate and six days before the second presidential debate. Ryan (with Dan Senor's assistance) will clearly take the lead on introducing the attack in Benghazi, the status of Libya and MENA policy during the debates; depending upon how that goes, Romney can then tweak or abandon the attacks.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz said their information came from “individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya.”
For the (il)logical structure of how the Romney/Ryan campaign, GOP politicians and their allied media flufferazzi will advance this attack against both the Administration generally and President Obama specifically, take a gander at the execrable Bret Stephens' column in today's Wall Street Journal, entitled "Benghazi Was Obama's 3:00 AM Call."
The U.S. ignores warnings of a parlous security situation in Benghazi. Nothing happens because nobody is really paying attention, especially in an election year, and because Libya is supposed to be a foreign-policy success. When something does happen, the administration's concerns for the safety of Americans are subordinated to considerations of Libyan "sovereignty" and the need for "permission." After the attack the administration blames a video, perhaps because it would be politically inconvenient to note that al Qaeda is far from defeated, and that we are no more popular under Mr. Obama than we were under George W. Bush. Denouncing the video also appeals to the administration's reflexive habits of blaming America first. Once that story falls apart, it's time to blame the intel munchkins and move on.This shit is going to get ugly.
It was five in the afternoon when Mr. Obama took his 3 a.m. call. He still flubbed it.
UPDATE (Wednesday, 3 October, 7:30 AM)
Candy Crowley's interview yesterday with Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is worth a look for the way that Rogers' narrative mirrors that of Stephens. While this entire line of attack should be recognized as purely cynical political exploitation, I have no faith in our feckless media to treat it as such.