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The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi before the attack on Sept. 11.
Part of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was "asleep at the switch" when the attacks on the U.S. consulate and nearby CIA compound was struck on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya.

The Washington Times sneers at Clinton with an utterly out of context quote—"What difference, at this point, does it make?”—from her Senate testimony in January 2013 and claims she was personally responsible for the reduced security in Benghazi. That contradicts her testimony and the State Department's exhaustive report on Benghazi. The context of what Clinton actually said is here, where "what difference" sounds totally appropriate rather than dismissive.

Meanwhile, Dick Morris, employed again, is offering, via radio, the same quality analysis and predictions as he gave us in the election campaign only now directed at President Obama's supposedly grim future in light of the coming revelations about Benghazi. And Mike Huckabee says the Benghazi affair will force Obama to resign.

It's all part of the entering acts for Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's circus hearing on Benghazi Wednesday before a subcommittee of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

If you thought that the issue was settled by the State Department's Accountability Review Board (with Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering as chairman, and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen as vice chairman), you haven't been watching the Republicans closely for ... what seems like eons.

Two key issues likely to get a lot of attention from the oversight committee at its Wednesday hearing have surfaced from the testimony of three witnesses and the conclusions of the House GOP's five-committee, 46-page interim report. Read about these key issues below the fold.

The first is that Clinton supposedly personally signed off on reductions in security in Benghazi. The partisan House report claims that requests for increased security at the consulate were sent to the highest level at the State Department and denied. Specifically, it states that one memo signed by Clinton in 2012 denied a request for additional security from Gene Cretz, who was at the time the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli. During her Senate testimony in January, Clinton said:  

“The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi, you know, were handled by the security professionals in the department. I didn’t see those requests. They didn’t come to me. I didn’t approve them. I didn’t deny them.”
The second issue that Foxaganda and other media have given considerable attention to is the claim by Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya. Hicks says a Special Forces team was ready to fly to Benghazi to intervene in the attack on the consulate and CIA facility, but that it was told to stand down, that it was not authorized to fly out of Tripoli to Benghazi, some 630 miles away. The implication was that, if some coward hadn't kept them from going, U.S. Special Forces could have prevented the deaths of at least some of the four Americans who were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

In fact, however, even Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who has been heavily involved in the oversight committee's investigation of the Benghazi attack and aftermath, concedes that the Special Forces could not have prevented any deaths:

Chaffetz said the troops who were not allowed to travel to Benghazi would have arrived after the attack on the CIA base but may have provided first aid to wounded personnel. He noted that the order to keep them from traveling was given before the second attack.

A Pentagon spokesman said he would review the Hicks testimony. “We have repeatedly stated that while Department officials started taking action immediately after learning that an attack was underway at the American facility there, our forces were unable to reach it in time to intervene to stop the attacks,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in an e-mail Monday night.

Moreover, while the Special Forces team may have been eager to go to Benghazi, even if it could have arrived in time, it was hardly prepared for combat. Senior military officers Monday noted that there were only four members of the team and they were only armed with standard-issue 9mm sidearms.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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