The Benghazi Debacle Should Have Ended Hillary Clinton’s Career

Do failures and lies matter any longer? If you are a prominent Democratic politician, what exactly is the level of wrongdoing that will end your career?


Hillary cInstead, with an assist from the media, she’s going to get off scot-free. Do failures and lies matter any longer? If you are a prominent Democratic politician, what exactly is the level of wrongdoing that will end your career? Reading the long-awaited report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi and the associated media coverage, I was struck by the sheer scale of the failures and the deceptions surrounding the terror attack on the Benghazi compound, and by the mainstream media’s dismissiveness.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the New York Times’s story on the report:

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

And here’s the Washington Post on the report:

A final report issued by the Republican majority that investigated the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, found fault with virtually every element of the executive branch response to the attacks but provided no new evidence of specific wrongdoing by then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This is an extraordinary response to a report that comprehensively details one of the most shameful episodes in recent American diplomatic and military history.

Clinton’s State Department failed to adequately protect its diplomats in Libya, with the Obama administration so intent on avoiding “boots on the ground” in the aftermath of its Libyan air war that it left Americans dangerously exposed even as the jihadist threat was plainly and clearly ramping up.

The report details at least ten previous terror attacks in Benghazi, including two IED attacks on the American compound, yet the State Department had decreased its security there in the months before Ambassador Chris Stevens and four others were killed.

Obama’s Pentagon failed to mobilize assets to protect those same Americans even as they endured an hours-long assault on September 11, 2012.

One of the most painful elements of the report is its description of exactly how difficult it was for the Pentagon to ramp up even the quick-strike elements of the most powerful military in the history of the world. Fighters were in one location, tankers in another. Ground assets were in one place, air transport in another. It took hours for clear commands from the White House and Pentagon to filter sufficiently far down the ranks to spur actual military activity.

Then, confronted with the damage afterward, the administration lied, repeatedly. Of that there can no longer be any reasonable doubt. The report lays out in excruciating detail the contrast between the administration’s private and public statements about the attack:

The private statements consistently attributed the Benghazi attack to terrorists while the public statements either directly blamed an anti-Islamic YouTube video for causing the violence or conflated the Benghazi attack with a protest at the Egyptian embassy that did appear to be connected to the video.

While Clinton can’t be held responsible for the Pentagon’s failures, her own failures and deceptions can’t and shouldn’t be addressed by a mere apology. The Benghazi attack and the subsequent collapse of Libya into a jihadist playground should have ended her career. Instead, because of the well-worn (and media-assisted) process of progressive scandal management, she looks primed for a promotion to the highest office in the land.

While Clinton can’t be held responsible for the Pentagon’s failures, her own failures and deceptions can’t and shouldn’t be addressed by a mere apology.

The pattern is familiar:

When news first breaks, say what needs to be said to escape the news cycle unscathed. Next, when the truth starts to emerge, deny wrongdoing and state that any comprehensive judgment should be withheld pending a full investigation. When the investigation commences, stonewall the investigators and accuse conservatives of being “obsessed” or on a “witch hunt.” By the time wrongdoing is finally confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt, the average voter will have forgotten why the scandal was a scandal to begin with, or, if he hasn’t forgotten — and actually did withhold judgment — the waters will have become so muddied he won’t know whom to believe.

To some in the media, the very act of stonewalling is heroic. Confronting congressional investigators makes you a “fighter.” Enduring inquiries and consolidating your base makes you a “survivor.” Bill Clinton used this playbook to escape political accountability for infidelity, perjury, and obstruction of justice. The Obama administration has used it to flush the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups down the memory hole, transforming one of the most outrageous abuses of power in the modern history of the executive branch into old news in record time.

It should be acknowledged that in their efforts to outrun their misdeeds, Obama and the Clintons always get an inadvertent assist from the conspiracy-mongering right. Obsessed with finding smoking guns personally connecting their targets to wrongdoing, they help the media define scandal down. They swing for the fences, and journalists are all too happy to treat doubles and triples as signs of failure. Can’t find any records proving Obama and Clinton specifically ordered administration officials to lie about Benghazi? Well then, they must not have done anything wrong. Can’t uncover e-mails directly tying Obama to IRS abuses? The story moves to the back page, and then out of the media entirely.

So here we are. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president is largely responsible for one of the great foreign-policy disasters of the last eight years and unquestionably responsible for helping mislead the public, yet in the media calculus of our time the Benghazi report is a “win,” because it merely confirms failures we already knew about. And everyone knows that old failures are no failures at all.

— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.

June 29, 2016 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. One impressively good outcome of all this is that the hackers who work for Israel’s intelligence agencies are considered among the very best, namely their counterparts of the similar agencies of Russia and China.

    Nobody needs a fall guy like Pollock when they can crack any computer or network in the world, all done from a safe and secure location anywhere in the world.

    What Admiral Canaris and his Abwehr agents wouldn’t have given for a situation such as this. J Edgar Hoover too.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  2. Russia to release Clinton emails?

    A State Department official has said Russia is one of at least three foreign governments likely to have obtained the full content of the former secretary of state’s server through covert hacking operations. The other two are China and Israel.
    During a counterintelligence probe, Donald Vieira, chief of staff at the Justice Department’s National Security Division, was forced to recuse himself from the investigation. The reason was not made public, but officials said some in the Justice Department in the past worked as advocates for the detainees at nongovernmental organizations and were linked to the CIA officer photos found inside the detainees’ cells.
    Analysts say the vehicle transfers to Pakistan appear to violate China’s commitment to the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime.
    China’s arms proliferation activities have received little attention under the Obama administration.
    A senior State Department official whom congressional Republicans have charged with misleading Congress on Russian arms violations was named NATO’s deputy secretary general this week.

    So what did, or what will, BB get in exchange for keeping quiet……and will it last past November?
    I note that Israel is not further mentioned in the article beyond the likelihood of their hacking the emails.

  3. EXCLUSIVE: State Department Won’t Release Clinton Foundation Emails for 27 Months

    Its astounding how transparently corrupt the democratic admin really is… but we hear of no sit ins by the GOP establishment to demand the release of the emails which likely prove hillary and/or Huma to be guilty of treason and supplying enemies with information.
    they are now stalling to get past the election but the fools who voted in obama will likely still vote for hillary in spite of all the evidence to prove that she is not only dangerously incompetent but also may have taken money in donations in return for information which murdered americans…. the email scenario provides her with plausible deniability of intentional espionage…. pretending it is incompetence rather than willful. After all, the greatest motivator of traitorous espionage is MONEY and we see how hillary received tens of millions of dollars… much more than pollard received.

  4. If the Ambasador really thought his life was in danger, why didn’t he and his staff take unilateral action to save their own lives? A Diplomatic post is not a military posting. Its not ‘do or die’. Who would know better what the situation was on the ground than the ambasador’s protective staff? Who would have the best interests of security in mind? Any failure back at the State Dept. is secondary to the failure in the field. We always ‘blame the dead man’ for fiascos, but in this case it may be warranted.