Hillary Clinton is coming to testify before [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ]’s committee on Thursday, and given the fact that her Presidential campaign is now in full swing, the stakes will doubtless be higher than ever. Accordingly, Democrats who are desperate to preserve her viability as a nominee (knowing full well that Bernie Sanders would be a general election disaster) have released an increasingly desperate and laughable set of attacks against the Benghazi committee, thinking that in so doing they can also put to rest the email scandal that has become a cancer on the Clinton campaign.
These attacks, which are clearly coordinated, all seek to place one of three lies into the Conventional Wisdom about the work of the Benghazi Committee – each more desperate than the last and each more contemptible for its brazen stupidity.
Lie #1: Deliberate Conflation of the Benghazi Committee’s Work with the FBI Investigation Into Hillary’s Email Practices
It is in the best interest of Democrats to pretend that the investigation into Hillary’s email practices is the work of the Benghazi Committee (which they can dismiss as “partisan”) as opposed to the work of the FBI, which of course falls under the auspices of the Department of Justice, which is controlled by Democrats all the way to the top. Accordingly, they have made every effort to tie the email scandal – which has done real damage to Hillary – to Gowdy’s committee and its work.
This was evident from the moment that [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] opened his mouth and inserted his foot about the Benghazi committee’s work, giving the Democrats an opening to say that the entire committee was doing the sole work of tearing down Hillary. The Democrats from minute one jumped on this opening to claim that the whole email scandal was merely a product of the Benghazi Committee’s concoction. In fact, this deliberate lie formed the basis of Hillary Clinton’s first nationally televised campaign ad:
Hillary continued this theme in virtually every television appearance since McCarthy’s comments, answering questions about her email with deflections that referred to McCarthy’s comments about the Benghazi committee, clearly implying that the two were inextricably intertwined:
“No. I mean, no,” Clinton said. “Before this whole thing was a big controversy, the State Department was looking for information. My emails were on the government account. More than 90 percent of them. The State Department was pulling them out. They’d been handed over. Look, I’ve been around this political situation for a long time, but some things are just beyond the pale. I’m happy to go, if it still is in operation, to testify. I’m happy to turn over my emails. I’ve gone further than anybody ever has.
“That’s ok. I’m willing to do that. But the real issue here is what happened to four brave Americans.”
She was aided in this by every Democrat on stage in the first debate, and also by her water carriers on this issue, including Elijah Cummings as he made the round of talk shows on Sunday, as well as Mouth of Hillary Peter Daou and countless other, less intelligent liberal bloggers over the weekend.
The problem, of course, is that Gowdy’s committee isn’t investigating Hillary’s use of a private email server. In fact, they never sought to uncover the information in the first place; they merely subpoenaed emails pertaining to the handling of the Benghazi attacks and were as surprised as anyone to discover the existence of a private email address that Hillary had been using to conduct official business while she was at State. Nor, it should be remembered, was the Benghazi committee the entity that broke the news about Clinton’s use of the server – that, you will recall, was the right wing conspiracy member-in-good-standing folks at the New York Times. As Politico noted in their exhaustive piece last week, the NYT has been at the leading edge of this story all the way, NOT Gowdy’s committee.
Since then, the investigation into Hillary’s email practices has been conducted entirely by the FBI, which was responsible for seizing her servers and revealing all the information about the manifold security holes and possible violations of the law that have subsequently been released, not the Benghazi committee. As Gowdy himself pointed out:
As you know our Committee is not investigating Secretary Clinton or allegations surrounding the handling of classified or otherwise protected information. Other entities may be investigating matters related thereto, but we are not. This is best evidenced by the fact our Committee has not issued a single subpoena related to her email arrangement or server or any aspect surrounding allegations of mishandling classified or otherwise protected information. Moreover, as you know out of the 54 interviews conducted by the Committee precisely one (1) has been related to her server and that interview – as you recall – was very short because the witness invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. In fact, after the media – not our Committee, but the media – broke the news of her exclusive use of private email and her use of a personal server in early March of 2015, the next 21 witness interviews in a row had nothing to do with Clinton or her email. This hardly evidences your baseless allegations of a “pivot” toward the Secretary or her email. What broke that string of 21 interviews in a row unrelated to any aspect of her email was the June 16, 2015 deposition of Sidney Blumenthal, which is discussed below.
What is relevant to our Committee’s jurisdiction is the Secretary’s reliance on Sidney Blumenthal for advice and counsel on matters, inter alia, related to Libya/Benghazi. The Committee is reviewing Mr. Blumenthal’s email with respect to these and other matters outlined in my October 7 letter in that regard. As such the nature of the information provided to the Secretary in this regard is highly relevant to better understand decisions made before and after the attacks (there is no evidence Sidney Blumenthal provided any counsel during the pendency of the attacks). As such our Committee is the first Committee to gain access to Secretary Clinton’s emails, Sidney Blumenthal’s emails and now Ambassador Stevens’ emails. Accessing this information is indispensable if we are to do what the House of Representatives asked us to do which is write the final, definitive accounting of what happened before, during, and after the attacks in Benghazi.
The bottom line is that you can be completely opposed to what the Benghazi committee is doing and think it is all tainted by politics without believing that the email scandal itself is even related, because it isn’t. Gowdy’s committee isn’t investigating Hillary’s use of the server and hasn’t been responsible for any of the information related thereto – that has all been leaked by the FBI and Obama’s own State Department to the New York Times – the only connection Gowdy’s committee has to this at all is that they are one of several entities who have been heretofore thwarted from getting documents that are responsive to a duly issued subpoena due to Clinton’s attempted wiping of her server.
The attempt by Clinton, et al to tie the email issue to the embarrassment caused by McCarthy and Hanna is understandable politically, but is fundamentally dishonest and desperate.
Lie #2: [mc_name name=’Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001051′ ] and [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] Know What they are Talking About
This lie springs inexorably from the first, and is dependent entirely on the careless utterings of McCarthy and Hanna for its legs. The first point that deserves to be made about this alleged evidence is that McCarthy and Hanna’s criticisms do not even pertain to the email scandal itself since, as we discussed above, the Benghazi committee is not even investigating Hillary’s email practices.
The second pertains to the basis of alleged knowledge by either McCarthy or Hanna – Hanna in particular. Hanna’s comments were covered by virtually every news outlet under the planet, including CNN, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, etc. etc. etc. Click on any one of these links and look for a crucial piece of information: whether the stories indicate whether Hanna or McCarthy is even a member of the Benghazi Committee.
Spoiler alert: none of the news stories mention that neither McCarthy nor Hanna are on the committee, which has done much of its work behind closed doors due to the classified nature of the information they are reviewing. You might say that as a member of leadership, McCarthy might have some knowledge of what the committee has been doing (although Gowdy claims that McCarthy has never asked for or received an update on the committee’s work at any time), but there’s no reason for Hanna – who is barely a Republican at all – to know anything about what they have done or their motivations for it.
It is probably too much to ask for Democrats to have the basic honesty to admit that the Republican names they are throwing around have no basis for knowledge for their alleged claims; but allegedly objective news organizations should at least admit during the course of repeating Hanna’s remarks that he isn’t even on the committee, so that news consumers can draw their own conclusions about how likely he is to know about its work or motivations.
Lie #3: [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ] “Fabricated” Redactions on Clinton’s Email to Make it Look Like She had Outed a Spy
Last week the major news story was the allegation that, per redactions in one of the emails that had been released, it appeared that Hillary Clinton had outed a spy through Sid Blumenthal. Sunday morning, Elijah Cummings claimed on television that he had asked the CIA, and they had not requested that the email of the source be deleted from the email, and did not consider the name of the source to be classified information.
Liberals and Democrats then leaped to a number of wild (and facially insane) conclusions, including the conclusion that Gowdy himself had fabricated the redaction in question in a purposeful attempt to make Clinton look bad. Itinerant ignorant liberal blogger Armando of DailyKos infamy hilariously suggested that [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ] may have committed a crime (the Speech and Debate Clause having apparently been deleted from the constitution while none of us were looking):
Latest on eGhazi: There’s no case that Hillary Clinton committed any wrongdoing. There’s a good case [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ] has committed a crime.
— Armando (@armandodkos) October 18, 2015
Setting aside the wild and fanciful twitter musings of the brain damaged, the dots liberals purported to connect missed several possible alternate explanations – those being, inter alia, that some other person besides the CIA might have been responsible for the redaction of the source’s name in the first place. And, indeed, when the dust had cleared this morning, the State Department had confirmed (surprise surprise) that Elijah Cummings was involved in what can most charitably be described as “clueless misleading of the public,” since it turns out that they were the ones responsible for the redaction of the source’s name.
Hilariously, this information allowed them to level a new charge against Gowdy – namely, that he was responsible for outing the source in question:
House Benghazi Committee Chairman [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ] appears to have accidentally released the name of a CIA source in the midst of a back-and-forth with Democrats about how sensitive the information was and whether its presence in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account constituted a security breach.
Gowdy’s aides, however, are blaming the State Department for the disclosure.
Story Continued Below
The email posted Sunday on the panel’s website included in one instance the name of Mousa Kousa, a former Libyan government spy chief and foreign minister. The name appeared to have been redacted in several other instances, but was included in a subject line of a forwarded email.
The redacted email was released at Gowdy’s direction “so the American people could decide for themselves regarding concerns about sources and methods,” the Benghazi committee said in a statement. The committee replaced the document online with another version in which Kousa’s name does not appear.
Asked about the change, Benghazi committee spokesman Jamal Ware said the State Department had cleared the email for release in the form it initially appeared Sunday.
“The State Department failed to redact a name in a subject line, so the committee took steps to remove this information so it was consistent with State Department’s redaction of it in another subject line.” Ware said. “The Committee will not confirm the name in question is the alleged source.”
A State Department spokesman had no immediate comment on the disclosure of Kousa’s name or the committee’s claim that State had cleared the email for release.
The top Democrat on the Benghazi panel, [mc_name name=’Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C000984′ ] of Maryland, revealed Sunday morning that the CIA had not requested the deletion of the source’s name and did not consider the information classified. Cummings said the CIA’s stance undercut Gowdy’s earlier claim that Clinton had endangered national security by having such information on her private server and by forwarding the message to one of her aides.
In Gowdy’s response Sunday, he said he was committed to protecting the source’s identity, even if the CIA was not.
Clearly, the Democrats spent all day Sunday falsely claiming that Gowdy redacted the name on his own initiative to make Hillary look bad. When it turned out that the State Department redacted it (but missed a redaction in the email’s subject line) the new allegation became that Gowdy himself recklessly exposed the source’s name.
Remember, of course, that less than 24 hours ago these exact same people attempted to claim that the name of the source was not classified at all, and that attempts to treat it as classified somehow constituted an actual crime on Gowdy’s part.
These are not serious people and their objections to the work of the Benghazi committee are not serious. But it is more important to remember that the Benghazi committee is not responsible for uncovering or investigating Hillary’s email practices with respect to her private server. This is the subject of a completely separate and independent investigation by the FBI, and the Democrats’ attempts to paint it as part of a Benghazi witch hunt are, at bottom, both desperate and dishonest.