Dave Weigel's Hand Waving Will Not Make Benghazi Go Away

dave weigel


Right now the left is attempting to minimize the significance of the investigation into the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. These follow three basic rubrics.



This was pointed out by former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Controversialization simply means that you try to make the subject a controversial one rather than the object of empirical examination. The left does this regularly. This is how we got to homosexual marriage and why the regime is obsessed with defending the pseudo-religion of climate change.

Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson joined the hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday and was asked for her thoughts on apparent efforts by former Obama administration officials Tommy Vietor and David Plouffe to dismiss the latest revelations about the response to the Benghazi attack. The former CBS reporter said that she believes there is a concerted effort to delegitimize investigations into that deadly 2012 attack orchestrated by people close to the White House.

Attkisson was asked for her thoughts on how the White House has reacted to the latest release of emails pertaining to the response to Benghazi, particularly Plouffe’s appearance on ABC News’ This Week in which he said the investigation into the attack was driven by a “delusional minority” of the GOP.

“The key words they use, such as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘delusional,’ are in my opinion clearly designed to try to controversialize a story — a legitimate news story and a legitimate area of journalistic inquiry,” Attkisson submitted.

“To some degree, that’s successful,” she added. “But I think primarily among those that don’t want to look at this as a story in the first place.”

“I see that as a well-orchestrated strategy to controversialize a story they really don’t want to hear about,” Attkisson continued.


As the investigation proceeds we will see more of this. We can rely upon the Democrats on the Select Committee to attempt to paint every request and question by Chairman Trey Gowdy and the majority members as a partisan attack.

Bureaucratic Infighting

The Benghazi investigation is just an attempt by Speaker John Boehner to gain control over a fractious caucus. This view was floated by the iridiscent bag of pus from Maryland, Elijah Cummings:

This new select committee appears to be nothing more than a reaction to internal Republican bickering rather than a responsible effort to obtain the facts, especially since the new committee will not have any powers that Chairman Issa doesn’t already have — including the ability to issue unilateral subpoenas for any document or witness, which he just used to subpoena the Secretary of State.

Cummings, it seems, still has his panty twisted over his being unable to run roughshod over Darryl Issa. But this was dutifully and approvingly reported on by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

This dovetails to some degree with what Dem Rep. Elijah Cummings suggested yesterday: that the new select committee is more an effort to gain control over “internal party bickering” marring efforts to probe Benghazi than anything else.

Hand Waving

The best job of hand waving thus far is by Slate’s faux conservative, journo-lister Dave Weigel.Weigel is using the “search-replace” function for articles published during Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Today he writes The Umpteenth Guide to the Impenetrable Benghazi Outrage and pretends that the whole issue is silly:


Are you lost yet? OK—the entire argument is about Rhodes mentioning, hours after the CIA had suggested the Benghazi attack grew out of demonstrations in several countries, that the immediate inspiration for the demonstrations was a video. That’s the scandal—that by giving the video all this credit, the administration was distracting people from the real story that terrorism was surging again. Even though the subsequent 19 months have seen no more attacks on embassies. Even though reporting at the time said the excuse for the protests was said video.

Let’s unpack this.

There were demonstrations in Cairo and some other locations over the airing of a clip from Innocence of Muslims on Egyptian television. Egypt was then ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, one of Obama’s partners in his “Arab Spring” efforts in the Arab world.

It was known at the time of the attack that there was no demonstration. Ambassador Stevens reported all quiet when he retired for the night. The USAF general running the USAFRICOM operations center testified as much. David Rhodes, CBS News president and brother of Ben Rhodes, who crafted the false talking points for Susan Rice, said the day after the attack that the government believed the attack to be a coordinated assault not a reaction to a video.

What We Know

  • We know that at around 11pm EDT on September 11, 2012, that Hillary Clinton issued a statement on Benghazi blaming the Innocence of Muslims video and a spontaneous demonstration.
  • We don’t know what the CIA originally suggested because the Administration has shown itself congenitally unable to tell the truth.
  • We know that even though no one in government believed there was a demonstration in Benghazi or any connection to the video that those points were given to Susan Rice to present to the American people.
  • We know that the press reports Weigel refers to blaming the video and a demonstration for Benghazi were false, as that did not happen, and inspired by statements from the Administation, particularly that September 11 statement by Hillary Clinton.

Weigel offers only an incomplete treatment of the statement for former CIA acting director Mike Morrell. In his testimony to Congress he says:

Mike Morell said Wednesday that the U.S. intelligence committee knew al-Qaeda was involved in the Benghazi terror attack from the start, but said it wasn’t publicized because the sources through which they knew that were classified.

“The analysts said from the get-go that al-Qaeda was involved in this attack,” Morell said.

When asked why the CIA edited “al-Qaeda” out of their Benghazi talking points — after the State Department’s spokesman raised concerns about other aspects of the talking-points draft – Morell offered the same answer several times: “The only way we knew that anybody who was involved in that attack that night was associated with al Qaeda was from classified sources.”

It is completely understandable that Weigel doesn’t want any investigation of Benghazi. He’s a partisan lefty. There is no way the truth is going to help his cause. But to claim the issue has already been answered is just dishonest in the extreme. All that we know about Benghazi, right now, is that our ambassador and three other American citizens were killed and that the Obama administration has relentlessly lied about the sequence of events and obstructed attempts by the Congress to find out what happened.

What We Need To Know

There are other issues that need examination in the context of a comprehensive investigation rather than piecemeal efforts by several committees.

  • What was Ambassador Stevens doing in Benghazi?
  • Was there an operation underway to run guns to the Syrian rebels? If so, was there a presidential finding that authorized providing weapons to al Qaeda fighters in Syria? Or was this considered a feature rather than a bug in the plan?
  • Did Ambassador Stevens request additional security? If so, did Hillary know about it? If not, what was she doing? Playing Candy Crush or Mahjong ? Who at State reviews security requests from highly vulnerable facilities? What is their force protection experience?
  • What did USAFRICOM tell the White House or State Department operations center about the availability of a reaction force? Was the deployment of a reaction force to Benghazi, Tripoli, or other highly vulnerable sites planned for? Had the plan been rehearsed on the ground or by map/communications exercise?
  • Was the self-absorbed “selfie” Commander-in-Chief really so hotly engaged in debate prep that he couldn’t be bothered as one of his ambassadors was killed? (h/t to commenter gawken.)

The list goes on and on.

For Weigel to pretend as though all the questions on Benghazi have been answered… or even asked… is just an exercise in duplicity.



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