The Administration’s Libya problem: they’re going to need a bigger bus
In the ongoing it’s not our fault blame game, at Thursday night’s debate, the Vice President trotted out the next meme for the Libyan debacle, “we did not know they needed more security.” At Friday’s White House press briefing, Jay Carney doubled down with a definition of “we”: “The vice president was speaking about himself, the president and the White House. He was not referring to the administration.”
As the caskets of the American ambassador and three other Americans were being carried at Andrews Air Force base, the photo of the President and Secretary Clinton can be captioned in any number of ways, depending upon your political leanings. However, one question to ask is on the night of 9/11, what did Hillary Clinton know, when did she know it, and who did she tell.
As a direct result Thursday night’s debate comment focusing on the Administration’s latest planned bus victim, a CNN reporter last Friday asked Secretary Clinton what she was doing the evening of 9/11 when the attack occurred. The Secretary gave a lengthy non-answer, which later prompted the State Dept. spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, to give a followup clarification in the daily press briefing:
Well, I mean, obviously, she knows what she was doing on that night. I think that, from her perspective, the focus needs to be on the ARB, on the lessons we learned from this, rather than on her personal tick-tock. As you know, she’s not that interested in focusing on herself. But obviously, she was here very late that night. She was getting regular updates from both the DS Command Center and the senior NEA leadership in the building, she was making phone calls to senior people, and so she was obviously very much involved. But I think she was not interested in sort of giving a personal tick-tock. It’s not the way she operates.
To recap, a little over one month since the murder of the US Ambassador and three Americans in Benghazi, with the evidence showing it was a deliberate, pre-planned attack, we have countless victims in the Administration blame game: the filmmaker and his video, the intelligence community, (James Clapper, CIA, NSA, DIA), and now, it appears Hillary Clinton’s next in line. In the aforementioned interview, consider the follow-up question and answer session:
QUESTION: The White House says that it was not told, that it didn’t know, and that this is – that embassy security is a State Department – in the State Department’s purview and doesn’t go beyond that. That’s your understanding from what I say, unless there is some broader policy question that the security might – that might involve security. Is that an accurate assessment?
MS. NULAND: Again, if we’re talking about security that is within the State Department’s assets, if there isn’t a policy concern or a reason for interagency coordination, then we handle it routinely. If there is, then we get more other– other agencies involved. But in terms of this particular instance, I obviously don’t have any information to contradict what the Vice President said, if that’s what you’re asking.
Earlier this morning, on Meet the Press, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, of DNC histrionic fame, trotted out this little lying factoid (emphasis mine):
FMR. GOV. GRANHOLM: Let’s be clear. First, on the attack on 9/11 that killed our ambassador and three others, the president has launched an investigation to get to the bottom of it and no one is more concerned about tracking down those killers to the end of the earth than the president is. The investigation and the knowledge of what’s happening is an evolving process. You don’t know everything on day one what you eventually find out. That’s why you launch an investigation. But what was said at the debate is not inaccurate. There was testimony in Congress asking for more security, but that security that was requested was for Tripoli, which is the embassy, not for Benghazi, which is 400 miles away.
Wrong, Jenny. There’s Congressional testimony, sworn under oath by Eric Nordstrom, former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, that security was requested for Benghazi because of previous attacks (emphasis mine):
Earlier post extension requests for our DOD SS team in November 2011 and March 2012 were approved. Also, in March 2012, I requested DS staffing levels in Tripoli of 5 full-time agents to be permanently assigned there, 12 temporary duty D.S. agents, and 6 mobile security deployment D.S. agents – again – to train our newly-created body guard unit. Our request to maintain a level of 5 TDY D.S. agents in Benghazi was included in that same March 2012 request.
So, is Hillary going to be a hood ornament or a full fledged casualty. Certainly her husband hasn’t been biding his time. According to an interview with The Daily Caller, Edward Klein, author of The Amateur, told the Caller, that Clinton is furious, and “Klein said sources close to the Clintons tell him that Bill Clinton has assembled an informal legal team to discuss how the Secretary of State should deal with the issue of being blamed for not preventing the Benghazi terrorist attack last month.” The plotting and planning may also have something to do with the release of the Background Briefing on Libya (h/t PowerLine) from October 9 by the State Dept in which two Senior State Dept. officials, who from the text of the briefing, were most likely present in Benghazi, and give a truly riveting account of that night.
Call it a feeling, call it and instinct, but before too much longer the question’s going to be, “what did the President know and when did he know it?”