YOU CAN almost smell the flop sweat and HRC’s not even announced yet. Immediately after Hillary Clinton appeared at Senator Tom Harken‘s festive Iowa grease-fest, the Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! choir kicked in to high gear again. Orchestrated with the usual motive, Sharyl Attkisson applies her significant skills to make a grudge match into high national security drama that’s directed at former Secretary Clinton.
It surrounds Raymond Maxwell, former State Dept. deputy assistant secretary, who is the aggrieved party, being put on paid administrative leave for a year after Benghazi, with his major complaint being…
“….‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’…”
– Raymond Maxwell
Getting caught up in a horrific tragedy no doubt is overwhelming. Something like the Benghazi terrorist attack is even worse, because there has been so much intense emotion, misinformation and blame bubbling up around it.
From Josh Rogin’s previous reporting, back in May 2013:
The decision to place Maxwell on administrative leave was based on the classified portion of the ARB’s report, which named Maxwell specifically, the source said, but since the ARB didn’t say that Maxwell had committed a “breach of duty,” he couldn’t be outright fired.
“Administrative leave was the best option available within the very narrow authority that anyone had. That was the harshest discipline the department could mete out,” a State Department official involved in the decision making process said. “There really weren’t any other options available. If they could have been fired, they would have been.”
One person who reviewed the classified portion of the ARB report told The Daily Beast that it called out Maxwell for the specific infraction of not reading his daily classified briefings, something that person said Maxwell admitted to the ARB panel during his interview.
Nobody is happy with this answer, but when the U.S. tries to do good in foreign lands, where we cannot have full American military presence, foreign service, CIA and other personnel put their lives in danger. Making a volatile world a more stable place is dangerous work and I guarantee you that Ambassador Chris Stevens and the brave men who died trying to save him, knew this.
Back at home, State Department personnel making the decisions below the 7th floor, where Secretary Clinton and her team worked, took a hit, because as the Accountability Review Board assessed, mistakes were made, a lot of them. That’s why when recommendations came down, Secretary Clinton immediately began implementing them, which no doubt continues under John Kerry‘s watch.
What Attkisson has whipped up in this post, however, is not worthy of her reporting. It also does a disservice to everyone at the State Department who did their level best in their jobs, including Raymond Maxwell. Unfortunately, there was fallout that hit people carrying out orders that simply weren’t enough.
Raymond Maxwell became part of that, though he was cleared of all suspicions. He clearly never got over what he felt was a personal and professional injustice.
That’s absolutely no excuse for Ms. Attkisson to use Maxwell to suggest something nefarious that has already been reviewed, investigated, scrutinized again and again, then brought forth one more time by the House to make sure Benghazi remains newsworthy when Hillary Clinton announces her 2016 candidacy for president.
From Sharyl Attkisson‘s post, a revealing sample of former Raymond Maxwell‘s poetry, which he began unloading during his paid administrative leave.
A poem entitled “Invitation,” refers to Maxwell’s placement on administrative leave in December 2012: “The Queen’s Henchmen / request the pleasure of your company / at a Lynching – / to be held / at 23rd and C Streets NW [State Dept. building] / on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 / just past sunset. / Dress: Formal, Masks and Hoods- / the four being lynched / must never know the identities/ of their executioners, or what/ whose sin required their sacrifice./ A blood sacrifice- / to divert the hounds- / to appease the gods- / to cleanse our filth and /satisfy our guilty consciences…”
In another poem called “Trapped in a purgatory of their own deceit,” Maxwell wrote: “The web of lies they weave / gets tighter and tighter / in its deceit / until it bottoms out – / at a very low frequency – / and implodes…Yet all the while, / the more they talk, / the more they lie, / and the deeper down the hole they go… Just wait…/ just wait and feed them the rope.”
I’m sorry, but are you kidding me? It couldn’t be worse if he wrote under the byline Aggrieved and Disgruntled.
One of Attkisson’s photos suggests, via the manipulative tool of a question, “a basement operation”?
In a veiled and very lame attempt to appear to show all sides of Raymond Maxwell, all Sharyl Attkisson does is reveal her own misguided ferocity for bullshit, which has the added bonus of doing the job for Clinton’s adversaries, while gathering up fans of the anti-Clinton variety, by using a source who clearly has scores to settle.
Hillary Clinton will have to live with the tragedy of Benghazi the rest of her life, as anyone in power and under watch during an event like this has to do. It’s part of the job. She’s taken responsibility, expressed intense regret. Does anyone actually believe Secretary Clinton could have stopped what happened in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11? Any suggestion that she could reveals enormous ignorance about the risks and dangerous of the foreign service.
The debate to be had is not about some allegations of “basement operation,” but is one about U.S. policy of intervention, which I’ve been writing since Benghazi began to be dissected on Fox News Channel and the initial report of the military being told to “stand down” was floated.
Speaking of that, as is retold in a new book about the terrorist tragedy, the CIA is finally coming under scrutiny, which I first wrote should be considered, and now is part of the tale. A CIA station chief called “Bob” allegedly gave a “stand down” order to the CIA support team. Denials abound.
So enters another subplot to shade more grey on an event where shadows abound.