Benghazi:  photo by Pete Souza, public domain

Benghazi: Politicizing Tragedy, Gowdy Finds Nothing New Against Clinton.
photo by Pete Souza, public domain

“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’” – Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-R)

THE UPSHOT is that when you join allies in an effort to kneecap a thug threatening genocide you’d better have a plan for the day after.

And I’m not talking about the politics of intervention, which the Obama administration clearly cared about because the 2012 election was nearing.

According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]

I’d point any Republican looking at the politics of Benghazi to go back to the politics of Iran-Contra. In the throes of any national security crises abroad, you’re going to have any administration working overtime to frame what happened.

The job of foreign service professionals and diplomats is perilous and can be life-threatening at any moment. A world away from America, Benghazi was barely an outpost. Understanding the old tale of Cowboys and Indians, then applying it to Benghazi is not far off from what Ambassador Stevens was living. He knew it and reveled in it.

Stevens landed in Benghazi for the first time on April 5, 2011. He was smuggled in on a freighter that sailed from Malta, empty except for him, Nathan Tek, a small security detail, a USAID team, and a crew of mostly puzzled Greeks and Romanians. Later, Stevens would tell friends that other ways into the city had been considered””driving overland from Egypt, zipping ashore in a Zodiac with a Seal team launched from a submarine””but he didn’t mind the boat ride or bunking in a tiny cabin with Tek, who was not even half his age. “He thought it was romantic,” Tek says. “Like a nineteenth-century adventure.” [GQ]

If you want to understand President Obama backtracking on his Syria “red line,” the Benghazi attack and the unraveling of Libya is a good place to start.

The emails also show that Mrs. Clinton was circulating information about the attacks in Benghazi that contradicted the Obama administration’s initial narrative of what occurred, and that she was concerned about how Republicans could use the incidents to undermine President Obama. [New York Times]

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s diligence did reveal one important thing unrelated to the Benghazi attack: Secretary Clinton’s private email server.

That one discovery has done more to undermine Secretary Clinton’s “honest and trustworthy” numbers than any single item Republicans have thrown at her, which continues to drag down her approval numbers.

But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known that any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.” – Rep. Kevin McCarthy