Phi Beta Iota: Our interpretation of today’s live broadcast of testimony by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
01 She was not consulted about Ambassador Rice being the point person for publicly presenting the talking points butchered by the White House. She was allegedly in town and monitoring demonstrations in Egypt rather than the security situation in Libya. She may actually have been in Iran.
02 She dissembless on when and how Washington knew the Benghazi attack was a full scale attack rather than a protest.
03 She dissembles on the lack of military response, drawing on Admiral Mike Mullen’s nonsense about no military assets being available. Everyone is covering up for Leon Panetta, including John McCain.
04 She dances very elegantly around the fact that Benghazi was a CIA base for which the Department of State was in no way responsible for security.
05 The precise circumstances of how a US Ambassador got into Benghaze and was left to die in a room with no ventilation have not been addressed.
06 She explicitly identifies Niger and its oil as a principal reason for US engagement with Mali.
07 She waffles on US engagement with Third World countries. On the one hand, she finally catches up with those who were calling in 1992 for a shift of attention and assets from low-probability high-intensity events to high-probability low-intensity events. On the other hand she perpetuates the idea that the Somalias of the world are primarily about military to military training rather than harmonized international development assistance.
John McCain’s statement is a whole different hearing all by itself. He slams the President and all concerned but avoids dealing with the FACT that CIA was operating an arms smuggling base in Benghazi that was engaged in acts of war against Syria. Hillary Clinton responds very ably on the substance of how there is no serious coordination between Congress and the Executive on day to day operations including security expenditures. She gracefully avoids responding to McCain’s calling her a liar on multiple counts.
Rand Paul gets to the core question: whether the Annex was acquiring and transferring weapons from Libya to other countries. Hillary Clinton, on the record, states that she had and has no knowledge of what the Annex (CIA base) was doing.
In passing, her comments on who important it was to have the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invite competing experts in to devine what the best truth might be about any given policy or region, revealed her appreciation of the fact that neither the State Department nor CIA are good enough to formulate a full picture on anything.