Monday, October 12, 2015

Benghazi Farce Blows up in GOP’s Face

From its outset, the GOP controlled House Benghazi committee has been a partisan witch hunt with only one goal: Damage Hillary Clinton as much as possible and Barack Obama as well should the opportunity present itself.  The GOP hit men have conveniently developed amnesia on the issue of their own cuts to funding for State Department security.   Meanwhile, they have near orgasm leaking selective tidbits to the media - which is itself part of the problem - with the knowledge that lazy journalists will likely run with the proffered GOP sound bite/talking point.  Thankfully, the charade is now getting unwanted scrutiny that shows that the committee's work has been akin to one of Josef Stalin's show trials in the 1930's.  A piece Salon looks at the GOP's wet dream unraveling.  Here are highlights:
The chaos and dysfunction currently roiling the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has made life difficult for the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Under the leadership of Trey Gowdy, the committee had been maintaining a low profile, keeping quiet and staying out of the news as it dug up dirt on Hillary Clinton to strategically leak to the press. The low-profile game plan was shot to hell by Kevin McCarthy, who bragged of the committee’s political agenda on national television, and was then forced to walk back his comments and deny saying the thing he said several times over. Suddenly, Gowdy and his committee were facing the one thing they’d hoped to avoid: scrutiny.

That scrutiny has taken the form of a front-page New York Times investigation into what the committee has been up to over the past year and half. What the paper turned up is an investigation that didn’t really seem to be going anywhere until Hillary Clinton’s emails emerged as an issue, at which point its focus “shifted” from the actual attacks in Benghazi to Clinton’s electronic communications. 

As the Times notes, the official response from the Republicans on the committee is to “dispute any suggestion that their inquiry… has been partisan or ineffective or that it has changed course.” . . . though it became harder to maintain that fiction in the aftermath of McCarthy’s inopportune truth-telling.

But the unofficial Republican response to the committee’s recent troubles is a bit more enlightening:
Senior Republican officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing confidential conversations, said that Mr. Boehner had long been suspicious of the administration’s handling of the attacks and that Mrs. Clinton’s emails gave him ato keep the issue alive and to cause political problems for her campaign.
[[N]ow Republican officials are dishing to the Times about how it was all the outgoing Speaker’s idea to focus on Hillary’s emails for political benefit. This has all the hallmarks of a cover-your-ass operation – Paul Waldman sees this as Gowdy and his people working to push away any responsibility for what is turning into a damaging story for his committee.

But it doesn’t really matter what excuses Republicans come up with. The Times story has punched a hole in the committee’s credibility and made clear just how little trust one can place in the public statements emerging from the Benghazi investigators.

The three-pronged investigation was supplanted by a singular focus on Clinton’s emails. The interviews they promised would happen were, per the Times, “never followed up on.” And its mandate seems to have been abandoned in a messy political fight that is threatening to blow up in their faces.

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