From Kevin Drum:
ABC News now has a complete set of drafts of the infamous “talking points” that were prepared a few days following the Benghazi attacks. The drafts don’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, but here’s a nickel summary:
- From the very start, the talking points say that the attacks were “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” and then “evolved” into the assaults on the two compounds in Benghazi.
- The first draft included references to “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida.” This was eventually sanded down to “extremists” after the State Department pointed out that they had been deliberately withholding this information because “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.” This is the same thing that David Petraeus told Congress last November.
- The third draft included an ass-covering paragraph from the CIA making sure everyone knew they had produced “numerous pieces” on possible threats to Benghazi in the previous few months, with the obvious implication that the State Department had ignored them. Unsurprisingly, the State Department’s spokesman, Victoria Nuland, objected to this gratuitous display of bureaucratic point scoring. It was removed in the final draft.
Editor’s Note: I’m sorry, I have looked and looked and there isn’t anything here. Benghazi is simply conservatives jumping up and down and holding their breath. Look, the fact that Americans died in Benghazi is tragic. Sometimes, when Americans die, it’s not the President’s fault. It is not the Secretary of State’s fault. We simply had Americans in a dangerous part of the world. Continue reading More on Benghazi (Update)
For months, we’ve heard about the potential “cover-up” of Benghazi. Now, the House is holding yet another set of hearings in which the head was supposedly going to be blown off of this Benghazi cover. Here’s what we learned:
1. F-16s could have been sent to Benghazi
Part of the prevailing theory surrounding the events the night of the Benghazi attacks is that the Obama administration did not do enough militarily to respond to the crisis. Gregory Hicks — a Foreign Service Officer and the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya — claimed during his pre-hearing testimony that fighter jets could have been flown over Benghazi, preventing the second wave of the attack from occurring.
Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) questioned that statement, asking Hicks whether he disagreed with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey’s assessment that no air assets were in range the night of the attack. Hicks didn’t disagree, saying he was “speaking from [his] perspective” and what “veteran Libyan revolutionaries” told him, rather than Pentagon assessments. Continue reading Benghazi Revealed
I know that many progressives are disappointed in President Obama for nominating Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State. Kerry is fine. There is nothing wrong with John Kerry. He is a solid progressive. There were better choices, but probably no one who has done more for Obama. It was Kerry who picked Obama for the 2004 convention floor speech.
One of the great theories that has been floating around Washington is that the GOP decided to attack Susan Rice when she was thought to be the leading candidate for Secretary of State. They attacked Ambassador Rice so that Obama would then nominate John Kerry. They reason that they wanted Kerry was so that Scott Brown could run in the special election for Kerry’s seat. Scott Brown, as you’ll recall, ran for Ted Kennedy’s old seat and won, but he had a little problem winning re-election because of Elizabeth Warren. Look, all of this maybe true. I just don’t think that Scott Brown is the man that he was 24 months ago. I don’t think that progressives will look at him as a decent alternative to a real progressive. I’m thinking Caroline Kennedy is looking better and better.