Remember when Barack Obama said his would be the most transparent administration in history? Remember when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton used to tout the findings of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board as evidence of her desire for transparency, as well as her absolution?
Paging Emily Litella...
A standard defense for Hillary Rodham Clinton when facing questions about Benghazi, Libya, has been to cite her commissioning of a report from the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), which took a deep look at the attacks that claimed the lives of four U.S. personnel on Sept. 11, 2012. In testimony before Congress in January 2013, Clinton said: “I hurried to appoint the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen so we could more fully understand from objective, independent examination, what went wrong and how to fix it. I have accepted every one of their recommendations.”
In an interview with Clinton that aired last night on ABC News, anchor Diane Sawyer threw the ARB right back in the face of the former secretary of state. The two tangled over the preparedness of the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi for a terrorist attack. In defending her work on this front, Clinton stressed that she had delegated the particulars of security to the experts in the field. “I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be, where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise,” said Clinton, who did the interview as part of the tour for her book “Hard Choices.”
Sensing an opening, Sawyer cited the document that Clinton herself has so often cited: “This is the ARB: the mission was far short of standards; weak perimeter; incomplete fence; video surveillance needed repair. They said it’s a systemic failure.”
The anchor continued pressing, asking Clinton whether the people might be seeking from her a “sentence that begins from you ‘I should have…’?” Clinton sort of ducked that one. The accountability-heavy moment came when Sawyer’s slow and steady line of questioning on Benghazi security prompted Clinton to utter this self-contradictory and sure-to-be-repeated statement: “I take responsibility, but I was not making security decisions.”
For the record, possible-presidential-candidates-in-abeyance should never attach conjunctions to their declarations of responsibility-taking.
Another telling moment came when Sawyer placed before Clinton all the warnings that bad things were afoot in Benghazi. “Did you miss it? Did you miss the moment to prevent this from happening?” Sawyer asked. Clinton’s response started with these two words: “No, but …”
And remember how Obama, Clinton, Carney, et al, all sang Hosannas about the alleged independence of the ARB?
Yesterday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi began a new phase of its probe into the collapse of America’s policy on Libya. Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to then-Secretary Hillary Clinton, appeared before the panel to detail what she knew about the attack on the compound and the State Department’s response to it. No details of her testimony have emerged, but one Congressman noted that Mills had a few memory problems, especially when Republicans asked the questions...
Politico’s Rachel Bade had more luck in finding out what Mills told the panel. According to Bade, Republicans grew “alarmed” when Mills told them that she reviewed the Accountability Review Board’s report and asked for changes to it before its publication. The Obama administration has insisted all along that the ARB acted completely independently of State’s influence:
But raising alarms on the right, Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, also told the House Select Committee on Benghazi that she reviewed and made suggestions for changes to the government’s official, final report on what happened in Benghazi, according to a separate, GOP source familiar with what she said.
The source said it “call[s] into question the ‘independence’” of the report’s conclusions. …
One of the biggest surprises to the right was that she said she made suggestions to change state’s accountability review board report. The report was supposed to be independent from state officials that may be involved, and the GOP argues top officials should not have had input, long questioning how independent the findings were.
IT DOESN’T CALL IT INTO QUESTION; CHERYL MILLS’ TESTIMONY DEBUNKS THE CLAIM OF INDEPENDENCE ALTOGETHER. That should have been disregarded from the beginning.
Let’s not forget that Ambassador Thomas Pickering decided early on to focus on those below the political-appointment rank in the ARB’s investigation, never bothering to interview people like Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary of State whose responsibilities included facility security. Now we find out that Pickering apparently ran the report by Mills for her approval and editing, which a truly independent investigation would hardly do. It’s yet another reason for a Congressional investigation into Benghazi, and the Libya policies that led up to it.
- Ed Morrissey, Mills: I reviewed the ARB report on Benghazi before publication, made “suggestions” for changes, 4 September 2015
Ambassador Pickering didn't even really query the Secretary of State, HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But let me understand what you're saying. You had Secretary Clinton but you didn't ask her any questions? And why not?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Because in fact, we knew where the responsibility rested. She had already stated on a number of occasions, she accepted as a result of her job, the full responsibility. On the other hand, legislation setting up our board made it very clear that they didn't want a situation in which a department or agency had accepted responsibility and then nobody looked at where the decisions were made. And how and what way those decisions affected performance on security. And whether people where thus responsible for failures or performance. That's what we were asked to do and that's what we did.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think in retrospect it might have been a good idea to question her? And some of these other ranking officials?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: I think that we knew and understood because we had questioned people who had attended meetings with her. What went on at those meetings and how they were handled? What was relevant? I don't believe that it was necessary to do that. I don't think that there was anything there that we didn't know.
He said this even though:
1. Hillary Clinton had to issue a waiver for the consulate in Benghazi because security failed to meet its own basic security standards and those set forth in Federal law.
2. Hillary Clinton knew the Benghazi consulate had been bombed twice in the 5 months leading up to 09.11.12.
3. Hillary Clinton knew specific threats had been made against the ambassador, the consulate, and other assets in Benghazi.
4. Hillary Clinton knew there were increasing threats to and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi had been made during the 6 months prior to the attack.
5. Hillary Clinton knew that on 10 June 2012, an assassination attempt had been made on the British ambassador, which led to the entire mission being abandoned.
6. Hillary Clinton knew that many diplomatic cables, including those specifically addressed to her, warned of security concerns in Benghazi and flatly said the consulate could not withstand a coordinated attack.
7. Hillary Clinton knew that the Red Cross had been attacked in May and al Qaeda had left threats there on the day of the attack mentioning the American consulate.
8. Hillary Clinton knew that on 22 June 2012, AMBASSADOR STEVENS, PERSONALLY, WARNED BOTH HER AND HER UNDERLINGS AT STATE THAT EXTREMIST GROUPS WERE CARRYING OUT TERRORIST ATTACKS, MAKING THREATS AGAINST WESTERN TARGETS, AND HE BELIEVED THAT HE WAS A TARGET.
9. Hillary Clinton knew that on 9 July 2012, Stevens requested at least 13 more security personnel. She denied this increase in security while approving $250,000 in electric car charging stations and associated items for the embassy in Vienna, as well as ordering an increase in security at the embassy in Bermuda.
10. Hillary Clinton knew that on 21 July 2012, the private security contractor, Nordstrom, warned State to be on high alert for terrorist activity. State refused to renew Nordstrom's contract on 5 August.
11. Hillary Clinton knew that Nordstrom had been replaced it with a Welsh group, Blue Mountain, which had little knowledge of the conditions in Libya and hired inexperienced locals, who were often unarmed, for $4 an hour.
12. Hillary Clinton knew that on 2 August 2012, Stevens sent HER an urgent cable requesting a “protective detail bodyguard.”
13. Hillary Clinton knew that on 16 August 2012, the consulate security team leaves while SENDING A MESSAGE DIRECTLY TO **HER** OF THE DIRE SECURITY SITUATION.
14. Hillary Clinton knew that on 8 September 2012, Libyan officials in Benghazi warned both she and Ambassador Stevens of a pending attack on the consulate.
15. Hillary Clinton knew that 4 hours before he was killed, Stevens cabled Washington. HE TOLD SECRETARY CLINTON AND HER OFFICE THAT THERE WERE AT LEAST 10 AL QAEDA GROUPS OPENLY TRAINING IN BENGHAZI AND HE/AND THE CONSULATE WERE OPERATING UNDER EXTREMIS CONDITIONS.
16. Sean Smith told his fellow gamers online hours before he died 'HOPE I DON'T DIE.' He told his mother less than an hour before he died that he had seen someone taking pictures, reported it, and asked for reinforcements. ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS, HE TOLD HIS MUM THAT AMBASSADOR STEVENS, HE AND OTHERS HAD REPEATEDLY FOR BETTER SECURITY.
17. Hillary Clinton knew that it was the 11th anniversary of the original 9/11.
18. Hillary Clinton knew on 09.12.12 that the CIA station chief in Libya reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and makes it clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under a terrorist attack.
19. Hillary Clinton knew on 09.12.12 that Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs at the State Department, sent an email stating 'the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.'
20. Hillary Clinton knew - in real time - that the attack on Benghazi was being carried out by affiliates of al Qaeda and not 'a protest or [some] guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans.'
But, being the congenital liar that she is, Hillary Clinton immediately set out telling blatant falsehoods.
On 09.12.12 @04:07 (09.11.12 @10:07 PM EST), Secretary Clinton issued a statement acknowledging the death of one State Dept. officer, Sean Smith, and blamed an Internet video for violence. The statement includes:
'We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, AS A RESPONSE TO INFLAMMATORY MATERIAL POSTED ON THE INTERNET. AMERICA'S COMMITMENT TO RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE GOES BACK TO THE VERY BEGINNING OF OUR NATION. BUT LET ME BE CLEAR: THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS; NONE.'
Even though she and the rest of the administration knew the real reason why the Benghazi compound was attacked, they continued to lie. Hillary Clinton and President Obama even took to Pakistani airwaves blaming the You Tube video and assuring the country that ‘this is not who we are', ‘Islam is the Religion of Peace’, yada, yada, yada.
So shameless in her lies, Hillary Clinton, as she stood over the bodies of their children and ‘her good friend, Chris’ at Andrews Air Force Base, told the mother of Sean Smith and the father of Ty Woods:
‘We are going to have the filmmaker arrested.’
And, that is exactly what happened. On 09.27.12, US Federal authorities arrested Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Los Angeles charging him with 8 counts of probation violation. Some of the charges related to statements he made relative to the film and the alias 'Sam Bacile,' but none was for the use of the internet, which his probation terms prevented. He was put in solitary confinement, denied bail, and had his first court hearing set for the day after the American presidential elections. HE STAYED THERE FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR.
Between the attack on Benghazi and 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama described al Qaeda as being ‘decimated’, ‘on the run’, and ‘on the path to defeat’ at least 32 times, according to White House transcripts. This despite the fact that Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarief, members of the intelligence community, members of Congress, and numerous press reports from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and international media, including many in the Middle East, confirming that al Qaeda had played a role in the attack.
On 11.01.12, Obama said:
‘Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, THE WAR IN IRAQ IS OVER, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, AL QAEDA HAS BEEN DECIMATED, Osama bin Laden is dead.’
'We're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.’
And, we certainly cannot avoid giving HRH Hillary Rodham Clinton credit for her Libyan Adventure because it is most certainly due.
‘We came. We saw. He died.’
And, Europe thanks you for the millions of refugees....
Pantsuits, you could always blame it on a video.