Guy Benson


Conservatives aren't the only ones who've taken note of the Obama administration's ongoing lack of accountability over the Benghazi attacks.  CNN's Jake Tapper devoted a biting online analysis and a full segment of his program to the issue yesterday: 


Meanwhile, here's an interesting and worthwhile follow-up to my item yesterday on John Kerry's decision to reverse Hillary Clinton's disciplinary action against four mid-level State Department employees following the Benghazi massacre -- via the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin:

[Kerry's move] is undoubtedly the right decision, given that none of the four disciplined foreign service employees had real responsibility for the fiasco. Only one, Raymond Maxwell, was even in the Near East bureau.  But then even the Democrats must acknowledge that to date, no one has been held accountable for the serial missteps (losing track of the security situation in Benghazi, denying security requests, etc.) that resulted in the deaths.  The issue of who said what in the days following Benghazi has been largely answered. A whole bunch of administration officials including the president, who knew or should have known this was a terrorist attack, instead went with the story of a “spontaneous” attack instigated by an anti-Muslim video. We know who did it (Hillary Clinton, the president, Jay Carney, Susan Rice) and we pretty much know why (with the election less than two months away, the “al-Qaeda in shambles” boast was shattered).


I'd add that in addition to dealing a devastating blow to the administration's 'Al-Qaeda is on the run' boasts -- and the immediate political consequences thereof -- we also know that the State Department's "building leadership" was worried that Americans might discover how derelict they'd been in the lead-up to the attacks.  Some people have legacies to worry about, and futures for which to position themselves.  These are obvious motives behind both the decision to both scrub the talking points and to promote the loyal soldiers who sullied themselves for the cause.  As for Rubin's contention that none of the four employees who were sanctioned bear any responsibility for what happened, I'd offer one quibble: Charlene Lamb richly deserves to have been sacked, both for her pre-attack decisions, and her breathtakingly tone deaf post-attack testimony.  The case is far less clear-cut for Raymond Maxwell.  But here's the real crux of Rubin's argument:

So let’s finally focus on who it was that missed the boat on the Benghazi security situation and, now, how the Accountability Review Board managed to interview none of the political higher-ups and instead scapegoated the little guys at State. This includes the president and Clinton who were so proud that the Libyan war had been done “the right way” that they didn’t bother to keep track of the rise of al-Qaeda throughout North Africa. No one in the White House has been queried on the Libya fiasco, nor has Clinton explained why she wasn’t tuned into the deteriorating security situation in Libya. And now with falsely accused foreign-service employees returned to their jobs, it is worth exploring who fingered them and why. When Congress returns that should be the focus of continued investigation.


The entire point of offering the proverbial scalps of smaller players was to foster a misplaced sense of "closure" to the scandal (particularly to many in the media), and allows bigger fish to wriggle off the hook.  Undoing that feint, while maddening, is at least more honest.  Rubin asks good questions.  Aside from Lamb, why were the others chosen to take the fall, and why did Hillary select them?  And if the ARB was so independent and thorough, why didn't it interview Clinton, and why did Kerry feel compelled to review the review (and reverse Hillary's decisions)?  Good luck getting answers; the administration is going to extraordinary lengths to keep Benghazi secrets buried.  Are additional major revelations lurking in the pipeline?  Stay tuned. 

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography