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State, national columnists

Clear cloud over Benghazi attack

By From page A11 | May 08, 2014

SAN DIEGO — Now that Americans are restarting the argument over the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the picture of what happened on Sept. 11, 2012, and how the administration responded is becoming more clear – just as the politics surrounding the attack are becoming more cloudy.

Since it is now known the administration didn’t release all the information it should have, House Speaker John Boehner was right to convene a special committee to investigate the incident and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. – a highly capable former federal prosecutor – is an excellent choice to lead that inquiry.

Still, after several days of partisan spin from both sides, I’m becoming convinced that the last place we’re going to find the truth is within the Washington Beltway. All we seem to find there are competing agendas, and a lot of bobbing and weaving.

David Plouffe is now a contributor for ABC News where, on a recent installment of “This Week,” the former White House senior adviser insisted that Republicans were “delusional” and that Boehner was bullied by extremists in his own party to push the line that there was a “conspiracy” to cover up the facts.

Emmy-winning former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson – during an appearance on Fox News – accused Plouffe and other spinners of engaging in a “well-orchestrated strategy to controversialize a story they really don’t want to hear about.” Attkisson called Benghazi “a legitimate news story and a legitimate area of journalistic inquiry.”

This discussion could lead nowhere fast. There ought to be ground rules. Here are three:

  • If you insist on framing this issue in terms of Hillary Clinton’s future, you need to keep quiet. As much as conservatives want to hold Clinton accountable for an attack on a consulate during her watch as secretary of state, and liberals want to protect her from Republican attempts to derail her possible bid for the White House, Americans must not lose sight of what this story is really about. It’s not about Clinton. It’s about honoring the memory of four murdered Americans who served our country, both in the military and the diplomatic corps, by finding out the truth about why they died and whether there was a serious dereliction of duty in Washington. The most important question isn’t what keeps Republicans preoccupied – why the administration initially advanced the false narrative about a video being to blame for the attack. It’s why help was never dispatched. Everything else is a distraction.
  • No more wasting time on the sort of hackneyed stunts that press secretaries and spokesmen and spokeswomen in both parties use to keep information from being released to the media, even when it is specifically asked for. If it’s not “Sorry, we can’t comment because there is an ongoing investigation (that never ends),” then it’s releasing the information one bite at a time so that the public loses interest, memories fade and passions cool. We either value and take seriously the role of the media to act as a watchdog over the excesses of government, or we should just accept the fact that there is no accountability on the part of our elected officials. During a recent radio interview, Attkisson took note of this strategy as she lamented the fact that Judicial Watch, the conservative legal advocacy group, was able to get emails that she and other journalists had requested for two years with no success.
  • Let’s also try to take the politics out of the story. Republicans are saying that Democrats could pay a price for the administration’s actions in November because this issue could energize the conservative base. Meanwhile, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid criticized the convening of the investigative committee as an election-year gimmick. “For Republicans to waste the American people’s time and money staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class is simply a bad decision,” Reid said. There you have it. If the hyperpartisan Reid really thought Republicans were making a “bad” decision that would hurt them with voters at election time, he wouldn’t be criticizing them for digging themselves into a hole. He’d be encouraging them to dig deeper.

Obama supporters like to call Benghazi a phony scandal. It’s not. It’s a test of leadership and a stab at accountability. Let’s hope our elected officials are up to the challenge.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette


Discussion | 25 comments

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  • Teach5thMay 08, 2014 - 6:20 am

    Very good column. The questions keep coming. Why was our ambassador not given the security personnel he needed to keep him safe, especially on 9-11? Why didn't our military take action and get to Benghazzi in a timely manner. Maybe our ambassador might not have been saved, but the attack lasted 7 hours. Maybe our military could have saved at least 2 of the 4. The general who was questioned last week was given all kinds of kudos for his service in the military, but he sounded like a dullard when he was saying that they were "monitoring" the situation. And, finally, where was our illustrious commander-in-chief while all this was happening? Pelosi can try to keep her allotted 6 off the committee, but folks ought to be prepared to scream for the answers and not just wonder, as Hillary Clinton did, "What difference does it make?" Then, there's Lois Lerner. . . It never seems to stop with these bureaucrats!

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  • CD BrooksMay 08, 2014 - 6:37 am

    Teach5th, your usual morning dump and run. Context is king, as an "educator" you should know better.

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  • Teach5thMay 08, 2014 - 6:48 am

    CD - Dump and run? And then, "As an educator, ..." What are you talking about? If you have the answers to my questions, please speak up.

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  • CD BrooksMay 08, 2014 - 7:08 am

    Teach5th, I have addressed the "What difference does it make?" comment here several times in the proper context. I have also called you out for repeating the same silly misinformation with your FOX-ism nonsense. You will deflect and deny because "you don't save or read back these comments." How convenient.

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  • rlw895May 08, 2014 - 7:15 am

    T5: Those questions certainly should be answered. Wait--they already have been! You just want to hear the answers over and over again. Are you hoping for different answers or is this like watching reruns of a favorite TV show?

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  • Dave ShreeveMay 08, 2014 - 9:38 am

    The questions have been answered? OK, then you tell me, where was Obama and what was he doing while this terrorist attack was going on? He certainly wasn't in the situation room or there would have been plenty of pictures released showing him there with everybody else. Don't use the excuse that he was monitoring the situation. Where exactly was he and what was he doing?

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  • JagMay 08, 2014 - 10:28 am

    I am going to take Brock with Michelle in the bedroom for $500 please!!!

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  • CD BrooksMay 08, 2014 - 10:50 am

    Dave et al, keep running around scattershot trying to keep this tragedy going. There was mass confusion and communication was not optimum. "Don't use the excuse he was monitoring?" Really? You can honestly ask a question like that and expect to get an answer? Okay, he wasn’t monitoring in the situation room, he was watching it somewhere else. Better? He doesn't need to be in the situation room to monitor. This is a matter of National Security and I’m sure a lot of the information is not intended for the American public no matter who's in charge. The information you’d like is probably not at all what you really want to hear, be careful what you wish for. The smoking gun argument will have to be put away…again.

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  • Danny BuntinMay 08, 2014 - 11:16 am

    @Dave: Where did you get that 40/1 ratio you quoted yesterday, but never answered where you got it? Nothing but a bunch of mud throwing puppets, hoping something sticks. All the while the real criminals snicker at you, as you carry water for them.

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  • rlw895May 08, 2014 - 12:34 pm

    No thanks, Dave. I don't watch reruns of Gilligan's Island either.

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  • Rich GiddensMay 08, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Rueben is trying to protect his pro-amenestia sandanista pals---the Clinton's, the Obama's and the Bushs---traitors we can't stand and hate!

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  • Rich GiddensMay 08, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    Besides the bickering we need to learn from this horrible diplomatic and national security mission FAILURE. If were going to conduct risky diplomatic / military operations in an unstable dangerous country, don't you think it would be a good idea to back it up with the presence of a US Navy aircraft Carrier battle group in the area? That's exactly what saved the day during the Achile Lauro hicjacking back in 1985. F14's and EC-2's forced down a Air Egypt Flight that had Mohammed Abul Abbas and his thugs onboard. Remember?

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  • mike kirchubelMay 08, 2014 - 5:48 pm

    Climate change deniers can no longer whip up enthusiasm for their cause. Obamacare deniers can no longer whip up enthusiasm for their cause. Fast and furious, gone with the wind. Lady parts, not worth the risk. Republicans have no newissues or legislation they can ride to victory in november. Let's do the benghazi shuffle again!

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  • rlw895May 08, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    I'm getting the same impression. What happened to the days when Republicans actually tried to inspire people with ideas and ideals?

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  • mike kirchubelMay 10, 2014 - 9:16 am

    RLW, i guess the right has run out of new ideas. Maybe they are taking the term " conservative" to the extreme and want to conserve their ideas and the energy it would take to promote them.

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEfJO0-cTisMay 08, 2014 - 6:29 pm

    "Why in the World are They Spraying?" Documentary HD .....People around the world are noticing that our planet's weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth's natural systems. This of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet.

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  • mike kirchubelMay 08, 2014 - 8:00 pm

    Or, alternatively, climate change. Not as sinister or exciting as a grand conspiracy theory, , but much more believable.

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  • Obama HealthCare RFID Chip ImplantMay 08, 2014 - 8:03 pm


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  • https://www.biospace.com/collaborative/company_index.aspx?IndustryId=7May 08, 2014 - 8:09 pm

    Google... BioSpace Life Sciences Company Profiles by Industry ... look at Alza.... look at/Google ALZAMER depot injection technologies.... See all this stuff is "compartmented"... so now they have the RFID chip.. I think they are working on the Kill switch to implant along with it... ie... that once the signal is given a microscopic vial-o-poison is released then you are dead.... or such technology could be used to medicate a class of human zombies..... I do not think they really have our best interests at heart... Look at this long list of Bio tech companies... all are working on dubious technologies....

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mgsvsisMiMMay 08, 2014 - 8:15 pm

    AVN | The Gun RUNNING Secret behind Benghazi - All the rest .............Published on May 18, 2013 ....Benghazi's real secret is that the US govt was running guns to islamofacists and extremists to facilitate endless war. Here is the proof. Spread, share this video with everyone you know and get the dirty little secret out! Congress is a sham, the administration is tyrannical and this makes fast & furious look like a walk in the park.

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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rerr8HnTbdUMay 08, 2014 - 8:20 pm

    Black Genocide: The Final Solution - Part 9 ....Published on Oct 4, 2013 ........ In America today, almost as many African-American children are aborted as are born. A black baby is three times more likely to be murdered in the womb than a white baby. Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent. Twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined. Every three days, more African-Americans are killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history. Planned Parenthood operates the nation's largest chain of abortion clinics and almost 80 percent of its facilities are located in minority neighborhoods. About 13 percent of American women are black, but they submit to over 35 percent of the abortions. What the Ku Klux Klan Could Only Dream About The Abortion Industry is Accomplishing!................. Truth is heavy - not everyone can handle it. I believe that this is among the most powerful documentary series that will wake up both the Black and Latino communities in America against liberal and big government socialist policy agenda in America. It exposes the RACISM primarily found in the Democrat Party and the tolerance of racist liberal policy within left-leaning and democrat-leaning organizations (as well as Big Government Republicans). The Dixicrats defended the creation of Plantations for Black Slaves in the past, (the dixiecrats changed their name to Democrat) and the Democrat Party today has merely institutionalized Black and Latino Genocide within the modern day plantation of liberalism. The Political Parties NEVER Switched in their views

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  • The party structures are both evilMay 08, 2014 - 8:25 pm

    Obama/the Democrats will not save you...Liberalism will not save you... Both the Democrat and Republican parties have been taken over by the Satanists..... We need candidates to vote for who are separate from these party structures... 9/11 was an inside job by both the Republicans and Democrats... both candidates in most any political election are vetted by the Illuminati power structure... READ REVELATION IN THE BIBLE

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  • Tia Carrere - Ballroom BlitzMay 08, 2014 - 8:42 pm


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  • Duck Dodgers [Season 2] (Ep. 4 - Talent Show A Go-Go)May 08, 2014 - 8:43 pm


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  • Danny BuntinMay 08, 2014 - 9:22 pm

    I read it already, it is a bunch of BS. I would be better off calling Miss Cleo.

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