The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Benghazi: Cover-up Or Uncovered?

Here’s the Nonsense:  There’s nothing more to the Benghazi story than what we originally learned.  The GOP needs to stop harping on it and move on to more important things.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  The truth isn’t out yet on Benghazi and may never be.  But it highlights problems in our government that should be causing citizens to recognize even bigger issues that must be handled.

First the left says that Fox News was raising questions about Benghazi simply to help Republicans attack President Obama.  But now we are finding out there really was much more to what happened than the Democrats were admitting.  The original reporting that arms transfers to Syrian rebels may have more substance than was let on, but are we really getting to the truth yet?  And are we recognizing the bigger issue of what this means for the press to be complicit in such a cover-up?

What went from a mistake that caused Hillary Clinton at a hearing to try to show outrage that anyone questioning what happened was out of line, is fast becoming news of a cover-up that has the White House and Democrats spinning fast and furiously (pun intended) to deflect the discussion.  The Washington Times reports that on May 12th, on Fox News Sunday:  

The senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee [Rep. Adam Smith] says Republican obsession over the White House’s handling of the inquiry into last year’s deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, is hurting the investigation.

“The dispute was how soon to leap to the conclusion about specific groups being involved in this,” he said.

Things are fast spinning so out of control for the administration that they are in spin mode and sending their minions like Smith out to try to change the story.  Saying it was about “how soon” to leap to a conclusion was never the case.  The question has been when will the truth come out.  His assertion assumes that the conclusion isn’t necessarily the truth.  Truth is all that ever matters.

With the House of Representatives investigating the matter, and having offered whistleblowers the chance to speak out on the issue, some things are starting to come out.  But the Democrats are trying to keep it as quiet as possible, with their bedmates the mainstream media running cover for them by doing such things as claiming it's just Republican operatives making these claims... at least until now as it appears that that dam is beginning to have a few cracks in it.  Some mainstream outlets are starting to report a little of the story.

Newsmax reports that Gregory Hicks, one of the key whistleblowers to speak at the hearing, is actually not a Republican operative.  In reality, he’s a Democrat whose voting record is quite interesting:  

Benghazi “whistleblower” Gregory Hicks is a registered Democrat who voted for both President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his attorney said on Saturday.

“He voted for Hillary in the primary and Obama twice,” Victoria Toensing, a former federal prosecutor, told Newsmax TV host Steve Malzberg in an interview on WMAL radio in Washington.

Toensing also disclosed Hicks’ political affiliation to NBC in an interview, but “NBC spiked the story where I told it before the hearings.”

Hicks, a foreign-service officer and ex-deputy chief in Libya, was the No. 2 to Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was among the four Americans who died in the attacks at the post in Benghazi last Sept. 11.

Doesn’t sound too much like some Republican out to harm the President’s approval rating. Sounds more like a concerned American setting aside personal political views to make sure the truth comes out.

For the most part the mainstream has avoided covering it, and it’s probably for more reasons than just the ideological ties that have made them bedfellows with the Democrats, as we can see in this report from Newsbusters:  

I think the media's becoming the story, let's face it. CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both of them have siblings that not only work at the White House, that not only work for President Obama, but they work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi. Let's call a spade a spade.
Let's also show you why CNN did not go very far in covering these hearings because the CNN deputy bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Hillary Clinton’s deputy, Tom Nides. It is time for the media to start asking questions why are they not covering this. It's a family matter for some of them.
So stated political consultant and media commentator Richard Grenell on Saturday's Fox News Watch

Sure, the usual suspects like House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who wouldn’t know the truth if she tripped over it, are trying to cover for the administration as shown by this Breitbart report:  
In an interview Nancy Pelosi said, “It becomes an issue that is subterfuge: ‘let’s talk about Benghazi forever so that we don’t have to talk about really what the American people want us to talk about. They want us to talk about jobs, they want to talk about economic security, economic growth, they want to talk about the education of their children, they want to talk about their future.”

The Democrats never want to talk about jobs or economic growth, unless it’s talking about raising taxes and spending more money to push us even further into debt. Topics like jobs and the economy reveal the failure of this administration and are why they were avoided at all costs during the election.  But when things get bad they’ll talk about anything to change the subject that’s causing them problems.

Yet when things get too obvious and the truth is staring them in the face sometimes the mainstream media do start to step up to the plate as they did in this story by ABC News where they uncover the government’s efforts to spin the Benghazi story so it doesn’t look like President Obama has a terrorism problem just two months before the election:

White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.  The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.

That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland raised specific objections to this paragraph drafted by the CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:
“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya.  These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”

In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?  Concerned …”

The paragraph was entirely deleted.

The White House knows that they are in trouble and in trying to control the information they are making big mistakes.  The Daily Caller reported that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried to spin it away from them:

So far, White House officials have denied any significant role in rewriting the intelligence reports.
“The only edits made by anyone here at the White House were stylistic and non-substantive,” Carney claimed May 7.
“They corrected the description of the building or the facility in Benghazi from ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ and the like,” he said.
But spin is all it is and even some Democrats are starting to have a problem with it all.  Newsbusters reports that Democrat political analyst Kirsten Powers even said, “I have never seen anything like this. Bill Clinton would not have gotten away with this."
Pressure is mounting as it is being called a cover-up more and more.  Politico now reports on Senator John McCain saying:

“I’d call it a cover-up in the extent that there was willful removal of information which was obvious,” the Arizona Republican said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“There are so many questions that are unanswered. We need a select committee,” McCain said. “For the president’s spokesman to say there were only words or technical changes made in those emails is flat out untrue. I like Mr. Carney, but that’s just unacceptable for the president’s spokesman to say that to the American people."

I’m not sure how he can “like Mr. Carney,” but then again, in Washington everything is about appearance and little is about substance.  I don’t like Carney or McCain, but I think McCain is right on this one.  And frankly it would be refreshing if he’d just come out and call Carney a liar.
The good news is that pressure is mounting to get to the truth.  The committee holding the hearings does not have subpoena power.  That takes a select committee and House Speaker John Boehner (the spineless wonder of the GOP) is the one who has the power to create such a committee.  As Fox News reports:

House Speaker John Boehner is facing mounting pressure to create a special or select committee to investigate the Benghazi terror attacks in which four Americans were killed.

The House resolution to form a special committee now has at least 139 co-sponsors who are putting Boehner in the difficult position of leading efforts to get the White House to release emails on Benghazi-gate but not agreeing to the demands of many rank-and-file Republicans.
The resolution is sponsored by Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf who suggested to Boehner in a forceful, four-page letter Thursday that the Obama administration perhaps failed to adequately prevent the deaths of the Americans killed and injured in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and that not appointing the committee could make the Republican-led House “complicit in that failure.”

Wolf said that after the ABC News report the number of co-sponsors increased to 144, about 60 percent of the House Republican Caucus.
Republican Sens. John McCain, Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, renewed their call after the Wednesday hearing for a select committee.
Graham, who with McCain had led Senate Republican efforts to get to the bottom of the Benghazi issue, told The Hill that he has urged Boehner to create the committee.
“I've raised it to him, I've talked to him,” he told the newspaper. “It's his decision to make, but we're making a big mistake by not doing a select committee.”

Few of our elected officials have the guts to stand up and call this what it is.  Fortunately, though, it appears that all may not be lost in American politics and there are a few who will do the right thing.  Politico reported that Sen. Rand Paul is once again standing up for the American people and truth:

Clinton is “absolutely responsible,” Paul said. “She was in charge of the State Department. She was asked repeatedly for increased security for Benghazi. Some of the media have been reporting that because she didn’t read them she’s protected – she wasn’t responsible because she didn’t read them? I fault her absolutely for not reading the cables.”

Paul added, “Part of being in charge is triaging what comes to your desk and what doesn’t come to your desk. And to say that Libya wasn’t important enough for her to be reading the cables from the ambassador asking for more security, I think was inexcusable.”

Drilling ahead, he criticized the State Department for its claim that it didn’t have enough money to spend on diplomatic security, and argued that the Benghazi facility should have been under military control in the first place.

“We spent $300,000 on dog kennels [through the federal government]. There is money out there. A good leader finds that money and puts it in,” Paul said.

The mission in Benghazi, he continued “should have been under the military. It should have been done the way Baghdad was … There should have been 100 Marines guarding the ambassador.”

In an interview with WND, Rep. Michele Bachmann said that this story has become so serious that the White House had to try to deflect attention from it.  As a result, they released the story on Friday about the IRS targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups to try to deflect attention away from the Benghazi story.  Bachmann said, “I was in that Benghazi hearing,” she told WND. “I think the Obama administration is desperate to spin Benghazi, and they can’t. I think they saved this story up for a day like today so that conservatives would focus on this admission.”

“At some point they’re gonna have to get to Obama and what he was doing and where he was because he’s the only guy that could issue the stand-down order. He’s the president. He’s the only guy that can order military action or no military action. So he’s not gonna get a pass.”

Rush didn’t say that it would end Obama’s presidency or stop Hillary from a successful run for the office, but he does believe that more of the truth will come to light and that will affect them.  With Obama, it will affect his legacy.  For Hillary, it could make her future plans more difficult.

But as for the truth, will we ever really know it?  This may be one of the many things our government never really lets the entire truth be revealed.  The Blaze reported about Geraldo Rivera’s interview on Fox last week, and Rivera is carrying on with very similar information to what Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier originally reported after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack:  

Geraldo Rivera said Friday that his sources tell him the U.S. was involved in a secret mission in Libya to arm the Syrian rebels, which was the reason for the initial secrecy about the attack in Benghazi.
Rivera said on “Fox & Friends” that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney may have been briefed by then-CIA Director David Petraeus “to suggest that there was a secret mission going on there, that we can’t go there, we can’t talk about it.”
“I believe, and my sources tell me, they were there to round up those shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, they were going to hand those missiles over to the Turks and the Turks were going to give them to the rebels in Syria,” Rivera said.

Was it an arms deal?  My guess is that that played a lot in the situation, but I don’t know that we’ll ever know for sure.  What I think is really the bigger issue here is about the media in America.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley gave a speech at Quinnipiac University, as reported by The Weekly Standard:

"Our house is on fire," said Pelley.
"These have been a bad few months for journalism," he added. "We're getting the big stories wrong, over and over again."
And Pelley said the republic relies on the quality of the news business. "Democracies succeed or fail based on their journalism," said Pelley. "America is strong because its journalism is strong. That's how democracies work. They're only as good as the quality of the information that the public possesses. And that is where we come in."
I agree about the importance of journalism in America, but I don’t think Mr. Pelley really even understands his own words.  His network is among the many mainstream outlets that have covered for this administration and the left to a point where honest and real reporting isn’t done much anymore.  Their sellout to ideology has endangered America to a point where we are about to lose our republic.  I don’t think they even see it.  
Pelley realizes there’s something wrong with some of the accuracy of reporting going on today, but doesn’t understand just how far it’s gone off the rails.  No news media should show a bias to one side or the other.  Selling out to an ideology is a guarantee of loss of freedom for the society that they serve.  They are the watchdogs of a free society and only honest, accurate, unbiased reporting will give the information to the citizens so that they can hold their elected leaders accountable.  
The vast majority of Americans still get their news from the broadcast media of ABC, NBC, and CBS along with the traditional print media like newspapers and a few magazines. Sure, the print media may now be read online, but the majority of Americans have not watched cable news or read alternative media sources online.  They are being influenced by what this limited group of people put out there as truth.  That’s why when asked what they think about Benghazi most people either don’t know what it is or think it’s actually some person named “Ben Gazi” and don’t understand it’s a city in Libya where a terrible attack on American sovereign soil occurred and four Americans lost their lives because of the gross incompetence of people we have put in charge of this nation.
America’s in trouble, and our media are very responsible for a good portion of that trouble. But we who do understand must keep pushing for the entire truth to come out and then hold our leadership accountable to do the right thing.  That is the only way there’s hope for America.