Monday, October 15, 2012

Secretary Clinton: "The buck stops with . . . my subordinates"

Ah! The shoe drops . . . Chicago style.

The day before the critical Romney-Obama debate, Hillary Clinton, our heretofore invisible Secretary of State, makes a carefully calibrated statement while in Peru that allows the mainstream media to proclaim that Clinton accepts "responsibility" for the Benghazi security fiasco without her actually saying that.

Forget the headlines, and note what she actually says,
I take responsibility . . .. I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision. 
I take this very personally . . . So we're going to get to the bottom of it, and then we're going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we're going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.
Note she "takes responsibility" but the "specific decisions" on security were made by "security professionals." Translation: If anybody screwed up, hey, it was those professionals, not me--otherwise, why would we need an investigation to "get to the bottom of it"? The career bureaucrats can hear the war drums, see and smell the war paint, and will be sharpening their knives. They know that the Secretary has just put a target on them.

It gets worse. The real issue is not whether another inch of concrete, or a few armed guards would have made the difference in Benghazi. Given the size and violence of the attack, I doubt that would have done much. The real issues are what was that facility and what was it doing that was so important given the security environment? Why was the Ambassador there on 9/11?

Even more important, note her "garbled" comments about key matters, to wit, the attack, the Obama misadministration's characterization of the attack, and the nature of its response to an attack that went on for some six hours. Nowhere does she say that she contacted the White House, the Libyan government, or that she proposed any particular action. Nowhere does she explain the difference between the statements put out by Rice, Obama, and herself, blaming the attack on a virtually unseen video, and the statements by State and CIA career officers that State never concluded that the attack was the result of an anti-video demonstration gone rogue.

This misadministration continues to play games. Don't fall for it.




22 comments:

  1. There is so much to digest with this I really don't know where to start. Yeah, Hillary is accepting responsibility for Benghazi, but with a caveat. Hey, I know I am in charge, but with such a big group (60,000) it is like herding cats so you really can't blame me if some of the cats go feral.

    The timing of Hillary's announcement is also suspect. Does she make a public statement where U.S. reporters can ask questions? No, she does it in Peru. Now, considering that Obama has told us that he has al Qaeda on the run, I guess there is no reason for Hillary to worry about the Middle East where the situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly by the minute. Peru must be much more vital to national security. (snark)

    So exactly what is going on? Hillary makes this announcement, from a foreign nation, the day before the next debate. She accepts responsibility for Benghazi while not accepting responsibility for Benghazi and tries to dump it on lower staff.

    Get to the bottom of it? Really? Maybe someone should ask her just how effective she, and her boss, are since the Libyan government seemed reluctant to even grant visas to FBI agents in order for those agents to investigate the Benghazi consulate ruins. How many days did the U.S. have to wait for Libya to grant those visas? An effective SoS, and President, would not have waited for stupid visas, nor would they have had to, and if it created an "incident" they would have known how to deal with it.

    Forward? No, failure.

    Zane

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  2. The big question in my mind is to what extent will this gambit serve Obama in the townhall debate. Can he say (in effect) "That's below my paygrade" and get away with deflecting specific questions. Given the probability of Candy Crowley's enthusiastic help, I think that's not an unreasonable bet.

    Romney will have a hard time asking questions in anything like a prosecutorial manner without losing the lowest common denominator out there who know very little of what's been going on.

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  3. Romney can begin by quietly but quickly pointing out that while it is all well and good for the Secretary of State to give the President her skirts to hide behind, he is, still and finally, the F*king President of the United States f'Chirssakes, and it's his f*king responsibility.

    Trizzle trazzle trazzle trone, time for Jug-ears to go home.

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  4. Forget the debate, it's a distraction. Our host is asking the right questions. What was Stevens doing there on the date of the attack? Consider the logistics involved in setting up this attack and the relatively effective way it was carried out. They knew where and when he was going to be fixed in place.

    Here's another question; what was the meeting with the "Turkish diplomat" about? That's who actually finally fixed Ambassador Stevens in place right before the attack. One can speculate about whether or not this was by design, but that it happened is a fact.

    It seems likely that at least some of the strike team was in place when, according to the "background briefing" of Oct.9, Stevens walked the Turkish diplomat to the gate. How much easier and sure to strike then and kidnap Stevens. Instead the Turkish ambassador gets to leave and then less than 30 min's later, they attack the compound, with the associated greater risk of failure.

    There is something very ugly here which has yet to show it's face. Depending on how ugly, it may yet turn out that nobody on either side is prepared to make it public.

    On the other hand, maybe I should keep my thoughts to myself, but there it is.

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  5. All good points.
    From where I sit at the bottom of the world, America is stuffed and that means we are too.
    You have been the anchor of hope for so long and now it seems you are a hairbreadth away from failing.
    It is very sad and as I think on a weak, distracted and unengaged USA in the world we live in it is a frightening thought.
    Mike Mckee NZ

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    1. Mike, there's a strong and deep reservoir of American principles and beliefs that is not going away no matter what the left does. The weakness we see now is the left slowly imploding and doing as much damage as it can as it dies. I won't say we'll be back because we never really left.

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  6. I read the State Department's account of the attack in testimony given before Congress.

    I know far less than the Diplomad, but I'm a curious type, so please forgive a question.

    It seems to me that if the defense had been a bit less disorganized, with more people they might have had more people in the panic room and might have been able to pull the Ambassador out and to safety. The attackers made it inside the house, but had left after setting the fire. So it seems to me a few people who were better trained and had breathing equipment as standard issue might have made the difference for the Ambassador and others.

    Obviously they would not have been able to defend the Embassy itself but it seemed like they might have been able to save the Ambassador, which would have made this a much less serious event.

    Am I all wet or might I have something there?

    D

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  7. It has been suggested by commenters at a couple of different blogs (notably Wretchard at Belmont Club)not normally known for tin-hattery, that Amb. Stevens was deliberately set up to be kidnapped, so as to (A) later be rescued in spectacular fashion, or (B) swapped for the Blind Sheik. My daughter (two-hitch Marine) thinks that I am verging on tin-hattery myself, contemplating this scenario, and insists that this is a plot too convoluted for elements of the current administration to even consider carrying out. But in the wake of Fast and Furious, I am not so assured.
    It remains the Stevens was out in Benghazi, practically alone, in an unprotected facility, on the anniversary of 9/11 ... staked out like a live goat to attract a tiger. What the heck was going on - was it chance and incompetence, or was it deliberate? Would we have had a better chance of finding out through the mainstream media if this had happened during a Republican administration?

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    1. Seems tinfoil hattish to me too.
      What does the administration have to gain with election year voters from such a move, even if successful?

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  8. Hillary Clinton sold her soul to the devil in 2008. She will never get it back.

    If there is anything positive about this move, it's that it makes Barack Obama look weak and I'm sure that was her rationale for the non-apology. Whatever. It will not wash Chris Stevens' blood from Hillary's hands.

    creeper

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    1. Hillary sold her soul long ago in the Land of the Razorbacks!

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    2. Her non-acceptance acceptance underlines the cowardice of Obama. It is a brutal and clever play against Obama but could backfire on Clinton as the career people sabotage her at State.

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    3. I can't find my tinfoil hat, so I'll have to make do with my big plastic red Razorback one; but I think this is all a setup for Obama to make a gallant gesture at tonight's debate. We have Hillary manning up and accepting blame, making her look presidential. Obama's numbers are falling, especially among women. He steps up tonight, says I am Spartacus and Harry Truman, nobly refuses to allow Hillary to be blamed (even though we all know the press will still refuse to hold him responsible for anything), and pretends to be a real leader rather than the disinterested, condescending, lazy jerk he is. I know this sounds like a bad soap opera episode, but this is probably about as much lemonade as their devious handlers can get out of these lemons; and you know they never let a crisis go to waste.

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  9. Things like this always remind me of David Frye's album, Richard Nixon: A Fantasy, wherein Nixon took full responsibility for Watergate...but not the blame, the difference being that people who took the blame lose their jobs. Frye's album came out in 1974, if I remember the date right, so it seems that the more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

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    1. Pretty sure Nixon lost his job.

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    2. Soviet of WashingtonOctober 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Akaky, I was about to add that comment...I had that album also (and it was really funny...David Frye flamed out too soon). Anonymous, it was much funnier in a Nixon impersonation.

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  10. More FUD...

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fud

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  11. "The career bureaucrats can hear the war drums, see and smell the war paint, and will be sharpening their knives"
    Drums along the Foggy Bottom!

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  12. To this oh-so-unsophisticated Midwesterner, most discomfiting of all is still the idea that the President just went to bed and throughout 6 hours of fighting, no one considered him an important or useful enough member of the team to wake up.

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    1. Yes, that is the most horrifying aspect of all this.

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  13. It would be nice if Romney acknowledged Clinton's declaration of responsibility and ask Obama if that means that he will ask for her resignation. In my world, this works.

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  14. Was this the 3AM phone call the 2008 election was talking about?

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