How Intelligent is the Intelligence Community? (Benghazi Edition)
If not for the fact that the Republicans hold the House of Representatives, we'd still be in a complete information shutdown about the circumstances surrounding the assassination of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
But as the The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee prepares to hold its first hearings about the disaster today, government officials are working overtime to shift blame.
Here's how the AP reported it:
The State Department now says it never believed the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a film protest gone awry, giving congressional Republicans new fodder for criticizing the Obama administration's initial accounts of the assault.
The State Department's extraordinary break with other administration offices came in a department briefing Tuesday, where officials said "others" in the executive branch concluded initially that the protest was based, like others in the Middle East, on a film that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad.
That was never the department's conclusion, a senior official told reporters.
Now, everyone with even a mild interest in this assassination figured out that it had nothing to do with a YouTube video. And, of course, some of us were aghast that the administration were asking the First Amendment to carry so much blame for the general violent protests that were tangentially related to the YouTube video.
But State now says there was no protest in Libya. Period.
The Administration is digging in, pointing to a CIA "talking points" memo went out to members of Congress and senior Obama officials that did try to blame the YouTube videos.
So why did the CIA say that? Did they have actual intelligence that made that claim? Why is the Obama Administration so tight-lipped about the whole terrorist attack? Why hasn't Jay Carney held a press briefing in 15 days?
I could be wrong here, but as much as Americans are saddened by the assassination on September 11, we would have been more understanding of whatever failures led to the terror attack than we are now. The cover-up of the problem is always, always, always worse than the initial problem. And while they can hide a lot of things, covering up a successful al Qaeda terror attack on September 11 is probably beyond the capabilities of government bureaucrats and politicians.
In the meantime, this is a great argument for a divided government and for having different parties in charge of different branches. Just imagine how little we'd know if Democrats still held the House.
Well, that, and it's also fun to see Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama go after each other.