Since this keeps coming up…
First off, we have this piece from The Atlantic, by Aki Peritz. Here’s his profile from work; per The Atlantic, when he was working for the US government, at least some of that time was for CIA. Here are the summary paragraphs at the end of the article:
“First, it’s clear that Obama was presented with a changing and muddied intelligence picture. The administration still hasn’t finished gathering the evidence, and it had even less in the hours just after the attack.
Second, the criticisms of the administration’s response are limited to parsing, not refuting the facts as they’ve stated them. Were the assailants “extremists” or “terrorists”? Either way, America is committed to finding them and bringing them to justice.
Third, the evolution of the explanation itself is an indication of candid and careful re-assessment, not of a consistent lie. An administration forthright enough to tell the world when its first findings were wrong should be applauded, not pilloried.
Finally, our government is too vast and far too leaky to support such a conspiracy. We aren’t seeing a cover-up; rather, we are seeing the mundane workings of the intelligence community as it is attempting, however imperfectly, to keep up with fast-moving events.
Blaming the president for not having instantaneous and perfect information is a ridiculous political stunt. But it has consequences beyond partisan gamesmanship. Such charges against the intelligence community unfairly make our analysts into political pawns. These are serious public servants who are trying to get to the bottom of a dangerous situation. It’s time for Republicans to get serious as well.”
I leave it as an exercise for the reader just how serious today’s post-Bush Republicans are about foreign policy when it conflicts with their partisan goals.
Next, Diplopundit on the wisdom of having Congressional hearings now, as opposed to after an investigation process Congress has previously authorized.
Plus, another Diplopundit post on the sincerity of Congress being shocked!, shocked, I tell you! that diplomatic security would be diminished after substantial cuts to the diplomatic security budget.
And, finally, a third post from Diplopundit, whose main takeaway is the contrast between how State fumbles their relationship with Congress, and how Defense is much better at that sort of thing. Throwaway comment that I’m still digesting: “Call it public diplomacy with the Hill if you want.”
Then we have a comparison between security failures in Benghazi, and the comparative yawn generated by a much more (financially & strategically) costly attack in Afghanistan:
“Really, I am amazed at how perceptions differ between the two incidents. In Benghazi, 100 or more attackers (according to witnesses interviewed by the news media) swarmed over a few residential villas using small arms, RPGs, and mortars before the host government could bring enough force to intervene. That amounted to a spectacular failure of security, according to various Congressmen who evidently expect diplomatic missions to be protected like military bases.
At Camp Bastion, an actual military base was invaded by fifteen insurgents who inflicted enough damage to have a strategic impact upon our operations there, but that incident seems to have made no political impact whatsoever. The congressional attitude appears to be that things like that happen in war, so no one is to blame.”
And, hey, not unlike l’affaire Plame, we now have elected officials blowing long-time intelligence covers, and helpfully calling attention to the fact they’re doing so.
When it comes to post-Bush Republicans, national security, and foreign policy, I’m reminded of the words of Casey Stengel:
“You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, ‘Can’t anybody here play this game?’ There comes a time in every man’s life and I’ve had plenty of them.”
I miss the days when Republicans really did practice, “Country First.”