I know, I know. It’s hard to believe any of our public servants would play fast and loose with the facts, but it does seem to be happening. The White House, as usual, is involved. That’s pretty much been the case for about 237 years though. Scandals have a way of seeping through the walls at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
This time, the State Department gets to share the spotlight. As you may recall, immediately after the tragic events that culminated in the deaths of four Americans (including our Ambassador to Libya), the official word from on high was that an anti-Islam video on YouTube had sparked the supposedly spontaneous, gun-wielding, deadly demonstration.
Five days after the fact, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice was sent to represent the Administration on most of the Sunday talk shows where she dutifully read from the “It was an anti-Islam video” script. According to one report, those talking points were “based on intelligence assessments and developed during an interagency process, which included the CIA, officials from the Director of National Intelligence, State Department, FBI and the Justice Department.” As an aside, and apropos of nothing, you know what you get when a committee designs a horse, right? Yes, a Zebra.
At issue is information garnered from emails at the time. The correspondence indicates there might have been reports from the previously mentioned agencies suggesting al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists such as Ansar al-Sharia had possibly taken part in the “spontaneous riot.” Rumor has it the State Department wasn’t keen on that info seeing the light of day, nor did it like the phrase “acts of terror.” (Something about a November election I think.) The White House has said it only made stylistic changes to the talking points. I don’t know, but aren’t stylistic changes more along the line of iambic pentameter vs. free verse or Roseanne Barr’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner vs. opera baritone Robert Merrill’s interpretation of same?
Now, fast forward to last week when some put-it-all-on-the-line State department employees basically said, “Are you kidding me?” I believe the exact quote was from Greg Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya: “Everybody in the mission” believed it was an act of terror “from the get go.” He also mentioned that nobody from Rice’s office bothered to call him before the Sunday morning shows to ask if what she was about to say was correct.
Another news report said Hicks claimed a team of Special Forces, prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi, was forbidden from doing so by a command group in Africa.
As I said, it’s shocking, just shocking to think We the People may have been even slightly misled by our elected officials. Certainly to be expected has been the hue and cry of Republicans (and I do believe a couple of Democrats, but only on the sly) that heads should roll. The suggested top two are Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s, as one might expect.
What could be most interesting are the ever-evolving stories coming from the Administration. Isn’t that always the case? If you tend to stretch the truth a little, like say, “No, I only had one donut at the office, dear,” those extra five pounds at the end of the week really come back to haunt you.
Far be it from me to be judge and jury, but I think it might behoove the GOP and others to think this through. Let’s say, for example, the blame keeps climbing the ladder and a “smoking gun” is laid at the threshold of Hillary’s former State Department door, and then at the Oval Office. And let’s also take our imagination farther to where Clinton’s reputation is ruined, the president is impeached, and resigns, a la Richard Nixon.
Pretty wild scenario, don’t you think? But it could happen. By the way, how does the notion of a President Biden grab you? Just thinking out loud here.
Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.