Friday, Apr 25, 2014

Benghazi revisted

Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 07:57 PM

On Sept. 11, 2012, 11 years after the horrific attack on the World Trade Center buildings, which took the lives of thousands of Americans including the first responders who perished when the towers collapsed, there was another attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya which resulted in four Americans being killed including the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens.

The first thing the administration did was damage control diverting attention to some obscure video that caused the attack on the consulate. Then the President sent Ambassador Susan Rice out to speak on five national news programs declaring it was the video and not an al Qaeda directed attack.

That was enough to quell the questions from the "Lap Dog Media" who quickly turned their attention to other non-consequential issues. However, there was a small group of journalist, some Senators and the Fox News people who kept asking the probing questions of what happened and why.

Then in testimony before a Congressional committee the CIA Director admitted it was not the video but a coordinated terrorist type attack. The original assessment named al Qaeda or affiliated groups as having planned and carried out the attack.

Then we learn that the memo was changed by James Clapper, DNI chief. Still unanswered were the charges about why help was not sent during the seven-hour attack, why was security upgrades asked for not approved by the State Department? And the most intriguing question what did the Secretary of State know, when did she know and what did she do about it?

There is another issue lingering out there about what the President knows and when did he know it and what did he do? Now an independent review released last Wednesday stated "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies."

It did not specifically lay blame on anyone and avoided any criticism of Secretary Clinton but after all she is the person in charge and the blame rightfully belongs to her. If a navy ship runs aground and the captain was retired for the night he still is on the relieving end of a general courts martial; there is an axiom that you can assign authority but never responsibility.

The Secretary of State is ultimately responsible for the actions of her agency. Instead what we have are four officials disciplined two of them resigned the rest placed on administrative leave.

That still does not answer all the questions of why we gave no help to our beleaguered embassy people, why was their no beefed up security with 9/11 approaching even though it was requested and why wasn't military assistance rendered during seven horror filled hours.

Politics has become a spin doctor's paradise to obscure and misdirect the focus of probing question until we tire of the whole incident and move on to new ground never getting the truth into the light of day.  

Len Tria, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill and is a former Hernando County commissioner.

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