Hillary's Failed Benghazi Spin
9:10 AM, May 30, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
There are more serious questions about objectivity of the ARB, too—though it's not clear from the Politico account whether Clinton addresses them. Admiral Mike Mullen, one of the two men Clinton hand-picked to conduct the inquiry, admitted to congressional investigators that he warned Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, that a particular witness was not going to be good for the State Department when she appeared before Congress. That witness, Charlene Lamm, was—and remains—at the center of many questions regarding facility security in Benghazi. Mullen also acknowledged that he gave a draft copy of the ARB report to Mills before it was released to the public. Hicks, who asked to see the classified version of the ARB before it was finalized, was denied that opportunity.
We are left with this: the ARB leadership was hand-picked by Hillary Clinton; the ARB leaders were tasked with holding accountable State Department officials involved in decision making on Benghazi but chose not to interview the secretary of state; the ARB report excluded important testimony from those who raised questions about the Secretary of State; the ARB leadership warned Secretary Clinton's top adviser about a potentially problematic witness; and the ARB leadership provided an advanced copy of the report to Secretary Clinton's chief of staff while denying other witnesses an opportunity even to read the report before it was released. So, yes, there are reasons to question the impartiality of the inquiry.
In her Benghazi chapter, Clinton defends the intelligence Susan Rice used in her much-discussed Sunday show appearances after the attacks. "Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time."
That's not true. Rice placed the video at the center of the administration's case on Benghazi—something the intelligence community never did. Deputy CIA director Michael Morell, who has been a loyal defender of the administration on most Benghazi-related issues, went out of his way in recent congressional testimony to make clear that the video story did not come from the CIA. In prepared testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Morell stated, without qualification: “There was no mention of the video defaming the Prophet Muhammad as a motivation for the attacks in Benghazi. In fact, there was no mention of the video at all.” Under questioning, Morell said this of Rice's Sunday show appearances: “When she talked about the video, my reaction was, that’s not something the analysts have attributed this attack to.”
If the video didn't come from the intelligence community, where did it originate? An email written by Ben Rhodes, a top White House adviser, in preparation for Rice's appearances, included this line describing one objective of her performance: "To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
Is Clinton unaware of this? Or is she being dishonest?
Her next claim gives us a clue: "Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people."
That's just false. It's spectacularly, flamboyantly untrue. There are literally dozens of examples that disprove her claim. There is no chance that Clinton actually believes it. Nobody else does.
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