With trepidation, Benghazi

The purpose of this thread is a narrow one, although, similar to events in Benghazi themselves, what is now starting out as a spontaneous reaction to the media firestorm around Ben Rhodes’ email may be hijacked by more heavily armed extremists and evolve into something larger.

My question is this:

For those who do believe that there was an administration cover-up surrounding the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, what piece(s) of information and/or evidence could theoretically change your mind, if such information/evidence were to surface?

As I’ve followed this controversy playing out in the media and Internet, I struggle to see what evidence could possibly sway the side arguing that there was a cover up, so strong is their conviction. Hence, I struggle to see how the belief that there’s been a cover-up can qualify as anything but an article of faith.

For my part, while I don’t believe there was a cover-up, if you show me an email or tape recording, or even credible testimony, indicating that any administration official knowingly lied to the American public for political reasons, or neglected to provide consulate security for such reasons, I will be the first to demand that heads roll.

The very term “cover up” is the problem. Republicans are alleging that the White House knew why the Benghazi outpost was attacked and tried to make up a different reason for why it was attacked.

As Hillary Clinton said, who cares why it was attacked? The salient event is that it was attacked, and there’s still zero evidence to suggest that there was a realistic way to prevent the attack.

The main thing that would change my mind about the issue is if some intelligence came to light that the U.S. knew that the attack was going to happen, and someone high up decided to bury that intelligence and not do anything.

Implicit in Clinton’s asking who cares why it was attacked is the recognition that there was zero political upside to the administration lying about the genesis of the attack. “Our consulate was so poorly protected that it was overrun by a ragtag gang of rabid Muslims” is not a winning piece of political spin. That’s why the conspiracy theory didn’t hold water from the get-go.

But I’m willing to grant the Republicans that it matters why it was attacked. Let’s just suppose for the sake of discussion that it does, because the administration thought otherwise it would lose bragging rights re: the war on terror.

What could convince Republicans that the administration did not perpetrate a cover-up?

Well, for example, if the administration complied with Congressional subpoenas for relevant information. Hiding relevant information from Congressional investigation is the very definition of cover-up, isn’t it?

More likely both sides know that this would be a fishing expedition to see if they can find anything at all that would be embarrassing to the administration, regardless of its relevance to Benghazi. Basically hoping for the kind of thing that turned the whitewater investigation into a blowjob investigation.

Terr, I suspect you of running a puppies to hamburger franchise. Please send me your entire web history for the last 5 years, or I will suspect you of trying to cover this up.

I *think *you’ll find that a crack team of commandos on mini-bikes, parachuted into the city in the dead of night and supported by unarmed F-16s doing strafing runs… :slight_smile:

(high five to those who remember that particular trainwreck)

And yet the email that was hidden by the administration from the Congressional subpoena was directly relevant to Benghazi events.

One thing that would sway me is if it could be shown that the President wasn’t a big fat liar. But so much for that.

Seriously, if you look at all the information, especially in light of the newest information, and the degree that the administration has tried to be the opposite of transparent (Ha, remember that lie!), I
d say it takes a very imaginative mind to conclude that there was not a cover-up.

What were they covering up, exactly? That an ambassador died because anti-American militants attacked a diplomatic outpost? We’ve known that for years.

The covered-up email that was released recently shows that the administration knew that the attack was not a spontaneous reaction to a youtube video but a planned terrorist attack, and still planned to lie and, later, lied that it was a spontaneous reaction to a youtube video.

And whatever the cover-up’s reason was, hiding relevant documents from a Congressional subpoena, I believe, is a criminal offense. Isn’t it?

There were two narratives:

A) the attack was spontaneous, caused by some stupid video. How could anyone really see that coming?

B) Al Qaeda was not as done as Obama claimed. And not only was he wrong about that, he was so wrong that on the anniversary of 9/11 he didn’t have the foresight to make sure Americans in the Middle East were safe. Even after extra security was requested!

And the backdrop for all this is the 2012 election. And they just happened to push the narrative that would be least damaging to the president on the campaign trail. This one really isn’t that hard.

Were they covering up that the President is a liar? Every President is a liar. It kinda comes with the job.

Ah, a delectable wave of nostalgia just washed over me…

Exactly. So what?

Yeah, but they’re not supposed to get caught doing so. I hear Gepetto is very disappointed in him.

I think this captures pretty well what’s driving the Republican side. As for the administration, I think there’s a natural inclination to want to release as few internal documents to external parties–particularly rabidly antagonistic external parties–as they can get away with. Presumably, the administration thought they could weasel their way out of releasing every single document pertaining to Benghazi. Dumb move (as shown by Boehner’s ample political cover to now escalate the investigation) but not prima facie evidence of a cover-up.

I don’t understand your question. It implies that one should not care that a President flagrantly lied to us in order to gain political advantage in an election. I do. I shows him to be of low character. Not that that’s anything new.

Perhaps his 2012 campaign slogan should have been: “If you like the liar you have in the office now, you can keep the liar you have in the office now.”

So, hiding relevant documents from a Congressional subpoena is not evidence of a cover-up? That’s an interesting (as in “completely asinine”) viewpoint.

It shows no such thing. Where in the documentsdocuments does it say that they knew it was a “planned” attack?

Susan Rice went on the talk shows and explicitly blamed heavily armed extremists, and distinguished them from the “folks” who showed up in imitation of what was going on in Cairo. Again, this is her statement:

"But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in – in the wake of the revolution in Libya are – are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there."

So where’s the lie again?

It seems like the GOP’s argument is that Obama was trying to “cover up” that al Qaeda was not, in fact, as marginalized as he had claimed. That, somehow, this attack struck at the credibility of Obama wrt to the War on Terror. Now, it’s certainly true that Obama made statements to that effect, but I never saw those statements as something he he hung his hat on, and that needed to be protected from all questioning. The leap from point A (Obama’s credibility rests on aQ being marginalized) to point B (OMG! the attack in Benghazi means aQ is on the upswing and Obama is losing the WoT!!) is one not easily made, in my mind.