Apparently, from both events the major point seemed to be that on Sept. 11 last year, the date of the infamous Benghazi attack, no one was “watching the store.” Mr. Brennan said the intelligence community heard nothing from the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense or the military. During the questioning of Secretary Panetta it was interesting to finally find out that he had only one phone conversation with the President. Also, in apparent contradiction to President Obama, who had said he had ordered the Defense Department to do whatever was necessary, General Dempsey said he had received no such order.
In addition, on TV programming last week, a clip was shown of President Obama, in full campaign mode, where he made a speech on Sept. 8, 2012, just three days before the Benghazi incident. In that speech he said that America was stronger internationally than when he had taken office. The horrendous event on September 11 at Benghazi seems to belie that statement.
In essence that attack will hang around Hillary Clinton’s neck like the famous Albatross of Ancient Mariner lore. Since no one has ever been pointed out as the author of the infamous anti-Muslim video this may be a story without an ending.
Getting back to the headline of this piece, it was also announced last week that the President had authority from the beleaguered Justice Department to call for Drone strikes whenever he felt them necessary. This caused all sorts of ripple effects through the halls of power in Washington. Again on national TV there were more clips of President Obama three or four years ago bemoaning the use of waterboarding as torture. Apparently, a fatal Drone strike is more humane than the agitation caused by waterboarding. On the other side of the coin, it would seem that the intelligence that has been gained in the past from the minimal use of waterboarding is lost forever when a Drone strike eliminates the enemy. Most of the uproar in D.C. was caused by the fact that the Justice memo made it OK for President Obama to call for such strikes on U.S. citizens suspected of having links to terrorist groups.
All in all, the various hearings seem to point out the fact that there is complete chaos between the State Department, the intelligence community, the Defense Department, the military and the White House. The latest tack taken by the aforementioned is to say that a thorough investigation has proven that there are systemic failures in the system and that they will be addressed in the future. This approach doesn’t do much to allay the concerns of the survivors of the four gentlemen that perished on September 11. To put it more simply, it is the old story of locking the barn after the horse has been stolen.
Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.