Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hillary Clinton has Barack Obama's back, stabs Susan Rice in same, and admits she is indeed the Secretary of State.

Mr. President,Can I borrow that blade? Susan... I have something for you.
Credit where it is due. The single best decision that Barack Obama made in his entire presidency was to appoint Hillary Clinton Secretary of State. It is entirely possible that single decision saved Obama's Presidency and secured his reelection to a second term.

In an interview with CNN reporter Elise Labott, Hillary Clinton took full responsibility for the inadequate security deployed at the Benghazi Embassy.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm over the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she's responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts. 
"I take responsibility," Clinton said during a visit to Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision."... 
"I take this very personally," Clinton said. "So we're going to get to the bottom of it, and then we're going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we're going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice."
The State Department is responsible for ensuring adequate security for State Department facilities and personnel.  Those decisions are made in the State Department not in the White House. Hillary Clinton leads the State Department.  She is simply stating the obvious.  Did she personally see and deny the specific request for additional security at the Benghazi consulate?  Probably not. It doesn't matter. A bad decision was made in the organization she leads and it resulted in the death of  an American diplomat and three other Americans.  It's not okay to say we were just unlucky. It's not okay to say "shit happens". She is responsible and she knows it.  She did the right thing.  She said the only thing she could say. Assigning ultimate responsibility for the security lapse was not hard to figure out. All it took was an organization chart.

The only thing surprising about her statement is that we should find it surprising. The only thing remarkable about her statement, is that we find it so newsworthy.  Perhaps this is simply a reflection of the state of politics in the US today.  It's "Breaking News!" that an important political leader publicly accepts responsibility for their area of responsibility.

More problematic for the administration is explaining who is responsible for the Susan Rice disinformation campaign conducted on the Sunday morning talk shows five days after the attack.  Hillary Clinton will not and cannot help the administration out with that. When she was asked about Rice still blaming spontaneous protests days after it was known by the State Department and intelligence community that this was a terrorist attack, she had this to say...:
"...On Rice ‘grew out of a protest’ assertions: “the fog of war. The confusion you get in any type of combat situation. Remember this was an attack that went on for hours…there had to be a lot of sorting out…”
Permit me to offer a free translation of this Diplomat Speak from the consummate Diplomat and Pol.   In this context, when Clinton says "Fog of War" she means "I have no fracking idea what kind of fog Susan Rice was in,  WTF she was thinking or where she got her information."

HRC expands on that theme in a CBS Interview this morning:
"Clinton said she did not speak to Rice prior to her Sunday talk show appearances, but added that, "Everyone had the same information. ... I have to say I know there's been a lot of attention paid to who said what but I think what happened is more important. We were attacked and four brave Americans were killed. Everyone in the administration has tried to say what we knew at the time with the caveat that we would learn more and that's what happened. So I think that I've seen it before not just in respect to this. I think it's part of what the 'fog of war' causes."
Got that?  Clinton did not speak to Rice.  She says "Everyone had the same information." We already know that the information Clinton and State Department "had", was that it was a premeditated attack. They knew that immediately as it happened:

"Briefing reporters ahead of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday, State Department officials provided their most detailed rundown of how a peaceful day in Benghazi devolved into a sustained attack that involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars over an expanse of more than a mile. But asked about the administration's initial – and since retracted – explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, "That was not our conclusion." He called it a question for "others" to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far."
The "others" who still have to answer this question are Susan Rice, Barack Obama and, of course, David Axelrod - the keeper of the flame of political truthiness for the Obama administration.  Hillary Clinton will not let the State Department take the fall for Susan Rice attempting to deceive the American public on what happened in Benghazi.  In the interview she told CBS reporter Margaret Brennan "You'll have to ask Susan Rice where she got her information." Susan Rice knows that the answer has to come from her.  That CBS report concludes with her latest contortion as she attempts to extract that knife in her back:
"A spokesperson for Rice told CBS News that she was given those speaking points by the intelligence community, not by the State Department."
This statement makes no sense unless Rice had information from the intelligence community that was different from State, directly contradicting Clinton. What can we say except to quote Sir Walter Scott:
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!" 
Perhaps it best if we just drop an impenetrable cloak of Top Secret National Security on the whole mess.  Yeah. That's the ticket.

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