May 7, 2014 10:03 am -

It kind of makes sense in a twisted, cynical sort of way that Speaker John Boehner’s newly ordained House Select Committee on Benghazi is stacked with seven Republicans and only five Democrats. The newly resurgent outrage over Benghazi is obviously meant to be a crowd-pleaser for the midterm base rather than a noble investigative endeavor, so why not give the apoplectic rage-aholics a lopsided committee majority — it only serves to underscore the crass, opportunistic nature of the whole thing.

Frankly, I tend to agree with the growing popular wisdom that the Democrats should boycott the committee. Giving the GOP unfettered time to screech and flail on their bouncy hobby-horses will only make the whole thing seem like the buffoonish grabassery it really is, while telegraphing to voters that the House Republicans have nothing better to do with taxpayer money than to re-litigate an event that’s been investigated numerous times already, and to do so in order to score political points. (This is one of the reasons why I was vocally opposed to the idea of a Bush impeachment investigation back when the Democrats took over the House in 2007. Voters want Congress to work for them — not to use its platform to settle political beefs.)

So here we are. The Republicans are very clearly using their majority to bake up a controversy where it simply doesn’t exist.

I for one am looking forward to observing testimony after testimony in which administration officials repeat the very obvious reality that Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes’ talking points for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, acquired last week by Birther Larry Klayman‘s Judicial Watch (!!!), were merely reflecting the CIA’s analysis of what precipitated the attack on the U.S. consulate there. Yet for the purposes of creating a politically-motivated House Select Committee, Boehner and the House Republicans are hoping no one mentions it — over and over and over while on television.

Seriously, this the actual reason for the formation of the committee: Rhodes’ talking points which included one that mentions how the attack grew spontaneously out of protests over an incendiary online documentary critical of Islam, based upon an analysis the CIA provided to the administration. The GOP seems to have forgotten about the CIA’s assessment — that or they’re still trying to mislead voters into thinking the administration fabricated the “spontaneous attack” conclusion to cover its ass just before an election, when in fact it was merely conveying the CIA’s assessment.

The CIA’s analysis:

We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. consulate and subsequently its annex.

The protests were in direct response to the online video. Here’s the talking point written by Ben Rhodes:

To underscore that these protests are rooting in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.

Here’s what Susan Rice said on ABC’s This Week:

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.


Bob Cesca