Back in October, The New York Times editorial board criticized the Congressional Benghazi Committee after the daylong questioning of former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. If you really wanted to investigate the Benghazi Committee, they argued, you should focus on the military and intelligence communities, not Hillary Clinton.
If the committee members had truly wanted to add to the public’s understanding of the events leading up to the Benghazi attacks, they could have delved into the choices officials at the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency made before and after the attacks. They could also have examined Congress’s refusal to provide the funding the State Department has requested for security for its overseas installations. Instead, the Benghazi committee has focused only on Mrs. Clinton and her close aides.
Flash-forward to this week. As it happens, the Committee took the Times advice and branched out its investigation into the decision-making of officials in the defense community. In particular, they asked the Pentagon to investigate planes that were not deployed on the night of the attack, and anonymous accounts from individuals claiming to be a drone operator and flight mechanic working that night.
Well as it turns out, the Times isn’t happy about that development either, despite the fact that they were the ones who told the committee to investigate defense officials’ decisions in the first place.
In recent months, Republicans on the committee have pestered the Pentagon to track down potential witnesses who might have damning things to say about Washington’s response to the attack on American government facilities in Benghazi, in eastern Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. They include a man who identified himself as a military mechanic in an intriguing Facebook post, and “John from Iowa,” a person who claimed to be a drone operator who had called into a right-wing radio talk show. Stephen Hedger, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, complained to Mr. Gowdy in a letter in April about the “recent crescendo of requests.”
Note by the way the bit of weaselly language from the Times. The Committee’s requests “include” investigating a Facebook post and a talk radio caller, which is of course a tacit admission that that is by no means the sum of their requests.
So should the Benghazi Committee be investigating the military response to the Benghazi attack or not? The only consistent answer from The New York Times seems to be: not if would hurt Hillary Clinton.
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.