Former Secretary of State Condi Rice went on Fox News Wednesday to discuss the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks. Given her background and experience, she actually knows a thing or two about such issues, and it showed in her comments.
“When things are unfolding very very quickly, it’s not always easy to know what’s going on on the ground…,” she told Greta Van Susteren. “There’s a big picture to be examined here but we don’t have all of the pieces and I think it’s easy to try to jump to conclusions about what happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevent (investigative) bodies do their work.”
“The problem is when there is a fog of war like this, there are a lot of competing stories coming in, there’s a lot a competing information coming in, and it takes a little while to know precisely what has happened,” she went on to explain.
Even now, a month later, what Rice refers to as “the fog of war” has yet to lift. It took 10 days after the attack to even get FBI agents on the ground in Benghazi. To this day, there are still indications that the anti-Muslim video and the protests in Egypt played some role in what happened. There are still serious doubts whether the local militia group believed responsible has any ties whatsoever to al Qaida. And there is very good reason to believe that the attack was a crime of opportunity rather than some carefully planned military operation.
All in all, the tumult on the right about this story probably has the lowest content-to-noise ratio of any of the fake outrages fabricated so far by the right-wing media, and yes, I understand that’s saying a lot. Conservatives can’t even articulate what they’re mad about, only that they’re mad and somehow it’s Obama’s fault.
Michael Hirsh, a journalist with extensive overseas and warzone experience, does a good job of putting the fake scandal in context in a piece for National Journal. Take, for example, the newly released e-mails in which the State Department was notified that an Islamist group had claimed credit on Facebook for the Benghazi attacks. (The Facebook posting also called for an attack on the embassy in Tripoli, which never took place).
As Hirsh notes:
“The e-mails in question contained nothing more than “raw” intelligence, uncorroborated and unverified, that often flows in after an event. Intelligence officials typically don’t deliver their assessments until they have “finished” reports based on multiple sources, and corroborated evidence, and Obama officials such as (UN Ambassador Susan) Rice certainly would not have been out in front of the TV cameras citing raw intelligence. And as the government’s most senior officials say, the Benghazi case has taken them a long time to finish. “People forget that a Palestinian group was the first to claim credit for 9/11,” the intelligence official said. “There was no message from the field in those first hectic days that would have eliminated questions or proven who was behind the attack.”
He can believe him, or you can believe what the Sean Hannitys of the world are saying, which goes something like this:
– Jay Bookman