Trying to make some sense of the Susan Rice fiasco is like trying to make some sense of how the most incompetent and the most corrupt presidential candidate in American history managed to get himself reelected. It probably can’t be done. But, just for the sake of argument, it might be interesting to engage in a bit of conjecture about how Susan Rice got picked to go under the bus.
First some background. On Sunday morning, September 16, five days after an Islamic terrorist group, Ansar al Sharia, attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Barack Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to appear on all five Sunday morning network talk shows. Rushing from one broadcast studio to the next, Rice appeared on ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, CNN’s State of the Union, Fox’s Fox News Sunday, and NBC’s Meet the Press… and all within a time span of just two hours.
The tale that Rice told at each stop was typical of what she stated on ABC’s This Week, where she said, “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. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather – to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”
So the question arises… and persists… why was the U.N. Ambassador chosen to deliver such a whopper to the American people when, in fact, she had no connection to and no responsibility for the consulate in Benghazi?
The most logical pecking order of people who should have been called upon to answer for what happened at Benghazi is, in order: Barack Obama, President and Commander in Chief; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State; Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense; General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence; Michael Morrell, Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor; and General David Petraeus, former Director of Central Intelligence.
As the principal architect and political beneficiary of the Benghazi fable, Barack Obama was not about to go on record as the bearer of what everyone would soon know was a false narrative. But because he had hopes of explaining away the Benghazi terror attack in a way that would not damage his “al-Qaeda-is-on-its-heels” narrative two months before the November election, he had to have a patsy to carry his tale to the American people who was not only credible, but also expendable. The one person who fit that description was U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. And who is the only person who could make that decision, and who is the only person who could tell her exactly what to do and what to say? Ambassador Rice is not in Hillary Clinton’s chain of command, so the order could have come from only one person: that would be Barack Obama.
He couldn’t expect Hillary to play that role. As soon as the Benghazi story made the headlines, Hillary packed her polyester suits, grabbed her attaché case and her “body woman,” and got the hell out of town. In a brief statement issued from Lima, Peru on Monday, October 15, where she was presumably conducting nuclear disarmament talks with the Peruvians, Clinton said, “I take responsibility. I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha.”
Then, after stopping off in Washington just long enough to pick up a few changes of “undies,” she was off again on an extended tour of Hawaii, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia, returning on November 8, two days after the November election, when her testimony could not damage Obama’s reelection chances.
Compelling diplomatic business? No. Compelling political business? Yes. If Hillary had been in Washington and available to the Congress, she would have had some very difficult questions put to her. And since it was Bill Clinton who was most responsible for exciting the Democratic base and getting Obama reelected, the last thing Obama wanted was to see Hillary sitting before a congressional committee. The only thing to do was to get her out of town.
But what of Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense? In terms of an attack on a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, Panetta’s only connection would have been in relation to a military rescue operation or a military response to al-Qaeda. But since it appeared as if he had disobeyed Obama’s order to “secure our people” in Benghazi, Panetta was keeping a decidedly low profile. Obama didn’t want Panetta having to answer questions about why he and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dempsey had disobeyed his order. Or, worse yet, having Panetta reveal that Obama had not given such an order… Obama’s public pronouncements to the contrary.
General James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)? In his previous incarnation he served as Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI), an oxymoron if ever there was one. Clapper’s role in the Benghazi scandal shouldn’t surprise anyone. It certainly didn’t surprise author Bob McCarty, who’s upcoming book, The Clapper Memo, will expose some of the DNI’s earlier exploits as USDI which are now “coming home to roost” in the form of so-called “Green-on-Blue” attacks in Afghanistan.
If there is a chief suspect in the effort to find who it was that rewrote the CIA talking points of September 12, which identified Ansar al Sharia as the al-Qaeda subsidiary responsible for the Benghazi attack, the finger would most logically point to General Clapper. And since Obama must have known that his Director of National Intelligence was not a man to be trusted with the responsibility for carrying out an assignment of such strategic political importance… and get it right five times within two hours… he knew that General Clapper was not his man.
Michael Morrell, the Acting Director of Central Intelligence? This is the same Michael Morrell who in testimony before a congressional committee on Thursday, November 15, attempted to shield Susan Rice from criticism. He told the committee that Rice had been provided with an unclassified version of the deadly attack in Benghazi that was incorrect.
He failed to explain to the committee how or why, if the CIA knew on September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, that the attack was carried out by an Islamic terrorist group, they allowed the U.N. Ambassador to appear on five Sunday morning TV interviews four days later, carrying a totally false narrative.
National Security Advisor Tom Donilon? When the White House leaked classified information detailing the Navy SEAL methodology that brought Osama bin Laden to justice in Abbottabad; identifying the Pakistani doctor who assisted U.S. intelligence personnel in locating bin Laden; and providing details of the US-Israeli cyber attack on the Iranian nuclear program, it didn’t take then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates long to figure out who was responsible for the leaks.
As Jake Tapper of ABC News has reported, “… Gates went to see Donilon, offering up a barbed assessment of how the White House had handled the aftermath of the (bin Laden) raid.
“ ‘I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend…’
“ ‘What was that?’ Donilon asked.
“ ‘Shut the f_ _ k up,’ the defense secretary said.”
Donilon’s credibility was so damaged by that episode that Obama didn’t dare send him before the five Sunday morning talk shows carrying a false version of the Benghazi attack.
And finally, General David Petraeus. In the days following the Benghazi attack, Obama knew two very important things about his Director of Central Intelligence. First, in spite of numerous denials to the contrary, Obama had to have known that Petraeus was under investigation by the FBI in connection with the Paula Broadwell affair. In other words, he knew that his Director of Central Intelligence was in a potentially compromising position. And finally, he knew that he could count on a man of Petraeus’s caliber to go only so far in parroting a false narrative in which politics trumped all other considerations.
Obama’s only choice was U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, another incompetent hanger-on who had ambitions to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Her ambition would dictate that she do what she was told without asking too many questions. And with an ethically neutral mainstream media as watchdogs, there was a very good chance that they could pull it off.
Sorry, Obama. Your luck just ran out. There’s room for only so many “expendables” under that bus of yours and now you’ll have to pay the price. Most importantly, if we’re lucky, and if we can find just a few members of Congress with the backbone to do what’s right, it appears all but certain that we’ll find an impeachable offense or two in all of this… just something to make your second inauguration a most memorable one.