That's a pretty short version of today's event. The crying, combative Clinton produced the desired sound bites, portraying the heroic successful SoS (based on miles traveled at least) being browbeaten and harassed by a bunch of old white guys. Throw in a few shots about Bush and the other 9/11 or Iraq, or basically claiming that the Tea Party was responsible by cutting the budget (despite one of the "sacked" State employees denying that) and, well, if you don't feel like reading any further who could blame you?
Those who thought Hillary was faking illness to get out of this hearing should have known better. Why miss the opportunity to reshape her exit and set up her future ambitions? She got the result she wanted. There were no cats released from any bags.
In other words, we don't know any more about what happened in Benghazi today than we did yesterday or 9/12/12. This was basically a nothingburger.
Regardless, here are some random thoughts, keeping in mind the questions posed last evening by CBS News' Sharyl Atkinson, which are now but memories despite her screaming in the wilderness this afternoon.
Bottom line, Hillary is responsible but she's not; she didn't know anything about security issues before the event and didn't know about the talking points after the event, despite her great standing. She was not interviewed by the Review Board for the report. We don't know how she interacted with Obama, who is completely removed from this entire thing. All of this should make her look terribly bad but it won't, because the people asking are hating, racist, haters.
But facts are stubborn things. The four employees whom the New York Times and other papers announced were 'out' have not really left, just as the NY Post reported on December 26. They are on "administrative leave" or "disciplined" or something, but they are not gone. Hillary explained that's because of the difficulty in firing government employees. Ros-Leighton pointed out she should have corrected the record in public. Of course though, she was sick. As to any suspects in the attack, well the filmmaker is the only one in jail.
One of the troubling questions that didn't seem to be answered involved the rapid-response team dispatched from Embassy Tripoli on the night of the event that was held up on the tarmac in Benghazi for hours after arrival, finally arriving at the CIA annex 15 minutes before the fightfight that killed Mr Doherty and Mr Woods. Could they have been saved if the team arrived quicker? What help them up? Here's what was written here in December about the Accountability Review:
Was there a gap between the time the quick-reaction force from Tripoli landed at Benghazi airport and the time they got to the annex to join in the fight? The tic-toc handles this on page 27:
The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support. It arrived at the annex about 0500 local.
Notice the tic-toc did not provide a time of arrival of the Embassy Tripoli quick response team at Benghazi airport, just that 'they arrived'. It then lists their time of arrival at the annex. Fifteen minutes after the arrived at the annex it came under attack by rockets and mortars, which tragically resulted in the loss of Mr. Doherty and Woods.
Nobody asked or even hinted at what was really going on in Benghazi vis a vis reports about weapons being moved to Syria. No surprise there. That's probably why Clinton kept scolding the interlocutors to read both the unclassified and classified reports, ie, they know what's going on but can't divulge in an open hearing, hint hint. Most of them quickly shut up as soon as she mentioned this.
And nobody clarified the diary CNN found several days after Rice went on the Sunday shows. Recall that at the time, Hillary was asked a question about whether Stevens was on any "AQ hit list(s)" to which she indicated that no, not that she knew of. Anderson Cooper knew this was BS so he went on the next day and admitted that Stevens himself had written that in his own diary, that CNN had located. That random act of honesty got him a healthy rebuke from Hillary's goon Phillipe Reines. When that rebuke was rebuked by the Rolling Stone reporter who broke the McChrystal story Reines replied with an F bombs. In other words, there was some serious intimidation going on around this event.
Here's John McCain ripping Hillary a new hole, vaguely mentioning the Stevens' diary in the process...
All of this mumbo-jumbo points to a likely fear within the administration that the recently minted narrative, just rolled out at the DNC convention weeks earlier where speaker after speaker lauded Obama for killing UBL and chasing AQ to the horizon, was in jeopardy by a true narrative that said AQ just kicked our ass on 9/11. And in a country Obama had just liberated.
But Romney couldn't effectively challenge it. The press covered for Obama, and he won. So all in all today was a publicity victory of sorts for Hillary. She's probably preparing for a celebratory dinner about now. And hey, they released the 'women in combat' story this afternoon, just in time for the evening news cycle, so let's all move along to that next big story.