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The Benghazi whistleblowers

Fox News has two related stories regarding State Department and CIA employees who reportedly have information they wish to offer about the Obama administration’s conduct in relation to the Benghazi attack. According to a lawyer for one of these whistleblowers, the information pertains to (1) the State Department’s failure, prior to the attack, to provide proper security despite warnings that should have led to a security beef-up (2) the government’s response (or non-respone) during the attack, and (3) the Obama administration’s inaccurate and/or misleading statements about the attack after it had occurred.

The first Fox News story is that the adminstration may have threatened the whistleblowers with adverse career consequences. The second story is that a U.S. special operator says that, contrary to the Obama administration’s line, the U.S. military could have intervened during the attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi.

Frankly, I’ve been skeptical about attempts to fault the administration’s response to the Benghazi attack while it was in progress, and I remain skeptical. It’s easy, after the fact, to identify a scenario in which this or that action might have led to a different outcome. But such scenarios typically assume near-perfect information, near-perfect decisionmaking, and near-perfect execution, all in the context of “the fog of war.” It looks to me like the special operator turned whistleblower may be indulging is such assumptions.

But that’s just my impression. The whistleblower and any of his like-minded colleagues should be able to present their information and opinions without fear of reprisal.

The same considerations apply to those who think they have new, relevant information about the administration’s failure to provide proper security before the attack and its intentional misdirection after the fact. It seems to me that we have the full story, or close to it, about what happened (and didn’t happen) both before and after. That information is quite damning.

But those who wish to present additional information should not be discouraged from doing so by threats or intimidation. And if the administration is attempting to intimidate whistleblowers, that creates a whole new aspect to this scandal.

JOHN adds: As I wrote here, I think it is likely, based on publicly available information, that the Obama administration could have sent timely assistance to the CIA agents and others as they were fighting the terrorists. The administration apparently decided not to do so on the theory that the gun battle would be over, and our men would be dead, before help could arrive. But as it turned out, the battle continued for seven or eight hours, while help could have arrived from Italy or Spain in around two hours. So the administration is embarrassed by its failure to do anything, other than go to bed, while the attack was in progress.

That is, as I say, a reasonable interpretation of the information we have. Maybe it isn’t correct. But we can’t be sure, given the Obama administration’s stonewalling. At a minimum, those who were present and who know what happened should be allowed to tell their stories without fear of Democratic Party reprisals.

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