It’s difficult to find humor in anything related to the murder of our ambassador to Libya and his colleagues in Benghazi, but the Accountability Review Board convened by Hillary Clinton has seeds of of comedy in it. As scandal management, the Accountability Review Board (report here) amounted to something like performance art.
Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing represented two of the three whistleblower witnesses who testified before the House committee last week, including Gregory Hicks. The ARB somehow missed Hicks in their investigation. Toensing fails to see the humor, but she has written a good column commenting on the ARB report for the Weekly Standard. It would be easy to miss Toensing’s column at the Standard’s online site, but it deserves attention.
How did the estimable men of the ARB miss Gregory Hicks in the information gathering phase of their work? The ARB harks back to Richard Nixon’s desired resolution of the controversy over production of the Watergate tapes: The Stennis Compromise. In lieu of producing the tapes, Nixon proposed, bring in some eminent but hearing-impaired older man to check out the tapes and report back. The Stennis Compromise was laughed out of consideration. Only Democrats can get away with something like that.
The ARB also missed Hillary Clinton. That’s hard to understand. ARB chairman Thomas Pickering cleared that apparent oversight up yesterday in a round of appearances that echoed the stupidity of the infamous talking points that Susan Rice was peddling on behalf of the White House this past September 16. Ambassador Pickering explained: “We knew where the responsibility rested.”
“They’ve tried to point a finger at people more senior than where we found the decisions were made,” Pickering said of Clinton’s critics. On the other hand, according to Pickering, they also found it unnecessary to chat with her because she had already accepted “the full responsibility.”
Let’s bore in on that one:
BOB SCHIEFFER: But let me understand what you’re saying. You had Secretary Clinton but you didn’t ask her any questions? And why not?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: Because in fact, we knew where the responsibility rested. She had already stated on a number of occasions, she accepted as a result of her job, the full responsibility. On the other hand, legislation setting up our board made it very clear that they didn’t want a situation in which a department or agency had accepted responsibility and then nobody looked at where the decisions were made. And how and what way those decisions affected performance on security. And whether people where thus responsible for failures or performance. That’s what we were asked to do and that’s what we did.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think in retrospect it might have been a good idea to question her? And some of these other ranking officials?
AMBASSADOR PICKERING: I think that we knew and understood because we had questioned people who had attended meetings with her. What went on at those meetings and how they were handled. What was relevant. I don’t believe that it was necessary to do that. I don’t think that there was anything there that we didn’t know.
Where is Inspector Clouseau when really you need him?