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The Benghazi Scandal In One Email

One aspect of the scandal, anyway. The administration has released a series of emails in response to FOIA requests by Judicial Watch. You can read them here. This one, by Benjamin Rhodes, a White House political operative, shows the administration’s priorities on the Friday before Susan Rice’s infamous tour of the Sunday talk shows. Click to enlarge:

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From the earliest hours after the attack, this is how the Obama administration saw Benghazi. The overriding imperative was to deflect attention from the “broader failure of policy” that led to the disaster.

Roger Simon says these emails are grounds for impeachment. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but they certainly do cast the administration in a bad light. Moreover, they are heavily redacted. In some instances, the entire email is invisible. Given what we can see in the emails that were produced, one can only imagine how bad the redacted portions are.

But it isn’t all politics. In some respects, the emails are touching. Emails between Susan Rice and Eric Pelofsky–I am not sure what his role was at the time–convey raw horror at the dawning realization that Ambassador Smith may have been murdered. This is one of them:

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No doubt the grief was genuine. But by Sunday, Rice had sucked it up and was ready to parrot the administration line.

The other striking fact about the emails is the complete absence of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Maybe someone was keeping them informed, but they are never mentioned in the emails (except when someone prepares a statement to be issued under their names). During the crucial hours, they are never referred to. There is no suggestion that they are playing a part; that they are in the loop; that they are making decisions; or that they are, in any way, important players. Maybe there are more emails, not yet disclosed, that would reflect their roles. Or maybe they really were ciphers–seat warmers with no concerns beyond the political, not expected to do anything in an hour of crisis.

UPDATE: And now Jay Carney is lying about the Rhodes email–of which, by the way, he was one of the recipients!

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