We have discussed the Benghazi scandal in terms of three aspects: the failure to provide adequate security before the attack; the response during the attack; and, in the aftermath, the White House’s failure to provide truthful information about the attack.
The report of the Accountability Review Board confirms and details the first aspect of the scandal. According to the ARB, the failure to provide adequate security was gross and systemic. A few lower-level heads have rolled. Congress still needs to question top State Department officials including Hillary Clinton, but we now know most of the facts about this matter.
As to the second aspect of Benghazigate, the response during the attack, the ARB report finds that, given the available military assets, it is unlikely that any action could have avoided the outcome. This leaves open the question of whether the military should have moved assets closer to Benghazi before the attack. But I tend to agree with Retired Adm. Mike Mullin that “it is not reasonable nor feasible to tether U.S. forces at the ready to respond to protect every high-risk post in the world.”
The White House’s false claims in the aftermath of Benghazi — the third aspect of this scandal — cost Susan Rice the Secretary of State job. Beyond that, many questions remain, inasmuch as the likes of James Clapper and David Petraeus couldn’t explain the emergence of the false talking points Rice used. No one else has provided a convincing explanation either. This part of the scandal is very much alive and needs to be pursued notwithstanding Rice’s demise.
With every passing day, a fourth aspect of Benghazigate moves to the fore — the fact that the perpetrators apparently are alive, well, and free. During the campaign, Obama promised to bring them to justice. It hasn’t happened.
The ARB did not attempt to identify who carried out the attacks; it properly left that work yr the FBI. But the Washington Post tells us that there is little sign of movement in the FBI probe. It quotes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers who reports “a near total lack of progress in bringing these terrorists to justice.”
President Obama can’t undo the Benghazi attacks. And he would not want to undo his administration’s falsehoods following the attack, since they aided his reelection campaign.
However, Obama can work to keep his promise to bring justice to the terrorists who, on September 11, brutalized and murdered our ambassador and killed three other Americans. Perhaps he is, but it doesn’t look that way.