Members of the mainstream media are tripping over one another in the rush to proclaim that Hillary Clinton routed the Republicans on Trey Gowdy’s committee yesterday. I’ll be the first to admit (and wrote in real time) that Hillary skated basically untouched through the first two hours of the hearing and had the better of the opening round of questioning as a whole.
I didn’t watch beyond the first round, but have no reason to doubt that Clinton continued to perform well.
But the MSM’s suggestion that no one laid a glove on Clinton (she “easily parried barbed questions,” as the cheerleaders at the Washington Post put it) is false. The fact that State Department personnel in Libya made approximately 600 requests for better security in Benghazi, yet security remained pathetically slim, is a serious indictment of Hillary Clinton. The claim that none of the requests reached her desk, if true, speaks to dysfunction in her Department — dysfunction that cost four Americans their lives.
The dysfunction is highlighted by the fact that Clinton was regularly receiving, and sometimes acting upon, emails from Sid Blumenthal whom the Obama administration had banned from working at State. Meanwhile, she was not attending to the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi which was manifest not just from requests for help, but from prior attacks on our facility that Clinton admits she knew of.
Clinton’s defense — “I relied on security professionals” — is not the stuff of “routs,” at least not in her favor.
Nor did Clinton rout Republicans when questioning turned to the issue of her false claims that the attacks grew out of a demonstration in response to a video. The hearing revealed to the public for the first time that within hours of the attacks, Clinton emailed her daughter that Americans had died at the hands of an al-Qaeda like group. Yet Clinton told the American public and families of the Benghazi victims that the maker of the video was to blame for sparking protests that got out of hand.
Can you imagine what the MSM would be saying about a hearing in which a Republican Secretary of State was shown to have presented one set of Benghazi facts to her own family, but another to the family of the victims and the American public? “Secretary lied, Americans died” comes to mind.
The hearing also highlighted a conversation between Clinton and Egypt’s prime minister on the day after the attacks. Clinton told the prime minister: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film; it was a planned attack – not a protest.” Yet Clinton persisted with the “protest caused by a video” narrative for days thereafter.
Such clear evidence of lying to the American people would be considered a “smoking gun” if it were presented against a Republican. Presented against a Democratic presidential contender, it receives no mention in the Washington Post’s lead story about the hearing. Nor does Hillary’s email to Chelsea.
Clinton’s defense on this score was comparable to the “I relied on my security professionals” line. She claimed that the intelligence was very confusing. But this is inconsistent with her saying, without qualification, that “we know the attack in Libya had nothing to d with the film. . . .”
Clinton also noted that on the day of the attacks, al Nusra claimed responsibility, but the next day disavowed it. This might explain why Clinton was inconsistent on the question of whether an al Qaeda affiliated group was involved. But it doesn’t explain why she publicly went with the false “protest over a video” narrative while privately stating “we know” this wasn’t the case.
I doubt that many people watched much of yesterday’s hearing. Thus, the MSMs false narrative will likely carry the day.
But Gowdy’s committee, by obtaining incriminating emails and asking Clinton about them, has laid the groundwork for attacking Clinton on Benghazi during the presidential campaign via TV ads. If the Republican nominee has the need and the courage to launch this attack — Donald Trump, for one, would probably do it — the American people, not the pro-Clinton mainstream media, will decide who routs whom.