21 November 2014

The Benghazi Strain of OIP Derangement Syndrome

One easy diagnostic test for OIP Derangement Syndrome is an abiding belief in conspiracies and secrets surrounding the fatal attack on the US consulate and CIA outpost in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

In my personal experience, the people who say they’re most concerned with digging out more facts about that event also have a lot of trouble keeping the existing facts straight, such as how the US had no embassy in Benghazi.

There have been multiple investigations of the attack. In fact, the “Asked and Answered” website not only answers common right-wing questions and claims about Benghazi but also a list of how many times those questions have already been authoritatively answered.

Today, two weeks after the national elections, the House Intelligence Committee finally released its report on the event. And that bipartisan but GOP-controlled body came to the same conclusions as the previous inquiries.

As the Associated Press reported:
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people. . . .

In the aftermath of the attacks, Republicans criticized the Obama administration and its then-secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to run for president in 2016. People in and out of government have alleged that a CIA response team was ordered to “stand down” after the State Department compound came under attack, that a military rescue was nixed, that officials intentionally downplayed the role of al-Qaida figures in the attack, and that Stevens and the CIA were involved in a secret operation to spirit weapons out of Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels. None of that is true, according to the House Intelligence Committee report. . . .

Rice's comments were based on faulty intelligence from multiple agencies, according to the report. Analysts received 21 reports that a protest occurred in Benghazi, the report said—14 from the Open Source Center, which reviews news reports; one from the CIA; two from the Defense Department; and four from the National Security Agency.
The AP also noted that this report “was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week,” despite how much importance some Americans have attached to the subject in recent years.

Sadly, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have already taken steps to feed those people’s delusions further. Earlier this year it commissioned a special House committee to conduct an eighth government investigation. Based on this one’s schedule, we can expect its report days after the 2016 election.

(Shown above is the cover of a book that supposedly exposed some of those lies and conspiracies about the bengahi attacks. It was featured on Sixty Minutes, then pulled by the publisher when the author was found to be lying. Note how the cover twice uses the word “embassy”—that should really have been a clue about its accuracy.)

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