Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Journalists Fiddle While Benghazi Burns


It would be a disgrace to journalism in Connecticut if questions concerning the murder of a U.S. ambassador attached to the consulate in Benghazi were not put to all the members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, preferably before Connecticut voters march to the polls to decide who among the candidates for Congress this year are best fitted to represent them.

Among candidates who may find themselves in Congress after November has come and gone are Representatives John Larson and Rosa DeLauro, both of whom occupy safe districts that, so it would seem, likely will not fall to Republicans. Other Congressional seats are more competitive. On the Democratic side in the U.S. House, incumbent U.S. Representatives Joe Courtney in the 2nd District and Jim Himes in the 4th District are defending their seats against Republicans Paul Formica and Steve Obsitnik. The 5th District race, an open seat, pits Democrat Elizabeth Esty against Republican Andrew Roraback and could go either way. In the U.S. Senate race, current Democratic U.S. Representative Chris Murphy has a slight edge over Republican Linda McMahon.
The attack on the consulate in Libya has been a tar baby for President Barrack Obama, largely because the president and members of his administration took the view immediately following attacks by terrorists associated with al-Qaida in the African Maghreb that the murderous assault on U.S. Ambassador Ted Stevens and his much reduced band of security defenders sprang from a spontaneous protest against an amateurish film trailer defaming the prophet Mohammed. Within a short time of the assault, it became clear there was no protest near the consulate during an attack that lasted several hours. The security force protecting the consulate had earlier been reduced after assaults on the British ambassador. An earlier attack destroyed part of perimeter wall surrounding the consulate, and thus far no one in the Obama administration has sufficiently accounted for the reduction in security staff prior to 9/11, a date often exploited by al-Qaida terrorists.
Had Sherlock Holmes been on the scene, he would have reminded Dr. Watson, somewhat curtly, that the absence of a protest preceding the terrorist attack would strongly suggest that the ensuing mayhem could not have arisen spontaneously from a film that had enraged non-existent protesters. Elementary, my dear Watson.
In addition, the assault on the embassy appeared to be a well-coordinated attack on the ambassador and other brave military operatives two of whom, disregarding repeated orders from the CIA to “stand down,” rushed to the consulate from the annex in an attempt to extract Ambassador Stevens and ferry him to the annex where both, overcome by superior force, died.
The death of Navy Seal Tyrone Woods is morally nettlesome: Involved in two shootouts with terrorists at the consulate and the annex, Mr. Woods expired on the annex rooftop where he lay mortally injured, having repeatedly called for help that never materialized. Though the White House might have ordered an extraction of the ambassador-- help during the long ordeal could have been dispatched in a few hours – that order remained stillborn.
The attack on the consulate and the annex a mile distant was captured by two drones circling overhead, an evidentiary record sent in real time to Langley Air Force Base and members of the Obama administration. In view of persistent misrepresentations made by Obama officials who implausibly claimed that the murders of Ambassador Stevens others were connected with a film supposed to have sparked the assault, the drone record is a must-see.
Yet, if any journalist in Connecticut has asked Mr. Murphy, who sits on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, to intercede with the Obama administration and demand the release of the drones' real time record, his answer is not readily apparent from anything he has said in debates or on the campaign stump. The remaining members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation -- Mr. Larson, who serves on the Committee on Ways and Means, which controls tax writing, Mrs. DeLauro, who serves on the Committee on Appropriations, and Mr. Himes, who sits on the House Banking Committee, all positions or power and authority – have maintained a discreet and deadly silence as the Benghazi ordeal has progressed from political incompetence to what may be a cover-up of major proportions in an administration that early on had pledged itself to an extraordinary degree of transparency.
This suffocating silence rolling over the bodies of four Americans – every one a hero – stems either from inexcusable ignorance, mendacious incompetence or the overriding campaign concerns of the Obama administration. This winding shroud of silence smothering a cry of help never answered even now could be shattered by journalists in Connecticut and elsewhere who are not asleep at their keyboards.
Post a Comment