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March 13, 2013 4:11 PM The Next Envoy to Benghazi! Benghazi!

By Ed Kilgore

In an announcement that the conspiracy-minded will undoubtedly assume was timed to coincide with the overriding news of the election of a new Pope, the White House is taking the dreaded but necessary step of nominating a new ambassador to Libya to succeed the late Chris Stevens. Here’s a report from The Hill’s Jonathan Easley:

President Obama will nominate Deborah K. Jones as the State Department’s new ambassador to Libya, the White House announced on Wednesday.
If confirmed, Jones would replace Chris Stevens, the ambassador killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya….
Jones served as U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait from 2008 to 2011, and has been with the State Department since 1982, holding posts in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Syria.
White House spokesman Jay Carney praised Jones as a “career foreign service officer who has served admirably in diplomatic posts across the world.”

That won’t cut even a sliver of ice with Senate Republicans, who have other—or really, just one other—fish to fry:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that he does not believe the White House has shared all its information in the incident. Graham said he intended to write to Secretary of State John Kerry and demand access to survivors from the attack.

Now Graham will have a new vehicle for his down-the-rabbit-hole “investigations,” though he will have to share the spotlight with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Perhaps his amigo John McCain will again carry his water, though it’s worth noting that the committee also has among its members two potential 2016 presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, plus fellow firebrand Ron Johnson. So even if somehow the White House could magically relieve Graham of any anxiety about a 2014 primary challenge, the perpetual excitement of “the base” about Benghazi! Benghazi! will be a bright shiny lure to GOP senators wanting some attention or campaign contributions. You’d have to figure that it would be catnip to Rand Paul in particular, since like the drone controversy surrounding John Brennan’s nomination, Benghazi! involves a foreign policy “issue” that does not inherently expose him to conservative heartburn over his non-interventionist background.

I hope Deborah Jones enjoys the honor of this nomination. If she actually gets confirmed, she will have earned it.

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  • Josef K on March 13, 2013 4:35 PM:

    It would be too much to hope the chairman of this committee would actually grow a set and stomp down on Graham and the rest, wouldn't it?

  • Kathryn on March 13, 2013 4:42 PM:

    Poor woman, probably tough enough to handle though. Love the phrase " catnip to Rand Paul", good visual and quite apt.

  • Peter C on March 13, 2013 4:46 PM:

    I don't think 'Benghazi!' is really a winning issue for Republicans. I think they come across as scandal-mongers. It may appeal to their base, but I think it probably hurts them with the general public.

    Please proceed, Senator ...

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