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April 03, 2014 1:09 PM No Need To Send In the Clowns

By Ed Kilgore

Most progressives have long since tuned out the Benghazi! circus, but it’s a matter of civic obligation to tune back in now and then to see if it has any new sideshow acts. Dana Milbank has a suitably snarky take on the latest performances, which have not gone well for the ringmasters:

House Republicans on Wednesday held Benghazi hearing number 1,372,569, give or take, and this time they were determined to find the proof that had eluded them in the previous 1,372,568: that Obama administration officials had put politics before national security.
Alas for the accusers, this hearing went the way of the others.
Lawmakers had another go at Michael Morell, a former deputy and acting CIA director and the man who revised the infamous “talking points” that said the September 2012 attack on American facilities in Libya had grown out of a protest. The talking points are key to the Republicans’ claims that President Obama tried to hide the true nature of the terrorist attack because the presidential election was just weeks away.
Morell, a now-retired career intelligence official who served under six presidents and was with George W. Bush in Florida on the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has the credibility to validate the conspiracy theories Republicans have been floating about Benghazi. But instead, he used the rare public session to rebut the accusations….

The interrogators did not react well.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) let loose a string of insults on the uncooperative witness, saying Morell was either “misleading by omission” or “lying by omission” and violating “your obligation to this committee….”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) skipped the questions in favor of accusations. “I believe that the totality of the information was obfuscated and that there was an intentional misleading of the public,” she said, charging Morell with changing the talking points “for the White House.”
Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who is retiring to be a talk-radio host, had drawn grumbles from some conservatives for being insufficiently zealous about Benghazi. Wednesday’s three-hour extravaganza should help him with those critics, because it gave Republican lawmakers a chance to vent their rage.
Angriest, or at least loudest, was Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), who shouted virtually his entire statement: “We get on talking points, and we get about who said this and whether the station chief said that. And the bottom line is that we’ve got people running around who killed Americans, who are sipping mai tais or whatever they’re sipping, and we can’t do anything about it.”

Mai tais?

This is one circus in no need for any additional clowns.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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