If Kevin McCarthy accidentally let the cat out of the bag on Benghazi, the Republican-led House committee had an opportunity on Thursday to reaffirm to the American people that the investigation was about truth, not politics. But over 11 grueling hours of confrontational interrogation, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likely put this issue to bed for good.
It shouldn’t be too surprising. If the Benghazi committee had the goods on Clinton, we would have known it by now. The only possibility Thursday was that Clinton would somehow let her guard down and say something shocking. That was a slim thread of hope, though, because Clinton went into this knowing her dream of occupying the White House was hanging in the balance. Trey Gowdy and the rest of the Republicans might have been able to score a career-making moment on live television, but the stakes were far higher for Clinton. And she came prepared.
This investigation, now four years in the making, is no longer interesting to the public. The media has seen to it that “Benghazi” is just another Republican conspiracy theory, and the comments by McCarthy put the final nail in the coffin. No one who is truly interested in what went down is fooled, but how many people does that description really encompass? Americans have a short attention span. We’re ready to move on.
Too bad, because it was more obvious that ever on Thursday that the Obama administration engaged in a political coverup following the attack. Clinton told her daughter, Chelsea, that “Al Qaeda just attacked our compound and we lost two good men” on the night of the assault. She put in a call to Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil the same night, and he informed her that the attack had nothing to do with any YouTube video. And yet, in public, the State Department and Hillary herself continued to insist that these were protest-driven murders for at least a week.
Why? Because there was an election coming up, and President Obama didn’t need his grand Osama Bin Laden victory ruined by an Al Qaeda attack. So instead of being straight with the American people, they concocted this foolishness about a YouTube video and a spontaneous demonstration.
Could more have been done to protect the Libyan post? Could lives have been saved? Did Hillary Clinton abdicate her responsibility as secretary of state? The questions are too esoteric and debatable to really hit home.
But if Americans place any importance whatsoever on a presidential administration putting truth above politics, Benghazi remains a dark moment in this president’s history. And if things go the way Democrats hope, it will be a dark moment in the next one’s as well.