Vice President Biden doubled down on the bad intelligence excuse in last night's debate when the question of the deaths of American personnel in Libya was raised. Among other stories today, Senator Bob Corker and The Daily Beast's Eli Lake apparently seem to know at lot more about what happened in Benghazi that night than the President and Vice President.
Senator Corker will become the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee next year. The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reports:
This week he had extensive meetings with the FBI and intelligence officials on the ground in Benghazi as well as officials from the Libyan government. He was emphatic: "What I know is our intelligence officials on the ground in real time and also in Washington within 24 hours knew what had happened."
How much was known at the time of the attack? Eli Lake reports:
In addition to the footage from the consulate cameras, the U.S. government is also poring over video taken from an overhead U.S. surveillance drone that arrived for the final hour of the night battle at the consulate compound and nearby annex.
One doesn't have to be a world class analyst to make the distinction between the random acts of a mob and a coordinated attack. And if a drone was sent in when it became known the consulate was under attack, why wasn't it an armed drone that could have tried to stop the assault?
I expect more damaging information to come out in coming days. With ambassador Stevens's assassination, the State Department lost a highly regarded career diplomat, largely because the administration had to preserve its fictions that the post-Gaddafi Libya was stable and that Al Qaeda was a spent force.
With those fictions crumbling, the White House is now trying to pin the blame on the State Department and the intelligence community. This is merely compounding the folly. State and the intelligence community are full of smart, well-connected people who specialize in spreading information while protecting the source. Unlike bureaucrats in Chicago who toil in perpetuity for corrupt political hacks, these veterans know administrations come and go. With the growing possibility of a new boss in less than 100 days, they will not accept the blame for the stupidity of politicians and their appointees.