State Department bureaucracy versus Obama administration
It looks a lot to me as though the professional State Department lifers are bailing out on their political appointee bosses Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, hanging them out to dry in advance of today's hearings on the Benghazi 9/11 attack. Bradley Klapper of AP noted that these officials on a conference call to media were not authorized to speak publicly, and ttheir identities are being protected by the media on the conference call.
The officials, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said Ambassador Chris Stevens arrived in Benghazi and held meetings on and off the consulate grounds on Sept. 10.
Dana Hughes and Luis Martinez of ABC News explain how they were protecting themselves and the State Department bureaucrats:
Asked about the initial reports of the protests, the official said that while "others" in the administration may have said there were protests, the State Department did not.
"That was not our conclusion," the official said. "I'm not saying that we had a conclusion."
They are, in other words, pre-empting Clinton and Rice from blaming subordinates (them) for the lies told to the public, pretending Benghazi was not an Al Qaeda operation on the anniversary of 9/11. The president was loath to admit that the killing of Osama bin Laden hadn't ended the AQ threat. In fact, even now he maintains that the terror organization is "on its heels," perhaps even now hoping to maintain the false narrative of a spontaneous response to a YouTube vide.
Keep in Mind that Chris Stevens, the American Ambassador who was dragged through the streets of Benghazi and reportedly violently publicly sodomized, was one of the State Department's lifers, a career bureaucrat in the Foreign Service.
Hillary Clinton is now the woman-on-the-spot.
Does she protect herself and point out that she never stated that the terror attack was really another angry mob of Muslims ticked off about insults to their prophet? This implicitly would hang out Susan Rice to dry.
But Hillary would be torturing words, reminding everyone of her husband's "depends on what the meaning of 'is' is" evasion. If this scandal and cover-up blows up, she would become collateral damage. This is, after all, a much weightier cover-up than Watergate ever was.
Now that it looks like the Obama campaign's attempt to peddle a class warfare narrative is failing, in the face of Mitt Romney's debate performance that revealed him as a smart, well informed, nice, sincere man, Hillary must think about her own future, her own reputation. Somewhere, deep inside, she has not forgotten the way the Obama campaign took her down in the 2008 nomination battle, bussing activists into the Iowa caucuses, playing the race card, and ridiculing her as a woman through surrogates.
The other critical factor at work is the ability of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to place the issue of the Benghazi cover-up squarely on the national agenda in the debates. Normally, Obama can depend on his media claque to keep embarrassing stories off the national news agenda. They did exactly this service to him on September 12, pretending that the biggest news story of the day was the purportedly outrageous statement Mitt Romney made criticizing the Cairo embassy's apology for the YouTube video. That dominated the MSM coverage for the first few days.
But as mid-October looms, the electorate is focused on evaluating the Obama presidency, and we are going to have some very interesting Congressional testimony today, which almost certainly will lead to the deeply resonant question, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"