The Benghazi Story: Mass Grave of Reputations

Bill Schanefelt
Maybe the anonymous "senior U.S. intelligence officials" who gave out a "detailed timeline" about the Benghazi fiasco on Thursday never heard of Healy's Law: "If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

That is because the hole in which they found themselves will surely end up a mass grave for their reputations and for many others' -- beginning with General David Petraeus.

Petraeus' sterling reputation was beginning to become forever tarnished by the failure of his COIN strategy, but that's a tale for another post, because the "detailed timeline"  that was briefed or e-mailed to the media is coming under severe attack on The Hill and elsewhere -- particularly by Fox.

The "detailed timeline" contains glaring conflicts with earlier background briefings, leaks, and independent reporting, but, most importantly, it contains conflicts with what Petraeus himself told Congress when he, just three days after the attack, was calling it, as described by the inimitable Mark Steyn, a "movie review that just got a little out of hand."

Yet of the 30 U.S. personnel associated with the "consulate" and Annex, 23 were from the CIA:

A timeline, released by the agency, has blown open the dramatic sequence of events, revealing for the first time that of the 30 American officials evacuated from the country following the deadly attack, just seven worked for the State Department.

And Petraeus certainly must have known from even cursory debriefings of the 23 that that was not the case, and he should also have known most of the details of that "timeline" by then.

Furthermore, State and CIA were told, before the attack, that trouble was brewing.

Adam Housley's Fox report is devastating.  It begins with the following:

Despite a carefully narrated version of events rolled out late this week by the CIA claiming agents jumped into action as soon as they were notified of calls for help in Benghazi, security officials on the ground say calls for help went out considerably earlier -- and signs of an attack were mounting even before that.

Read it all here.

And, as you read, remember that the only "official," on-the-record, never-"officially"-refuted accounts are, after Petraeus's, those of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in her "full Ginsberg" on Sept. 16, during which she continued the  bad movie meme, and those in a conference call by a State Dept. briefer on 9 October that were then expanded upon in testimony by State's Charlene R. Lamb and others in a House hearing on 10 October.

This "official" version of events is indisputably false, and it is crumbling at an accelerating pace.

Hence, on top of that of Petraeus, the reputations of  U.N. Amb. Susan Rice, National Security Officer Tom Donilon, Secretaries Clinton and Panetta, Chairman Martin Dempsey, and many other officials will certainly fall as the story crumbles.

And so will those of most of the major media outlets, for, in the words of Max Boot:

... the White House isn't really answering (disturbing) questions. Instead, it seems to be trying to push the whole issue past the election-and the news media, which would have been putting this on page one every day if this had happened on President McCain's watch, are happy to cooperate by burying this controversy.

So pour yourself a glass of fruity pinot noir and toast Roger Ailes, Jennifer Griffen, Catherine Herridge, Mr. Housely, et. al., for revenge is a dish best served cold.

And as you sip, eat something cold yourself, and think about the other reputations that should help fill that mass grave -- not, of course, forgetting the biggest one of all.

Maybe the anonymous "senior U.S. intelligence officials" who gave out a "detailed timeline" about the Benghazi fiasco on Thursday never heard of Healy's Law: "If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

That is because the hole in which they found themselves will surely end up a mass grave for their reputations and for many others' -- beginning with General David Petraeus.

Petraeus' sterling reputation was beginning to become forever tarnished by the failure of his COIN strategy, but that's a tale for another post, because the "detailed timeline"  that was briefed or e-mailed to the media is coming under severe attack on The Hill and elsewhere -- particularly by Fox.

The "detailed timeline" contains glaring conflicts with earlier background briefings, leaks, and independent reporting, but, most importantly, it contains conflicts with what Petraeus himself told Congress when he, just three days after the attack, was calling it, as described by the inimitable Mark Steyn, a "movie review that just got a little out of hand."

Yet of the 30 U.S. personnel associated with the "consulate" and Annex, 23 were from the CIA:

A timeline, released by the agency, has blown open the dramatic sequence of events, revealing for the first time that of the 30 American officials evacuated from the country following the deadly attack, just seven worked for the State Department.

And Petraeus certainly must have known from even cursory debriefings of the 23 that that was not the case, and he should also have known most of the details of that "timeline" by then.

Furthermore, State and CIA were told, before the attack, that trouble was brewing.

Adam Housley's Fox report is devastating.  It begins with the following:

Despite a carefully narrated version of events rolled out late this week by the CIA claiming agents jumped into action as soon as they were notified of calls for help in Benghazi, security officials on the ground say calls for help went out considerably earlier -- and signs of an attack were mounting even before that.

Read it all here.

And, as you read, remember that the only "official," on-the-record, never-"officially"-refuted accounts are, after Petraeus's, those of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in her "full Ginsberg" on Sept. 16, during which she continued the  bad movie meme, and those in a conference call by a State Dept. briefer on 9 October that were then expanded upon in testimony by State's Charlene R. Lamb and others in a House hearing on 10 October.

This "official" version of events is indisputably false, and it is crumbling at an accelerating pace.

Hence, on top of that of Petraeus, the reputations of  U.N. Amb. Susan Rice, National Security Officer Tom Donilon, Secretaries Clinton and Panetta, Chairman Martin Dempsey, and many other officials will certainly fall as the story crumbles.

And so will those of most of the major media outlets, for, in the words of Max Boot:

... the White House isn't really answering (disturbing) questions. Instead, it seems to be trying to push the whole issue past the election-and the news media, which would have been putting this on page one every day if this had happened on President McCain's watch, are happy to cooperate by burying this controversy.

So pour yourself a glass of fruity pinot noir and toast Roger Ailes, Jennifer Griffen, Catherine Herridge, Mr. Housely, et. al., for revenge is a dish best served cold.

And as you sip, eat something cold yourself, and think about the other reputations that should help fill that mass grave -- not, of course, forgetting the biggest one of all.