What did the Benghazi report change? Nothing at all
By Tony May
"I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta (for Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens' death). They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world."
Is this, perhaps, the final and definitive statement on the Benghazi incident, where four U.S .lives were lost in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012?
It would be fitting, if it were, because this conclusion was uttered in a TV interview this week by Dr. Anne Stevens, sister of the slain ambassador.
We could have saved the $7 million the U.S. House of Representatives spent over the past two years leading up to the dueling final reports issued separately by Democratic and Republican members of the special House investigating committee.
Democrats issued their report first last week and declared that Hillary Clinton, secretary of state at the time, and President Obama didn't do anything wrong.
Then the Republican majority on the committee chimed in, saying – in effect – that they couldn't prove that Clinton or Obama did anything wrong.
No one thought the House Benghazi committee was anything but opposition research for the 2016 election
They did suggest that Clinton should have realized beforehand that placing a diplomatic mission in Benghazi was too dangerous – and also took time to blame the victim, the ambassador, for underestimating the risks.
They did not, in 800 pages of prose, find space to share at least some of the blame for underfunding the Department of State's security efforts around the world in the middle of a War on Terror they advocated.
In the end, the Benghazi review ended like every other probe and investigation of Hillary Clinton over the past two decades: plenty of accusations, acres of innuendo, cornucopias of conspiracy theories but no actionable facts.
It all lends credence to the suspicion that all have been witch hunts and that the GOP has cried "wolf" too often.
If you dislike Hillary Clinton, you felt that way before Benghazi and nothing has changed.
If you like Hillary Clinton, nothing has changed. If you are ambivalent – nothing has changed except you probably now are predisposed to discount or dismiss the next allegation of wrong doing the Hillary-Haters come up with.
It's a good thing Aeschylus wasn't around this week for the release of the House Benghazi Committee report.
It's not like Benghazi was the most outrageous charge leveled at Hillary.
At one time or another, she's been accused of having Vince Foster killed for reasons unknown; of stealing a Presidential seal when she and Bill left the White House in 2001; with leaking state secrets to Muslim enemies through Huma Abedin and maybe even encouraging the Monica Lewinsky scandal to distract attention from a scheme to leak industrial secrets to the Chinese government in return for campaign donations.
And that's just some of the chart toppers. Some right wing websites feature "top 20" lists of supposed Hillary outrages. It's like a cottage industry.
Because the sides are so polarized, so entrenched, expect it to be brought up as part of the Hillary Litany of Failure in coming months.
Like the Bible, expect to hear quotes cherry-picked from the Benghazi report in an effort to bolster a narrative of callous corruption and selfishness.
Also expect efforts to continue to make a literal federal case out of Clinton's private email server. And, be sure that partisan functionaries are on the lookout for some new faux outrage to probe.
It may well be the GOP's only hope to bolster Donald Trump's candidacy.
Again, the strategy of mounting an aggressive offense when your ability to defend your own candidate is weak..
Trump is likely in the fall to be fending off the fallout from legal actions involving allegations of bilking students of Trump University. Republicans will be looking for any ammunition they can find.
Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi ...
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh