KUHNER: Blowing a whistle on Benghazi
Benghazi may turn out to be President Obama’s Watergate. The scandal is a growing cancer on the administration, threatening its very existence. The more information comes out, the more damning it is. This is why Democrats — and their media allies — are desperately trying to sweep the truth under the rug. Mr. Obama’s political survival is at stake.
High-profile lawyers Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing are in touch with State Department whistleblowers who were on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, when our diplomatic mission was attacked by jihadists. Mr. diGenova says they can no longer remain silent. The whistleblowers want to testify before a House congressional committee. There is only one problem. According to Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing, the whistleblowers are being prevented — and intimidated — from speaking out by the Obama administration. Vindictive State Department officials are denying their request for legal representation. Since the whistleblowers’ potential testimony relates to classified information, they refuse to go forward in public without effective legal representation. The possible personal and professional consequences are immense.
If — and I stress if — they testify, then the Obama presidency is in mortal jeopardy. Mr. diGenova stresses that the whistleblowers possess information that will expose the administration’s lies and cover-up. Republicans on Capitol Hill should pursue this scandal to the end.
Benghazi should have been prevented. During the summer of 2012, al Qaeda thugs were roaming the streets of the city. The Red Cross and the British diplomatic mission pulled out. Our consulate had been physically attacked several times. This is why U.S. officials there repeatedly asked the State Department for bolstered security. It was denied.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified under oath at a House hearing in January that she was unaware of any requests for extra security. “I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention,” she said. That is false. According to a recent congressional report, Mrs. Clinton knew about the cables. In fact, she not only denied the extra protection, she explicitly ordered that consulate security be cut back. The report cites an April 19, 2012, cable bearing Mrs. Clinton’s signature that acknowledges the demand for more security assistance but insists that reductions in security assets should continue.
Moreover, the report also found that State Department officials deliberately manipulated White House talking points to remove any references of culpability by Foggy Bottom for the negligence in security. The connections to terrorism and al Qaeda were purged. The White House wanted to shield Mr. Obama from any political damage in the midst of an election campaign. The administration covered up the obvious: Far from being smashed, al Qaeda had mounted a successful jihadist attack on U.S. soil, killing four Americans — including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. This is why Mr. Obama’s surrogates concocted the patently false narrative of a flash mob storming the consulate in protest of an anti-Muslim video. Their goal was to deceive the American public.
The media is also deliberately ignoring another aspect of Benghazigate. The administration refused to send in military reinforcements as Islamist thugs were storming the consulate. AC-130 gunships and U.S. special forces were at a military base only several hours away. They could have rescued our besieged personnel from the compound. Instead, they were ordered to do nothing, leaving Stevens and his colleagues twisting in the wind. The attack continued for more than nine hours. Yet Mr. Obama refused to lift a finger to save endangered American lives.
Why is the administration so determined to stonewall a serious investigation into Benghazi? The real answer may lie beyond cynical politics. Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, has repeatedly asked about the CIA’s alleged illicit role in smuggling weapons from our Benghazi compound to Turkey and eventually into Syria. The Obama administration has been secretly arming the Islamic rebels in the vicious Syrian civil war, according to numerous news organizations. Mr. Paul has cited multiple media reports documenting the CIA smuggling operation in Benghazi. Stevens was critical of the operation. He also feared for his life. The truth about Benghazi could expose the CIA’s clandestine involvement. If that is the case, the Obama administration would be implicated not only in something nefarious, but a lawless and criminal enterprise. Mr. Obama would be no better than a gunrunner, an international arms smuggler. Even his leftist media hacks would have to abandon him.
This is why Republicans must demand Watergate-style hearings on Benghazi. The American people have a right to know whether the president is a criminal. Benghazigate is much worse than Watergate. At its core, Watergate was about the cover-up of a third-rate burglary. For this crime, President Nixon was forced to resign. Benghazigate is about the cover-up of the killing of four Americans. The families of Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith deserve to know the truth. It’s time we gave it to them. Let the whistleblowers speak.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.
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