We didn’t get to this yesterday, but it’s definitely worth watching — especially for the skill shown by Lindsey Graham in his examination of Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey. The headline takeaway will be what is remembered most: the revelation that Barack Obama never bothered to keep in touch with his chair of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense after being informed that an American consulate was under attack from terrorists.
But if that’s all you hear from this, you’re missing the big picture. Graham managed to elicit a number of damaging statements from the two. Not one aircraft had been deployed during the attack; not one boot left the ground outside of Libya. As far as the 281 concurrent threat reports that Panetta and Dempsey claimed kept them from considering Benghazi a special threat, Graham asks how many of those cables came from US Ambassadors stating specifically (as Stevens’ did) that an American installation was incapable of defending itself against a sustained attack and that government buildings nearby were flying al-Qaeda flags — “because I want to know about them, if they do,” Graham adds. Dempsey tries to push that off to State, at which time Graham informs Dempsey that Hillary Clinton claimed never to have seen that cable, even though Dempsey clearly had, which he admits is “surprising.”