On August 9th, 1974, five men (working for the CIA) were caught after breaking into National Democratic Headquarters based in the Watergate Hotel/Office-complex in Washington D.C.. The scandal was traced all the way back to the White House (and likely Nixon himself), culminating in the conviction and incarceration of 43 people, including the highest ranking law official in the nation, Attorney General John Mitchel. The scandal remains to this day the benchmark by which all other political scandals are measured.
I’ve noticed that at least a half-dozen Republicans last week referred to “Watergate” when discussing “Benghazi” and the fact U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice went on several network TV news shows the following Sunday to declare that “our best information at this time” is that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was yet another spontaneous demonstration over a fake movie trailer on YouTube insulting Islam. Here is the exchange that has Republicans so outraged:
DAVID GREGORY: Can you say definitively that the attacks on our conciliate in Libya that killed Ambassador Stevens and others there - security personnel - that was spontaneous? Was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?”
AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: Well let us… let me tell you the best information we have at present. First of all, there is an FBI investigation which is ongoing, and we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired.”
Doesn’t sound like someone making a “this is what we know for certain” claim, does it? I would also point out Ms. Rice is merely an AMBASSADOR, not an intelligence official. It’s not like she’s our National Security Adviser like another Ms. Rice I could mention that was directly responsible for the worst intelligence failure in American history that resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans, only to follow THAT up with the SECOND worst intelligence failure in American history as an encore just six months later… repeated claims of the existence of WMD’s in Iraq that allowed a hawkish president & vice president march this nation into an unprovoked and unnecessary war of choice against a relatively unarmed nation (Iraq), leading to the deaths of another 4,200 American troops. Despite this, Condi was nominated and confirmed as “Secretary of State” by a vote of 85 to 13.
Meanwhile, more than two months later, the Right is STILL hyping the “Benghazi” embassy attack as a “massive intelligence failure in which Americans died on September 11th “, w/o a hint of irony. On ABC’s ThisWeek yesterday, Rep. Peter King actually said: “[Ambassador] Rice should have known better” because she was privy to information that contradicted the story she was telling. Someone should ask him WHICH “Rice” he’s referring to: Susan or Condi. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate these people?
As another great site, “Little Green Footballs” pointed out last week, the very idea that Ambassador Rice’s claims… NOT under oath, expressed with multiple caveats, and based only on the information she was provided by the intelligence community somehow rises to the level of “Watergate” (while Condi gets a free-pass) is “ludicrous”.
What’s happening here (yet again) are the Right’s attempts to diminish “Watergate”, “9/11″ and the failures of Condi by hyping “Benghazi” to absurd levels. And their reason for doing couldn’t be more clear… to minimize three of the GOP’s most notorious scandals all in one fell swoop. Those three (arguably four counting Condi’s two) debacles hang like a permanent dark cloud over the Republican Party from which their only escape is to somehow suggest Democrats are now as bad as the GOP… or WORSE (“Nobody died in Watergate!” said Sen. John McCain taking a break from his campsite in the courtyard between Fox, NBC, CBS & ABC yesterday to demand Ambassador Rice “apologize” for… for…
Fox “news” Sunday invited famed investigative reporter Bob Woodward to join their “Power Panel” clearly with the objective of trying to get him to compare “the Benghazi scandal” to Watergate. Unfortunately for them, Woodward wasn’t ready to play along, pointing out that “What did Susan Rice [a lowly ambassador] know and when did she know it” does not come close to the level of “what did THE PRESIDENT know and when did he know it” on the
Thank your lucky stars the GOP didn’t retake the Senate two weeks ago because we all remember what happened the last time a popular successful Democratic president won reelection only to face a hostile Republican Congress. Can you say “endless partisan investigations and impeachment?” I knew you could.
If ever there was a demonstration of why this blog is subtitled “Recording history for those who seek to rewrite it”, this is it.
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