“What would you be focusing on in the Benghazi investigation?” I spent many years in the investigation biz, so it’s only natural that I’ve been asked that question a lot lately.
I had the good fortune to be trained in Rudy Giuliani’s U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan. Rudy famously made his mark by making law enforcement reflect what common sense knew: Enterprises take their cues from the top. Criminal enterprises are no different: The capos do not carry out the policy of the button-men – it’s the other way around.
So if I were investigating Benghazi, I’d be homing in on that 10 p.m. phone call. That’s the one between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – the one that’s gotten close to zero attention.
Benghazi is not a scandal because of Ambassador Susan Rice, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, and “talking points.” The scandal is about Rice and Nuland’s principals, and about what the talking points were intended to accomplish. Benghazi is about derelictions of duty by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton before and during the massacre of our ambassador and three other American officials, as well as Obama and Clinton’s fraud on the public afterward.
A good deal of media attention has quite appropriately been lavished on e-mail traffic between mid-level administration officials in the days leading up to Sunday, September 16. That is the day when Ms. Rice, a close Obama confidant, made her appalling appearances on the Sunday-morning political shows. Those performances were transparently designed to mislead the American people, during the presidential campaign stretch run, into believing that an anti-Islamic Internet video – rather than a coordinated terrorist attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda affiliates, coupled with the Obama administration’s gross failure to secure and defend American personnel in Benghazi – was responsible for the killings.
Fraud flows from the top down, not the mid-level up. Mid-level officials in the White House and the State Department do not call the shots – they carry out orders. They also were not running for reelection in 2012 or positioning themselves for a campaign in 2016. The people doing that were, respectively, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Obama and Clinton had been the architects of American foreign policy. As Election Day 2012 loomed, each of them had a powerful motive to promote the impressions (a) that al-Qaeda had been decimated; (b) that the administration’s deft handling of the Arab Spring – by empowering Islamists – had been a boon for democracy, regional stability, and American national security; and (c) that our real security problem was “Islamophobia” and the “violent extremism” it allegedly causes – which was why Obama and Clinton had worked for years with Islamists, both overseas and at home, to promote international resolutions that would make it illegal to incite hostility to Islam, the First Amendment be damned.
All of that being the case, I am puzzled why so little attention has been paid to the Obama-Clinton phone call at 10 p.m. on the night of September 11.