You’ll be able to hear and read today about the State Department report on the Benghazi consulate sacking and killings. But no matter how much you listen or read, you’ll only be getting part of the story. Here’s why:

The report from the Accountability Review Board, headed by Thomas Picketing and Admiral Mike Mullen, is only one tiny piece of a vast bureaucratic ballet that has evolved in Washington over decades to handle hot issues, even deadly ones like Benghazi, with minimal damage to the politicians and bureaucrats in power at the time.

It’s an amazingly sophisticated and bipartisan procedure that looks sound to naive eyes. It’s built upon powerful self-interest and savvy strategic communications that manages and manipulates information and the timing of its release to minimize damage to incumbents and to dampen ongoing media interest in pursuing an embarrassing matter further.

To increase the likelihood of that, the D.C. media will soon be fed a tempting new news story, maybe naming a new cabinet member, that will make the Benghazi affair seem even older than yesterday’s news. Which — oh, my goodness — it already is by this morning.

Here’s the time-line, the ploys and (some unanswered questions):