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In the 20 months since four Americans were killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, two official investigations have reached pretty much the same conclusions. The State Department Accountability Review Board (ARB) and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) looking into the tragedy found an opportunistic attack that should have been prevented but was not due to poor intelligence, inadequate security on the ground, and dismal information sharing between the U.S. military, the State Department and the CIA. There was no military response that could have been launched in time to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. And there was no cover up by the Obama administration.

But that just won’t do for a Republican Party determined to exploit the deaths to sabotage both President Obama and his possible successor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So on Friday, Speaker John Boehner announced he would appoint a select House committee to expand on Darrell Issa’s Benghazi inquisition that has already produced 13 hearings, 25,000 pages of documents and 50 briefings. That means the American people will be subjected to the spectacle of endless hearings, deceptive leaks, fabricated stories and altered emails through the November midterms and beyond, all because the GOP and its right-wing allies can’t handle the truth.

Which is why when President George W. Bush and his defenders found themselves besieged by real scandals, they didn’t turn to the truth as a defense. Instead, Bush and his minions turned to these 15 tactics (among others) to survive.

Please read below the fold for the list.

1. Accuse the Opposition of Slandering the President. During his second debate with Mitt Romney in October 2012, President Obama made a simple point regarding the Republican’s baseless charges:

"The suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the secretary of state, our UN ambassador, anybody on my team, would play politics or mislead when we lost four of our own, governor, is offensive.”
Many of Romney’s GOP allies must have been nodding their heads in agreement.  After all, in May 2002, Republicans circled the wagons around President Bush after revelations that the administration had been warned about possible Al-Qaeda plans to hijack an aircraft in advance of 9/11. (Americans later learned about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”) But when Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle asked "Why did it take eight months for us to receive this information?" and called for a blue-ribbon commission to investigate, the GOP's top brass railed to Bush's defense. Daschle's Republican counterpart Trent Lott denounced the demands for an inquiry:
"I really think there's nothing more despicable ... for someone to insinuate that the president of the United States knew there was an attack on our country that was imminent and didn't do anything about it. For us to be talking like our enemy, George W. Bush instead of Osama bin Laden, that's not right."
Lott's colleague Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) agreed:
"I don't think that anyone should start pointing fingers in a personal way or suggest that people are trying to cover their political backsides. I just think that's ridiculous. I think we need to go forward. We need to be positive. There are failures. We need to get to the root of it and try to make our country more secure."
(As we later learned, President Bush’s reaction to the August 6, 2001 PDB briefing he received was, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”)

2. Oppose the Investigation.  As the chorus grew in early 2002 to create a commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 people, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their allies said no. While Cheney warned "the people and agencies responsible for helping us learn about and defeat such an attack are the very ones most likely to be distracted from their critical duties if Congress fails to carry out their obligations in a responsible fashion," House Majority Leader Tom Delay declared:

"A public commission investigating American intelligence in a time of war is ill conceived and, frankly, irresponsible. We need to address America's challenges in intelligence gathering and terrorist prevention. But we don't need to hand the terrorists an after-action report."
3. Agree to Testify, But Not Under Oath. Ultimately, President Bush yielded to mounting public pressure and agreed to support the 9/11 Commission under the aegis of Henry Kissinger. (Unwilling to reveal his financial interests, Kissinger withdrew.) But as for his own participation, Bush agreed to testify, but on the conditions that he be questioned behind closed doors jointly with Vice President Cheney and neither man would be under oath. As President Bush explained in his White House meeting with the 9/11 commissioners on April 29, 2004:
"If we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place. I came away good about the session, because I wanted them to know, you know, how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats.

The vice president answered a lot of their questions, answered all their questions. And I think it was important for them to see our body language as well, how we work together."

4. Ignore Congressional Subpoenas.  Of course, when it came to Congressional investigations of the Bush administration's politically motivated purge of U.S. attorneys, Vice President Cheney insisted White House personnel should be neither seen nor heard. Calling the outcry over the prosecutors' firings "a bit of a witch hunt," Cheney and his boss made sure their team did not honor any Congressional subpoenas:
The Bush White House directed chief of staff Joshua Bolten, political director Karl Rove, former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor all to ignore subpoenas from Congress. In 2008, a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so.
And at the end of President George W. Bush's tenure, the White House instructed top officials not to cooperate with any future congressional inquiries into alleged administration misdeeds.

5. Claim Executive Privilege. In the GOP book of Scandal Defenses for Dummies, the first entry on page one is to claim executive privilege.

That is precisely what the Bush White House did when it came to Dick Cheney's secret energy task force. In 2001 Cheney and his clandestine energy task force held dozens of meetings with 300 groups and individuals in formulating Bush administration policy. Among them was Enron CEO and Bush "Pioneer" Ken Lay. And as Paul Krugman noted in speculating about the group's role in altering "new source review" and other policies, "the day after the executive director of Mr. Cheney's task force left the government, he went into business as an energy industry lobbyist." Nevertheless, the Bush administration fought requests by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch for information about the participants under the Federal Advisory Committee Act all the way to the Supreme Court. (In September 2004, Darrell Issa was among the 30 GOP members of the House Energy Committee who blocked a Democratic resolution which sought "the names of individuals who worked behind closed doors with Vice President Cheney's energy task force to craft the Bush administration's national energy policy."

For his part, Dick Cheney claimed in 2007 that the Bush White House was "very responsible" in supplying information to lawmakers, but that "sometimes requests have been made that clearly fall outside the boundaries." And as he made clear again in his memoirs, his secret energy task force was one of those cases:

"We had the right to consult with whomever we chose--and no obligation to tell the press or Congress or anybody else whom we were talking to. .... I believed something larger was at stake: the power of the presidency and the ability of the president and vice president to carry out their constitutional duties." When they won the fight, he says, "It was a major victory both for us and for the power of the executive branch."
Unless, Cheney's allies now insist, that executive branch is headed by a Democrat.

6. Threaten to Fire the Wrongdoers—and Then Don’t. No member of the Bush administration lost his or her job over the catastrophic failure to prevent the slaughter of 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.  None were sacked over the invasion and occupation of Iraq that killed over 4,000 more Americans, wounded 30,000 and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

But there was one occasion when President Bush threatened to do so and, of course, never did. In the summer of 2003, Team Bush outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame after her husband Joe Wilson's July op-ed debunked the president’s bogus claim that Iraq sought yellowcake uranium in Niger. In June 2004, President Bush declared he would "fire anyone found to" have leaked the agent's name. But after the revelations that Rove and Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby had spoken to reporters about Plame, Bush in July 2005 raised the bar for dismissal, instead announcing that only if anyone on his staff committed a crime in the CIA leak case, that person will "no longer work in my administration." Regardless, it had long been clear that Bush had no intention of getting to the bottom of the wrongdoing by his closest aides. As President Bush explained to a questioner during his October 7, 2003 press conference:

"I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth. That's why I've instructed this staff of mine to cooperate fully with the investigators--full disclosure, everything we know the investigators will find out. I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is--partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers. But we'll find out."
Not, it turned out, with any help from President Bush and his White House team. In October 2005, Thomas DeFrank of the New York Daily News reported, "Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak." As one of DeFrank's sources put it:
"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way."
But one person who did feel misled was Bush's press secretary, Scott McClellan. As he revealed in his book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington, McClellan revealed:
The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

There was one problem. It was not true.

I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.

7. Accuse the Opposition of "Criminalizing Politics." Dating back to at least the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Republicans and their media water carriers have turned to the "criminalizing politics" evasion when confronted with the lawlessness and wrongdoing of their leaders. After first deploying the criminalization of politics defense during Iran-Contra, conservative relied on their trusted talking point for the U.S. attorneys purge, the Scooter Libby case, the indictment of Tom Delay and the Bush administration's regime of detainee torture.

In the spring of 2009, the Wall Street Journal, Powerline and the usual suspects in the right-wing noise machine were at it again. Investigating potential war crimes by the Bush White House, they argued, constituted "criminalizing conservatism" itself:

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret ...

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow ...

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party's desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

Of course, none of that right-wing hysteria came to pass in large part because the Obama administration adopted the very "criminalization of politics" canard supplied by the Republicans. As Attorney General Eric Holder promised during his confirmation hearings in January 2009, "We don't want to criminalize policy differences that might exist" with the outgoing Bush White House." Even with subsequent boasting by President Bush and Vice President Cheney about their use of waterboarding, there has been no probe. And if the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture is ever publicly released, no doubt Republicans will once again protest that Democrats are “criminalizing conservatism.”

8. Attack the Victim... To be sure, Republicans were quick to deploy the "criminalizing politics" defense during the Plamegate affair and the subsequent indictment and conviction of Cheney chief-of-staff Scooter Libby. But their counterattack didn't end there.
During March 2007 hearings on the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, current Benghazi Grand Inquisitor Darrell Issa rushed to the Bush administration's defense. Plame, Issa suggested, was guilty of perjury:

"I believe that his wife will soon be asking for a pardon. She has not been genuine in her testimony before Congress, if pursued, Ambassador Wilson and Valerie will be asking to put this behind us. I do not believe this was good use of the Committee's time. I hope we will have a real debate about proper use of clemency."
Issa had plenty of company. That same day, his Committee heard from a witness who rejected the CIA's own description of Valerie Plame as a clandestine officer at the agency. The GOP's attack dog that day? Victoria Toensing, the same Victoria Toensing now representing the so-called Benghazi whistleblowers.

9. ...And Attack the Victims' Families. During the last weeks of the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney was criticized for trying to appropriate the Benghazi victims for his campaign. (Among those pushing back was the father of Ambassador Stevens and the mother of the former Navy SEAL killed there.)

But back in 2007, current House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa had a novel approach. During committee hearings into the slaughter of four private security contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, Issa defended Blackwater by mocking the victims' families to their faces:

"Although I don't think your testimony today is particularly germane to the oversight of this committee, I am deeply sorry for the losses that you've had...One question I have is, the opening statement, who wrote it?"
10. Use a Popular Military Hero as a Human Shield. Congressman Issa wasn’t content to accuse the Fallujah families of using the committee hearing to advance a lawsuit against Blackwater.  Later that year during October 2007 hearings on Blackwater, Issa introduced a new charge. Committee Democrats, he declared, were motivated not by a genuine desire to help either the Fallujah families or to get to the bottom of Blackwater's shady practices. Instead, Darrell Issa insisted, it was all a vendetta against President Bush's commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus:
I think it's been made incredibly clear by the previous statements on the Democrats side that this is not about Blackwater. [...]What we're hearing today is in fact a repeat of the MoveOn.org attack on General Petraeus' patriotism.

What we're seeing is that, except for the 79 members who voted against denouncing MoveOn.org, eight of whom are on the dais here today, what we're seeing is what they couldn't do to our men and women in uniform, they'll simply switch targets.

The bodies were not cold in Iraq before this became a story worth going after here in committee.

I'm not here to defend Blackwater.

But I am here to defend General Petraeus and the men and women in uniform who do their job, who were first denounced by MoveOn.org, then not denounced by members of Congress, many of whom are on the dais today, speaking as though they don't support attacking every possible way the administration's war in Iraq.

But Issa's defense of Petraeus lasted only as long as Republican George W. Bush remained in the White House. In May 2013, now Chairman Issa told NBC's David Gregory that CIA Chief Petraeus had done President Obama's bidding in covering up the tragedy at Benghazi:
GREGORY: Chairman, my reporting of the immediate aftermath of this talking to administration officials is that CIA Director David Petraeus made it clear when he briefed top officials that there--that there was a spontaneous element to this, that it was not completely known that this was a terrorist attack right away. You don't give any credence to the notion that there was some fog of war, that there were--there were conflicting circumstances about what went on here.

REP. ISSA: David Petraeus said what the administration wanted him to say is the indication. Ambassador Pickering heard what the administration wanted to hear.

11. Say the Administration Lost the Emails Due to Buggy Software. Conservatives have cried foul that the recently released email from Obama administration national security official Ben Rhodes did not come to light earlier. But as you'll recall, millions of Bush White House emails conveniently went missing between 2003 and 2005, including those in the critical days during which the administration formulated its response to Ambassador Joe Wilson and his covert CIA operative wife, Valerie Plame. In July 2007, Darrell Issa accused Plame of perjury. Then, in February 2008, Issa turned IT expert and brushed off the email imbroglio as merely a software problem:
During a House Oversight Committee hearing last month on the preservation of White House records, an indignant Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a frequent critic of Chairman Henry Waxman's investigations, did his best to play down the extent of the Bush administration's now well-documented email archiving problems. Defending the White House's decision to switch from the Lotus Notes-based archiving system used by the Clinton administration, Issa compared the software to "using wooden wagon wheels" and Sony Betamax tapes. To observers of the missing emails controversy, Issa's comments seemed little more than an attempt to deflect blame from the White House for replacing a working system for archiving presidential records with an ad hoc substitute. But to IT professionals who use Lotus at their companies, Issa's remarks seemed controversial, if not downright slanderous. Now, according to an executive at IBM, the software's manufacturer, the California congressman has apologized for his characterization of Lotus and offered to correct the congressional record.
Thanks to the now-settled lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW], Americans learned in 2009 that "the Bush White House, which initially denied that any e-mails had gone missing, announced in January it had located more than 22 million messages that had been mislabeled after a search by computer technicians, according to court records filed by the government on the day after Bush left office."

12. Delay the Findings for Years. After learning that there were in fact no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2003 launched an investigation. But thanks to the maneuvering of GOP Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), the committee divided its work into two phases. But Phase 2, the probe dealing with the Bush administration's uses and misuses of pre-war intelligence, would not be completed until after the November 2004 election. (The Silbermann-Robb commission similarly punted on that vital question, noting that "Well, on the [that] point, we duck. That is not part of our charter.")

When the Phase 1 report was published in July 2004, Roberts crowed, "the committee found no evidence that the intelligence community's mischaracterization or exaggeration of intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities was the result of politics or pressure." But as Vice Chairmen Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) protested:

"There is a real frustration over what is not in this report, and I don't think was mentioned in Chairman Roberts' statement, and that is about the--after the analysts and the intelligence community produced an intelligence product, how is it then shaped or used or misused by the policy-makers? So again there's genuine frustration--and Chairman Roberts and I have discussed this many times--that virtually everything that has to do with the administration has been relegated to phase two. My hope is that we will get this done as soon as possible."
But in March 2005, Roberts announced that Phase 2 "is basically on the back burner." As he explained:
"I don't think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further...To go through that exercise, it seems to me, in a post-election environment--we didn't see how we could do that and achieve any possible progress. I think everybody pretty well gets it."
As ThinkProgress documented, GOP Chairman Pat Roberts delayed the Phase 2 analysis yet again, ensuring there was "virtually no chance of being completed before the fall [2006] elections.”

But Democrats won those 2006 midterm elections in what President Bush called "a thumpin'." And finally, on June 5, 2008, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence now chaired by Senator Rockefeller published its Phase 2 report. As McClatchy reported, Republicans Chuck Hagel and Susan Collins joined the Democratic majority in concluding that "Bush knew Iraq claims weren't true."

13. Give Rice Better Sound Bites. In the fall of 2012, Republican Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham announced they would try to block a potential appointment of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to succeed Hillary Clinton. Calling Rice "not very bright," McCain blasted her September 16, 2012 statements about the Benghazi killings to ABC's This Week.

Of course, when the Rice in question was named Condoleezza and worked for a Republican president, John McCain took a different tactic. After all, Condi Rice famously warned of Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." In 2004, she sheepishly described the critical August 6, 2001 presidential daily brief admitted to the 9/11 Commission, "I believe the title was 'Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.'"

Nevertheless, when Bush's National Security Adviser was nominated for Secretary of State in 2005, John McCain declared "Condoleezza Rice is a great American success story" and "a person of integrity." Slamming those who "challenged her integrity," McCain groused:

"I see this [as] some lingering bitterness over a very tough campaign. I hope it dissipates soon."
14. Declare That "Nobody Could Have Predicted" the Disaster. When in doubt, Republicans will never hesitate to blame their catastrophic failings on an act of God. The scandals, tragedies and wrong-doing which unfolded on their watch were all simply unknowable.

The uses of the "nobody could have expected" defense were legion during the Bush administration. After Hurricane Katrina drowned New Orleans, President Bush wrongly explained, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." After 9/11, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice protested, "I don't think anybody could have predicted" that terrorists "would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." (After Hamas won the Palestinian elections her State Department pushed, Rice lamented that "I've asked why nobody saw it coming. It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.") While Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in April 2003 brushed off the growing chaos in Baghdad by announcing, "Stuff happens," President Bush in August 2004 had another explanation for the bloodbath and mounting American casualties his invasion of Iraq produced:

"Had we had to do it [the invasion of Iraq] over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success--being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day."
Even in its last throes, the Bush White House insisted the disasters which unfolded on its watch were unforeseeable. Just days before leaving office, Vice President Dick Cheney tried to deflect blame for the calamity on Wall Street and the deepening recession by declaring, "Nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure that out" and "I don't know that anybody did." Then, Cheney magically converted failure into a virtue and ignorance into a shield in explaining away the Bush presidency:
"No, obviously, I wouldn't have predicted that. On the other hand I wouldn't have predicted 9/11, the global war on terror, the need to simultaneous run military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq or the near collapse of the financial system on a global basis, not just the U.S."
15. Make Fun of Your Mistakes That Killed Americans.  During that debate with Mitt Romney, President Obama explained why everyone should take him at his word when it came to the deaths of four brave Americans in Benghazi:
"I'm the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home, so you know I mean what I say."
Mercifully, Obama chose not to follow in President Bush’s footsteps and just make fun of the thousands of Americans whom he sent to die in Iraq.

In his presentation at the 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner, President George W. Bush showed his contempt for the truth and the suffering of the American people. His tasteless White House slideshow made light of the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the justification Bush offered for the war in the first place. Coming one year and hundreds of American dead and wounded after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush the cut-up hoped to regale the audience with his White House hijinks. As David Corn of The Nation reported:

Bush notes he spends "a lot of time on the phone listening to our European allies." Then we see a photo of him on the phone with a finger in his ear. But at one point, Bush showed a photo of himself looking for something out a window in the Oval Office, and he said, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." The audience laughed. I grimaced. But that wasn't the end of it. After a few more slides, there was a shot of Bush looking under furniture in the Oval Office. "Nope," he said. "No weapons over there." More laughter. Then another picture of Bush searching in his office: "Maybe under here." Laughter again.
Since we’re all having so much fun now, here’s a bonus tip from President Bush to President Obama on handling Benghazi.

16. BONUS TIP: Say You Just Don’t Worry about Their Killer and Leave Taking Him Out to Your Successor.  “Republicans in Congress,” the conservative Washington Times reported this week, protest that President Obama “promised to bring the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack to justice, yet nobody has been apprehended more than 18 months later.”

That’s a pretty amazing charge for them to make.  After all, just days after the September 11 carnage which occurred on his watch, President Bush boasted of Osama Bin Laden, "There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"  But when he ambled out of the White House on January 29, 2009, Bush hadn’t done either.

The explanation for his failure is no mystery.  After Bin Laden escaped the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan his administration tried to wage on the cheap, President Bush declared that capturing the Al-Qaeda chieftain didn’t matter anyway. Besides, Bush refused to send American forces into Pakistan to hunt Bin Laden and his lieutenants down. And we know this, because President George W. Bush told us so.

Questioned about his silence regarding Bin Laden in the months following the failure to nab Bin Laden in Tora Bora, a nonchalant Bush on March 13, 2002, downplayed his significance:

"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you...I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
Bush may have been embarrassed by his failure to capture Bin Laden in 2002, but by the fall of 2004, he faced the prospect of American voters who seemed to recall the murder of 3,000 of their countrymen. In the third presidential debate with John Kerry, a childlike Bush on October 13, 2004, tried for a "do over" of his statement two and a half years earlier:
"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations. Of course we're worried about Osama bin Laden."
Not worried enough, it turned out, to commit U.S. troops to Bin Laden’s killing or capture in the tribal areas of Pakistan. In 2005, it was his Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who cancelled the U.S. special forces operation designed to "snatch and grab" Ayman al-Zawahiri and other senior Al-Qaeda leaders. The story, following July 2006 revelations that the CIA had previously disbanded its Bin Laden unit, gives lie to one of the central tenets of the so-called Bush Doctrine: no safe havens for terrorists. As the New York Times reported in July 2007, Rumsfeld ran roughshod over then CIA Director Porter Goss, scuttling the mission at the last moment even as the U.S. forces were boarding planes for the assault:
But the mission was called off after Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, rejected an 11th-hour appeal by Porter J. Goss, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said. Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled, said a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning.

Mr. Rumsfeld decided that the operation, which had ballooned from a small number of military personnel and C.I.A. operatives to several hundred, was cumbersome and put too many American lives at risk, the current and former officials said. He was also concerned that it could cause a rift with Pakistan, an often reluctant ally that has barred the American military from operating in its tribal areas, the officials said.

As it turned out, President Bush and his would-be successors John McCain and Mitt Romney all opposed then candidate Barack Obama’s promise that “that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.”  Asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News in February 2008 if "voters know enough about him [Obama]," Bush replied:
"I certainly don't know what he believes in. The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was he's going to attack Pakistan."
Of course, that’s not what Obama said. In 2011, he did what he promised and got Osama Bin Laden. Dead, not alive.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Sun May 04, 2014 at 05:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so many war criminals, so little time left (5+ / 0-)
    But the mission was called off after Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, rejected an 11th-hour appeal by Porter J. Goss, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, officials said. Members of a Navy Seals unit in parachute gear had already boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan when the mission was canceled, said a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning.
    Mr. Rumsfeld decided that the operation, which had ballooned from a small number of military personnel and C.I.A. operatives to several hundred, was cumbersome and put too many American lives at risk, the current and former officials said. He was also concerned that it could cause a rift with Pakistan, an often reluctant ally that has barred the American military from operating in its tribal areas, the officials said.
    Zero Dark Thirty

    National Security Adviser: If this was political, we'd be having this conversation in October when there's an election bump. This is pure risk, based on deductive reasoning, inference, supposition, and the only human reporting you have is six years old, from detainees who were questioned under duress. The political move here is to tell you to go fuck yourself and remind you that I was in the room when your old boss pitched WMD Iraq. At least there you guys brought photographs.

    George: You know, you're right. I agree with everything you just said. What I meant was, a man in your position, how do you evaluate the risk of not doing something? Hmm? The risk of potentially letting bin Laden slip through your finger. That is a fascinating question.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun May 04, 2014 at 05:24:13 PM PDT

    •  "Look forward, not backward." (tm) -nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amoginesq

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:15:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent article. One more extra tip: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War4Sale

      Cover up Republican failure in the Middle East with a layer of all-out lying about Libya. Like everything else when the GOPers see a problem, they solve it with lies.

      Republicans appear obsessed with Benghazi. They say they hate Obama and Hillary. They say they're patriots.

      In fact, they are terrified to the point of soiling their undies that the public will get a refresher on Ronald Reagan's utter bloody failure in Lebanon.

      Yeah, that's 1980s. They've even gone so far as to rewrite online histories. Anything  to serve the cover-up.

      Reagan knew nothing about the military. Israel had invaded Lebanon in June of 1982. Reagan sent in American troops as U.N. Peacekeepers:

      -- August-September 1982: Reagan withdrew the 800 Marines protecting the remaining civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Reagan's "Christian" allies went in two weeks later -- for revenge related to the assassination of Bachir Gemayel -- and slaughtered as many as 3,500 men, women, and children. The Palestinians did not assassinate Gemayel; they were easy unarmed targets.

      -- Some point in 1982 shiploads of materials start arriving to Saddam Hussein for the Iran-Iraq War. Some of this appears to have been related to production of poison gas. But apparently no one told the White House. CIA had its own military/foreign policy and based on the memoirs and later interviews nobody bothered to tell the Old Man or his hapless appointees.

      Saddam got to kill tens of thousands more Iranians. And yes, Iran decided to go for "Just Retaliation" actions... in Lebanon.

      -- April 1983: U.S. embassy on Rue de la Paris truck bombed with 63 dead. (SoS Kerry gets that number wrong repeatedly.) U.S. Navy ships had bombarded residential areas, which made it very easy to coordinate local resources.

      -- September 1983: Marine BLT Barracks and the French barracks truck bombed. All out Iranian technical attack with liquid butane over a huge PETN igniter over tons of solid marble. Both buildings looked like they had been nuked.

      -- October 1983: office building in Tyre truck bombed. 30 dead. Comm center for military operations in southern Lebanon.

      -- September 1984: the new U.S. embassy uphill Beirut bombed with 17 killed.

      Five major truck bombings, four with Iranian technology and operations support. 415 dead. Maybe a few more who died later from injuries. And more service people dead from snipers and mortar attacks.

      No one in the Reagan White House had any idea that the Iranians were involved.

      No one in the White House knew that CIA was supplying Saddam Hussein for his war with Iran. (Based on public statements and their memoirs.)

      Consider the situation after the Beirut embassy got hit in April 1983. No one at Reagan's DoD set up basic traffic control procedures to keep trucks at bay. We had 1,800 troops ashore and they were left wide open to attack. Mindless incompetence... what else?

      And then finally, in 1985, Iran used its new prestige as a revenge getter to put together Hizb Allah. No Reagan screw ups, no Hizb Allah.

      They consolidated Shi'ia Lebanon and put 10,000 of their own elite troops in country. Yeah, the Iranians are still there. We're not.

      Iran held (and holds) annual ceremonies commemorating those martyred truck drivers. CIA says it took a 20 year investigation to do the "2+2" to figure that out. Even having multiple Farsi newspaper reports in hand. (More likely CIA doped it out immediately and sat on the info.)

      Reagan as Commander in Chief: useless.

      That's terror for GOPers. Their propaganda take on George Washington goes up in smoke.

      One more comparison: Crimea/Ukraine today vs. Russia shooting down KAL-007 in September 1983. 269 dead. One was a Republican Congressman out of Georgia. Reagan couldn't get off his butt to lay down sanctions against the Russians for that one. The White House had no response, nothing but name calling. Useless.

      Meanwhile, Obama has won the War on Terror. 10 dead Americans over 5 years. 3 in Boston, 3 in Algeria, 4 at Benghazi. For a war, that's winning big time. The opposite of Reagan.

      Truth Out: Republicans Didn't "Benghazi" Ronald Reagan

      Media Matters: Hyping Benghazi Madness

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Paul "False Prophet" Ryan von Koch

      by waterstreet2013 on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:23:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Next World War will start by Pakistan (0+ / 0-)

      The Taliban run Pakistan's Secret Service and have made terrorist attacks on India. They'll fire a Nuke into India but "our ally" Pakistan has treaty protection from Communist China which also has emnity (and border) with India. India is a client state of the Soviet Union AKA Russia, also on China's border. Never one to be on the sideline, the US will drawn in or preemptively attacked.

  •  Awesome! Now watch GOP's doubt standard... (2+ / 0-)

    Never expect the same that applied to GOP to be applicable to Democrats. That has been established a long the ago, but since Obama has been elected, it's been a joke...

    •  The Problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tfill

      is that the Democrats won't fight.  A Democratic congressman could read this list on the floor - then repeat in turn each accusation that was used by the GOP.

      And when arsonist and insurance fraud Issa brings up the IRS, they should demand that all the 501c groups be re-evaluated to discover the fraudulent claims that almost all of them have made.  And they should demand that the actual law, no political activity, be applied.

      But will they do anything?  Nah.  I hate to say this, but when they gave up their base years ago and started sucking up to wall street they lost their core integrity and their spines.  

  •  An excellent compilation. (11+ / 0-)

    Thanks for all the work you put into it.

    I worked at a restaurant for a while where several of the managers were Fox-style Republicans. Not too bright to begin with but willing to set aside their small intellectual endowments to deny the severity of the consequences of Bush's incompetence. I should have let it go, but felt some redemption in knowing that anyone within earshot had to know I destroyed them in debating the topic.  

    I was alone in my Quixotic mission. Until, that is, a former employee came back to work there after a several year hiatus. Seems Brandon had up and joined the Marines and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fell into units that did forensic follow-up on IED situations. He was 21 years old--very bright young man who'd seen things no man of any age should see.

    I was no longer alone in my side of the debate. In fact really didn't need join the fight any longer at all. Brandon, who'd spent the previous couple of years looking around for parts of his comrades, then trying to figure out which belonged to whom, proved far more credible than me.

    It shut the Foxpublicans up, but prompted no reconsideration of views. About as good as you could expect from their ilk.

  •  Should be required reading by GOP blowhards (10+ / 0-)

    In fact, should be required reading by everyone. People need reminding of just how seedy and mendacious the last GOP administration was.

    Great job, Jon, and plenty of brutal ammunition for a White House and Democrat fightback. Let's put these sanctimonious, lying assholes in their place.

    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

    by Retroactive Genius on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:42:55 AM PDT

  •  Wow! (8+ / 0-)

    I can't believe that as of right now, this diary has only six comments and nineteen recommends. Moar! But great job putting it all together, Jon!

    CBS: It's the new Fox!

    by JWR on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:17:26 AM PDT

  •  GOP Benghazi math: 4>3000 (9+ / 0-)

    Unlike the original 9/11, the administration did not have prior intelligence of a pending attack. Moreover, said attack happened where State Department personnel received combat pay for being stationed in a hostile nation. There was an inherent risk in their job — much like the knowledge that a police officer has knowing their job is more dangerous than say a florist. OTOH, the 3000 Americans killed on AMERICAN soil did not wake up the morning of Sept. 11 and think, my god working at Cantor Fitzgerald is fucking dangerous.

  •  Wish I could rec this 16 times (11+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:50:38 PM PDT

    •  One of the top diaries of the year (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hawkseye, skod

      Definitely rec list worthy.  It slipped through the cracks, I didn't see it until tonight.

    •  Great quote from President Lincoln (0+ / 0-)

      Very similar to one supposedly said by Mark Twain. Something like:  "Stand like a tree and when they say 'Move', you say, 'No, you move.' "

       I can't find where that came from and my Mark Twain expert, my dad, has passed on, maybe not talking to angels but certainly having fun spending time with Albert Einstein and his own old buddies.

  •  Overly impressed by the quality of this (9+ / 0-)

    research.

    Well done.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:58:37 PM PDT

  •  Delay homecoming of deployed troops (10+ / 0-)

    to stage egregious photo op.

    mission accomplished photo Unknown-19_zps0745bc2a.jpeg

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:01:29 PM PDT

  •  "No rescue mission could have saved…"?!? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, sajiocity, DonnaSC, Davui

    Umm, Tyrone Woods was part of the FIRST rescue mission from the CIA Annex. Glen Doherty was part of the SECOND rescue mission from Tripoli. And it is doubtful that either Stevens or Smith would be dead if Steven's bodyguard hadn't left them behind in a smoke filled room like the captain of a Korean ferry.

  •  Behold, the Power of Bad Faith (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skod, bear83, MrSandman, delver, Scioto, AR2

    It is a wonderfully useful thing to be unburdened by an inconvenient belief in facts, higher principles, and a sense of duty beyond winning today's 24 hour news cycle.

    I'm betting that Virginia Foxx, or Louis Gomert, or Darrell Issa could do something and call it their duty as Americans to do what they did, and then call what they just did treason a bare minute later if Barack Obama did the exact same thing.

    Expecting a Movement Conservative Republican to feel shame is kind of like expecting a serial killer to feel bad about themselves after they kill somebody.

    The greatest gift that a non-Conservative can give themselves is to accept, completely and totally, that you need to just have a default position that the GOP and the Right will do the shittiest self-serving thing you can think of them doing. Or worse.

    Then watch as they lower the low bar you have set for them.

    Or, in the case of the Village, expecting bought and paid for pr spokespeople for the cowards, mixed in with legions of professional cowards who just want to be loved by the rich and powerful, to become muckraking and heroic.

    Democrats, liberals, people who are outside of Movement Conservatism in general, have been lamenting how unfair it is to be burdened by rules the other side doesn't have to live by, and to be held to a different and much higher standard, for my entire adult lifetime.

    All you have to do to get beyond this is to realize that it is a waste of your time and energy to spend even a minute of your life waiting for a dedicated cult of sociopaths to feel shame and remorse.  

    All you have to do is dedicate your life to beating them and assuming the worst of them is a good place to start.

    I hope to God that the Democrats in DC have at least thought about having to fight a destined to fail obviously doomed attempted impeachment of Barack Obama if the GOP wins the US Senate majority by even a single seat.

    "Real journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." -George Orwell

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:06:54 PM PDT

  •  Alberto "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales? (7+ / 0-)

    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.
    I don't recall.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:12:27 PM PDT

  •  I'm wondering. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity

    Wouldn't this be in effect, a whole new committee with a whole new mandate, investigation, judge jury and new  "trial?"

    If so what would happen all the witnesses they called, who had already testified or would be testifying for the first time, took the 5th?

    This whole thing is supposed to be the pre election death spiral for the Dems and for Hillary 2016.

    If, say Hillary, refused to answer questions, the committee would have to take her to court to see if she was covered, in the new committee, by the fifth, or if she had given up that right by answering question in prior committees.

    This whole process could probably be dragged out beyond the election with the committee stymied and with the Republicans whining and howling like a pack of jackals (that's spelled j-a-c-k-a-s-s-e-s), and, a la the Starr Chambe,r probably would end up losing voters for the Repubs rather than gaining them.

    •  I think your assumption that the goopers can (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skod, hawkseye

      see any negative consequences shows how optimistic you must be.  They are incapable of thinking past the next knee-jerk.  For them, there is no cause and effect.  They react only to dark skinned people living in the White House.  It's time for Obama to issue an edict that everyone breathe.  Let the bastards turn blue.

      You all laugh because I'm different; I laugh because you're all the same

      by sajiocity on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  there is no end to how pissed off that s**t gets (7+ / 0-)

    me. good diary, ugly topic.

  •  10 Questions for Benghazi!!!1 Truthers... (7+ / 0-)

    Next time you run into a fanatic, ask them these (has to be in person so they can't do an AOL search for the answers):

    1.  What country is Benghazi in?
    2.  Where in that country is Benghazi...here is a world map, point out Benghazi.
    3.  How many Americans died?
    4.  What were their names?
    5.  What was the protest/riot about that led to their deaths?
    6.  Why did it matter that Americans died?  What were they doing or preventing?
    7.  Who is the current leader of the country in which Benghazi is located?
    8.  What are the major political factions in that country?
    9.  How were the American deaths related to the current power structure in that country?
    10.  Why would Obama have wanted Americans to die in Benghazi?

  •  The Republican response to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity

    Living is easy with eyes closed...

    by skybluewater on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:23:20 PM PDT

  •  Excellent post ... Thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver, Scioto, hawkseye

    When Republicans Win You Lose

    by workinguy on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:49:34 PM PDT

  •  Well... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sajiocity, SlightKC, DonnaSC, Scioto, hawkseye, AR2

    Thanks for that little nostalgic walk back through history. I think I'll go out and wander around in traffic now, in hopes someone will end my suffering!

    This diary really, really brought back some horrid memories of the Bush Crime Family.

    •  That wandering around in traffic -- (0+ / 0-)

      Sounds like a good idea considering how permanently stupid the Republicans are.

         I have a problem.  Traffic around here is pretty sparse.

      It is just way too crazy.  I can't even grok to the 10 ** -12. (Not very much.)

  •  I would love to know... (0+ / 0-)

    How many of these crazy RW nutjobs can even name any of the actual victims in Benghazi, outside of Ambassador Stevens... or find Benghazi on a map for that matter.  These politicians have shamefully turned this tragedy into a political stunt, hoping to convince low-information voters that "where there's smoke there must be fire."  Meanwhile, they are wasting tax-payer time & money when there are REAL issues (unemployment extension, equal pay, immigration reform to name a few) that we desperately need addressed.  We need to use this between now & Nov!!!

  •  Great work... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, hawkseye

    Jon Stewart did something very similar on his show.  Totally eviscerated the RWNJ posse.  Yours is way more detailed, but he did a very commendable job considering his time constraints.  One of the best of his takedowns in awhile and he rarely misses.  Again...thanks for all the hard work.

    "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." ~ Lyndon Johnson

    by ADDICAKES on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:54:36 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, I don't agree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MilwaukeeAl

    Conveying the idea that Bush's scandals are the same as Benghazi is a REALLY bad idea. The Benghazi scandal is and always has been b.s. Everything you just said about Bush is true. Trying to point out the Republican double-standard is almost the same thing as admitting the Benghazi thing isn't a complete joke. We should NOT be using these talking points.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Mon May 05, 2014 at 10:38:57 PM PDT

    •  That isn't what this piece says (0+ / 0-)

      Did you actually read the piece before you jumped down here to comment? The first couple of paragraphs directly say that they are not the same. You do agree, you just don't know it because you appear not to know what the piece you're commenting on actually said.

      •  Actually I DID read the entire piece (0+ / 0-)

        before commenting. It is excellent. The laundry list of Bush's crimes is vast and easy to grasp.  I even sent the piece to some people I know because I thought the Bush stuff in it was so good.

        I just disagree that we should use equivalent talking points for Benghazi as Bush did for 9/11, especially if we specify why we are using them. We can say they aren't the same all we want, but if we start trying to justify it under the guise of what Bush did, it brings up an unintentional false equivalency whether we want it to or not.

        Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

        by Matt Z on Tue May 06, 2014 at 01:57:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOP Platform-Small govt-Ugh, Benghazi-Ugh, God-Ugh (0+ / 0-)
  •  Hypocrisy (0+ / 0-)

    Same old, same old Goper/Bagger hypocrisy:

    Under Reagan, there were several high-profile attacks on US diplomatic facilities under his watch, including the bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, by Islamic militants on two occasions and 1983 in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and 1986 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and 1987 in Rome, Italy.

    Under G.W. Bush embassy attacks were taking place in Iraq. G.W. Bush holds the record for such attacks against American embassies, consulates and American institutions while the U.S. was under his stewardship. Such as in 2002 when the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan was attacked and 10 were killed. How about the attack by gunmen on the American Centre in Kolkata, India in 2002? Or in 2004 when the US embassy in Uzbekistan was attacked and two were killed and another nine injured? How about in 2004, when the US Consulate in Saudi Arabia was stormed and 8 lost their lives? How about in 2006, when armed men attacked the US Embassy in Syria and one was murdered? In 2007 a grenade attack occurred at the US Embassy in Athens. In 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Serbia was set on fire. In 2008, bombings at the US Embassy in Yemen killed 10. In 2008, the U. S. consulate in Istanbul was attacked. How about the biggest, most catastrophic attack and cold blooded murder of Americans? Three thousand people were murdered in the most brutal act of terror in our recent history, all under a Republican administration. G. W. Bush and his team had nine warnings that al-Qaida would attack within the United States but they did absolutely nothing to stop it. Not one single person in that administration was punished for their incompetence.

    How about George H.W. Bush in 1990 in Tel Aviv, Israel?

    1971, under Nixon, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

    To be fair, there were other attacks carried out under Democratic administrations, but Gopers and Baggers aren't familiar with fairness. Fairness is not in their vocabulary.

  •  Great work. (0+ / 0-)

     A lot of things to consider.
      I guess the Republicans are saying these things because obviously that is what they did/do in similar situations.

      A bit scary about the August 2001 information.  Good way to keep a president up front for a second term.

  •  Additional bonus! (0+ / 0-)

    Just blame it on the homosexuals.  No need to get personally involved, y'know.

  •  getting to the bottom of Benghazi... (0+ / 0-)

    It's so refreshing to know that these folks will leave no stone unturned to find out the truth. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and co. must be shakin in their boots in anticipation of their day in court.... what.... ha ha...

  •  I'll say it anyway (0+ / 0-)

    There are probably numerous comments here about this but I will say it anyway. The GOP knows they have nothing for the 2016 Presidential election. No platform and no viable candidate. That's why they are pulling the Bengazi card. The things is, when the public is saturated with one subject matter they loose interest real quick. As tragic as it is I have hear my co workers over the last few days complain about the excess of stories about Flight 370. Frankly, they tired of hearing about it. This proves my point. The GOP seem to be master of shooting themselves in the foot and they will do exactly that if they keep with trying to find something that's not there to nail Hilary with during the campaign season.

  •  REREAD THIS ARTICLE. (0+ / 0-)

    Period.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Paul "False Prophet" Ryan von Koch

    by waterstreet2013 on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:23:14 PM PDT

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