WASHINGTON (Gannett Washington Bureau/Mary Troyan) – The special House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi will hold its first public hearing in September about changes the State Department has made to better protect diplomats, Rep. Trey Gowdy said Wednesday.
Gowdy, the committee’s Republican chairman, also said the panel is gaining access to witnesses that didn’t participate in previous congressional investigations into the attacks.
“I know I’m biased, but one of the good parts about running an investigation in a way that appears to be serious-minded is that witnesses who were previously unavailable or not interested in cooperating are now interested in cooperating,” Gowdy said. “The universe of witnesses is expanding.”
U.S. House lawmakers created the committee in May to review the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks that killed four Americans in eastern Libya, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Several previous congressional investigations have looked at security lapses and intelligence failures related to the attacks, along with the military’s response and whether President Barack Obama’s administration initially downplayed the incident for political reasons.
Gowdy, in an interview Tuesday, said the panel is not scheduled to meet during the August congressional recess, but committee lawyers and investigators will be working.
In a notable departure from other House committees that battled with the administration over Benghazi investigations, Gowdy said he is “encouraged” by responses to his panel’s requests for additional documents.
“There is no substitute for sitting down and me sharing my expectations and them telling me their concerns or what their frustrations in the past have been,” Gowdy said. “I’m not looking for the fight or the story. I just want the documents. It’s been easy so far.”
The September hearing will focus on about 24 recommendations issued in December 2012 by the independent Accountability Review Board, which investigated the State Department’s actions before, during and after the attacks. The board was led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Their report blamed “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department” for “grossly inadequate” security.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor, is famously pit-bullish when he’s not getting the information he seeks. Let’s hope he’s just as unrelenting when these Benghazi hearings start. The family members of the four victims of the Benghazi murders have been invited to attend, and they deserve answers.
Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee argued Wednesday the Republican effort to sue President Obama is nothing but a veiled attempt to impeach him — something Democrats never did to President George W. Bush:
I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt at impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job. A historical fact: President Bush pushed this nation into a war that had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.
Except former Rep. Dennis Kucinich did actually introduce a bill to impeach Bush in 2008 — and Jackson Lee actually was a co-sponsor to the legislation.
Here’s the text of H. Res. 1258: “Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.” You can see who all the co-sponsors were here. Rep. Jackson Lee was indeed one of them.
Facts are pesky little things, aren’t they?
Update – 10:16 AM:
Sheila Jackson Lee's office tells me she "misspoke" when she said Dems never tried to impeach Bush. (She co-sponsored the impeachment bill.)
— Chris Moody (@moody) July 31, 2014
“Misspoke”? That was the whole purpose of her rant! You can’t make this stuff up. LOL.
Via Fox News:
House Republicans have dug up emails from Lois Lerner in which the former IRS official refers to some in the Republican Party as “—holes” and “crazies” – an exchange they say shows her “animus” toward conservatives.
The November 2012 emails were released Wednesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., as part of his renewed call for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel to investigate. Lerner is the ex-IRS official who led the unit accused of targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny.
In the email exchange, Lerner appears to be chatting with another unidentified individual about a vacation in Great Britain. She describes how she overheard “some ladies” talking about how America is “going down the tubes.”
The person she tells this to responds that “you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
Lerner responds: “Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many —holes.”
After another email to her about how “rabid” the radio show callers are, Lerner responds: “So we don’t need to worry about alien teRrorists. (sic) It’s our own crazies that will take us down.”
The emails are being used by Camp to make the case that Lerner had a bias against conservatives – something congressional Republicans have long suggested as they push for the Justice Department to get more involved in reviewing the IRS scandal, and Lerner herself.
This is not exactly a surprising revelation, but my thought – and lemme know if you agree – is that the real “a**holes” and “crazies” out there are the ones who grossly abuse their positions of power in government in order to unlawfully target one political ideology over another. Maybe that’s just me …
**Posted by Phineas
Federal senators deal with issues of national and international importance, including matters of war and peace, and overall national security. You would think, then, that someone wishing to ascend to the Senate would at least know the basics about a game-changing weapon wielded by one of our key allies, who happens to be in a shooting war.
That is, until you meet Kentucky Democrat Allison Lundergan Grimes:
As foreign policy inches its way into a debate that has largely focused on the economy, Grimes was asked about congressional efforts to aid Israel’s missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.
“Obviously, Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and she has the right to defend herself,” Grimes said. “But the loss of life, especially the innocent civilians in Gaza, is a tragedy. The Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in.
Iron Dome — as normal, intelligent folks such as you, Dear Readers, can probably tell without needing the above highlighting — is a missile-defense system. It is designed to shoot down things flying through the air: incoming tactical rockets with only minutes or seconds to spare, and it does an amazingly good job at it. One thing it does not do is stop things tunneling under the ground, jihadis or even gophers.
Someone should explain these tricky technical details to Ms. Grimes.
Grimes is hoping to defeat Mitch McConnell and capture his seat for the Democrats, and it’s a tight race. While McConnell hasn’t been one of my favorite senators, he also doesn’t give me the gas that he gives many of my fellow Righties. Regardless of one’s opinion of him, though, I think we can agree that it’s important that his seat be kept in Republican hands, for the Republic.
Even against a defense wiz like Allison Lundergan Grimes.
via Jim Geraghty
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
LOL – talk about trying to distance yourself as far from our celebrity Prez as possible! Via The Hill:
West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Natalie Tennant declined to say Tuesday whether she supports President Obama.
Asked if she would still campaign for the president, Tennant said, “I’m not sure I’d be,” before adding, “And he’s not on the ballot.”
Pressed on the issue, she said, “This is about me and Shelly Moore Capito and about West Virginia, because I don’t answer to the president.”
Tennant has distanced herself from Obama, who is not popular in West Virginia. She has particularly played up her disagreement with the president on coal, launching an ad this week, where she flips a switch turning lights off on the White House to protest its coal policies.
Tennant, West Virginia’s Secretary of State, is not unlike Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who also is trying his best to make himself into the more “anti-Obama” candidate than his GOP opponent – WV state Sen. Evan Jenkins. Rahall was quoted earlier this year as saying, “I probably have supported George Bush more than I have Barack Obama.”
Tennant has made waves this week by releasing an ad in which she symbolically “shuts off power” to the White House, in an effort to show her support for the coal industry.
A disturbing, revealing tweet from the Associated Press earlier this morning (screen-capped in case they delete it):
— Stacey-SisterToldjah (@sistertoldjah) July 29, 2014
As you’ll see below in the original piece published by the AP and written by journalist Bradley Klapper, this wasn’t just a headline writer gone wild. It was in the actual piece as well, the first two lines:
— Cody Derespina (@CDerespina) July 29, 2014
I’m not sure how long the article stayed up this way, but someone got a hold of it and revised it (even though as of this writing, the tweet is still there in all its infamy), and it now reads:
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas.
It’s fascinating, really, when you think about it – even the revised version is biased. Where the original article implied the Palestinians were being unfairly and horrifically targeted by IDF and ganged up on by US politicians who were “falling all over themselves” to support Israel, the revised version insinuates that Israel started the “military campaign” against Hamas without provocation. Ignored throughout the piece is the real horror behind the Gaza war, and not just this one but many prior: Palestinian children are taught from birth to loathe the Jewish people. And as soon as they’re able to hold a gun, the children are militarily trained on how to target and kill Jews. Not much later than that in their young lives, they’re instructed about martyrdom and how it is an “honor” to blow yourself up “for the cause.” Also not mentioned in Klapper’s hit piece is how Hamas routinely uses children and other innocents as human shields in their battles against Israel, how they deliberately store weapons they want to use against Israel near hospitals and schools so Israel looks like they bad guy when they destroy those weapons of war and innocents get caught in the crossfire.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Sadly, this isn’t just standard operating procedure for the Associated Press, but other news orgs as well, like Reuters and the BBC, all of which are seemingly incapable of putting their “#FreePalestine!” bias aside in favor of straight news reporting on a very delicate and dangerous subject. I’d like to think the light shined on the Associated Press today on the glaringly obvious bias in Klapper’s article will cause them and other news outlets to be a little more careful in the future when it comes to how they word their reports on the conflict in Gaza, but I won’t hold my breath. Israel-shaming is popular today, and – unfortunately – not just in media circles.
And besides, Hamas is just a “humanitarian organization“, right?
Update – 12:50 PM: The AP has now ‘officially’ revised their tweet:
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 29, 2014
Never change, AP. Never change.
Definitely not sitting around sulking over his loss to our celebrity President, is he?
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) July 29, 2014
We followed family tradition this year by taking 5 of our 22 grandkids, ages 10 through 13, on a trip through the American West. My Mom and Dad began the tradition, showing their grandchildren the majesty of our country and teaching them about the sacrifices and character of the pioneers. We visited Goblin Valley, Spooky Gulch, Peekaboo Slot Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Rainbow Arch, Grand Canyon, and the four falls in the Havasupai Reservation. All totaled, we hiked over 50 miles: quite a feat for the young—and for Ann and me.
With the grandkids a captive audience, we taught them about their own ancestors: Ann’s side played instrumental roles in the foundation of the country, including William Bradford and Grover Cleveland. Mine were key to the establishment of our Church and the settlement of the American West.
Make sure to read the whole thing – both at Romney’s site and at the Washington Post, and check out the pix he has posted as well.
What a lovely couple Ann and Mitt are – and they have a beautiful family as well who they clearly are devoted to. I’m probably one of the few people still willing to say this but I still believe he would have made a good President – he has certainly turned out to be right about a lot of things, including Russia, which he was laughed at over at the time.
No word yet on whether or not he’ll run again in 2016, but for right now, it looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world – he’s enjoying himself, and his time with his family. And he deserves to.
**Posted by Phineas
Dear San Franciscans,
I love your city, really I do, but, as voters, you have so much to answer for:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi appeared on CNN Sunday and commented on the ongoing war in Gaza. While defending Israel’s right to defend itself and stating that the US must support Iron Dome, Pelosi also noted that many Palestinians live in her district, and “We have to support the Palestinians and what they need.” She also made a strange comment on the nature of Hamas.
“We have to confer with the Qataris,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley, “who have told me over and over again that Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” She added her hope that the Qataris could use their “influence” over Hamas to “calm” the situation.
The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization. So are Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and so many others. And yet none of them –as far as I know– use donor money to buy weapons. None of them hide behind civilians, using them as human shields. None of them store weapons in schools. None of them dig tunnels as a means of plotting mass murder. None of them get 160 children killed digging said tunnels. None of them fire rockets at a nuclear reactor, heedless of the danger to everyone in the area.
And no humanitarian organization that I have heard of has ever called for war against an entire people because of their religion:
“…the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.'”
This, however, is perhaps not surprising. Pelosi was, after all, famously a useful idiot for Syria’s Bashar al Assad.
Hamas is a “humanitarian organization” in the same way that Capone donated to charities or Colombian drug lords paid people’s medical bills back home: whatever good works they might do are a cover for and overshadowed by the evil they commit.
And Qatar? Nancy, please. Even the Obama Treasury Department has described that nation as a sponsor of terrorism. To take seriously their protestations on behalf of Hamas is like believing Mussolini when he says Hitler has his good points.
I realize public diplomacy requires officials to often say anodyne things about despicable people, but could Minority Leader Pelosi please not insult our intelligence in the process?
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)