Sunday, November 18, 2012

Could I find agreement with Jack Kelly?

This is (another) straight copy of a comment I made on the PG on today's Jack Kelly column "Sex sells, but what about Libya? (The Petraeus affair raises big questions)"

This is sort of frightening. I agree with a lot of what Jack Kelly says here. We do have a fundamental disagreement about who was deceiving who in the government, but I will agree there are things to investigate.

I agree that we (the nation) were lied to by our government about who was behind this Benghazi consulate attack. I think we do *now* know who was behind it, and I hope our government is pursuing them, if only to send a message to other terrorist groups. But I think that if conservatives continue to say our government is *currently* lying to us, they are just being irritating and ultimately silly.

Where Kelly and I part company is in this paragraph - "The White House claims no one there learned of the affair until Election Day. This strains credulity. Gen. Petraeus may have misled the House Intelligence Committee Sept . 13 about what happened in Benghazi to hew to the administration line that the attack had mostly to do with a protest over an anti-Muslim video. Why would he do this? Conservative columnists Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol have raised the possibility that the administration blackmailed him with knowledge of his illicit affair." The point about when the White House knew about the affair is worth investigating (slightly, although if the affair was over, then the only question was whether Paula Broadwell would be arrested for violations of secrets rules), but much of the rest of paragraph defies common sense. I seriously doubt Petraeus "hewed" to any administration line, rather I think the CIA was running its own game, and feeding bad intelligence to the administration for some time period after that attack (a week, two, honestly I don't know).

Actually, I disagree with Kelly's last bullet point as well, for pretty much the same reasons I gave above.

I am still personally convinced that Petraeus was forced to resign because he fed the administration bad information after the attack, that the CIA essentially let four Americans die at Benghazi, and that they gave conservatives a fairly juicy issue right before the election. I think investigating the President on this issue is at least the wrong place to start, if not down right absurd. Let's talk to the people who had/have a facility inside the consulate, who managed to put a big target on the consulate. Let's investigate the CIA on this.

And by the way, although it is premature, if I had to suggest where ultimate blame should lie, I would divide it evenly between Bush and Obama. Bush started this resurgence of covert operations and suggested weakening FISA, but Obama has certainly carried on and even expanded this new philosophy. If you kill Americans without due process, if you direct the CIA to assassinate suspected terrorists with drones and then allow the CIA to target their funerals, killing children along with adults, then you have little room to complain if they use consulates as intelligence facilities, and don't bother to warn anyone.

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