Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alan Grayson Validates Hillary Clinton's Transparency on Benghazi

When Hillary Clinton accepted the prestigious American Bar Association Medal last month, she spoke out on the Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and announced a series of policy speeches the next of which she will deliver in Philadelphia this coming Tuesday upon acceptance of the Liberty Medal from Jeb Bush.

Tea Partiers, of course, are in meltdown mode over the coincidence of this presentation with the upcoming anniversary of the attack on the outpost in Benghazi which, in the interim, has come to be known to have been a CIA operation (thanks to Jason Chaffetz's public announcement on live TV).

The policy speeches Mme. Secretary has announced are to address transparency and national security.  In an op-ed, published in yesterday's New York Times, Representative Alan Grayson also addressed these issues as they relate to the classified information available to members of Congress regarding the proposed attacks on Syria that President Obama has referred to Congress for approval.

Grayson has some issues with the available data and documentation to back up an attack on Syria that he addresses in this article.  Most interestingly,   he compares that availability with the documents Hillary Clinton State Department provided on Benghazi.

Grayson in the NY Times on Syria Intel: “Trust, But Verify”

This op-ed written by Congressman Alan Grayson appeared in The New York Times today. Read it, share it with your friends and family, and join more than 75,000 others who oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria by signing on at

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, “social media” postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached — not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)
Compare this lack of transparency with the administration’s treatment of the Benghazi attack. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to her credit, made every single relevant classified e-mail, cable and intelligence report available to every member of Congress. (I know this, because I read them all.) Secretary Clinton had nothing to hide.
Her successor, John Kerry, has said repeatedly that this administration isn’t trying to manipulate the intelligence reports the way that the Bush administration did to rationalize its invasion of Iraq.

But by refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct. Perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies: “Trust, but verify.”
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Most ironic is the statement of sources of the intel - sources that are being withheld.   Social media is cited.  Last October, in the wake of the Benghazi attack,  there was a great deal of hand-wringing over the issue of some leaked emails that Hillary Clinton addressed directly.
In the dust up around the leaked emails and among the events of her busy day, Hillary Clinton made the following remarks regarding the emails and the attack on the Benghazi consulate in a press availability today.

Now finally, on Benghazi, look, I’ve said it and I’ll say it one more time. No one wants to find out what happened more than I do. We are holding ourselves accountable to the American people, because not only they, but our brave diplomats and development experts serving in dangerous places around the world, deserve no less. The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything – not cherry-picking one story here or one document there – but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.

Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be. What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed, and we will find out what happened, we will take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders. And I think that that is what we have said, that is what we are doing, and I’m very confident that we will achieve those goals.
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There are two major takeaways here: 1) Attestation from a member of Congress,  who is in a position to make the comparison,  that Hillary Clinton provided Congress with every scrap of relevant documentation on Benghazi all of which he read. 2) Hillary Clinton does not consider postings on social media to be evidence - in her own words. 

Thank you, Representative Grayson, for defending our girl prior to a week that is guaranteed, on every front, to be hell on wheels, and thank you and our Hillary for your dedicated service.  It is satisfying to know that some members of Congress read everything she sent since, during her testimony in January,  she was obliged regularly to refer some members to the ARB Report that they seemed to have neglected to read.   The unclassified ARB report is available in the sidebar on the right for anyone who would like to see it.