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’13 Hours,’ like Benghazi itself, notable for Obama’s, Clinton’s absence

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When the blockbuster movie “13 Hours” opens this week there will follow a hard few days for President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hard, but not as hard as the years that have followed the families of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

The movie mentions neither the president nor the then secretary of state by name, and no expressed argument is made as to what the two did or didn’t do to assist their embattled ambassador, his staff, and the CIA Benghazi outpost on Sept. 11, 2012. But the overwhelming impression of the huge number of people certain to see the first big release of the year, will be that they did not do enough.

In fact, it will be that they did nothing at all. Nothing.

The producers of the movie gave gifted director Michael Bay exactly what he needed: an exact replica of the layout of the special mission and the CIA “annex” as well as the chaos that pulsed through the city before and during the attacks. The warrior heroes of the film get the honor they deserve, but the sense of their bravery is mirrored on the downside by the recognition of the cowardice of the political leadership that put them in Benghazi to fend for themselves in the first place.

Four died. Many more were wounded. And then the lying began.

That lying continues still, though as recently as last week it may have begun to break. Former CIA Director and retired Gen. David Petreaus was in closed session before the House Select Committee on Benghazi as the Trey Gowdy-led panel continues its painstaking inquiry into just what happened that night.

“13 Hours” is going to tell everyone who is interested — and millions will be interested, and riveted, by the intense gunfight that breaks out early and never lets up until the dead are sent home — that the cries for help from the brave civilians and soldiers of Benghazi were many and urgent throughout the hours of attack. But the response was … silence.

Hillary, of course, famously testified that she talked to the No. 2 in Tripoli, Gregory Hicks, and that later in the evening, as Hicks and his team evacuated to safer quarters and the ambassador’s death was confirmed, that she simply went home. It was, after all, late. She was tired. She had a private server at home to keep her up to speed.

We still don’t know what the president was doing as brave men fought and some died. We do not know why Hillary didn’t call back Mr. Hicks. We do know she cut and ran that night.

We also now know, thanks to the document dump Friday, that Hillary knew the rules about using private email (she was shocked others did so) and that she directed her staff to alter classified documents and send them to her via non-secure means, a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1924.

But we don’t know if it will matter to the election of 2016. If Donald Trump makes an issue of her lawlessness regarding the server, the public will get the education it deserves on that front.

It is director Bay, however, who will leave those who will open their eyes and ears to see and hear seething about Hillary’s massive fail that night in 2012.

Democrats say Americans don’t care, that it is old news, that she testified for 11 hours, et cetera, et cetera.

But now they get to see — to feel — what happened. “Game Change” is a book, a movie and yes, now a cliche. “13 Hours” and the latest smoking gun emails aren’t “game changes” in that sense. It doesn’t make political arguments or seek political changes.

Rather the movie is simply and completely an indictment. Let’s hope that at least one from the Justice Department follows on some aspect of the corruption that pervaded the State Department, and the secretary and the president who superintended it.


This column was originally posted on


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