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The Benghazi Select Committee: Move It Forward Without Democrats If Necessary

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Nancy Pelosi is demanding half of the seats on the Select Committee on Benghazi –a recipe for paralysis continued cover-up and one that should be immediately dismissed by House Leadership and the Committee established with five empty seats of the 12 total which the minority leader can fill up until the day of the first hearing.

The Democrats’ favorite talking point with regard to the Select Committee is the term “witch hunt,” which Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollan used on MSNBC last night.  Please send me any  references to said hunt as you come across them via hugh@hughhewitt.com.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent has figured out he has to cover the Select Committee but can’t quite find the tone yet, trying today to label the Select Committee investigation into a 9/11 terror attack that left four Americans dead and a cover-up in its wake a media conspiracy, the product of the “CEC” –Conservative Entertainment Complex– which puts Sargent perilously close to sounding like the old right wing conspiracy theorists who thought that the networks and the big three newspapers plus Time and Newsweek controlled the news via daily conference call in the old days.

The Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott summarizes the Democrats’ strategy for the investigation: “Deny, Delay, Disrupt, Discredit.”  

Not going to work.  Too much attention.  Too much focus.  Too much talent being assembled under the chairmanship of Trey Gowdy.

I’ll be devoting most of today’s and tomorrow’s program to setting the stage for the Select Committee and reviewing its members once named (and hopefully the senior staff –the Chief Counsel, spokesman and director of social media) will follow shortly.  Rather than moan and groan and become complicit in the Administration’s cover-up, there ought to be at least one or two Democrats and left-of-center pundits who want to actually find out what happened the night of 9/11/12, and why.

Journalism cannot be that dead that there aren’t any reporters who prefer a smile from the president and a cookie at the White House media Christmas party to a story that already grips much of the nation because however much the Manhattan-Beltway media elite refuse to believe it, the country cares very much about the dead and their families and the terrorists who filled them and the government officials who covered up what happened.

For the use of those just waking up to the fact that this investigation is just beginning, National Review’s Peter Kirsanow  –with his thanks expressed to many news organizations and Stephen Hayes and Jennifer Griffin in particular–  did a working timeline to which much much more detail will need to be added:

March 2011: U.S. secretly approves arms shipments from Qatar to Libyan rebels.

May 2011: Al-Qaeda flags raised over Benghazi.

November 2011: Rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admits a significant number of Libyan rebels were al-Qaeda fighters who fought American troops in Iraq.

April 19, 2012: State Department rejects ambassador to Libya’s request for more security personnel.

June 20, 2012: Assassination attempt on the British Ambassador to Libya.

July 9, 2012: Ambassador Stevens asks the State Department for more security personnel.

August 8, 2012: The number of security personnel at Benghazi reduced by State Department.

August 16, 2012: U.S. Site Security in Benghazi alerts the State Department that conditions are perilous.

September 4, 2012: Gallup presidential tracking poll: Obama 47 percent; Romney 46 percent.

September 4–6, 2012: Democratic National Convention (“al-Qaeda decimated; bin Laden is dead and GM is alive; al-Qaeda is on the run”).

September 11, 2012: Ambassador Stevens alerts the State Department that conditions in Benghazi are deteriorating.

3:40 p.m. (D.C. time): Stevens calls deputy chief of mission Greg Hicks in Tripoli and alerts him that the consulate in Benghazi is under attack.

4:00 p.m.: The White House is advised that the consulate is under attack. 10th Special Forces Group in Croatia is three hours away; Brigadier General (Ret.) Robert Lovell, Deputy Director of Intelligence for AFRICOM, later testifies that intelligence knew immediately that it was not a protest but a terrorist attack; no request for aid comes from the State Department.

5:00 p.m.: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discusses attack with President Obama.

6:00 p.m.: U.S. Embassy in Tripoli advises the White House and the State Department that al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia has claimed responsibility for the attack. CIA deputy director Mike Morrell later testifies that “analysts knew from the get-go that al Qaeda was involved with this attack.”

8:00 p.m.: Greg Hicks calls Clinton and tells her that consulate is under terrorist attack.

10:00 p.m.: Clinton and Obama talk.

10:30 p.m.: Clinton issues a statement linking the attack to an inflammatory internet video.

11:00–11:30 p.m.: Former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Ty Woods killed.

September 12, 2012: Redacted e-mail from a State Department official says the official advised the Libyan government that the attack was carried out by Ansar al-Sharia. No mention of video.

September 12–15, 2012: CIA drafts several iterations of talking points; contains no known references to video as cause of the attack.

September 13, 2012: State Department memo blames the attack on terrorists.

September 13, 2012: Defense Intelligence Agency assigns blame for the attack on Ansar al-Sharia in Libya. No mention of a video.

September 13, 2012: Clinton condemns violence against U.S. consulate in Libya due to a video.

September 13, 2012: Jay Carney condemns attack due to a video.

September 14, 2012: State Department says the attack was a spontaneous demonstration due to a video.

September 14, 2012: Obama and Clinton receive the families of the fallen as their caskets arrive at Andrews Air Force Base; blame the attack on a video. Clinton tells Ty Woods’s father, Charles, that they will “get” the producer of the video.

September 14, 2012: Jay Carney blames the video.

September 14, 2012, 8:00 p.m.: Deputy national-security adviser Ben Rhodes sends an e-mail regarding the preparation of Susan Rice for the Sunday talk shows, advising Rice to underscore the video and that the attack is “not a broader failure of policy.”

September 15, 2012: Obama blames the video.

September 16, 2012: Susan Rice appears on five Sunday talk shows and characterizes the attacks as a spontaneous reaction due to a video.

September 16, 2012: Libyan president disputes Rice’s comments, asserting Benghazi was a planned attack.

September 18, 2012: Obama appears on the David Letterman show, blames the video.

September 19, 2012: The head of the National Counterterrorism Center testifies that the attack was not a protest but a terrorist attack.

September 20, 2012: Obama blames the video.

September 20, 2012: Obama and Clinton run an ad on Pakistani TV apologizing for the video.

September 21, 2012: Clinton says it was a terrorist attack.

September 24, 2012: Obama appears on The View, blames the video.

October 4, 2012: Clinton establishes the Accountability Review Board (“ARB”) to examine the circumstances surrounding the loss of personnel in Benghazi. Clinton not interviewed by ARB.

October 11, 2012: At the vice-presidential debate, Joe Biden claims the administration was not informed about requests for more security at the consulate in Benghazi.

October 16, 2012: Obama, in a response to a question from a reporter about whether he denied requests for aid to Benghazi on September 11 responds, “The minute I found out this was going on, I gave three directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so that we can bring them to justice.”

October 18, 2012: Judicial Watch makes a Freedom of Information Act request to the administration for talking points and communications regarding the events in Benghazi. The administration ignores the request.

October 20, 2012: Obama claims that he was not aware of any requests for additional security in Benghazi.

January 23, 2013: Clinton asks, “What difference, at this point, does it make whether it was a terrorist attack or a spontaneous demonstration?”

June 21, 2013: Judicial Watch sues the administration for unlawfully withholding documents pertaining to Benghazi.

July 25, 2013: Obama slams the “endless parade of distractions, political posturing, and phony scandals.”

August 2013: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requests Benghazi e-mails. The Ben Rhodes e-mail is not among those produced.

April 18, 2014: Federal court orders the administration to turn over documents to Judicial Watch. 41 documents are released, including the Ben Rhodes e-mail.

May 1, 2014: Tommy Vietor tells Fox News the president was not in the Situation Room on September 11, 2012.

May 2, 2014: Speaker John Boehner announces a vote to form a select committee on Benghazi.

May 4, 2014: Representative Adam Schiff (D.., Calif.), member of the House Intelligence Committee, suggests Democrats boycott the House select committee as a “colossal waste of time.”

May 5, 2014: Carney will not say whether White House will cooperate with the select committee.

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