As you know, three separate House committees have concluded that the White House did not mislead the American people about the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. But even in the face of these reports, Congressman Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican chairing the select committee investigating the response to the attack, publicly declared that “we should not move on” until all questions about the attack have been answered. To a sane person, Gowdy is engaging in a windmill-tilting expedition at taxpayer expense even in the face of evidence that should have silenced the “what about Benghaaazi?” nonsense once and for all.
I thought that the fact Gowdy is keeping this up was the strongest evidence yet that the “what about Benghaaazi?” crowd is completely removed from reality. Well, I thought wrong. It turns out that some of the same far-right elements that bullied House Speaker John Boehner into forming the select committee in the first place now think Gowdy isn’t doing enough to prove that there was indeed funny business on the White House’s part. Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily spoke with several members of the Citizens’ Committee on Benghazi, a group funded by the right-wing group Accuracy in Media that has been conducting its own investigation into the attack. If the name Accuracy in Media sounds familiar, it’s the same group that is responsible for peddling the conspiracy that Vince Foster was murdered on orders from the Clinton administration. Last spring, the committee released a report claiming that the attack was a direct result of the United States “switching sides in the war on terror” by pushing out Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. It further claimed that the White House worked with the Muslim Brotherhood to blame the attacks on the “Innocence of Muslims” video in order to cover up a failed attempt to kidnap Ambassador Christoper Stevens.
Corsi–whom most of us know as one of the chief purveyors of birther claptrap–was prompted to take to his computer by a report from former CBS News reporter Sharyl Atkisson that Gowdy is convening a hearing into complaints that several government agencies aren’t providing access to relevant documents and witnesses. To one of the committee’s founding members, retired admiral and former Pacific Fleet commander Ace Lyons, the notion that Gowdy is being stymied by uncooperative agencies is “pure nonsense.” While cautioning that he only spoke for himself, Lyons claimed that if Gowdy really couldn’t make the agency heads cooperate, he’s ineffective at best and aiding a “continued cover-up” at worst. Had Gowdy been a subordinate commander who came to Lyons with this, Lyons said he would have relieved him of command on the spot. Another ex-serviceman on the committee, retired Air Force brigadier general Charles Jones, said Gowdy only called this hearing after several CCB members told WND that they felt Boehner and the Republican House leadership were trying to pull back the reins on the investigation.
Roger Aronoff, the editor and executive secretary of Accuracy in Media, expressed similar sentiments. He wondered why Gowdy hasn’t already subpoenaed Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice in person. Aronoff also claimed the media was complicit in the cover-up. If there was a Republican in the White House, Aronoff said, the media would be out for blood. Instead, they’re going along with “the Obama administration narrative” that there’s no there there. Never mind that three Republican-controlled House committees concluded that the White House did nothing improper.
Another committee member, former CIA officer and current consultant Clare Lopez, warned against jumping to conclusions, suggesting that Gowdy may be “lining up all his ducks” before releasing any findings. However, the narrative is obvious–certain elements of the fringe want Gowdy’s committee to start a taxpayer-funded lynching, and they’re not pleased he’s not starting it now.
Media Matters tells us all you need to know about the credibility of this outfit. At least three of its members are rabid birthers, including Paul Vallely, who has openly called for Obama to be overthrown in a coup. At least two of its members, Lopez and Allen West, are virulent Islamophobes. Lopez, for instance, claims the White House has been infiltrated by Islamists who want to introduce sharia through the back door. Lyons, the same man who suggested Gowdy may have been covering up the scandal, has suggested in the past that the David Petraeus affair was a cover-up for the Benghazi attack.
I initially thought this witch hunt was continuing because most of its members represent districts so heavily Republican that they don’t have to fear being held to account. All but one of the Republicans on the committee represent districts that have Cook Partisan Voting Indices of R+9 or worse–meaning that they would vote for a comatose Republican. But now it turns out that it’s also being driven by right-wing extremists who wouldn’t even get their feet in the door in a sane world. And now it looks like they’re about to turn on Gowdy for not moving fast enough. The mind reels.