GOP caught in own Benghazi scandal: Why they downplayed objections to House report

GOP was furious about the Intelligence Committee’s Benghazi inquiry -- but here's why they kept quiet

Published December 4, 2014 10:34PM (EST)

Ever since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Republicans and conservatives have been fuming over the fact that the GOP-led committee shot down pretty much every dark accusation of misconduct and/or deliberate wrongdoing that they’ve leveled at the Obama administration. Republicans in the Senate have been openly critical of the report and the committee members who authored it, with some (like Rand Paul) going so far as to implicate the committee in a scheme to protect the White House and cover up the “truth” about Benghazi.

Now some Republican members of the HPSCI are venting to Fox News and complaining about committee chairman Mike Rogers’ handling of the investigation. And their complaints are hilarious:

While House committee members have remained mostly silent, due to the secretive nature of the committee, some have complained to House Speaker John Boehner about the proceedings for months. Among the concerns was that Rogers was focusing strictly on the debate over the changed so-called "talking points" -- the administration's flawed narrative of the attack that initially blamed a protest over an anti-Islam film. Other Republicans on the committee, though, wanted the focus to be broader.

Anyone who’s been following the Benghazi story knows that for Republicans and conservatives, the “talking points” are the issue. The whole notion of a Benghazi “scandal” has been boiled down to whether the administration edited a series of talking points in such a way as to deliberately obscure the true nature of the attack. The conservative press has focused obsessively on them. The reason House Republicans created the special committee to investigate Benghazi in the first place was because they were angry that the White House had not turned over documents related to those talking points. Now that the HPSCI has found that there was no improper tinkering with the available intelligence, Republicans on the committee are claiming to be “frustrated” that Rogers focused on the issue.

And then there’s this fun little nugget from the Fox News report:

Frustrations with Rogers have been boiling for more than a year, but nobody wanted to openly question the chairman with a midterm election looming, fearing it would give the media the chance to focus on Republican infighting rather than the issues.

I’m sympathetic to the Republican desire to win elections, but they’ve spent the past two years describing Benghazi as Obama’s Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Teapot Dome wrapped in one. If they felt that the committee tasked with investigating this historic and earth-shaking scandal was doing a poor job of it, but sat on those concerns because they didn't want to create a damaging media narrative ahead of an election, then they’re guilty of doing exactly what they’ve accused the administration of doing. They saw their colleagues failing at this critical task, but hushed it up owing to political concerns. My god – it’s downright scandalous!

If that is the case, then it’s incumbent upon John Boehner to form a special committee to investigate the House Intelligence Committee’s coverup of potentially damaging information ahead of an election. The truth has to come out.

By Simon Maloy

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Benghazi Benghazi Attack Benghazi Conspiracy Fox News Gop House Republicans Mike Rogers Republicans The Right