Further to last night's recap of the Benghazi cover-up, here's the transcript of my weekly discussion with Hugh Hewitt, during which the subject came up:
HUGH HEWITT: Jay Carney is going to be remembered for lying through his teeth about Benghazi. And today, he was lying through his teeth again. Yesterday, we played eight minutes without comment, because the Jonathan Karl exchange was so revealing.
MARK STEYN: Right.
HH: Mark Steyn, it's a cover-up and they're lying.
MS: Yes, and I think as I said a couple of minutes ago, I think it's a more serious cover-up than in the Nixon era. In the end, four people are dead. They knew the reason why they were dead within half an hour of this protest starting. They didn't know those guys were dead, but they knew that there was a sustained terrorist assault on a U.S. diplomatic facility. And from that point, they began constructing the most despicable lies, including the President and the Secretary of State - Mrs. Clinton, the designated president-in-waiting - lying over the coffins of those four Americans when they came back to Andrews Air Force Base, lying to their relatives when Mrs. Clinton tells the bereaved family that we're going to find, we're going to get that video maker, and we're going to throw him in jail. Mrs. Clinton said that to the families of the bereaved... Carney can do this because Democrats and the court eunuchs in the American media have assured him and the President, and the Secretary of State, that it's a big nothingburger. Ha, ha, Benghazi - if you say 'Benghazi' to a Democrat, they laugh. Ha, ha, ha, ha. It's nothing.
The question remains: Why was this course of action so necessary to them? The striking feature of the newly released emails is the absence of President Obama and Secretary Clinton. We still don't know where they were or what they were doing during the crucial hours. Indeed, the portion of General Lovell's testimony played on yesterday's Hugh Hewitt show is notable also for its emphasis on the absence of Obama and Clinton:
JJ: You had two statements in your testimony that I think are most telling. The first is always move to the sound of the guns. That means something to you, doesn't it, General?
RL: Yes, sir...
JJ: And you couldn't do that on September 11th, because you say in your testimony we were "waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department." You couldn't react normally, customarily the way the military always reacts. In this situation, you couldn't do what the military always does. Is that accurate?
RL: From my perspective, yes, sir.
JJ: And you've been in the military 33 years, deployed all over the planet, all over the world. Has that ever, has there ever been a situation prior to this where you couldn't react in the normal customary way that the military reacts?
RL: No situation.
A decision to "request assistance" from the military would have required the assent of the Secretary and the President. Did that request not come because Obama was resting up for his Vegas campaign stop and Hillary likewise had some pressing social priority? Or did it not come because Obama and Clinton concluded in the first few moments that it was less politically problematic to abandon the Benghazi staff to their fate - and then they left the room never to return? In other words, are Obama and Clinton absent because the former finds foreign policy a bit of a bore and the latter could sniff this was a bummer with no upside? Or is it because Obama and Clinton, two people with no reputation for decisive leadership when minutes count, took a terrible damning decision?
A military attack requires a military response: You move, as the Brigadier General said, to the sound of the guns. But a spontaneous class-action movie review that just gets a little out of hand is a less urgent call: It seems odder to order your troops to move to the sound of "Two hundred thumbs down!" Charles Krauthammer describes these emails as "a cover-up of a cover-up" - an attempt to obscure the original decision to pretend it was all about a YouTube video. But maybe it's a cover-up of a cover-up of a cover-up, and the the attempt to blame the California filmmaker was a necessary deflection to cover up an appalling, deadly decision made in the first half-hour.