The Benghazi Blame Game

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 12 2012 @ 12:18pm

Josh Rogin notes that Biden last night contradicted State Department officials when he said, "We did not know they wanted more security [at the consulate]":

In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.

Meanwhile, in rhetoric Ryan echoed last night, Romney is talking up the consulate attack on the campaign trail (see above video). How the Obama campaign has spun the issue:

Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for Obama, on Thursday accused Republicans of playing politics with the consulate attack and said pressure from the Romney campaign was the “entire reason” the issue had persisted.

Cutter has since doubled-down on her comments. Adam Serwer counters:

[P]artisanship can help drive necessary oversight, even if those involved have ulterior political motives.

Oversight by Democrats during the Bush administration exposed civil liberties abuses and the politicization of the Justice Department, for example. Democrats may have acted at least partly for political gains in those cases, but that doesn't mean that the misbehavior they uncovered was somehow irrelevant. If a US ambassador was killed in 2008, are we to believe that Democrats wouldn't have used the incident to question Republicans' handling of national security matters during the presidential race, or that Obama's campaign would have seen that as out of bounds?

Alex Koppelman doesn't doubt that "the State Department failed to keep its people in Libya safe," but he still sees this week's hearing as little more than political gamesmanship: 

This is, unfortunately, the way hearings like this tend to work, no matter the subject, and no matter the Administration. The opposition Party prosecutes and grandstands; the President’s Party deflects, covers, and complains. The fact that we are so close to an election only makes matters worse. It’s unrealistic to expect anything else. Still, considering the lives lost, and those still at risk, it would have been nice to see something different for a change. 

Previous Dish here on the unraveling of the Benghazi attack hereherehere and here.