Per Dana Milbank, certified member of the Media Village at the Washington Post:
When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.
The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron.
Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks. “Point of order! Point of order!” he called out as a State Department security official, seated in front of an aerial photo of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, described the chaotic night of the attack. “We’re getting into classified issues that deal with sources and methods that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this.” …
Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted. “I would direct that that chart be taken down,” he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN. “In this hearing room, we’re not going to point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.”…
The Republican lawmakers, in their outbursts, alternated between scolding the State Department officials for hiding behind classified material and blaming them for disclosing information that should have been classified. But the lawmakers created the situation by ordering a public hearing on a matter that belonged behind closed doors.
Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd….
Marcy Wheeler(Emptywheel) questioned these GOPidiots’ motives more than a week ago:
… [W]hy would a slew of “whistleblowers” go to Darrell Issa with their complaints about missed intelligence rather than Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee? After all, if there was an intelligence failure, then it is HPSCI’s job to do something about it.
The question is all the more curious given that Issa’s Committee does not have the clearance for some levels of intelligence (the kind that sources who could well be these very same whistleblowers have already been sharing with Lake).
Meaning this letter will have an utterly predictable result: State will respond that they can’t share the information that Issa is seeking. And then Issa will escalate this, turning his “investigation” into Son of Fast and Furious.
Moreover, this intelligence should have already been shared with the House (and Senate) Intelligence Committees (note that Peter King, a leaky sieve, sits on both committees). If it hasn’t been, then Mike Rogers has all the more reason to escalate this issue. The only possible reasons for Issa to investigate this, then, is if 1) Rogers is failing to do his job and/or 2) this is just a stunt to turn a legitimate intelligence issue, the Benghazi attack, into a political attack on Obama…
Of course no Very Serious Person is going to pay any attention to a DFH firebagger like Ms. Wheeler, but now that the polecat is out of the bag, can we perhaps dare to hope that the vast creaky permanent bureaucracies responsible for keeping the USS Global Megapower afloat might be getting just a tiny bit tired of the proud Galtian GOP “revolutionaries” getting their sticky paws all over a lot of very complicated machinery?
And just as a partisan aside, can you imagine the shrieking outrage from the Wingnut Wurlitzer if those “truth-seeking” soopergeenyuses had a (D) after their names? Every Fox bobblehead would be demanding immediate rendition to Gitmo for Issa and Chaffetz, and maybe Peter King on general principles. I just hope that Rupert Murdoch has some skilled chiropractors on speed dial, because some of his highest-paid talent must be twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify this newest FP idiocy.