Benghazi: No ‘There’ There — Pickering

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton center, speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2013, about the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton center, speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2013, about the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

At the start of yet another round of inquiries into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, it’s worth noting the words of another American ambassador who represented Democratic and Republican presidents alike in six nations and at the United Nations

“I’m in a search for, is there a ’there’ there,” Thomas Pickering says.  “And I haven’t seen any ’there’ there.”

An Accountability Review Board led by Pickering faulted State Department officials for inadequate security at the Benghazi compound in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. At the same time, the review found no evidence that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally approved any of the security decisions there.

After many hearings, House Republican leaders pointing to new questions have voted to create a special committee on the Benghazi attack. Democrats say this is aimed at undercutting a possible presidential bid by Clinton in 2016 and boosting Republican fundraising.

Pickering said in an interview for the weekend edition of “Political Capital with Al Hunt” on Bloomberg Television that the recently revealed memo of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on managing the Obama administration’s messaging about the attack likely wouldn’t have affected the results of his report. Some Republican critics have described Rhodes’ memo as a smoking gun

“We were not there to look at talking points,” Pickering said. “We were not there to look at what I would call post-event political hand-wrestling.”

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