Hillary Clinton to blame for Benghazi? A group of Republicans certainly thinks so.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is leading a charge against the former secretary of state, trying to blame her for the security deficiencies at the U.S. consulate in Libya before the deadly attack last September.
A group of House GOPers last week released a report criticizing the White House’s handling of the attack, which killed four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. The report suggests Clinton lied to Congress.
Issa recently pointed to an April 19, 2012, cable acknowledging a request from the embassy in Libya for more security but insisting that a preplanned drawdown would continue. Issa said it proved Clinton denied security because her signature appears on the cable. (Clinton had told Congress that the security issues did not come to her attention).
“The secretary of state was just wrong. She said she did not participate in this, and yet only a few months before the attack, she outright denied security in her signature in a cable,” Issa, who chairs the House Oersight Committee, told Fox News.
There’s just one problem. The secretary of state’s signature appears on every cable that goes out. In fact, according to the State Department manual, it explicitly says the communications center “will place the name of the secretary on all telegrams to post.” Even the tiniest of items (a listing of new office phone numbers in the Brazzaville Embassy in the Republic of the Congo or one about email etiquette, for example) were all “signed” by Clinton during her tenure.
So why is Issa taking his aim at Clinton now?
Republicans are “throwing everything they can at Hillary Clinton because they’re scared of 2016” when she could run for president, Salon.com’s Joan Walsh told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Monday. “It’s like they have Benghazi fever” and have “no working knowledge” of how the State Department actually operates.
The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman agreed, adding Republicans are desperate to look “tougher on defense.” Fineman added “Hillary Clinton is incredibly popular…They’re trying to slow her down.”
Matthews called Issa’s latest move pointing to Clinton’s so-called signature as “hilarious” and “so stupid.”
“When I was in the Peace Corps, I got [a cable] signed by William Rogers, who was then secretary of state,” recounted Matthews. “I knew it wasn’t a personal correspondence to me.”