On this weekend’s “The McLaughlin Group,” Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift laid out the same reasoning for the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as Bill Maher had on Friday, which was to still blame the now infamous YouTube video.
Clift slammed the House Republican select committee effort, but she insisted that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens wasn’t a casualty of the attack directly, but instead a victim of smoke inhalation during the terrorist attack on not a diplomatic outpost, but one that was functioning as a CIA outpost.
“Trey Gowdy has already referred to this investigation as a trial and called the administration the defendants,” Clift said. “This is a political witch hunt. He knows the answer to those questions. There have been two congressional investigations. There’s been a three-month investigation by The New York Times. Nobody has come up with malicious wrongdoing on the part of the administration.”
“The first question he asked – why was Ambassador Stevens there?” she continued. “This was not a diplomatic outpost. This was a CIA outpost. And Ambassador Stevens was known as an assertive ambassador who didn’t pay enough attention to his own personal safety. He didn’t like what was going on in that consulate. They were detaining people. They were interrogating people. And he was going there to basically confront what was going on. This was a CIA operation, which is why there was so much confusion in how to respond in the hours immediately after. And if Mr. Gowdy wants to turn this into a political exercise, he’s playing with the national security of the United States. And they’re already fundraising on it — the Republicans are. It’s a pretty shameless exercise.”
Later, she insisted the event had been investigated “to death” and blamed the YouTube video directly.
“Every media organization has investigated this to death,” Clift added. “This animates the right-wing of the Republican Party and I would like to point out ambassador Stevens was not murdered. He died of smoke inhalation in the safe room of that CIA installation … It was an opportunistic terrorist attack that grew out of that video. There were demonstrations across the world.”
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor