Republicans in Congress have been screaming for a hearing over the administration's handling of the investigation into what happened at the US embassy in Libya on 9/11/12, and were granted that hearing yesterday. They claim that the administration ignored warnings from the embassy that an attack was coming, that they failed to take the threat seriously and gutted security when they should have strengthened it, and that they are now trying to cover their tracks by being less-than-forthright about what actually happened. All of that sounds pretty damning, and at least part of it is fair criticism.
For one thing, the administration has not been publicly clear about what it believes happen in the attack that killed four Americans, including our Ambassador. It has also been very defensive of the officials who have reported information and who are running the administration's investigation. They have also been quick to try and steer any blame away from Clinton, and other top officials, which has certainly raised some questions among conservatives about why the President is so protective of these people if they did nothing wrong.
Well, as it turns out, Republicans are just as culpable in the failure of security in Libya, and even contributed directly to the debacle. How? Well, since they gained power in 2010, House Republicans have repeatedly cut funding to foreign embassies, and have reduced security personnel in those locations. While the folks in those foreign embassies expressed concerns about the lack of security, and those concerns were largely ignored, it should be noted (again) that it is the responsibility of Congress, not the President himself, to set fiscal policy, and give more funding to different agencies. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), admitted to slashing the funding for security at foreign embassies and then, in the same breath, accused Obama of ignoring the warnings from those same foreign diplomats about the lack of safety.
And another interesting point. Chaffetz, along with Darrell Issa (R-California) were among the loudest voices calling for an investigation into the failed security and causes of the Libyan attack. Do they really believe themselves absolved of any responsibility, or do they think that people won't notice they stripped funding for these embassies and their security details.
And as if all this hypocrisy weren't enough for Issa and Chaffetz, they also decided to oust our very own CIA in a publicly viewed, media-covered event. The level of incompetence and straight-out insanity shown by these two is astounding. Chaffetz, on multiple occasions, pointed out a nondescript building that was being shown on a map of the compound where the attack occurred, and made reference to it being a classified location by saying “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.” Really? Apparently it didn't occur to him that no one else would realize what they were seeing in the photo. Of course, they do now.
So, all in all, there's a lot of blame to go around, but most of the issues seem to stem from stupidity and hypocrisy. Again, I'm not blaming the conservatives alone, and not simply by virtue of the fact that I don't agree with them. I'm blaming them because they genuinely had a hand in causing the lack of security they are complaining about, and have botched their investigation into the incident by ousting our intelligence community. Issa and his ilk are turning yet another national tragedy into a political circus with his committee, and is using his public soapbox to try and nail the administration with all the blame, while he and other members of his party are equally to blame. I would love to see Issa and the committee fulfill its duties, which is to be an oversight on waste, fraud, and abuse in government finances rather than a hyper-partisan watchdog attempting to disrupt the administration it disagrees with..
UPDATE: Darrell Issa is also going after the September jobs numbers, which seemed very good and hence have come under a lot of scrutiny. Again, such an investigation falls outside the general scope of the committee, but that doesn't seem to be stopping him.