Basically all you need to know about the Fox News-sponsored hearings on the Benghazi attacks scheduled for today is that two of the “whistleblowers” — Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of attacks, and Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine who is now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau — are being represented, reportedly pro bono, by Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, a husband and wife team of lawyers who are longstanding political apparatchiks for the Republican Party.
The role played by Toensing and DiGenova in the hearings is damning evidence, if any were needed, that the “scandal” around the terror attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September is what it appears to be: a bogus political ploy fabricated by Fox News and its allies on the Hill intended to damage the Obama administration politically in the short term — perhaps opening the way to impeaching the president, as right-wing talk show host Mike Huckabee predicted it would yesterday — and, over the longer term, to weaken the prospective candidacy of Hillary Clinton should she decide to run in 2016.
The presence of Toensing and DiGenova is also likely a sign that all the high-powered nonpartisan attorneys in D.C. declined to take the case.
Toensing And diGenova make no secret of their ties to the Republican Party in Washington. In the 1990s, both lawyers played prominent roles in the GOP’s smear machine against the Clintons, frequently appearing on cable shows — along with professional Clinton-haters like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Barbara Olson and cable-show host Chris Matthews — to promote politically generated false narratives about the Clintons.
In the 1980s, Toensing was a deputy attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department and served as legal counsel to GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater. In the early 1990s, DiGenova was an independent council tasked with investigating whether George H.W. Bush’s 1992 presidential campaign illegally accessed then-Gov. Bill Clinton’s passport records. (Spoiler alert: The Bush campaign was cleared.)
Toensing was last in the national news when she served as an advocate for Bush II officials, including Vice Pres. Cheney, his aide Scooter Libbey and Bush political operative Karl Rove, who had deliberately exposed a covert CIA WMD-tracking program in the Valerie Plame scandal.
But the most substantial evidence that the Benghazi “scandal” is ginned-up propaganda is the fact that there were eight attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates during the Bush-Cheney years, and despite the fact that more than 30 people were killed and nearly 70 were injured in those attacks, the Republicans who controlled both houses of Congress during the first six years of Bush’s term did not convene hearings to investigate the attacks, nor did they call for hearings after they lost control of Congress in 2007. The attacks included:
- 2002: U.S. Consulate In Karachi, Pakistan, Attacked; 11 Killed, 51 Injured — June 15, 2002, CNN
- 2003: U.S. Consulate in Karachi Attacked; 1 Killed; 7 Injured — CNN, February 28, 2003
- 2004: U.S. Embassy Bombed In Uzbekistan — July 31, 2004, Washington Post
- 2004: Gunmen Stormed U.S. Consulate In Saudi Arabia; 8 Killed — December 6, 2004, New York Times
- 2006: Armed Men Attacked U.S. Embassy In Syria — September 13, 2006, Washington Post
- 2007: Grenade Launched Into U.S. Embassy In Athens — >New York Times
- 2008: Rioters Set Fire To U.S. Embassy In Serbia — New York Times
- 2008: Ten People Killed In Bombings At U.S. Embassy In Yemen — New York Times