The Bizarre Thomas Pickering Witness Talking Point

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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The Obama apologists are still struggling to get a handle on the latest phase of Benghazigate, but in typical form, their strategy is to target the legitimacy of the hearings. Aside from emphasizing that they are Republican dominated, which any hearings in a Republican house would be, the grievance of the moment is that the House Oversight Committee did not call former ambassador Thomas Pickering to testify about Benghazi.

The “ambassador” part might lead you to think that Pickering was in Libya. He was not. In fact Pickering retired from the State Department twelve years ago and had no involvement in the Benghazi attack until Hillary Clinton called on him to sit on a State Department accountability review board meant to clear the State Department of any responsibility.

It’s obvious why some Democrats wanted Pickering there as a distraction, but all the witnesses called before the House Oversight Committee had been involved in events at Benghazi as they happened.

A witness list that includes Gregory Hicks, the man who became the mission chief in Libya when Stevens died, and oversaw the local response, Eric Nordstorm, the regional security officer, and Mark Thompson, a top State Department counterterrorism figure, has no obvious place for a retired diplomat whose only relevance to the subject is that he sat on a committee afterward that gave State a pass. It’s like inviting a member of the Warren Commission over in front of another commission investigating the JFK assassination by talking to witnesses at the scene.

Aside from all the issues with Pickering’s “international” contacts since his retirement, he just isn’t relevant. And it’s telling that the Dems have to push Pickering instead of finding a current official who was actually involved in events in Benghazi to come forward and testify.

If they wanted a credible favorable witness, the State Department has to have plenty of people who were in the loop, who either were in Benghazi or were part of the response that night, who would be willing to tell a different story.

Except apparently there aren’t any. And so they try to pass off Pickering instead.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    The United States has no real leadership.
    For this to continue so long and without any impeachments – shows that this administration is not serious about running the country. And for Republicans to allow it, shows they don't have the leadership or the will to prevent that.

    We are in deep trouble.

    • tagalog

      We've had two impeachment trials, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Nixon resigned before Congress voted on impeachment. Both impeachments resulted in acquittals. A good thing; we don't want to look like fools, living in an electoral system where the voting results can be easily attacked and overturned.

      Barring a GOP foot-shooting moment, the next President and probably the Senate will be Republican. The virtue of our system, up to this point, is that a bad President and Congress can be changed every few years, and a new course chosen.

      • Viet Vet

        That the Senate doesn't vote to throw an impeached president out of office is not an acquittal. He's still impeached forever.

        • tagalog

          OK, but it's still erroneious to say that the United States has continued "without any impeachments." Unless you're going to be strictly technical and claim that impeachment is the word for the final act of actually removing a sitting President from office and not for the vote-trial-verdict process of impeachment that most of us perceive as impeachment.

  • tagalog

    Who's that representative Cummings? He certainly is a Democrat polemicist. Instead of questioning, he engaged in pontificating.

    • beez

      And he's probably not even the worst. Keith Ellison is a Muslim, a jihadi, and a neo-Marxist. Alcee Hastings is a thoroughly corrupt, racist, Anti-American and neo-Marxist.

    • Viet Vet

      He did the very same thing at the start of the hearing on Fast and Furious. His main thrust this time was to contend that everyone has to die sometime, so what's the big deal. What does it matter now.

  • Johnconrad

    This is all you need to know about this guy – just another radical leftist in the Congressional Black Caucus
    http://gretawire.foxnewsinsider.com/2013/05/06/re

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Pickering is part and parcel of the Demsters and their overall mission, whether it is Libya or other global missions. He has his hand in everything which takes places, whether he is "officially" on site or not.

    Once again, putting Huma Abedin on the stand – as a "hostile" witness – will clear through the fog – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/12/24/benghazigates

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • gee59

    They should call Pickering, while they're at it add John Bolton to the list of witnesses. Just for balance

  • logician

    Since Mr. Pickering named his son Timothy I wonder if he is a descendant of Timothy Pickering, the high federalist that torpedoed John Adams presidency by disobeying a direct presidential order to send a delegate to France to mitigate the disaster of the Jay Treaty . His failure to do so started the quasi-french war, which then led to the alien and sedition acts. He was secretary of state at the time.