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.