If Republicans were capable of embarrassment, they'd be nothing more than little puddles on the ground of our memory by now. But they're not. They'll go on and on trying to make something out of the Benghazi and continue to get the approval of some for doing so. Fact is not a frequent passenger on the Republicans' passage through ignominy.
Scott Monje has an interesting analysis of who got what wrong about Benghazi [ht/Jonathan Bernstein, WaPo]. It's a quiet article in the Foreign Policy Associations blogs, and very readable. Here are a couple of pieces of the puzzle that are familiar territory and good reminders of how things really are --but definitely not a territory inhabited by the likes of John McCain who is still floundering around in Suppositionland.
...The most important thing to remember is that confusion is common in sudden, large, unexpected events, whether they be surprise attacks or natural disasters. The first reports from the scene are often incorrect because the early evidence is fragmentary, contradictory, and sometimes erroneous. Afterward, when we already have a good idea of what happened, we can look at the same reports and say, “Obviously, these clues, and not those, were the ones they should have been focusing on.” At the time, however, that judgment is not so easily made. Moreover, early analysis will be influenced by the existing theories or preconceived notions of the analysts; sometimes those theories will be correct, or close enough not to matter, but in other cases they will be out of date or even completely wrong. Either way, that initial analysis will then set the framework for the next wave of analysis and evaluation. ...
...the classified version of Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points reportedly laid responsibility to both Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The Office of the Director of National Intelligence deleted the specific names and replaced them with the term “extremists” in the unclassified version. This was reportedly done because the link was considered “tenuous” even at that time. A further reason could have been to conceal from the two groups how much we knew (or did not know, as the case may be). Other leaked reports, however, suggest that AQIM was not directly involved after all and learned of the event only after the fact, when Ansar al-Sharia called them up to brag about it. The relationship between the two groups is still not fully understood. ...FPB
And let's remember: intelligence operations aren't and never were foolproof, no matter whose intelligence operations we're talking about.
... Keep in mind the assessments of two historical events that were considerably larger than this one. First, on June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy, opening the Second Front in Europe. The Germans had expected the attack, but they expected it to come at Calais. It was at least seven weeks, about the end of July, before the German high command was convinced that Normandy was not a diversion for the real landing coming at Calais. By that time there were 1–2 million Allied troops in France.
Second, on October 12, 1950, the CIA—with the concurrence of the State Department, the army, the navy, and the air force—sent a memo to President Truman. It assessed that, despite Chinese threats and despite the fact that the possibility could not be ruled out entirely, the agency deemed it unlikely that China would intervene in the Korean War. At the time the memo was sent, China was already sending troops into Korea. It would be about three more weeks, early November, before General MacArthur’s Far Eastern Command realized that it had been fighting the Chinese army. ...FPB
The moral of this story is that we tend to accept and use information that confirms what we thought already and (of course) Republicans (and Nazi high commands) are more likely to fall into this trap than most of us. Right?