THE BLOG

Darrell Issa and the Canary in the Coal Mine

05/14/2014 06:23 pm ET | Updated Jul 14, 2014

Next Monday, Congressman Darrell Issa launches his next investigation into the death of Ambassador Stevens, for which he is still trying to pin the blame on the State Department and its former boss, Hillary Clinton. He is accusing her of a deliberate cover-up of State Department misdeeds -- the State Department first cited an anti-Muslim film released in Egypt as the motivation for Ambassador Steven's death, rather than the "terrorists" who later admitted to the deed. Issa ignores the "fog of war."

To this day, no one really knows why Ambassador Stevens visited Benghazi on the night he was killed. None of our security agencies, the CIA or NSA seem to have informed him of the dangers. So far as I know, the State Department seems to be totally unaware of the situation in that city but they are usually the last to be informed about dangerous situations anywhere. So far as I know, Ambassador Stevens neither obtained nor requested its permission before he embarked on his visit there.

It should be remembered that no other country had recognized the dangerous situation in eastern Libya. The French and Italian consulates in Benghazi closed their doors shortly after Steven's death (they reopened later) and even the Maltese closed their consulate. Stevens' death scared everyone. Benghazi had seemed safe. The Libyan revolution began there and it was led by a former Libyan Army General. But, al Qaeda agents had infiltrated the country, assassinated the former Libyan General and were gaining strength day by day. The CIA was not unaware of the situation and had people based in Benghazi, two of them were killed shortly after the death of the Ambassador. But no one has claimed to have warned the Ambassador about the dangers before his assignation. He was the canary in Benghazi whose death sent ambassadors, counsels and other foreign representatives scurrying home to safety.

It is very easy for someone like Darrell Issa who sits in the safety of Washington to blame his political opponents for the death of Ambassador Stevens. In 1941, some Republican Senators blamed FDR for not having known what was about to happen to Pearl Harbor. It was very different on 9/11 when Democrats did not condemn Condoleezza Rice or the FBI for having failed to recognize the presence of al Qaeda agents learning to fly airplanes that would later destroy the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon. Instead, a bipartisan committee with equal members from both sides of the aisle investigated the tragedy and offered the recommendations that have so far kept America safe. It would have been easy to put the blame on Rice, Chaney and Bush II. So far as I know, no one in The House or the Senate ever did that publicly.

In 2014, we have an (unfortunately not lone wolf) Congressmen attempting to use the death of a distinguished ambassador to bring down a former Secretary of State who may or may not be a political opponent in 2016. The death of a canary in a coal mine has become a political ploy in an attempt to discredit a potential presidential candidate who has a distinguished record as a US Senator, a Secretary of State and eight years of living in the White House. In reality, his mean partisanship discredits both himself and the Republican-led House of Representatives.