11/24/2014 11:21 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

When Good Conspiracy Theories Go Bad

"I'm going to do a hard review of this."
-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

There is going to be yet another investigation of Benghazi. Yes, really -- another one.

But don't worry, this investigation is actually going to be very different. This one is going to be led by a pissed-off (and/or embarrassed) Lindsey Graham who wants to look into why the Republican-led, two-year, minutely-detailed investigation of Benghazi by the House Select Intelligence Committee almost totally absolved the Obama administration of any conspiratorial wrongdoing.

You know Benghazi. The "Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi-Benghazi- Benghazi" All Benghazi 24-hours- a-day subject that has consumed the Far Right, Fox News and Republic Party for the past two years. Throwing any and all possible horrific conspiracies by the President into the stratosphere and seeing which of all the many of them would stick. And the answer, after two years, is -- none. Zero.

It's not that one or two of the least critical had some merit, it's that absolutely none of them did.

And again, keep in mind, this exhaustive two-year investigation was led by Republicans. And not just any Republicans, but Republicans who have the most authority, Republicans who had been making the most ongoing charges or head-bursting outrage, Republicans who had the most to gain by findings of wrongdoing, Republicans who oversee the House Select Intelligence Committee. And they found nothing. N-o-t-h-i-n-g. And acknowledged it.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is really pissed off about it. This is the same Lindsey Graham who for the past two years has been at the forefront of Republican outrage in the Senate, decrying from his platform atop the mount about all the monumental conspiracies by the Administration -- only to find that the House Select Intelligence Committee of his own party has said, "Oops, sorry, there's nothing there. Our bad."

"I think the report is full of crap," he told CNN.

It is likely that the report thinks the same about Sen. Graham, though it wasn't available for comment.

Mind you, in saying things like, "That's a bunch of garbage. "That's a complete bunch of garbage" and "I don't believe the report is accurate," Mr. Graham didn't offer any evidence proving his sense of crap, garbage and disbelief. All he offered was a bunch of questions felt were unexplained. These are questions, it should be noted, that the Republican-led House Select Intelligence Committee spent two years looking into, and determining that the answer to those questions were unexplained because there was nothing to explain.

Not just the House, but the Senate, as well. As Jeremy Stahl in Slatenoted, "The report echoed the findings of a similar bipartisan review panel by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released earlier this year along with five previous investigations."

And so, Lindsey Graham now wants to look into the Benghazi report that looked into Benghazi. Swell. His party is now in the majority in the Senate. He's free to waste more public money and time doing nothing in the Senate that has been the hallmark of Republicans for the past six years.

I have no idea what a Lindsey Graham embarrassed investigation would possibly explain. (He has so much skin in the game at this point.) All I know is what a Republican-led House Select Intelligence Committee did explain. And this below is the EXACT TEXT from that very Republican-led report on page one, direct from its six-point opening summary, not anyone framing conclusions to put it all in a better light.

(Note: You can see this summary and the full report here, if you want proof . Not that proof seems to be a convincing factor to the Far Right and the Lindsey Grahams of the world.)

In their own words (emphasis added), the Republican-led report said -- quote --

• The Committee first concludes that the CIA ensured sufficient security for CIA facilities in Benghazi and, without a requirement to do so, ably and bravely assisted the State Department on the night of the attacks. Their actions saved lives. Appropriate U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions that night, and the Committee found no evidence that there was either a stand down order or a denial of available air support....

• Second, the Committee finds that there was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks. In the months prior, the IC provided intelligence about previous attacks and the increased threat environment in Benghazi, but the IC did not have specific, tactical warning of the September 11 attacks.

• Third, the Committee finds that a mixed group of individuals, including those affiliated with Al Qa'ida, participated in the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi....

• Fourth, the Committee concludes that after the attacks, the early intelligence assessments and the Administration's initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate. There was a stream of contradictory and conflicting intelligence that came in after the attacks. The Committed found intelligence to support CIA's initial assessment that the attacks had evolved out of a protest in Benghazi; but it also found contrary intelligence, which ultimately proved to be the correct intelligence. There was no protest. The CIA only changed its initial assessment about a protest on September 24, 2012, when closed caption television footage became available on September 18, 2012 (two days after Ambassador Susan Rice spoke) and after the FBI began publishing its interviews with U.S. officials on the ground on September 22, 2012.

• Fifth, the Committee finds that the process used to generate the talking points HPSCI asked for--and which were used for Ambassador Rice's public appearances--was flawed....

• Finally, the Committee found no evidence that any officer was intimidated, wrongly forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement or otherwise kept from speaking to Congress, or polygraphed because of their presence in Benghazi. The Committee also found no evidence that the CIA conducted unauthorized activities in Benghazi and no evidence that the IC shipped arms to Syria.


To be clear, the report didn't say that everything was done perfectly and that no mistakes were made. There were mistakes, it was a tragedy, after all. What the report did do, though, was make clear that ALL the horrendous conspiracy theories (every one) and calls for impeachment that the Far Right has been dumping for the past two years had absolutely, full, totally zero merit.

I certainly admire that the Republican-led House Select Intelligence Committee didn't let the Republican Party's pre-conceived two-year outraged screed color its findings But if you would like to know what unashamed, shameless cowardice is, you probably wouldn't have to look farther than knowing how the Republican Party almost near-totally buried their own exhaustive, two-year investigation of the Benghazi which completely (as in "100% completely"), exonerated the Obama administration, that they had been trying to crush -- releasing it only before the weekend on the "Friday News Dump" and holding it until after the mid-term elections.


To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.