Posts Tagged ‘House of Representatives’

Some of the recovered emails that the FBI investigators combed through had what could have been noticed or missed depending upon how far down a chain of emails you scrolled or how quickly your eye scanned the text. (c) To discern the marking you had first to know what it indicated and second had to read carefully and thoroughly through the email chain since the marking might have appeared in an early version of an email and might have been removed in later texts, or the marking might not have been removed when it should have been. Did you see it?  In testimony to the Oversight Committee, FBI Director James Comey stated that paragraphs or sentences bearing this mark were not offset with indentation.

(c) Now you see it.

At yesterday’s State Department press briefing, these little (c)s were the subject of a great deal of interest.  John Kirby is the State Department spokesperson.

QUESTION: Firstly, the marking of a parentheses “C” – where does that come from? What law designates a parentheses “C” as a valid classification marking?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Can you check on that, so that we know?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know that it is governed by law, but I’ll be happy to check and see.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, if it isn’t, I would be interested to know how it’s indeed classified.

MR KIRBY: Not everything in terms of procedure is governed by legislation, Brad. But I’ll check and see where – if that’s covered in any way.

QUESTION: Well, I looked at Executive Order 13526, which seems to be – well, which proclaims to be the rule on classified national security information. And it doesn’t talk about anything about parentheses “C”s or anything like that. It talks about three valid terms – Secret, Top Secret, and Confidential. And it explicitly says any other marking is invalid. So if you could figure that out, that’d be great.

And then secondly —

MR KIRBY: I would – let me just – I will do what I can, Brad.

QUESTION: Yeah, okay.

MR KIRBY: But I mean, you’re – the issue of classification and markings is not a State Department responsibility in the government. I mean, we obviously have our responsibilities to obey the executive order, but I don’t want to set us up as the authority to speak to every issue of marking that the U.S. Government follows.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t know that the U.S. Government follows this writ large. It seems that you follow it. But I’d like to know why, or based on what.

MR KIRBY: I’ll check.

QUESTION: Secondly, on the category of classification, I think yesterday you said it was to protect the idea of a call or to not get ahead of the Secretary’s decision-making process. Again, there are strict rules, as I see them, for classification, what can be classified – WMDs and critical infrastructure, covert intelligence. Can you tell me what protecting the Secretary’s decision-making process falls under?

At this point, the email in question marked with a (c) involved the scheduling of a call sheet.  There was a proposed call to perhaps be scheduled or perhaps not to a head of state offering condolences.

MR KIRBY: I don’t have the advantage of having that document in front of me, Brad. And I’m not an expert on it; I’m not going to pretend to be or purport to be. I’m happy to further research your question.


MR KIRBY: Happy to do that. But as I said yesterday, this was a – this is a fairly common practice and it’s designed to try to treat with care and prudence and not to close down decision space of the Secretary in advance of a recommended call – in case, for instance, that call doesn’t get made or it gets made under a different set of circumstances. So the degree to which it’s governed by regulation or order, I don’t know. And again, I’m happy to look. But I —

QUESTION: I have one more you might need to look into.

MR KIRBY: But – but I – but I think we need to take 10 steps back, take a deep breath, and look at this in perspective. This is a practice which many people use here as a way to try to protect what we believe is sensitive information and to try to preserve decision space for the Secretary of State in advance of, in this case, making a call. So look, I mean, we could have the debate over and over again —

QUESTION: Let me just have my last question. It also under classification rules say you have to put a specific date or event for declassification that must be stated. It doesn’t say when the Secretary decides and there’s a cognitive process inside the Secretary’s brain to make a call that that ends the classification. So can you tell me where this practice on kind of ad hoc expiration comes from as well?

MR KIRBY: I’ll ask the question, Brad.

QUESTION: And then —

MR KIRBY: I have to tell you, though – I mean, I’ll ask these questions; they’re fair questions.


MR KIRBY: But again, we’re talking about people trying to do the best they can to protect some sensitive information and protect decision space for the Secretary, and we’re – and of the entire universe of documents, we’re talking about an extraordinarily small amount. So I don’t – I am – again, I’m not pushing back and I will be happy – first of all, I’m happy to admit what I don’t know, happy to go try to find out for you, but I do think it’s important to keep this whole matter in some sense of perspective here in terms of the universe of the issue.

QUESTION: I do. But here’s why I think it’s relevant, and I’ll pose this as a statement/question.

MR KIRBY: There’s a surprise.

QUESTION: We had a discussion earlier this week where you forcibly rejected the notion that there’s a lax culture when it comes to classification in this agency, and now you’re saying that there are practices here that don’t – maybe don’t ascribe to any guidelines or rules, but just are done as a matter of practice for protecting decision-making processes or what, when there are strict guidelines on how you are supposed to classify things. And I don’t quite see what’s wrong with the law, as it is for the entire government —

MR KIRBY: Well, let’s not presume —

QUESTION: — that we need this separate process.

MR KIRBY: First of all – so first of all, let me go —

QUESTION: And why —

MR KIRBY: Let me go research it —

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.

MR KIRBY: — and we’ll find out if there’s some sort of violation here. But when I refer to questions about a lax culture, it was a broad-brush statement that was made about a lax security culture at the entire State Department – which, as I said the other day, we don’t subscribe to. We don’t share that assessment. Now, you could look at it your way and say, “Well, if we’re not following the rules, then that proves the point.” I would look at it the other way, is that you have people that are trying to take extraordinary care in a pre-decisional environment for the Secretary of State and to preserve what could be sensitive information in advance of a call that might not be taking place. That to me doesn’t connote a culture of negligence and lackadaisical disregard for sensitive information. It actually, to me, says the opposite.

So let’s just agree that I’m going to go ahead and try to see what I can do to put some fidelity on these questions, but I am – still stand by my comment the other day that a broad-brush assessment that the State Department is lax, doesn’t have a healthy security conscience here, is simply without base.

So this (c) marking is a common practice at the department, elsewhere referred to as a “standard practice,” and may simply indicate that at the moment there is a suggestion to make this call but we are not making it public unless/until the secretary decides to make or not make the call.  In other words, it may be temporary.

QUESTION: Okay, great. Second thing: Going back to the discussion that you had yesterday and just now with regard to the practice of putting a “C” on such a memo prior to a decision that has been made for the secretary to place such a call, the – one of the emails talks about having a call at 7:30 a.m. or at some other point during the course of the day. Is it your view that the decision to make the call – this is the one about the condolences to the president of Malawi. Is it your view that the decision to make the call had indeed been made when those emails were sent and you were just talking about what time it would be?

MR KIRBY: I have no idea. There’s no way for me to know that.

QUESTION: Well, if you don’t know whether the decision to make the call had been made at that point, then how do you know the information wasn’t – wasn’t not just marked classified but actually classified when the secretary sent it – when the secretary’s aide sent it?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know – I don’t know how to answer your question. What I said yesterday – I’m not going to get into litigating each and every one of these emails. What I said yesterday is oftentimes it is practice to mark them Confidential in advance of a decision to make a call, and then once the decision is made they’re made Sensitive but Unclassified and they’re provided to the Secretary in a way that he or she can then use as they’re on the phone, and that – that by all appearances, it appears to us that the remnant “C”, if you will, on this particular email call sheet was human error because it appears to me from the traffic that the secretary had been asking, had been wanting the call sheet, which would, I think, indicate that the secretary was at that time intending on making the call.

But I can’t say that for sure because I wasn’t here and I wasn’t involved in the email traffic itself. So I’m being careful about how I’m wording this because we’re making assumptions here that I simply don’t know for a fact are true. But that’s why we believe in this case it was – it was simply human error in terms of the transmission of that particular subparagraph labeled “C”.

QUESTION: Okay. So it’s your assumption that the secretary had at that point made the decision, hence the information would no longer have been classified, hence the marking was a rogue or —

MR KIRBY: A human error.


MR KIRBY: A mistake. That’s our assumption, Arshad. But again, not having been here and party to that entire exchange, I don’t know that for – to be a fact 100 percent.


QUESTION: I have one more on this if people are – want to go on. I just wanted to ask if, in the event the secretary decides not to make the call, when does the classification expire?

MR KIRBY: I don’t know, Brad.

QUESTION: Well, isn’t that useful information given that there are strict rules as well on classification cannot be indefinite in this country?

MR KIRBY: We’re – I’m not going to get into a circular argument with you here on this. I told you I will look at the regulation.

QUESTION: Yeah, okay.

MR KIRBY: I will do the best I can to answer your questions, Brad. But all I’m trying to do is put some perspective on this.

QUESTION: It was – it’s a very confusing policy. That’s why there are so many questions.

MR KIRBY: I didn’t – it’s a – I didn’t call it a policy. I said oftentimes it is standard practice —

QUESTION: Practice. It’s a very confusing practice.

MR KIRBY: — for it to be deemed Confidential in advance of the secretary making a decision – hang on, Goyal – making a decision, and then it is rendered SBU so that the secretary can use the document in an unclassified setting to make the call. And again, I am not an expert enough to debate the expiration of the classified setting, the markings on it. I will do the best I can to answer your questions. I think, again, taking a couple of steps back, look at this in broad terms – it is staff members working hard to try to protect decision space for the secretary in case that call doesn’t get made.


MR KIRBY: And maybe we don’t want that out there that we decided no, we’re not going to call that foreign leader, we don’t think it’s okay to send him a condolence message. And that’s not information necessarily that we want to have in the unclass environment. And so you have people that are doing the best they can to try to protect decision space for the secretary and to protect – and to protect what we still would render as sensitive information. Again, that doesn’t connote to me a culture of laxity and negligence and —

QUESTION: Oh, I mean, I didn’t ask that on this question. But if you classify something and it’s to protect the possibility that maybe the secretary doesn’t make the call, that information still has to become public at some point. Whether you don’t want it to or don’t think it should be is regardless. It’s public information after a point of declassification.

MR KIRBY: No it doesn’t.

QUESTION: That’s how it works in this country.

MR KIRBY: It doesn’t automatically become public; it becomes declassified at a certain point.

QUESTION: It becomes declassified.

MR KIRBY: That doesn’t mean it has to be put in the public domain.

QUESTION: Well, it becomes declassified at a certain point, isn’t that right?

MR KIRBY: Eventually Classified information will have an expiration on it.

QUESTION: But in this case there was no expiration, so it just kind of was undefined.

MR KIRBY: Well, you and I don’t know that, do we? Because what we have is an email that was put on the unclass side. It was taken to – put on the unclass side, and one marking on one paragraph was labeled “C,” which we believe was a human error. But you and I haven’t seen what was the actual Confidential call sheet that was prepared before it was transferred over to the unclass side, so I don’t know how you and I could know what markings were on that call sheet or what dates were put on there, if any.

QUESTION: I don’t know —

MR KIRBY: Right.

QUESTION: — but I also didn’t know that this sentence comes from a Classified – a fully Classified document. I don’t think anyone had told me that before.

MR KIRBY: I said yesterday that call sheets are generally —

QUESTION: So this sentence —

MR KIRBY: — considered Confidential, and that doesn’t mean that —

QUESTION: This sentence was lifted from a Classified document and put into an Unclassified document?

MR KIRBY: No, Brad. I mean, the call sheets are generally held at a Confidential level in advance of the secretary making a decision to make a call. Not every paragraph of that have to be Confidential. Like, you could still have a Confidential document with four paragraphs, right, and maybe three of those paragraphs are Confidential but one’s Unclassified. So, again, I haven’t seen the actual call sheet that was drafted, so I can’t tell you for sure that every paragraph in there was labeled Confidential with a “C” or Unclassified with a “U.” All I do know is that the email that was processed through FOIA and released contained one paragraph – I think it was actually a sentence; it was like the purpose of the call, I think – that was – that the “C” marking was retained when it was transmitted over an unclass system to former Secretary Clinton. Again, we believe that that was simply human error as the call sheet was moved over to a format that the secretary could use. That “C” should’ve been removed; it wasn’t, because – I mean, the line was really – it was the purpose of the call, I believe is what it was, and so you can see if that’s the document being moved over, that’s the paragraph being moved over, it should have been – the “C” marking should have been taken off.

The bottom line is that, in picking needles out of the haystack, the FBI investigators, reading tediously carefully, found a few of these (c)s  – perhaps remnant (c)s – in texts of strings of emails. None of the emails had headings using the three valid terms – Secret, Top Secret, and Confidential according to Executive Order 13526. The FBI found three emails with this mark.  The State Department as of yesterday only knew of two of the three. (To see more of yesterday’s press briefing, click here.)

Hillary’s campaign released this statement on the subject.

FBI’s Comey: Emails Reported as “Marked Classified” Were Improperly Marked and Could Be Reasonably Judged as Not Classified

In a key development at today’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, FBI Director James Comey clarified an apparent inconsistency between his remarks earlier this week and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s long-running public statements.

Clinton has long stated that none of the emails she sent or received were marked classified at the time. Comey, however, said Monday that there was a “very small number” of emails that bore markings.

Moments ago, Comey reconciled this apparent contradiction. He acknowledged for the first time that there were only three such emails, and that in each case the emails contained only “partial” markings — meaning, he acknowledged, that they were improperly marked and that as a result, the materials could have been reasonably judged as not classified.

Comey’s statements add to the findings announced by the State Department yesterday. At a press briefing, a State Department spokesman said the markings on these emails were the result of “human error” and did not belong in these emails, as the underlying contents were not classified.

Below is the full exchange just now between Director Comey and Rep. Matt Cartwright:


MATT CARTWRIGHT: You were asked about markings on a few documents, I have the manual here, marking national classified security information. And I don’t think you were given a full chance to talk about those three documents with the little c’s on them. Were they properly documented? Were they properly marked according to the manual?


MATT CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual, and I ask unanimous consent to enter this into the record Mr. Chairman

CHAIRMAN: Without objection so ordered.

MATT CARTWRIGHT: According to the manual, if you’re going to classify something, there has to be a header on the document? Right?


MATT CARTWRIGHT: Was there a header on the three documents that we’ve discussed today that had the little c in the text someplace?

JAMES COMEY: No. There were three e-mails, the c was in the body, in the text, but there was no header on the email or in the text.

MATT CARTWRIGHT: So if Secretary Clinton really were an expert about what’s classified and what’s not classified and we’re following the manual, the absence of a header would tell her immediately that those three documents were not classified. Am I correct in that?

 JAMES COMEY: That would be a reasonable inference.

Last night, several readers contacted me concerned about the news that the State Department has reopened its investigation into the matter of the emails and the server.  This is an internal inquiry that was underway and was suspended while the FBI investigation was ongoing.  It is set to continue, as it was expected to, now that the FBI investigation is complete and Justice Department has issued its decision.



phone calls (2)

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Super Tuesday was not and not expected to be resounding.  Hillary’s showing was strong and creditable but was not the Sanders shut-down of which some had dreamt and continue to dream. Bernie racked up solid wins in caucus states.  Ignoring that does not delete those delegates.

From the very beginning, eleven month ago, Hillary told us that this was going to be hard-fought.  It has been and still is.  Hillary and her team – of which we all count ourselves part – worked hard for every success.  She was solid in the South, and she edged Bernie out in his neighboring state, Massachusetts.  That was the good news.

Portraying Super Tuesday as more than it was and predicting a swift demise of the Sanders campaign are land mines to be avoided.  Of course we celebrate the victories. The danger is in sitting back and behaving as if it is time to pop the champagne cork.

While it is fine to celebrate these victories, and we should, it is dangerous to believe, complacently, that Hillary is a shoo-in. Too many analyses, articles, and comments at Facebook groups in the wake of last night provide an alarming message that Hillary is going to win this no matter what.  The “inevitability” mentality is a trap.

There are tough battles ahead.  We are the ones who must fight them.

In the 1950s there was a prevailing attitude in the United States of  “Let George do it.”  Perhaps the threats of the McCarthy era influenced people to stand back in the shadows and let others who were willing to take risks shoulder the struggle.  We cannot afford that today.

This is what is happening today, March 2, the day after Super Tuesday, in the House.

March 2, 2016

Bioethics of Fetal Tissue Research The Select Investigative Panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the practice of fetal tissue donation and the use of fetal material in medical research.

This is what SCOTUS is doing.

Supreme Court closely divided on abortion case

Sitting at a keyboard and whipping up pipe dreams about Bernie’s money pit drying up is not going to get us the president we need to combat the assault – from two sides of our tripartite government – on the rights of women and families to make family planning decisions. This is every bit as much a part of what we do at the kitchen table as paying the bills.  We are and should be past the era of four older siblings working to put the fifth through school.  Deciding how many children we can support as a family is the right of individuals that should not be overridden by government edict. This is very much at the heart of both of those hearings.

The Republican Party is in upheaval.

Longtime traditional Republicans like Christie Whitman, Peter King, and Mitt Romney are alarmed that Donald Trump carries the mantel of their party as he did last night. There are Democrats who feel the same way about Bernie Sanders running as a Democrat. The hard, cold fact is that both of these men are exactly where they are, and Bernie Sanders has actual delegates.  There are more contests ahead.

A handful of outlying Congressional endorsements is not enough for Bernie Sanders to effect the kind of legislation that will protect our rights. Pretending that he is not having the successes that he is does nothing to ensure that Hillary will prevail in Philadelphia – preferably before.

We know which president we need, and we have to fight for her because she is fighting for us.  There is no “George” who is going to do this. We have to.  We all have to be “George.”


Be a fighter for Hillary!


VOLUNTEERVolunteer in Utah >>>>

Sign this if you agree >>>>

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Hillary knows what she has to do tomorrow and long has known what she wants to say in her testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.  She has not been campaigning this week and probably is reviewing briefs and papers that the State Department has provided to the committee.

Most of us will be as glued to various-sized screens watching the proceedings as time and work permit.  In case you feel you need to brush up on any of the information related to the Select committee’s investigation, Correct the Record has put together a handy guide for your convenience.


You can access the pdf of the guide here >>>>


Just saying, it would have been nice if Appropriations had granted the State Department an unlimited budget for embassy security in 2011 and 2012 rather than cutting those budget figures, but that’s just me.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Clearly, a great deal of what the State Department could and could not do to increase security, if indeed headquarters was notified of such a need, rested not in the hands of the department itself, but rather in the hands of the same body that is now calling the secretary and her department to task,  the House of Representatives and specifically,  the Appropriations Committee.

Try as they might to somehow blame the Secretary of State for not adequately protecting her colleagues,  the Republican Tea Party House has blood on its hands and should be called to task  as well.  We should not forget their role in this going forward.

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Remember that the right sidebar here contains links to the complete unclassified Accountability Review Board report and the cover letter that accompanied to to Congress in late 2012 when a good number of the recommendations in that report had already been implemented.  This remains the seminal document covering the events of September 11, 2012.

In case you did not already know.

October 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton Testimony at House Select Committee on Benghazi

Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which is investigating the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate there, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died.

This program has not yet aired

The campaign has provided this brief, which is nice and succinct. if you have time to read nothing else, read this.

The Benghazi Committee, explained.

Hillary is on Capitol Hill today, testifying in front of the House Select Benghazi Committee. Here’s what it’s all about.

What happened in Benghazi

On September 11, 2012, a group of Islamic militia members attacked a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in the terrorist attack: U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glenn Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.

For Hillary, who was serving as secretary of state at the time, the tragedy is personal. She was the one who had asked the late Chris Stevens to serve as ambassador to Libya. She was with President Obama at Andrews Air Force Base when Marines brought home the caskets of the four Americans. Anyone who knows Hillary knows she isn’t the kind of person to stand around wringing her hands after a tragedy—she leapt into action immediately to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

The Benghazi Committee is the eighth—yes, eighth—congressional review of the tragedy.

The events in Benghazi have been scrutinized by countless panels, news organizations, and government agencies. After the attack, Hillary set up a nonpartisan panel known as the Accountability Review board (ARB) to investigate. The panel made dozens of recommendations for improvement. By the time Hillary left office, every single reform was on its way to being implemented.

After the ARB, seven congressional panels have also completed investigations. Five were led by Republicans. None found any wrongdoing. But even with these conclusive findings, House Republicans approved an unlimited budget—yup, we’re talking about your taxpayer dollars—for an eighth congressional review. Enter the House Select Benghazi Committee.

The House Select Benghazi Committee has one goal.

Now, if you’re wondering why Republicans are still at it even after the thorough reviews—or if you’re thinking that sounds a little fishy—you’re onto something. Over the past few weeks, a number of key Republicans—from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to New York’s Rep. Richard Hanna—have copped to the truth about why this committee was established in the first place: to “go after” Hillary Clinton and to hurt her presidential candidacy. A whistleblower has even come forward to say that he was fired because he  objected to how partisan the inquiry was.

Trey Gowdy, the chair of the committee, has predicted the probe will continue well into 2016. Their aim is clear: hurt Hillary’s chances of winning the presidential election. And for those of you who are curious, no, the committee has not been able to produce any new facts about the attack.

What you’ll hear today

“No one wants to find out what happened more than I do.”

Hillary, October 24, 2012

Hillary’s first priority is to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. That’s the right thing to do—and the way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s why she has already testified on Capitol Hill about the tragedy (twice, in fact), and she has been asking to testify before the this committee for more than a  year so that the public can hear her answers.

Republicans, on the other hand, are going to exploit whatever they can to mislead voters about Hillary’s record. They’ll grill her about emails and anything else they can think of to discredit her.

But here’s what Hillary is going to do: stay focused, clarify the facts, and offer some lessons that we can learn to protect Americans going forward. The men and women who serve our country deserve nothing less.

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The New York Times stirred up a hornets nest late Thursday night with a stunningly inaccurate smear on Hillary Clinton’s character and State Department tenure.  Throughout yesterday a series of protests from a variety of sources called them out on the legitimacy of their story.  A few minor (and grudging) revisions resulted.

Today, the Corrections section issued this.

Corrections: July 25, 2015

The second it looks defensive.  I did not hear anyone saying the NYT requested an investigation.

Here is the latest revision of the header and lede.

Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email

Here is the correction in the footer of the article.

Correction: July 25, 2015

An earlier version of this article, along with the headline, misstated, using information from senior government officials, the nature of the inspectors general’s request. It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s personal email account. It did not specifically seek an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.

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The shabby and less than full-throated “walk back” fails to mention that the key word redacted from the header and the lede was the word criminalThat is the word that was burned into memory of Americans who saw that header whether they bothered to read the article or not.  Nowhere does the NYT mention its egregious blunder in using that word.

More importantly, neither have they removed Hillary’s name from the header.  The issue is not Hillary’s “use of email.”  It is whether any of the emails should have been classified.  None of them were classified at the time Hillary received them.  There remains contention between the State Department and the intelligence community over whether or not some of these emails should be or should have been classified.  None of these emails originated with Hillary.

Far beyond a simple set of progressing “corrections,” the New York Times owes Hillary Clinton a front page public apology with a big header as does every publication and news source that sank its teeth into this story like so many crocodiles.

Years of blogging have taught me that many, many people do not bother to read.  Headers catch the eye,  and that is the full message.  Some even comment based on the header to an article they have not bothered to read.  Then a version of the game of telephone ensues wherein an erroneous message takes root as truth and spreads like a stain.

Hillary will tell you that she’s used to this kind of character assassination.  That does not mean that we, her supporters, should slough it off.

The NYT ought to apologize  to Hillary Clinton publicly and loudly with a big  prominent headline. forthwith!

Corollary to this comes the news from CNN about an hour ago that Hillary will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, as she has long said she gladly would do and has asked to do, on October 22,  four days before her birthday.  Contrary to CNN’s remarks, this throws no “wrench” into Hillary’s campaign plans.  As she  has insisted, her testimony will be public.

Thank you, Mary Jo Payne, for this petition!

Demand front page apology for Hillary

We love you, Hillary!  We have your back!




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While many of us hit by Superstorm Sandy were still struggling to recover, Saturday Night Live opened with a dueling press conference by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, each accompanied by his personal ASL translator. You can also check out translator in Brisbane for more info.  At one point, Fred Armesen, broke into some very Bloombergesque español and asked New York’s Hispanic population to please be patient with white people who, with no electricity, internet, or cable have been missing Homeland, and missing Homeland is the worst thing that ever happened to them.

Some people are simply so impatient for the new season of Homeland that they have launched a spin-off.  A huge hit during season one beginning last fall,  Benghazi returned to the Fox News Channel in prime time last week, and its fans cannot get enough.

During season one, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the Carrie Mathison figure, returning from an extensive trip to the South Pacific and Asia immediately had to respond to an attack on a US installation in northern Libya.

Her State Department had lost four good men.  Hillary took full responsibility for everything and assigned two top people, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen to assemble an Accountability Review Board to investigate what had happened and what had gone wrong.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee clamored for her to appear before them.  She assured them that she would cooperate after the ARB had completed its investigation and submitted its report, but meanwhile assured them that she would gladly send State Department personnel to testify as requested and well as provide documents as requested, which she did.  In the course of the live telecast of the testimony, Rep. Jason Chaffetz,  ever petulant and dramatic, exposed the Benghazi installation not really to be a State Department operation at all but rather a CIA site under DOS cover, but never mind!

Meanwhile, Hillary attended to her myriad other duties as Secretary of State as well as President Obama’s duties at the U.N. General Assembly through the end of September.

She traveled extensively in October and November Peru, Algeria, the Balkans, Australia, and one last swing through Asia with a sudden assignment to the Middle East.  In December,  finishing her last trip to the Czech Republic, NATO in Belgium, Ireland, and Northern Ireland she fell ill with a serious virus, fainted, and sustained a concussion.  Later a blood clot was found.

All of this time the HFAC clamored for her appearance, however, the ARB report had not as yet been completed, and Hillary was not going to testify until she had that report to read and submit.  Hillary as villainess in the Fox News series Benghazi was now being accused of faking her illness and injuries to avoid testifying.

Recovering at home, she received the completed report and sent it to Congress with a cover letter (see the sidebar for the links), but she was still under doctors’ orders to remain at home, rest, and heal. December and Christmas passed, the New Year came in, and Hillary’s people were all very worried about her condition while the Benghazi show on Fox insisted she was faking.

Season one of Behghazi ended when Hillary spent January 23 on Capitol Hill and testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (videos of full testimony have been added to these links).    Like her confirmation hearing,  these testimonies together amounted to the equivalent of multiple dissertation defenses.

In the interim, the Republican Conference launched an investigation of the ARB investigation and issued a report in late April.  Missing from the committee assigned to the investigation was the House Appropriations Committee which, for the two years in a row since the election of Tea Party candidates to the Republican majority Congress,  had cut Hillary’s budget for Embassy security by hundreds of millions of dollars. But never mind!

We have a basis for a new season of … Benghazi!  Let’s do it!

Season two opened last week to much fanfare regarding State Department “whistleblowers” testifying – now to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.   Covered exclusively by Fox, since they own Benghazi,  the season debut featured questions from Republican members, often delivered with great melodramatic flair (Jason Chaffetz, Trey Gowdy).   In this episode a great fuss was made regarding the ARB, the depth,  breadth, and nature of the investigation as well as personnel interviewed.

In a review of  season two/episode one last week, ARB co-chair Ambassador Thomas Pickering told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that both he and his co-chair Admiral Mullen had offered their testimony to HOGR chair, Darryl Issa, prior to last week’s hearing but they were declined.

Drama built as Pickering sat beside Issa on Meet the Press on Sunday. I will let you read the deliciousness here.

Darrell Issa (R-CA) made a fool of himself on “Meet the Press” Sunday as he tried to defend his Benghazi conspiracy. David Gregory (R-TV) pushed back hard, even bringing up the GOP’s defunding of security.

Issa even accused General David Petraeus of lying for the administration. As soon as Gregory would call Issa on one thing, he’d say he was investigating something else. Issa accused Tom Pickering of refusing to testify when in fact, Issa had not invited him to speak and Pickering was told that the Republican majority did not want him there. Issa ended up backtracking on that one, too, and it was super awkward when it came out that Issa never asked for him to appear.

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It was even better than any of the Fox coverage.  So in this week’s episode, the previews show this coming.

Benghazi Depositions To Examine Hillary Clinton’s Role In Response To Attacks

By DONNA CASSATA 05/13/13 05:02 PM ET EDT AP

WASHINGTON — House Republicans pushed ahead Monday with their investigation of the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year as President Barack Obama asserted that GOP charges of a cover-up are baseless.

The latest Republican focus is the independent review that slammed the State Department for inadequate security at the installation before the twin nighttime attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked the two authors of the investigation – veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – to meet privately with committee staff to answer questions about their review. Democrats countered that if Congress wants to talk to them, Issa should hold a full open hearing.

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I have a feeling this season will not go well for Benghazi,  Issa or for Fox.

I can understand being frustrated between seasons of Homeland.  I am a fan myself.  Going to this extent seems an exaggeration, however.  There are alternatives.  While it is entirely based in fantasy, Game of Thrones, for example, could be very instructive viewing for Issa and his army.

They should become acquainted with Daenerys Targaryen .  I believe her character is based on Hillary Clinton.  Like Hillary, she is blonde, beautiful, smart, kind, and a gifted leader.  Princess of the Targaryen dynasty and widow of  Dothraki warlord,  Khal Drogo, she is the Khaleesi of the Dothraki people.   When faced with enemies, she buys their slaves to be her army and buys their female slaves,  befriends them and makes them her close staff and guards.  She is very powerful. Everyone adores her, and she has dragons.   Fierce dragons. Protective ones.

Speaking of dragons, Hillary also has fierce dragons.  We are legion.  We are everywhere, and even if they try to keep this Benghazi series going,  our Khaleesi will win in the end.

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Hillary Clinton will be in Beverly Hills this evening to receive another in a long string of awards and honors.

Chairman’s Gala


U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013)
May 8, 2013

Gala to honor Hillary Clinton May 2013 | Los Angeles
At a gala event on May 8, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver one of her first addresses on the west coast since stepping down as U.S. Secretary of State earlier this year. Secretary Clinton will accept the inaugural Warren Christopher Public Service Award from the Pacific Council on International Policy, conferred in recognition of her distinguished service to the country

The Ready for Hillary Super PAC is planning a rally to greet her, as they have at previous events.

All of this pro-Hillary excitement unfolds against the backdrop of a flurry of anti-Hillary activity in the House of Representatives where today the Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard the testimony of three State Department employees called by Darryl Issa who is itching to pin a bogus cover-up or something else – whatever he can find – on the retired Secretary of State.

Largely ignored by cable outlets today (except Fox News, of course),  at least some of the testimony concerned issues that had been adequately addressed in the Accountability Review Board (ARB) report provided to the all interested Congress persons well prior to Secretary Clinton’s January 23 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

State  Department officials have repeatedly and consistently stated that under Secretary Clinton’s leadership all 29 recommendations by the board had been implemented.  Hillary Clinton unequivocally took responsibility for failures on the part of her department.

Andrea Mitchell today had Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who led the board with Admiral Mike Mullen,  on her show.  Pickering stated that Gregory Hicks, who was second in command to slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and remained in Tripoli the night of the attack, had done a fine job and had spent many hours being interviewed by the ARB.  He pointed out that the requests from Hicks for four special forces to be sent to Benghazi after the first attack and for a fly over in Benghazi were deemed impractical both by State and by the Department of Defense.

Pickering also stated that he offered to testify before the committee and Issa declined his offer.

Sending the only four special forces out of Tripoli where classified documents are kept would have left the embassy vulnerable when embassies across the region were under siege.   There were no classified documents in Benghazi.  The primary responsibility of the special forces is protection of classified materials – not personnel.  No one could have predicted a second attack in Benghazi.  The planes requested for the flyover could not have refueled since there was no tanker in the Mediterranean that night. (See p. 37 of the report)

So, while Issa and company continue to aim at her and miss,  Hillary will be receiving a public service award and her fervent supporters will greet her with pleas for her to run in 2016.  Meanwhile, husband Bill says she is having a fine time doing what she wants and talk of 2016 is a waste of time.  Hillary does not have to do anything at all to get her name in the headers or on her husband’s lips, but she has already done so much that regularly she is given awards and honors.

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As you know, Mme. Secretary is traveling again next week when several House and Senate Committees called hearings on Benghazi.  For those who would like some details on who from DOS will attend  these hearings and what kind of information DOS is providing,  this snip from today’s press briefing is helpful.


12:56 p.m. EST

MS. NULAND: All right, everybody. Happy Friday. Apologies for the delay. I think you know that the President is coming out with a statement very shortly, so we will do as much as we can until we hear that he’s going out. And then if we have things to clean up later, we can do it by phone or by email.

I want to just start by coming back to something that we mentioned either yesterday or the day before, which was that we would be participating in some Hill engagements next week on Benghazi. Just to give you the list there, on Tuesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Let me, sorry, go back and say that all of these are going to be closed sessions at the Hill’s request. Okay?

So first, on Tuesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On Wednesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. On Thursday morning, Under Secretary Kennedy will testify in a closed hearing before the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, and in the afternoon, he’ll testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. And on Friday morning, Under Secretary Kennedy will brief Chairmen and ranking members from the House. And again, all of those are in closed, classified session and at the Hill’s request. Let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, because I came in late. This is on Benghazi, right?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: All of these are in closed session at the Hill’s request?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: Do you have – did they say why these needed to be closed sessions, since they seem to be the source of all the documents that are leaking out in dribs and drabs?

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is that they wanted to have a conversation that incorporated classified information, including intelligence reporting.

QUESTION: Was there not classified information – did members of Congress not complain that classified information was released at the House Oversight Committee hearing that already had been held?

MS. NULAND: Matt, they’ve asked for closed hearings, closed briefings; that’s what we’re complying with.

QUESTION: The Secretary won’t appear before any of these committees?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has not been asked to appear. They’ve asked for the individuals that are coming.

QUESTION: Would she be willing to fly back from Australia to appear?

MS. NULAND: Again, she has not been asked to appear. She was asked to appear at House Foreign Affairs next week, and we have written back to the Chairman to say that she’ll be on travel next week.

QUESTION: Are you aware that any Libyans will be called to the hearings to be talked to?

MS. NULAND: That sounds like a question for the Hill. I’m not aware of any panels other than the government panels.

QUESTION: But you have not been asked to facilitate any visas or anything like this for –

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: — maybe some Libyan officials?


QUESTION: Toria, I’m sorry. I was running down here to get here. You may have said this: Is there any effort by the State Department to brief us on anything that might not be classified or any information, any progress that we could talk about next week that could come out of that?

MS. NULAND: I don’t anticipate that we’re going to have new information for the press before we have the ARB report, but let’s just see where we go there.

QUESTION: Do you know – do you anticipate that you’ll have new information for members of Congress?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, they’ve asked for classified hearings.

QUESTION: I understood that.

MS. NULAND: Some of them have been – there are a lot of folks who have been out of town during this – the period that the Congress was out of session. These hearings and briefings were requested by them now that they’re coming back into session, so I can’t speak to what different members know and how much different members have followed.

QUESTION: Yeah. But, I mean, do you expect Pat Kennedy to get up there and say anything substantially different than what he’s already said in public?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to what might be spoken about in a classified session. I would guess, Matt, that it’s also going to go to issues of intelligence, which we haven’t been briefing.

QUESTION: And Pat is the person that’s discussed issues of intelligence with them?

MS. NULAND: Again, Pat is the Under Secretary for Management. He can speak to the entire threat environment that we were working under, which included both unclassified and classified information.


QUESTION: Toria, the Congress has asked for a lot of documents, obviously. Can you give us an update on even percentage-wise how much the State Department has collected, how you’re giving them these documents, or whether you’re waiting to get everything together, compiled, and then you will give it to them?

MS. NULAND: Well, thanks for that question, Jill. As you know, we’ve had requests for documents from a number of committees and from a number of staff and members. We have now made documents available to members of and staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We have told all of these requesting committees and their staff that they can see these documents as many times as they’d like to see them, for as long as they’d like to see them.

Our understanding, in fact, is that today Senator Corker of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is reviewing documents at his request. So there have been some reports out there that we’ve been withholding information or that we’ve been limiting time. None of that is accurate. We’ve really done our utmost under the Secretary’s instructions to be fully compliant, transparent, and open with the Congress.

QUESTION: And do they come over here to view them?

MS. NULAND: No, we take them up there to their classified rooms.

QUESTION: And same question really, and then you – and they review them, and then you take them back and await the next request to see them?

MS. NULAND: Exactly. We arrange whatever requests are needed after they’ve had a chance to take a first look. And sometimes you have staff looking and then they want their members to see, subset, et cetera. So we’ve been facilitating all of that.

QUESTION: Just on these hearings, I’m wondering, given the fact that the refrain from the Hill or at least some members of the Hill, has been since this all began that the American people have the right to know, they deserve to know, was there any pushback from you guys when they said that we want to have these closed, we want to have these closed hearings rather than having open so that the American people could hear?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, relatively soon after the events, there was a set of open hearings. It’s obviously up to the Congress to ask for what it wants to have. In this case, they’ve asked for a set of closed briefings and hearings, so we’re going to comply with that.

QUESTION: Fair enough. I understand, but did – was there any suggestion from this building that, hey, if you really want the American people to know, maybe these shouldn’t be held behind closed doors?

MS. NULAND: I think we are in the posture of complying with what the Congress is asking for to help them in their review and to be supportive of their understanding of the situation as we go forward. As we’ve said, we have the ARB running. We also have whatever the FBI will come forward with. So there will be a time to be as open as we can be about the findings of the ARB with the public understanding the need to protect classified.


QUESTION: More clarification on the documents. Many – there have been many different requests and sometimes defined with different parameters. How did you collect those documents? Is it the full collection of documents that has been asked for? Is it this committee gets exactly what they ask for? Or if you can get into a little more depth in terms of which documents go where and how many, and whether this is it or whether there will be more.

MS. NULAND: Whether this is it, whether this – there’ll be more, I mean, that depends on whether the scope is broadened by committees. But in fact, whenever we have – particularly when we have classified documents requested, we have to do a full search. It involves both telegrams, intelligence reports, classified email, all of that kind of thing. And then we meet the requests that the different committees have, that the different staff members have. It’s not unusual for a first set of documents to be reviewed and then additional things to be requested. All of that has to be gone through. So it’s really specific to the requests as they come in.

QUESTION: Toria, there are currently Pentagon teams that are studying the situation in Libya to see how best an army, or a Libyan army, can be built. Is the State Department involved in any way in these processes, or are you involved in any way in sort of restructuring Libyan security?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, as you know, there is a UN-sponsored effort underway to be supportive to the Libyans. We also have made bilateral proposals. We’ve had teams, mil-mil teams and other teams, out there offering support in all of the various categories where we often help transitioning countries, whether it’s destruction of excess equipment, whether it’s nationalizing a military, whether it is training, all those kinds of things.

I think one of the issues, as the Libyans have been clear about, is that in this – in the context of their being an interim government first and then having a relatively protracted period of establishing the current transitional government, they have been loath to make some of the larger structural decisions that would enable us to provide more help. But we are hopeful that, now that they have a fully agreed upon transitional government, that we will be able to do more together to help them meet the security needs of the country and to provide stronger population security. And we’re open to doing all of that.

Please, Margaret.

QUESTION: Toria, when you’re talking about this process, going up to the Hill, delivering these documents, is there a chief Benghazi point person at State? Who’s doing this? It sounds extremely time consuming. So who is focused on this specifically?

MS. NULAND: Well, there are a whole bunch of folks who, obviously, have to look at things to ensure that we’ve been complete. But as has been clear by our public presentations, Under Secretary Kennedy has the line authority for ensuring that we’re fully compliant, and obviously, our Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Dave Adams.


QUESTION: You mentioned that Senator Corker is looking at some of this stuff today. Is he the only person up there who’s so far gotten hold of any of these documents, or have they gone to other offices as well? Can you tell how many?

MS. NULAND: I think I just did that about five minutes ago.

QUESTION: Did you? I’m sorry.

MS. NULAND: Maybe you slept through that piece, Andy. (Laughter.) I can do it again.

Members and staff of House Oversight and Government Reform, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs —

QUESTION: Okay. I got that list. So it’s actually gone up to all of these folks?

MS. NULAND: Correct. Correct. Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. That was it. Right.

MS. NULAND: And again, with members in and out before they came back into session, we now have some members whose staff have seen documents who want to see them themselves, et cetera.


MS. NULAND: Yeah. It’s the usual —

QUESTION: Victoria, will the Secretary be appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week?

MS. NULAND: I spoke to that about 15 minutes ago.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry. It’s just been posted on their website.

MS. NULAND: She is traveling next week, as you know. We just put out a message. So she will not appear, but we – I did give a list, at the top of this, of multiple briefings and hearings where Pat Kennedy will be appearing.

QUESTION: So just to make 100 percent sure, the Secretary is not going to interrupt her trip to come back and testify?

MS. NULAND: She has a commitment with the Secretary of Defense to the AUSMIN Ministerial. So —

QUESTION: And doesn’t she also have a commitment with the President to go to certain other countries in the region?

MS. NULAND: She does. Was that the – okay. Sounds like the President’s going to come out, so we can do the rest of this in gaggle format afterwards. Thanks.

(The briefing paused at 1:08 p.m. and resumed at 1:28 p.m.)

MS. NULAND: Here we go. Friday briefing, round two. All right, where were we, guys?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) fiscal cliff and the President’s plan to avert going over it. Are we done with Libya?

MS. NULAND: I think we are. Let’s keep moving on.

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As the House Committee Oversight and Government Reform hearing  (there is a link to the C-SPAN video of the proceedings at that post) was getting underway on Wednesday October 10, references were made to a background briefing the evening before.  The transcript of that briefing is now available at the State Department website and provides the most complete account to date of events on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11 and the morning of September 12.

All over the internet, MSM and bloggers are referring to this text as well as statements by Secretary Clinton and other State Department officials as evidence that the Department of State never laid blame for the attack in Benghazi on the notorious Youtube defaming Islam which was the message put forth in Vice President Biden’s remarks during Thurday’s debate with Paul Ryan (a segment during which neither candidate appeared appropriately informed much less “presidential” in a heartbeat-away kind of way) as well as in U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s remarks on the Sunday morning talk circuit the weekend following the attack.  At Friday’s press availability with Italy’s foreign minister,  Secretary Clinton chose her words very carefully in response to a question from CNN’s Jill Dougherty.

To this day – to this day, we do not have a complete picture. We do not have all the answers. No one in this Administration has ever claimed otherwise. Every one of us has made clear that we are providing the best information we have at that time. And that information continues to be updated. It also continues to be put into context and more deeply understood through the process we are engaged in. Ambassador Rice had the same information from the intelligence community as every other senior official did.

She did not say that the information Ambassador Rice had was that the attack stemmed from a demonstration of any kind in Benghazi.  In the background briefing we see:

OPERATOR: The next question is from the line of Brad Klapper with AP. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, yes. You described several incidents you had with groups of men, armed men. What in all of these events that you’ve described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: That is a question that you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion. I’m not saying that we had a conclusion, but we outlined what happened. The Ambassador walked guests out around 8:30 or so, there was no one on the street at approximately 9:40, then there was the noise and then we saw on the cameras the – a large number of armed men assaulting the compound.

The hearing itself was purportedly held to determine the nature and extent of  security in Benghazi the night of the attack. What we learned was that there was an interagency detail in Tripoli into August and that although the tour had been extended previously, it was withdrawn and replaced with a State Department detail in Tripoli.  Part of that detail accompanied Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi.

OPERATOR: The next question comes from the line of David Lerman with Bloomberg News. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Did the Ambassador – before the attack, did the Ambassador request that security be increased in Benghazi? And if so, did anything ever come of it?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL NUMBER TWO: The – when the Ambassador traveled to Benghazi, he traveled with two additional security agents over and above the complement of three who were assigned to post. So there were five agents with him there rather than the two who are normally assigned there – the three who are normally assigned. So they were up two.

There remain voices demanding to know, as Paul Ryan asked during Thursday’s debate, why Ambassador Stevens was not given a Marine Guard.  At Friday’s press briefing, Victoria Nuland remained remarkably composed and patient as she addressed that issue for the Nth time to a question from the aforementioned Jill Dougherty of CNN.

QUESTION: There is something on the – that came up in the debate last night. It’s more a kind of how do things work question. Congressman Ryan said that Marines should have been sent – Marines exist, guard the Embassy in Paris, and they should have been guarding the Ambassador when he went to Benghazi. Is that correct? I mean, could they have sent Marines? Is that the normal course?

MS. NULAND: Let me just stop everybody here and remind you that we don’t do politics at this podium. We don’t litigate the campaign on one side or the other.

QUESTION: No, I’m not saying it’s politics. I’m saying: How does it work?

MS. NULAND: If you’re asking me a factual question —

QUESTION: Exactly. How does it work? Where– what do Marines protect? Would they in any case have protected that mission in Benghazi?

MS. NULAND: We’ve talked about the role of Marines from this podium several times. We talked about it in the days following the attack. I would refer you back to what we said at the time, which is that – and I can get you the precise numbers – but we have Marine security guards in about 60, 65 percent of our missions around the world. They are primarily assigned to protect classified information, classified equipment, in those posts that are classified. So – and I would also remind you of what Eric Nordstrom said when he testified on the Hill, which was that in his professional opinion, another foot of wall or another four, five, six – I can’t remember the number that he used – of American security personnel wouldn’t have been able to turn back or handle the assaults at the level of ferocity and lethality that we saw that night.

In the background briefing linked here, the reason why Marine Embassy Security would never have been in Benghazi for any reason was made eminently clear.

OPERATOR: The next question is from the line of Margaret Brennan, CBS News. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. The timeline here begins around 8:30 p.m., but we had heard in response to some reports where reporters had found paperwork documents on the grounds of the compound that secure materials, that confidential paperwork had actually been secured earlier in the day, therefore there wasn’t any compromised material found at the compound. When did that occur? At 8:30 at night? When were those documents secured or shredded or burned or whatever?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Because of the – this was a post and not a – and we – this post held no classified documents. They had computer communications with Washington, but the material would arrive on the screen and you would read it on the screen, and then that was it. There was no classified paper, so there was no paper to burn.

Assuredly the debate will continue to rage.  A few  things are clear:

1. There is never-before-seen daylight making its appearance between the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department.  Under-the-bus stories abound.  (I am putting my money on Hillary Clinton.)

2.  Hillary Clinton intends to get to the bottom of this and will probably make no definitive statements until all investigations are complete  nor should she absent all possible information.  (I hope this extends to appearing before the Oversight Committee as well.)

3. When faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary some people will never cease to believe that a Marine guard, which, had one been assigned,  would have remained in Tripoli,  would have made a difference.

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Reuters Pictures Former Sudanese child slave Simon Deng (C) laughs with U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (R) (D-NY) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) after Deng completed his 300-mile (483 km) walk from the United Nations in New York to the Capitol Building in Washington, in this April 5, 2006 file photo. Payne, 77, New Jersey's first and only African American congressman, died on March 6, 2012, after battling colon cancer, his brother said.

Although he never commented, Representative Payne was a frequent visitor to this blog, and I considered him a friend of ours.  He will be sorely missed by his family, friends, colleagues, constituents, and all who benefited  from his long years of service.  Rest in peace, dear friend.  I will miss seeing you here.

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I first read the very sad news of Gerry Ferraro’s passing in a comment thread here.  DiscourseinCsharpminor had posted it.  I will never forget driving to work the day after her VP nomination, how tall I sat behind the wheel of my car, the smile I simply could not suppress, the pride.  It is difficult to accommodate the idea of Gerry and obituary in my mind.  She was so alive, bigger than life.  So honest.  I remember when she withdrew from Hillary’s campaign due to remarks she had made.  She told Hillary, “I’m not helping you.  I’m hurting you.”  She was a great lady.

This is a beautiful testament to her life and work.  When I read it, I thought about that Fordham Law admissions officer’s remark.  Yes, she was serious… very serious.  She took the place of a man, and she sure made a success of it.  Thank you Gerry for your dedicated service, for being an icon for women and girls, for being that smart, beautiful presence out there representing all of us.  You made us proud, and we will always miss you.


Geraldine Ferraro Dead at 75

Geraldine A. Ferraro, who earned a place in history in 1984 as the first woman to run on a major party national ticket for vice president, has died.  She was 75-years-old.

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