McFeatters: End Benghazi speculation with a document dump
Hillary Clinton should take these two words to heart: "document dump." This is a tested Washington tactic that could save her a lot of political aggravation, and, in fact, has in the past.
Hillary is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination with her support running around 60-plus percent in most polls. There is no Republican frontrunner unless you count Marco Rubio's pallid support of 18 percent or so.
Forward-looking GOP strategists badly want to diminish the stature of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of State. Lacking any kind of serious line of attack, congressional Republicans have settled on a strategy of death by a thousand cuts, doling out seemingly damning details of her role in the death of the U.S. ambassador and three others at a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.
It was clearly a gross failure of security, compounded by the White House misrepresentation of it as a mob action instead of a deliberate terrorist attack.
Former ambassador Thomas Pickering and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen studied the Benghazi failure, made 29 recommendations that we're told the department is carrying out and, insofar as these incidents can be prevented, these recommendations should do it.
Even though the attack occurred last Sept. 11, the GOP-run House oversight committee held a six-hour hearing this last week during which we were alerted to the likelihood of scandalous revelations, most of the involving, even if only peripherally, Hillary Clinton.
Instead, we heard a sad tale of dedicated embassy staff, cut off from military help whose numbers were too few in any case. Likely GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul didn't bother to wait for all the evidence to come out. He had heard enough to suggest "that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again." Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said ominously, "This hearing is closed. But the investigation is not over." He is promising a tsunami of subpoenas for Hillary's records.
Clinton has been through this before --- the Whitewater records, the Rose Law Firm billing records, the travel office records, etc. --- and each time she dug in her sensible heels and insisted those records were nobody's business but hers. The more she stonewalled, the more the press was convinced she had something to hide.
Then the billing records mysteriously appeared in "an unused White House storeroom" -- there are no unused rooms in the cramped White House -- and a Clinton aide dumped them in a big pile and told the press, in effect, "Here they are. Knock yourself out." Hence the phrase "document dump." The reporters pawed through the files and quickly got bored when they saw there wasn't much there.
Madame Secretary, in dealing with chairman Issa, remember those words, "Document dump." It will buy time until the next crisis arises.
Dale McFeatters is a nationally syndicated columnist.