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Determined to keep the Benghazi story front and center while the news and entertainment media ignore other stories, such as the carbon dioxide load of the atmosphere, the right wing kept up the drumbeat Monday. Here are some highlights:

• Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, is sworn testimony from the chairman and vice-chairman of an internal investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post and nearby CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya, eight months ago. The key question he wants answered: Who did they speak to that led them to decide then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did not direct the response to the attacks?

Retired ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, oversaw the Accountability Review Board's investigation of the adequacy of security measures in Benghazi, the response to the attacks and the public response of the administration in the aftermath. They concluded that the decision-making during the attack was undertaken below the secretary's level. The board's unclassified version of its report lists 24 recommendations. Issa said he would receive the testimony from the two men privately.

Issa said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that Pickering had refused to testify before the committee. Pickering, sitting next to him, said, “That is not true.”

• Issa packed several WTF moments into a brief response to questions from Foxaganda Monday. One of the most off the wall:

“The president sent a letter to the President of Libya where he didn’t call it a terrorist attack even when at the time the President of Libya was calling it pre-planned Sept. 11 terrorist attack,” Issa told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. “The words that are being used carefully — like you just said, ‘act of terror’ — an ‘act of terror’ is different than a ‘terrorist attack.’ The truth is, this was a terrorist attack, this had Al Qaeda at it.”
• On Sunday's Face the Nation, former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates mocked criticisms that the military did not send special forces or jet fighters to Benghazi. He called these "a cartoonish view of military capabilities."

• Public Policy Polling found that 39 percent of Americans who think Benghazi is a bigger scandal than Watergate don't know where Benghazi is. By a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent, the poll showed Americans trust Hillary Clinton over Republicans on Benghazi. Please read more about Benghazi-mongering below the fold.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board ignored deployment of military forces to Libya as a consequence of the Benghazi attacks and ignored statements by numerous military experts, including former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, that sending Special Forces to Benghazi would not have gotten them there in time to prevent the deaths of the four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

• House Speaker John Boehner is fixated on Benghazi as a political gambit.

Boehner has told leadership colleagues when they’re focusing on the terrorist attack, they’re fighting on their political ground. “This is all Boehner,” said one senior Republican aide of the focus on Benghazi. “He’s obsessed with it. He brings it up all the time.” The sentiment was echoed with conversations throughout leadership, and the dynamic is acknowledged by his own aides.
• When news about emails regarding the editing of the Benghazi talking points went public last week, Boehner issued a demand to see all of them. But Greg Sargent points out that members of Congress and Boehner's staff were briefed about this the talking point revisions in March by Robert Litt of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Questions to raise now are which of the 19 Republicans (or their staffs) on the Senate and House intelligence committees attended the briefings and how much were they told then about the revisions and the emails discussing them.

• President Obama called the focus on Benghazi a "political circus" and a "sideshow" during a press conference Monday. “The emails you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees,” he told The Associated Press’ Julie Pace. “They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that, in fact, that there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly three days ago, this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story [...] The fact that this continues to get churned out has a lot to do with political motivations," Obama said. He also said that if the Republicans wanted to do something productive, they would stop using Benghazi for "fundraising" and talk with him about preventing the next attack.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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