Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

slate.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
The same lawmakers who obsessed over Benghazi are downplaying the attack on the Capitol.
Nine years ago, terrorists attacked U.S. diplomats and contractors in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died, and Republicans spent years investigating why. Those investigations found no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but they succeeded in painting Clinton as soft on terrorism, thereby damaging her 2016 presidential campaign. Now the same Republicans who decried Benghazi are downplaying President Donald Trump's culpability—and their own—in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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The Republican frenzy over Benghazi spanned two presidential elections. In October 2012, Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, opened hearings on the Obama administration's "security failures." In a letter issued two weeks before that year's presidential election, Issa and a fellow Republican lawmaker accused the administration of "endangering American lives" by ignoring the "escalating violence" that had preceded the attack. The letter also criticized Obama's team for blaming the attack, erroneously, on unrelated protests over an anti-Muslim video.

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After the election, Republicans launched more investigations. They created a House committee on Benghazi, which—as Issa and others would later admit—aimed to tarnish Clinton and cripple her candidacy. In hours of public interrogation and in the committee's final report, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said Clinton had neglected warning signs before the attack and had played up the protests to avoid acknowledging the…
William Saletan
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