Responsibility for Libya Fiasco is Obama's, Says Washington Post Blogger
October 17, 2012 • 8:16AM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have publicly taken "responsibility" for the fiasco in Libya that resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador and three others, there, but even the Washington Post isn't convinced that most of it is hers to take. In fact, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin comes to the conclusion that, ultimately, the responsibility is mostly Obama's. Rubin makes four points:

* Clinton was not solely responsible for the failure to recognize that Libya had become a hotbed for jihadi terrorists, rather the intelligence agencies and the President share that one;

* Hillary was not responsible for White House spokesman Jay Carney's Sept. 14 remarks, UN Ambassador Susan Rice's five infamous Sept. 16 TV appearances, Obama's Sept. 20 Univision interview and his Sept. 25 UN speech, all of which claimed that it was a terrorist attack spurred by an anti-Muslim video. Either everyone got it wrong, or "the White House decided to perpetuate the least damaging explanation for the attacks it could muster (until Election Day, at any rate)."

* Clinton was not responsible for the lead-from-behind strategy that left Libya in chaos — in fact, it was a White House policy to diminish U.S. involvement and leave the heavy lifting to others;

* and finally, Clinton was not responsible for the narrative that Al Qaeda has been defeated and is on the run. That was Obama and his political spinmeisters, and though Rubin doesn't say so, also Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

"Others are responsible as well for the fiasco, most especially the president," Rubin concludes. "It's not enough for him to generically say 'Yes, the buck really does stop with me and not Hillary.' He should tell the country what he knew, when he knew it, what decisions he made that affected the fate of the American diplomats, why he continued to perpetuate a fake explanation for the attacks and whether he still considers Libya to be a success in 'leading from behind.' Fortunately, we have two national debates in which he can be forced do all that."

Another looming question is what Hillary Clinton will do once she returns from her trip to South America. During her visit to Peru, she gave a half dozen interviews to major U.S. news organizations, claiming that she bears responsibility for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the others. Yet, even the testimony least week before the House of Representatives by Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy made clear that Clinton was not consulted on the decisions about security levels in Libya, and that there were disagreements within the State Department bureaucracy over the decision to reduce the security forces. The White House, according to informed sources, reacted so violently to the Kennedy testimony that he did not come in to work for several days after his appearance. The usual Obama flacks at the White House were convinced that they had been double-crossed by Hillary via Kennedy's testimony, which undercut the entire idea of scapegoating Hillary Clinton for the deaths in Benghazi. Clinton circles are fuming over the White House targeting of the Hillary at the same moment they are desperately depending on Bill Clinton to salvage the election for Obama.