The liberal blogosphere has been quick to jump on the popularly disliked Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for her exchange with new CIA director John Brennan during a House Intelligence Committee meeting regarding drone strikes in Libya.
Despite Bachmann’s track record for interesting comments that have inspired strong criticism from the left, this time, she might have been on to something worthy of investigation.
During the House Intelligence Committee meeting, Bachmann questioned Brennan about the use of drone strikes in Libya, prior to the Benghazi attack in September. Brennan showed clear signs of confusion regarding Bachmann’s information and outright denied knowledge of drone attacks in Eastern Libya. Bachmann clarified her question and asked whether the White House employed the use of drone strikes in North Africa. Brennan responded by informing Bachmann that the White House does not have any “drone capability or responsibility.”
Bachmann’s line of thinking here could have been that drone strikes, which Brennan denies occurred, prior to the Benghazi attack, could have prompted the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate.
There are of course, a couple of different scenarios that one must consider; first, it is possible that Bachmann was wrong about the strikes, second, it is possible that Brennan is denying the claims made by Bachmann due to national security issues, or third, it could have been that Brennan simply was not aware of drone strikes in Libya prior to the consulate attack. Additionally, it could have been the case the CIA, specifically, was not employing the drones that Bachmann was referring to. However, reports illustrated by The Hill, suggest that the CIA was in control of the second building attacked during September 11, 2012 for the purposes of a large-scale intelligence operation that was setup after the Libyan revolution.
Contrary to Brennan’s testimony, Wired reported in September that U.S. drones never left Libya, despite NATO’s declared end to the war in 2011. While Bachmann’s office told The Hill that no specific intelligence had prompted her question, it was made clear that accounts from former U.S. Special Forces members motivated her to ask the question.
Confusing information about the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi are not new to the discussion. Originally, the Obama administration claimed that the attack on the consulate was an “anti-American protest gone wrong.”
CBS and other news agencies shared that there was no anti-American protest at the time of the attack and in fact, the attack appeared to be calculated and planned, contradicting the information shared by the White House.
Self proclaimed “life-long Liberal,” T. Steelman’s ad hominem attack on Bachmann’s place as a member of the House Intelligence Committee claims that “[the committee] is not a place for someone of little brain.” Steelman’s bias against Bachmann prevented her from questioning whether there is any legitimacy to Bachmann’s question, which there appears to be based upon previous reports from the Wall Street Journal and Wired. While it may be unclear whether the White House or another agency with drone capabilities ordered the strikes in Libya, Bachmann is permitted to bring up the issue.
The real debate should be whether or not this line of questioning in an open session is a threat to national security. I don't know the specifics, but I would guess that many of the questions following her drone questions could have contained classified responses requiring a closed session. Regardless, the Obama administration has been unclear about what went on in Benghazi and was caught presenting information contrary to the truth. Bachmann might not always make brilliant suggestions, but it seems that in this case, she might be onto something.