The Darrell Issa Circus of Fail
Rep. Darrell Issa (R – CA) dearly loves his role as “the House GOP’s chief watchdog”. Since the GOP took control of the House in 2010 and Issa became Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he’s gone to town investigating all sorts of stuff (the more wingnut the better). Unfortunately for Issa, his thinly-veiled partisan witch-hunts have yet to nab any actual witches. But Issa won’t let that stop him!
With Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney locked in a close race with President Obama, it suddenly became crucial this week that Issa return the Oversight Committee to DC for an Emergency (!) hearing on the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. What a spectacle this has turned into. The most ‘stunning’ testimony so far has been around claims that the State Department ignored rising safety concerns, and in fact removed security forces from Benghazi, rather than strengthening the mission’s defense.
There’s just one problem for the GOP on this ‘explosive’ information: the GOP, in what passes for their collective wisdom, essentially said, “Screw the State Department — we don’t need no stinking diplomacy!” Then they proceeded to slash the State Department budget.
Since 2010, Congress cut $296 million from the State Department’s spending request for embassy security and construction, with additional cuts in other State Department security accounts, according to an analysis by a former appropriations committee staffer.
That is, to the extent that State has to make less than optimal choices about security, that is because of Paul Ryan and his associates in the House (note some of these cuts came before Ryan assumed the Budget Chair in 2011). (emptywheel)
But that’s not all!
When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.
The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron. (WaPo - emphasis mine)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – UT), a surrogate for Mitt Romney by the way, clumsily revealed the existence of a CIA facility in Libya. Nice work, guys. I’m sure Hillary Clinton is shaking in her boots with Issa and Chaffetz going after her.
BONUS: When the current Issa circus wraps up, he’s got plans to investigate the September Jobs Numbers conspiracy. Think Progress reports:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) told Fox News on Wednesday that he would hold hearings into the September job numbers, buying into a widely-discredited conspiracy theory that President Obama faked last month’s figure to improve his re-election chances.
I propose an investigation into the Oversight Committee’s budget, because I find it hard to justify spending millions of tax-payer dollars on partisan side-shows.