Good catch by the Standard. Carney’s held gaggles with reporters recently, but gaggles are inferior for reasons Daniel Halper explains at the link. According to the White House website, there’s been no full-fledged “face the nation”-style televised press briefing in more than two weeks. How come? Can’t be that Carney’s busy with campaign stuff. As surreal as it may sound, he technically works for you and me as an employee of the executive branch, not for Team Hopenchange. Why isn’t our press secretary out in front fielding questions about the day’s news? Could it be because … he ended up becoming the public face of the White House clusterfark over Benghazi? And now, after two more weeks of evidence about how negligent the State Department was in failing to protect Chris Stevens, the administration’s less inclined than ever to send him back out there in front of a camera?
Bummer, if so, because I’d sure like to hear more about this:
Less than two months before the fatal attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, the State Department concluded that the risk of violence to diplomats and other Americans in Libya was high and that the weak U.S.-backed government in Tripoli could do little about it.
“The risk of U.S. Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens and businesspersons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is HIGH,” a State Department security assessment from July 22 concludes…
The department’s former top security officer told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he had recommended keeping U.S. military and additional State Department security forces on hand through October, documents released by the committee show.
“The (Libyan government) was overwhelmed and could not guarantee our protection,” former regional security officer Eric A. Nordstrom wrote Oct. 1. “Sadly, that point was reaffirmed Sept. 11 2012 in Benghazi.”
Literally everyone knew that Benghazi was dangerous, including State, and yet they were still willing to rotate out a security team in August because “their mission was simply over.” Seems like something the president’s mouthpiece might want to comment on. More from Jake Tapper:
Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, told congressional investigators looking into the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, that the State Department was eager for the American diplomatic presence in Libya to reduce its American security footprint and to rely more on locals, sources tell ABC News. A senior State Department official denies the charge.
In an email from Nordstrom from earlier this month obtained by ABC News, the former Regional Security Officer referred to a list of 230 security incidents in Libya that took place between June 2011 and July 2012, writing that “(t)hese incidents paint a clear picture that the environment in Libya was fragile at best and could degrade quickly. Certainly, not an environment where post should be directed to ‘normalize’ operations and reduce security resources in accordance with an artificial time table.”
Question: Who in this administration is willing to face the media anymore? Carney’s AWOL, Biden hasn’t done a national interview since May, and the Empty Chair these days contents himself with outlets like Nickelodeon. The only people you still see are Axelrod and Plouffe on Sunday morning, and all they want to talk about is Big Bird and the war on women, blah blah blah. Note to O: The media’s rooting for you. They’ll be nice-ish if you just say hi. All you need to do is explain why you left the U.S. ambassador to Libya woefully unprepared to cope with a terror attack that pretty much everyone saw coming.
Update: Via the Right Scoop, a two-minute summary of why Carney’s hiding under his desk.