How significant? Well, we don’t know that precisely, because Sen. Tom Coburn can’t tell the Morning Joe crew what got omitted. Suffice it to say, Coburn explains, that the omission from State on what happened in Benghazi was significant and will cause big problems for the Obama administration … if it ever gets declassified:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday warned that congressional hearings into Benghazi could create “real trouble” for the State Department and said there was a “glaring omission” in the information provided to lawmakers about the administration’s response to the deadly attack.
“I think the State Department has real trouble,” Coburn said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and suggested there was another show waiting to drop.
“Having sat on the Intelligence Committee and having seen the review of emails that went back and forth that developed the list, there’s a glaring problem there that will eventually come out, and I can’t talk about it now, but there was an omission that was given to the Intelligence Committee,” he said.
Can we reverse-engineer this a bit? Among the big revelations yesterday were the fact that Gregory Hicks briefed Hillary Clinton directly during the attack, and that Hicks knew that the assault was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous demonstration. Did State somehow omit that contact in its presentation to the Senate Intel Committee? Perhaps, but that sounds like something Coburn could discuss freely, especially after the open testimony yesterday.
Coburn seems to be focused on the talking points promulgated by the White House before Susan Rice went on TV to blame a YouTube video. There was some discussion of that in yesterday’s hearing, That may have more to do with this revelation, as noted by Olivier Knox at Yahoo News:
Gowdy provided one of the few surprises in the hearing, reading what he described as an email from the day after the attacks in which Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones said she had told the Libyan governor that “the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.” That raised fresh questions about why top Obama aides emphasized the role of spontaneous demonstrations against the video in public remarks for days afterwards.
Since that also came up in open testimony, Coburn could at least allude to it if that’s what the issue is. It could be that State not only omitted the e-mail but also the intel that led to Jones’ conclusion. This was one of the more overlooked revelations of the hearing yesterday, and perhaps Coburn is sending a clue that this might be a fulcrum for the Senate Intel Committee to use to reopen the whole, sordid mess.
Or perhaps it’s something else entirely, a prospect that can’t make State and the White House very happy at all. There may be a lot more shoes than just one left to drop with Benghazi.