Beltway Insider: Hearings Begin on Benghazi; Air Force Official in Sex Scandal; Disgraced Politician Wins; Sandy Hook to Be Razed

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High ranking Democrats have rallied around President Obama this week, accusing Republicans of political motivation by using the Benghazi hearings to discredit his leadership and handling of the September 11, 2012 terror attack.

High ranking Democrats have rallied around President Obama this week, accusing Republicans of political motivation by using the Benghazi hearings to discredit his leadership and handling of the September 11, 2012 terror attack.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped two percentage points to 49% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose one percentage point to 44%.

Terror Attack on Benghazi Consulate Investigated

The Benghazi Investigative Committee began hearings, last week, on the September 11, 2012 Libyan Consulate attack which resulted in the death of four Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Gregory Hicks, a Foreign Service officer and ex-deputy chief of the mission in Libya and stationed in the region at the time, gave the most damaging testimony challenging the credibility of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, both of whom are facing scrutiny for allegedly misleading the media and the public.

 

Although the former Secretary of State accepted all responsibility the recently released talking points reveal that twelve pages of talking points had been drafted, each receiving serious edits, in order to restrain the information released as the September 11, 2012 attack was roughly six weeks from the November election. It is believed White House officials felt they could stretch the most damaging revelations until the election was over.  

Initially, White House officials clearly presented false and misleading information surrounding the attack indicating a band of radical Muslims instigated by a video depicting the prophet Muhammad in lewd and lascivious acts had been the cause of the terror attack that left Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods as well as Ambassador Stevens dead.

The White House has maintained the talking points were based on best possible intelligence assessment of the situation and gathered from multiple agencies including the FBI, CIA, Justice Department and individuals from the Director of National Security State Department.

 

The final talking points didn’t mention Al-Qaida, the manner in which the attack was carried out or any information regarding the sophisticated military weapons used to gain entry to the compound.

 

Another Sex Scandal Rocks Air Force

The chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response program, Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested last week allegedly for assaulting a woman in a parking lot in Arlington, VA.

Charged with sexual battery Krusinski did not enter a plea during his recent court appearance. He has not issued a statement. His trial is set for July 18, 2013. Allegedly, Krusinski approached a woman groped her breasts and buttocks. She fought back and he made a second attempt to escalate the assault.  The Air Force has requested jurisdiction in the case.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has indicated the military has a zero tolerance sexual assault and harassment policy. The current, across the board, outrage from Capitol Hill as well as major media exposéscharging the military does little to prosecute sexual assault offenses and have used excessive authority in cases which military courts overturned civilian convictions has resulted in a growing criticism over the military’s failure to respond appropriately to sexual assaults within the ranks. Reported military sexual assaults have jumped to an alarming rate over the past year, from 19,000 reported in 2011 to 26,000 in 2012.

The majority of the victims are women who face retaliation in many forms for reporting the crimes including career assassination, blacklisting, harassment, continued violence, and even death.

Scandal Scarred Governor Wins Election

Mark Sanford, the disgraced Republican South Carolina Governor, has won back the public’s trust with his election to a House of Representative seat in the 1st Congressional District, a position he held in 1994.

Sanford, a two term governor, became embroiled in a salacious scandal in 2009 during his second term, when he disappeared from June 18 through June 24, 2009. The then governor had no communication with his chief of staff, wife or family and refused to answer incoming calls. His disappearance sparked concern, an investigation and judicial involvement.

Sanford later revealed he had been in Argentina with his Argentinean mistress. Although impeachment rumors swirled, as did efforts to secure his resignation, he refused to resign and fought the impeachment. He was eventually censured by the South Carolina Legislative body. He remained in office and completed his term.  

Sanford, an admitted adulterer, sought counseling through an ultra conservative religious organization while still in office. Sanford and his wife of twenty years, Jenny, have since divorced. He is currently engaged to his former mistress.

Sandy Hook to Be Demolished

Sandy Hook Elementary, the site of the worst school shooting in history, will be demolished, ending weeks of speculation regarding the future of the now empty tomb.

The 28 person task force met repeatedly with teachers, parents and community leaders presenting possible plans, which generated public outcry, concern and frustration, including permanent relocation for the 600 students, returning to the same school or razing the school and building another.

In the end, both sides seemed to be at peace with the final decision that will have the current building destroyed and a new school rebuilt on the same site.

On December 14, 2012 a long gunman shot his way into the school and murdered 20 five and six year olds and six educators. Since then the public has demanded stricter gun laws. Unfortunately, congress has yet to pass a bill that would match the public demands.

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, Stars and Stripes, Politico

 

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