As his performance over the past week suggests, Rep. Darrell Issa's response to the tragic deaths of American citizens in the Middle East apparently depends on which party controls the White House. After all, in February 2007 Issa mocked the families of four Blackwater contractors slaughtered in Fallujah. Now, the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has accused former CIA Director David Petraeus of carrying water for the Obama administration's supposed Benghazi cover-up. That would be the same General David Petraeus Issa charged six years ago was being targeted by Democrats "as part of an ongoing partisan smear campaign against U.S. efforts in Iraq."
Appearing on Meet the Press with host David Gregory on Sunday, John Boehner's Benghazi Grand Inquisitor suggested that Petraeus and the members of the independent Accountability Review Board did President Obama's bidding on the Benghazi probe:
GREGORY: Chairman, my reporting of the immediate aftermath of this talking to administration officials is that CIA Director David Petraeus made it clear when he briefed top officials that there-- that there was a spontaneous element to this, that it was not completely known that this was a terrorist attack right away. You don't give any credence to the notion that there was some fog of war, that there were-- there were conflicting circumstances about what went on here.
REP. ISSA: David Petraeus said what the administration wanted him to say is the indication. Ambassador Pickering heard what the administration wanted to hear. The only under oath people I know about who have said what happened on the ground that day was, in fact, before our committee just on Wednesday.
But when Gregory asked him if he was accusing the Obama administration of having "bullied the CIA into saying what the political advisors in the White House wanted him to say," Chairman Issa responded simply, "David, we're not making charges."
Of course, Darrell Issa is making a very serious charge against David Petraeus. As it turns out, it's almost the complete opposite of the slander Issa put forth during Congressional hearings about Blackwater and other private security firms hired by the United States. On October 2, 2007, Issa blasted then Chairman Henry Waxman and committee Democrats for their inquiry which occurred just days after an incident in which 11 Iraqi civilians were killed by Blackwater employees:
I think it's been made incredibly clear by the previous statements on the Democrats side that this is not about Blackwater. [...]What we're hearing today is in fact a repeat of the MoveOn.org attack on General Petraeus' patriotism.
What we're seeing is that, except for the 79 members who voted against denouncing MoveOn.org, eight of whom are on the dais here today, what we're seeing is what they couldn't do to our men and women in uniform, they'll simply switch targets.
The bodies were not cold in Iraq before this became a story worth going after here in committee.
I'm not here to defend Blackwater.
But I am here to defend General Petraeus and the men and women in uniform who do their job, who were first denounced by MoveOn.org, then not denounced by members of Congress, many of whom are on the dais today, speaking as though they don't support attacking every possible way the administration's war in Iraq.
But that was then and this is now. And now, Democrat Barack Obama, not Republican George W. Bush, sits in the Oval Office. All of which means Darrell Issa is no longer here to defend General Petraeus, but to slander him.
(For more on Chairman Issa's checkered past, see "The Top 15 Moments from the Darrell Issa Hall of Shame.")
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