Hearings unmask painful exercise of covering up

In the past three weeks, we’ve watched hearings with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA director-designate John Brennan and Secretary of State nominee Chuck Hagel.

Frankly, it’s been a painful exercise.

They are all good Americans, so it’s not a pretty sight to watch them try and feign full disclosure when trying to answer for the Libya embassy tragedy and the use of drones to unilaterally kill terrorist threats, even Americans.

For all the partisan protestations, the picture on Libya remains incomplete. The pieces in place are disturbing. Clearly, not much was done to retaliate during the Libyan embassy attacks and not much was done in the months before, despite warnings from those at the embassy.

It was tough to hear Clinton say it doesn’t matter what was done since four Americans were killed – end of story. It was tough to hear Panetta indicate President Obama was informed of the situation but never checked back during the eight ensuing hours. It was embarrassing to watch Hagel attempt to show an understanding of the scope of the Libyan situation, not to mention most other foreign policy matters. And it was chilling to hear Brennan defend a skirting of judicial law that drone killings represent.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has called for a delay on decisions regarding the nominees until there is a full accounting of the Libyan embassy tragedy, possibly from the president.

For those who want to claim this is partisan grandstanding, there is a litmus test. Had these embassy killings, spotty aftermath and recent hearings occurred during the Bush administration, would they or the major media, for that matter be low-key and forgiving? We doubt it.

Four Americans are dead in a clear dropping of the ball in Libya. Drones are being used to kill people by the very people who decried the use of waterboarding to gain evidence.

It’s time for answers. And if it takes holding up nominations, so be it.

– Williamsport Sun-Gazette