By James Kitfield
In these hyper-partisan times perhaps it was inevitable that the Benghazi tragedy that claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya, just months before a bitterly contested presidential election, would become a political football. But it is a sad commentary on the state of American politics just the same. As the New York Times recently published investigation of the killings by Islamic extremists reveals, the events surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, and Obama officials’ explanation of them, defy the narrative of a meticulously plotted Al Qaeda attack and administration “cover up” pushed by some prominent Republicans. The greater outrage is that serious shortcomings in State Department security procedures and the U.S. military’s response to the crisis were all but lost in the headline grabbing accusations of a cover-up and Watergate-style scandal.