Brennan, Benghazi & Drones

Speaking of strategery: the New York Times‘ Scott Shane and Mark Mazetti have published a hypothesis about how the White House is handling John Brennan’s confirmation hearings that if true ought to make some Democratic heads explode:

Rather than agreeing to some Democratic senators’ demands for full access to the classified legal memos on the targeted killing program, Obama administration officials are negotiating with Republicans to provide more information on the lethal attack last year on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, according to three Congressional staff members.

The strategy is intended to produce a bipartisan majority vote for Mr. Brennan in the Senate Intelligence Committee without giving its members seven additional legal opinions on targeted killing sought by senators and while protecting what the White House views as the confidentiality of the Justice Department’s legal advice to the president.

I suppose this tilt towards accommodating GOP demands for more grist for their fantasy machine about the ontologically crucial Benghazi! event–perhaps the most important global incident since the Thirty Years War–while stiffing Democrats who want to know about the rationale for an ongoing killing operation, makes sense from a squeaky-wheel perspective. But it may well cause more wheels to squeak among Senate Democrats. The other problem, of course, is that everything about the Benghazi! furor suggests a plunge down the rabbit hole that by design can never end. So the White House better get some iron commitments of votes for Brennan’s confirmation if they plan to feed this particular beast.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.