Here's a foreign policy question for the debate tonight: Why does the GOP consistently put political advantage above national security? But for some reason I doubt that Bob Schieffer will ask it.
From news reports on the attack on the consulate in Benghazi a few weeks ago, it has become increasingly clear that it was a well-organized attack not so much on the diplomatic mission there as the CIA station that was also housed in the consulate. When something like that happens, it's important to come up quickly with a temporary cover story to buy time to try to protect your local assets. The anti-video riot in Egypt provided the perfect cover, so why not take advantage of it? That seems to be what the CIA did, not even telling the White House what really happened until more than a week later.
It made sense. Lives were at stake.The truth will come out all too soon -- the idea is to buy some time to limit the attackers' attempts at damage assessment and to try to help the people whose identities were compromised.
Mitt Romney's ill-advised and premature comments before the facts were known made a tense situation worse. GOP actions since then to politicize the tragedy and suggest the Obama administration is guilty of some sort of cover-up are unconscionable. Rep. Darrell Issa's declassification of sensitive documents could endanger lives. Technically, he should probably be prosecuted for violating the conditions of his security clearance.
It's all too reminiscent of what the Bush administration did when they recklessly outed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, endangering all the people in the Middle East she had been in touch with.
So, again, the question is: Why does the GOP consistently put partisan political advantage above national security?