Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the Benghazi attack before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the Benghazi attack before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Linda Davidson / The Washington Post)

Fox News and the Hill both report that the State Department has ordered an inspector general’s review of the work of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Fox News, which broke the story, reports: “The IG’s office is said by well-placed sources to be seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — led by former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen — failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of the Benghazi attacks to the panel.” The report observes, “This disclosure marks a significant turn in the ongoing Benghazi case, as it calls into question the reliability of the blue-ribbon panel that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened to review the entire matter. Until the report was concluded, she and all other senior Obama administration officials regularly refused to answer questions about what happened in Benghazi. Now the methodology and final product of the ARB are themselves coming under the scrutiny of the department’s own top auditor.”

According to the Hill:

Some Republican lawmakers allege that the review board, led by retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, was rigged to protect Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential contender who wasn’t interviewed as part of the probe. Doug Welty, a spokesman for the IG’s office, said the office is responsive to lawmakers’ concerns; he said this is the first time the office will review an ARB process, although it has in the past reviewed how well the State Department has followed through on the recommendations of other review boards formed after security breaches.

This is unprecedented. Or, as a former national security figure critical of the president put it, “Zowie!” Former United Nations ambassador John Bolton wrote in an email to me, “I’ve never heard of anything like it!” He emphasized, “I’ve never heard of an IG investigating an ARB. I don’t think there have been that many ARB’s which is what makes it unusual.”

At his press conference, the president pleaded ignorance about whistleblowers who had been prevented from testifying. Now at least two of them have lawyers and will testify before the House. The IG probably will talk to them, too.

We will see if the mainstream media cover “the cover-up of the cover-up,” which is what the headlines would surely blast in a Republican administration. I doubt it. Jay Carney had the gall this week to brush off questions about Benghazi, saying it happened a long time ago. That’s akin to the man who kills his parents and throws himself upon the mercy of the court as an orphan. If the administration, including the White House, had come clean on precisely what happened, what Obama and Clinton were up to on the night of the attack, how they missed the threat of al-Qaeda in Libya (now we hear three al-Qaeda operatives ran the attack) and why a false narrative was perpetrated for so long, we wouldn’t, seven months later, still not have answers to basic questions. And if the press had done its job, we would have gotten to the root of this mess before the presidential election.

What difference does it make? Well, that’s a question that no reporter or pol would dare ask about a Republican national security failure and scandal of this magnitude. As with the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the mainstream media have tried to avert their eyes, label it non-news and blame it all on partisan politics; but, as with Gosnell, that trick won’t last forever.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.