Fact Check: Republicans Attempt to ‘Benghazi’ Pelosi over Jan. 6 Capitol Security

Terror Attacks: Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2021 (left); US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021
Terror Attacks: Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2021 (left); US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

The Republicans’ use of the terrorist attack on the 2012 US consulate in Benghazi as a political cudgel is a classic example of the power of their dark arts. Their objective was to weaken then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom they perceived as a formidable future presidential candidate. Ignoring the fact that secretaries of state have no command authority over troops or their deployment, the investigated her role in the security failure at the US Benghazi diplomatic outpost ten times, six of which were conducted by GOP-led committees.

Using carefully constructed slander, congressional Republicans created a fictionalized version of the attack, one in which Secretary Clinton was responsible for the deaths of US security personnel as well as her friend, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Compounded with dozens of similar attacks on Clinton during her 30-year career in public service, the facts-free insinuations worked. Her approval rating, once in the mid-60s, began to drop. She “lost” the 2016 presidential campaign despite a 3 million vote advantage in the popular race.

Republicans have proved time and time again that they are terrible at governing – see the four years of the previous administration and the eight years of Cheney-Bush-Rove, for example. They cling to power based almost entirely upon their uncanny ability to created false narratives – Big Lies – and broadcast them over their propaganda networks to their highly receptive, fear- and anger-addicted followers.

And now they’ve launched a Benghazi-style gaslighting attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to blame her the security failures at the Capitol Building on January 6. Facts don’t matter in these smear campaigns, but good on nonpartisan Factcheck.org for exposing the truth behind the lies:

In a statement provided to FactCheck.org, Jane L. Campbell, president and CEO of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, said: “The Speaker of the House does not oversee security of the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol Police Board does, and the Speaker does not oversee the Board. The Board consists of three voting members: the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol; together with one non-voting member, the Chief of the Capitol Police.”

To put names to those titles, on Jan. 6, the Capitol Police chief was Steven Sund; the House sergeant at arms was Paul Irving; the Senate sergeant at arms was Michael Stenger; and the architect of the Capitol was Brett Blanton. Sund, Irving and Stenger all resigned in the wake of the riot.

So how does Pelosi fit into all of this?

“The Speaker is involved in the appointment of the House Sergeant at Arms, who must be confirmed by the House,” Campbell explained. “The Senate Sergeant at Arms is chosen by the Senate. The Speaker also sits on the commission that recommends an Architect of the Capitol to the U.S. President. However, it is the President who appoints the Architect, who must be confirmed by the Senate.”

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