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.