When the House held its much-anticipated hearing on Benghazi Wednesday, one major figure not at the witness table was Thomas Pickering, the former ambassador and co-chair of the Accountability Review Board that reported on last September's attacks.
Why wasn't he there?
That's somewhat in dispute. California Republican Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Pickering and report co-author Adm. Mike Mullen.
President Obama has led an administration that so far has avoided a headline-grabbing, signature scandal. But now he's learning how one begins to take shape.
In many ways, the Benghazi story is following the arc of many Washington scandals of the past. It's rarely the initial incident that gets politicians in trouble. Instead, it's the way in which they respond to it.
Three witnesses billed as whistle-blowers appeared before a House committee Wednesday to challenge the Obama administration's explanation of what transpired on Sept. 11, 2012, as the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and the ambassador and three others killed.