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Benghazi Panel Opens With a Whimper, Not a Bang

The special investigation into the best practices following the Sept. 11, 2012 seige on a U.S. diplomatic post in the Libyan city of Benghazi was meant to be a heated political affair. The summer's events likely took most of the wind out of the committee's sails as Congress is preoccupied with crises from Africa to Ukraine, but amid many empty seats in the congressional hearing room, a special House investigative panel on Benghazi made its inauspicious public debut on Wednesday.

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Propaganda Watch: Fearmongering the Threat Posed by the Islamic State

How much of a threat does the Islamic State militant group pose? That's a question that depends very much on whom you ask.

With American diplomats assembling an international coalition to launch air strikes against the brutal group -- which has murdered more than 1,700 unarmed Iraqi soldiers, threatened minority groups with genocide, crucified numerous Iraqi civilians and beheaded a trio of Westerners -- senior members of the Obama administration have sometimes struggled to get on the same page in describing the militants. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said the Islamic State was "as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen" and "beyond just a terrorist group." Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey has called the group a "trans-regional and global threat." But counterterrorism chief Matthew Olsen maintains that there is "no credible information" that the militants are planning to strike the U.S. homeland or have the capabilities to do so.

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