With high-level state department whistleblowers appearing before prominent House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa’s committee this week to discuss the attack on a U.S. Mission in Libya on September 11, 2012, many on the left are scoffing at the hearing as a political circus orchestrated by right wing conspiracy theorists.

Conservatives argue though that Wednesday’s hearing brought to light key revelations about the timeline of events leading up to and immediately after the Benghazi attack, as well as holes in our intelligence and security operations abroad and in the State Department. Council on Foreign Relations Fellow Elliot Abrams writes on the Wall Street Journal opinion page:

The three witnesses seemed to be visitors from a different reality—different from Rep. Carolyn Maloney and her outrage that anyone could criticize the great Secretary Clinton, or from Cheryl Mills and the anger she expressed at Mr. Hicks for allowing a congressman to escape the presence of the lawyer she had sent.

The Accountability Review Board was also part of that Washington culture, protecting the top levels of the State Department—the secretary and the deputy and under secretaries—and laying blame (and punishment) on the career people below them. This hearing did not ascertain where the buck should stop, but it was a step forward in getting the facts.

Michael Hirsh, however, writes in the National Journal that the hearings revealed tragic incompetence on the part of the Obama administration, but no coverup:

All this will no doubt come back to haunt Hillary Clinton should she decide to run for president; in some cases, she appeared to have been too removed from the  events in Benghazi. Hicks at one point testified that that he personally spoke to Clinton at 2 a.m. on the night of the attacks, which makes the administration’s vague description in subsequent days even more suspicious.

But that hardly adds up to a cover-up. In the end, Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the committee, may find himself digging yet another dry well, as he has done so many times.

Will Cain led the “Real News” follow-up discussion Thursday on the Benghazi hearing, trying to answer why the questions being raised about intelligence and legal matters are so relevant and worth exploring, as the mainstream media dismisses them. The hearing revealed that the “annex” in Tripoli was a CIA location, what was the CIA’s role there?