Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category
If you want to read an article that’s filled with political vindictiveness and terrible writing, I’d recommend this article from the AP’s Laurie Kellman. Here’s Ms. Kellman’s opening
A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Barack Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.
For people keeping score at home, that opening sentence is 45 words long. Run-on sentences of that length don’t help people focus their attention. English instructors frequently recommend that writers keep sentences to 18 words or less. Here’s how that paragraph would’ve looked had I written it:
After winning the government shutdown, congressional Democrats are worried about their re-election prospects. Now Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama after the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov.
Thank God for ‘professional’ writers. Seriously, what person would be interested in the rest of the article after Ms. Kellman’s opening? It gets worse because Ms. Kellman transitions from unprofessional writer to professional political hack:
Cummings, the White House’s biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over the attack in Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity.
Chairman Issa’s agenda thus far has been to highlight this administration’s dishonesty and incompetence. When President Obama and Secretary Clinton ignored Christopher Stevens’ frequent impassioned pleas for more security, they ignored him. As a direct result of their passivity, Ambassador Stevens and 3 other American patriots were executed in Benghazi.
That isn’t “waging war against the administration.” That’s investigating a tragic incident that didn’t need to happen. Investigating the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations isn’t “waging war against the administration.” It’s investigating the abuse of power that’s happened all too frequently with this imperial administration. It’s a legitimate investigation because abuses of power of this scope can’t be tolerated. Period.
Let’s not be naive. There are political consequences for these foolish decisions. Congress is questioning President Obama’s integrity because he isn’t a man of integrity. The American people have noticed. As a result, President Obama’s approval ratings have dropped dramatically.
Hillary Clinton’s integrity hasn’t dropped…yet. She left Washington, DC before Greg Hicks’ riveting testimony about what happened that night in Benghazi. There will be a political price to be paid for her passivity and terrible decisionmaking. How high of a price she’ll pay isn’t knowable at this time. Suffice it to say it might be a steep price.
Republican members of Chairman Issa’s committee haven’t editorialized. They’ve asked professional, probing questions. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Their job is to investigate, not to be the administration’s stenographers.
If President Obama’s administration hadn’t made this many major mistakes, Chairman Issa’s committee wouldn’t have been justified in investigating this many things. Because they made this many egregious mistakes, Chairman Issa was obligated to investigate.
If that constitutes an attack in Ms. Kellman’s mind, then it’s safe to say she’s a stenographer, not a reporter.
One of my weekly highlights is reading Glenn Reynolds’ columns for USA Today. This week’s column focuses on “the America that works”:
Thanks to the fracking revolution, the air is cleaner, gas is cheaper, and petro-state dictatorships have less geopolitical influence. But this happened not as a result of some big-government program, but as the result of individuals staking their lives and fortunes on a risky venture, one that, as Zuckerman notes, made some rich but left others near bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, the America that destroys wealth keeps plodding along, doing what it ‘does best’:
The America that doesn’t work was very much in evidence this past week, as the Obamacare roll out continued to be — in Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ memorable phrase — a “train wreck.”
I’d add that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only example of government sloth destroying wealth. Last week, I wrote that MnSure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange, is the first website that gets weekends and holidays off:
The Contact Center is closed today, Veterans Day. In addition, federal account and application services are undergoing maintenance and are unavailable, 8 pm Saturday – 6:30 am Tuesday. You can still view plans.
I told Ox about this, too:
Seriously? I just tried to login to the site to view and apply for plans at 10:33 pm on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013 and I got this message:
the system is available monday through saturday, 6 am to 10 pm please visit us during those hours to apply and enroll Thank you for your interest in MNsure
Thanks to the fracking revolution, America is inching closer to energy independance that doesn’t rely on Middle East tyrants. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, Americans a) will pay higher premiums at a time when we’re becoming a Part-Time nation, b) will have fewer choices for health care, c) won’t always be able to keep the doctor or team of doctors treating them for cancer and d) will have to worry about doctor shortages.
Neither the state or federal government has the requisite skills to run health insurance exchanges. There’s plenty of proof that they’re pretty much worthless at it.
Thanks to the government’s failed attempt to get HealthCare.gov running, a new poll out today shows that, if the 2012 election were held today, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama:
As more bad poll numbers continue to pour in for President Barack Obama, a new survey finds that if the 2012 election matchup were held this month, Mitt Romney would hold the edge with the voters.
Romney topped Obama 49 percent to 45 percent among registered voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday. Among all Americans, the 2012 rivals would be tied, at 47 percent.
I think that signals the end of the HopeyChangey Express. I think it might also signal the start of President Obama’s lame duck status.
One of the things that’s becoming clear this year is that the political class doesn’t understand the United States. This weekend, I’ve read 2 articles that illustrate that perfectly. First, Scott Rasmussen’s article cuts through the clutter quickly:
2013 has been a tough year for the political class. The most recent evidence comes from Colorado.
Earlier in the year, the political elites in Washington were certain gun control would be enacted following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. When nothing passed, they expected politicians who refused to support more gun restrictions would face consequences for their actions.
There were consequences. Just not the one’s the political class expected.
After Colorado passed its own version of gun control legislation, two state senators were targeted by a grassroots effort for removal through a recall vote. It was the first time in the state’s history that the recall process had even been attempted. Outside money poured in, and gun control advocates outspent the NRA and its allies by a 6-to-1 margin. Despite the tremendous financial advantage they enjoyed, both state senators were removed from office because of their support for gun control legislation.
Simply put, in state after state, gun control activists misunderestimated the people’s love of freedom. I don’t mistake this as a newfound love of the Constitution amongst the masses. It isn’t that. It’s that people want the ability to defend themselves.
An early sign of trouble for the elites came with public reaction to the so-called sequester. More precisely, the D.C. panic was caused by the lack of public reaction.
Politicians, mainstream media organizations, defense contractors and others did everything they could to scare the public. President Obama himself used his State of the Union address to say, “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.” To make sure voters understood his concern, he added, “They’d devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
But it didn’t work. People didn’t rise up in revolt and demand that Congress stop the sequester.
Instead, voters recognized that the politicians were crying wolf. The so-called cuts were not harsh and devastating. They were embarrassingly modest. In fact, all the sequester really did was reduce the growth of federal spending a bit. So, when the sequester went into effect, there was no revolt. Instead, hardly anybody noticed. Only those who work for the government really felt any impact.
For a week straight or more, the administration trotted out cabinet secretaries to tell the public that life would end if the sequester happened. The only thing missing from their presentations were illustrations of the Apocalypse as a backdrop.
Instead, we felt a pin prick.
The other article that illustrates how out of touch DC is is Salena Zito’s fantastic article titled Main Street wants action on jobs, not blunders on Syria:
CHAMPION, Pa. – Tracey loaded three large cardboard boxes with tomatoes, peaches, green beans, cucumbers and fleshy beets for a young couple about to embark on their first adventure in the art of canning. Rows of perfectly presented vegetables lined the shelves of her family’s farmers market, where State Route 31 meets the base of a mountain.
The young couple peppered her with questions about “putting up” their produce as they recalled watching their parents filling cellars with canned vegetables and fruits that lasted from autumn through spring.
They also chatted about jobs and ways to cut corners; all three expressed worry about an economy that has not improved for more than a half-decade.
Behind them in line, a group of young people discussed the possibility of war with Syria, all of them astonished that this is what the White House is focused on. “We keep waiting for the White House to talk about jobs in a meaningful, constructive way so that our families, communities and schools stop crumbling,” said one young woman as she contemplated buying fresh honey.
This administration hasn’t deviated from its original economic plan of dumping lots of money into the economy, first through the stimulus, then through the Fed’s quantitative easing. It isn’t that the plan failed totally. It hasn’t. Still, economic growth has been stagnant to the point that we went from the housing bubble collapse to the Great Recession to today’s Great Stagnation.
Coming out of one of the nastiest recessions in US history, President Reagan instituted massive tax cuts, including cuts in the capital gains rates. In September, 1983, the US economy created 1,100,000 jobs. In August, I cited some disturbing statistics from Zerohedge’s post in this post:
Of 953,000 Jobs Created In 2013, 77%, Or 731,000 Are Part-Time
Think about those statistics juxtaposed against Reagan’s jobs report for September, 1983. Reagan created more fulltime jobs in a single month than this president has created jobs, full- and part-time, in half a year.
Meanwhile, when people still trusted government, Reagan took down the Soviet Union. Fast forward to today, where President Obama and his Secretary of State can’t even get on the same page to deliver a pin prick attack against Syria.
President Reagan’s strength was his trusting the American people to do the right thing. President Obama’s weakness is his insistance that he’s always right. People have proposed plans for a stronger economy. President Obama has ignored those blueprints. People have proposed things to fix the biggest mistakes in the PPACA. President Obama has ignored those, too, because he thinks he’s right.
In his last speech from the Oval Office, President Reagan said something that I can’t forget. He said “it’s amazing what you can get accomplished when you don’t care who gets credit for things.” President Obama could mouth those words but he’d follow that up with a reminder that it’s his brilliance that saved the day.
The difference is that President Reagan never forgot that he was a man of the people while President Obama can’t hide the fact that he’s a creature of the DC Beltway.
Technorati: Political Class, Colorado Recall Elections, Gun Control, President Obama, John Kerry, Federal Reserve, Quantitative Easing, Syria, DC Beltway, Great Recession, Great Stagnation, Democrats, President Reagan, Job Growth, Capital Gains Tax Cuts, Soviet Union, National Security, GOP
This morning, it was announced that the US and Russia had reached an agreement on eliminating Syria’s WMD stockpile. According to this post, Syria’s WMD stockpile must be eliminated by the middle of 2014:
GENEVA — The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
An immediate test of the viability of the accord will come within a week when the Syrian government is to provide a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical stockpile.
Anyone that thinks Russia will operate in good faith to eliminate Syria’s WMDs is delusional or simply lying to the American people. The chances that the Russians will live up to their agreement are about the same as President Obama living up to enforcing every provision in the PPACA or meeting its implementation deadlines.
It’s getting tiresome watching this administration getting treated like prison bitches by other nations. Kerry’s flippant remark in London opened the door for the Russians. The minute he said that, Putin and Lavrov jumped at the opportunity to use Kerry’s statement to keep Assad in power.
At the time Libya offered to get rid of its WMDs, they weren’t at war. It’s taken 8 years to get Libya’s WMD stockpiles under control. They’re still finding stockpiles of it.
By comparison, Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war. Further, they’re doing everything to shift their WMDs to new locations. Finally, they’re insisting that the US take military strikes off the table before letting the weapon inspectors into their country.
The odds that Syria’s WMDs will be gone by July, 2014 are about as high as me getting hit with lightning while holding 2 winning lottery tickets. It’s a fiction, just like the community of nations, the Easter Bunny and unicorns are fiction.
UPDATE: Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham aren’t conservatives’ favorite senators but they’re right this time:
“Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein’s playbook,” the Republican senators said in a statement. “It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
That’s been conservatives’ opinion since Secretary Kerry stumbled into this terrible deal last Monday.
President Obama’s rheotical skills were certainly on display Tuesday night when he addressed the nation about Syria’s civil war. His speech was a conundrum wrapped in a mystery. Put differently, it was a speech that didn’t make sense. For instance, this paragraph from early in the speech was wrapped in “the fierce urgency of now”:
Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.
In this paragraph, President Obama is justifying using military force. That’s understandable. Initially, the purpose of this speech was to rally the American people and, more importantly, Congress to support an ill-advised war. Shortly thereafter, the “fierce urgency of now” turned into the intellectual equivalent of “Whatever”:
However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.
It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.
I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to the Middle East, who agree on the need for action.
President Obama had changed his mind on what to do with Syria frequently because he didn’t know what to do. First, Syria is a mess, thanks to President Obama’s dithering. Thanks to President Obama’s dithering, the options available to him are filled with peril.
Second, President Obama’s leading-from-behind style, combined with John Kerry’s flippant remark, gave Vladimir Putin the opening he needed to checkmate President Obama. Putin stepped into the leadership void and made a proposal that’s as insincere as it is appealing. This is a perfect situation for Putin because President Obama is now taking credit for Putin promising to take Syria’s WMD out of the equation.
There’s no chance Syria will give up its WMD but it sounds good to President Obama. He’s now thankful to not face a humiliating defeat in Congress. Ultimately, that’s all President Obama cared about. Ultimately, he dodged a bullet of his own making.
Third, President Obama has been identified as an anti-war activist. While the public might not catch on, Congress knows that he isn’t a leader. Additionally, he’s now identified as a reluctant decisionmaker.
The hard truth, though, is that this speech won’t change public opinion.
When Hugh Hewitt interviewed Max Boot about the Syrian affair, Boot said a no vote was “a vote for isolationism and retreat.” That’s questionable. In fact, I’m not buying it. Glenn Reynolds isn’t buying it either:
When I wrote last week on our bumbling Syria diplomacy, it seemed that things couldn’t possibly go further downhill. Boy, was I wrong.
Last week, it seemed our only ally was France. But now the French are having second thoughts. Obama’s efforts to get support at the G20 conference came to nothing. Even the pope is undercutting him.
A no vote in either the House or the Senate is a vote of no confidence in President Obama and President Obama’s national security team of incompetents. Secretary Kerry’s flippant remark yesterday gave Russian President Putin the opening he was waiting for. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Putin didn’t call Bashar al-Assad to share a hearty laugh after Kerry’s mistake. Thanks to Kerry’s mistake, Assad gets to stay in power, Syria’s chemical weapons get to stay in Assad’s hands and Putin gets to say checkmate to President Obama.
Anyone that’s thinking that Syria’s WMD stockpile will suddenly be in the hands of the “international community” is kidding themselves. That won’t happen. Ever.
Here’s something that Boot said that I’m questioning:
MB: I think they have to vote yes, because for all the qualms they might have about whatever course of action President Obama might embark on, and I have some qualms myself, the bottom line is at this point a no vote is a vote for American retreat and isolationism, and it will send a terrible, terrible signal to WMD proliferators in places like Iran and North Korea. We just cannot afford to shoot down the Syria resolution.
That’s wrongheaded thinking because it assumes North Korea and Iran will take President Obama seriously if the resolution passes. They don’t take him seriously now. They won’t take him seriously if Congress authorizes the use of force.
That’s because President Obama is a known quantity. Dr. Reynolds says he’s a laughingstock. I wholeheartedly agree. World leaders already know what he’ll do. He’s utterly predictable. His pattern is to ignore a problem until it’s about to explode in his face, then he dithers, votes present, then dithers a little bit more. Then he makes a decision that nobody likes.
Thanks to that pattern, allies can’t trust him and enemies won’t fear him. If there ever is a vote on the Syrian fiasco, the only right vote is a no vote. Voting yes will just give President Obama the belief that he isn’t in over his head. That’s sending the wrong message to this incompetent president.
Finally, I appreciate Dr. Reynolds’perspective:
As I said, if I were George W. Bush or Romney, I’d be sorely tempted to laugh, because Obama’s chickens are coming home to roost. Obama was elected after he and his party sowed distrust of U.S. military endeavors, mocked “intelligence estimates” about “weapons of mass destruction,” and suggested that anything the United States did in the region was probably somehow a scheme to benefit oil companies. Now Obama and his administration are shocked to find that when they go on about intelligence estimates and weapons of mass destruction, people don’t take them seriously.
But I’d bet that Bush and Romney aren’t actually laughing. That’s because they’re both serious men who understand international politics and who care for the future of the country. They no doubt understand that, as fun as it is to watch a political opponent twist in the wind due to his own ineptitude, the price will ultimately be paid not by Obama, but by the people of America.
I totally agree.
This article shows that congressional Democrats aren’t interested in getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. They’re more interested in protecting their political flanks than finding out why this administration was caught flat-footed with Benghazi:
Retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering has agreed to be deposed by Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) Oversight panel on June 3 after being threatened with a subpoena. Democrats say they’re wary of a trap, and want to be able to counter what they say is Issa’s habit of leaking “cherry-picked” portions of witnesses’ testimonies to the press.
“If it’s true to form, if it’s a closed deposition, his staff [will] cherry pick content and leak it once again to the press that’s only too willing to print it,” panel member Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told The Hill. “It might be grossly inaccurate. In fact, it may be the opposite of what’s being asserted. But by the time somebody gets around to reporting that, if they ever do, the damage is done.”
That’s rich. The Democrats are complaining that the press isn’t giving them a fair shake. That isn’t the full extent of the Democrats’ PR tactics:
Democrats say Pickering and his co-author, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, should be able to defend their report in a public hearing. Pickering could not be reached for comment.
“House Republicans have politicized this investigation from the beginning, and they have recklessly accused Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen of being complicit in a cover-up,” said the panel’s ranking member, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “It is time for the Chairman to honor his commitment to hold a hearing to allow these officials to respond to these reckless accusations, instead of imposing new conditions to keep them from testifying. Members of Congress and the American people should hear directly from these officials, in public, and the Chairman’s efforts to keep them behind closed doors undermines the Committee’s credibility and does a disservice to the truth.”
Trey Gowdy explains why the committee is deposing witnesses:
The goal of a deposition, oversight panel member Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told The Hill, is to get “the full facts.”
“It’s hard to unlock the mysteries in five-minute increments in a committee hearing,” Gowdy said. “So if you want to find out what happened and who he interviewed, what questions he asked, why he didn’t interview certain people, you need to do it in a deposition.”
These investigations aren’t a witch hunt. They’re part of a real investigation, complete with initial questions that establish a base of facts, followed by the rarest of things in Washington, DC: thoughtful followup questions. That’s what happened during a bygone era when investigations went where the facts took them. That’s what happened when investigations found the truth and let the political chips fall where they may.
Speaking of political chips falling where they may, this speaks directly to that:
Democrats say Issa’s real target is Clinton, the presumptive Democratic front-runner for the 2016 presidential election.
It’s possible Hillary will suffer political consequences as a result of her mismanagement. Had she made the right decisions, she wouldn’t be getting criticized for making a string of stunningly foolish decisions about the security forces in Benghazi.
It’s time to detonate the ‘Republicans are politicizing Benghazi’ storyline. Foolish decisions were made. American patriots died as a direct result of Hillary Clinton’s shoddy decisionmaking. Hillary lied when she told the diplomats’ families that a video caused the terrorist attack was done to protect a president during a political campaign.
If Hillary gets tarnished because Republicans ask intelligent questions about what happened in Benghazi, then it’ll be because Hillary made foolish decisions. It isn’t because Republicans politicized the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Finally, there’s this:
Democrats say they should have been given a chance to interview Mark Thompson, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism, ahead of the May 8 hearing. They say his Republican attorney, Joseph diGenova, shielded him from Democrats.
Issa strongly denied interfering during the hearing.
“Mr. Thompson, is it your decision who you talk to?” he asked. “And did any of my people ever tell you not to talk to the Democratic minority?”
“No,” Thompson answered.
The Democrats’ accusations are essentially empty. They’ve had the right to access witnesses and ask questions. It isn’t Chairman Issa’s fault that these whistleblowers’ testimony is making the administration look bad.
Randy Krebs, the Editorial Page editor at the St. Cloud Times, has repeatedly shown a willingness to apply a double standard to the LTEs he approves. It’s appalling that he’d approve this LTE. Look at this assertion of fact:
Because Bachmann is a tax attorney and once worked for the IRS, I find it ironic that she wants a deeper probe toward the actions that the IRS took. Nobody raised this kind of fuss when the IRS took similar action toward Democratic groups when Republicans were in the White House.
Claudette Moran is the idiot that wrote this LTE. Her accusations should be highlighted because they’re baseless. What proof does Claudette Moran have that the Bush administration used the IRS as a weapon against its political opponents? What proof does Krebs have of the Bush administration using the IRS as a weapon against their political opponents?
It’s guaranteed that the NY Times would’ve written a series of articles criticizing the Bush administration had the IRS been used as a weapon against their political opponents.
Krebs’ penchant for approving LTEs that make baseless accusations against Republicans is well-documented. This isn’t the first time he’s let a Republican hater make wild accusations. He’s especially notorious for approving this viled crap if Michele Bachmann is the person being accused.
It’s time for Mr. Krebs to show us proof that the Bush administration used the IRS as a political weapon. If he doesn’t produce that proof in a timely fashion, then people should think of him as being an unprofessional editor who’s willing to use a lenient standard for LTEs criticizing Republicans but who uses a tight standard for LTEs written by conservatives.
When Michele Bachmann joined with 4 other conservatives in calling for an IG investigation into whether the Muslim Brotherhood, I wrote an LTE that cited Andrew McCarthy, the man that prosecuted, then convicted, the Blind Sheikh and Walid Phares, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood. These terrorism experts said that the “National Security Five” were justified in asking for this investigation.
Pretending to be a terrorism expert, Krebs said that these men’s information and opinions were tenuous. That’s the explanation he gave for why he wouldn’t approve my LTE. Krebs couldn’t permit an LTE that supported Michele Bachmann even though national experts verified the accuracy of her statements. Meanwhile, Krebs didn’t hesitate in publishing an LTE that made wild, baseless accusations that can’t be verified.
That certainly isn’t the picture of professionalism. Unfortunately, that isn’t surprising.
When Sen. Boxer talks, I start looking for my waders because the BS is about to fly. This op-ed is proof that the BS flies when Sen. Boxer speaks:
The facts are clear: The day after the attack, President Obama appeared in the White House Rose Garden and called the events in Benghazi an “act of terror.” And within eight days of the attack, Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, appeared before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and said that the “attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi” is “proof” that “acts of terror and violence continue to threaten our citizens and our interests around the world.”
It’s true that Matthew Olsen said that during the hearing. It’s equally true that he said it in response to a question. It’s equally true that Olsen got chewed out for admitting that in committee. Most importantly, President Obama repeatedly talked about an offensive video being the thing that triggered the terrorists’ attack. President Obama either referred to the offensive video or said it was too early to say anything, that his administration was still investigating.
The administration sought to relay the best information it had at the time. When Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on Face the Nation, sharing information that was prepared and signed off on by multiple government agencies, she made clear that the information was preliminary and warned that “we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions.”
That’s a bald-faced lie. This administration, specifically Victoria Nuland, insisted that most of the CIA’s initial intelligence report be deleted because she worried that “members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for ‘not paying attention to Agency warnings.’”
Furthermore, Gregory Hicks testified that there was never a mention of a protest by Christopher Stevens or any other diplomats in Benghazi. Finally, the CIA, the US diplomats and the Libyan president all knew within hours that this was a terrorist attack. The intelligence didn’t “evolve.” The only thing that evolved is the Obama administration’s story.
As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I well remember Secretary Clinton’s testimony following the Benghazi attack. She took responsibility and pledged to do everything in her power to put corrective measures in place. And she didn’t gloss over the profound pain and suffering this tragedy caused for the families of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Pat Smith, the mother of slain diplomat Sean Smith, said Sec. Clinton talked to her and promised to stay in touch. Last week, Pat Smith said that Hillary never called her after the ceremony on Sept. 14. Hillary’s faux empathy apparently only lasted a couple hours.
Finally, Sen. Boxer glosses over the fact that Hillary’s State Department turned down Ambassador Stevens’ request for more security. In fact, the State Department cut the security team instead.
President Obama and his apologists have insisted that the changes in the CIA’s intelligence community’s report on the Benghazi terrorist attack were the result of bureaucratic infighting. We’ve been told that that’s typical. This morning, Jim Geraghty wrote this in his morning e-letter:
If there was evidence that everyone within the State Department, military, and White House were doing everything they could to rescue our guys on that awful night, we would have heard about it long ago. If there was a good reason for the “talking points” to get edited down from a false premise (a demonstration) but at least serious information (previous CIA warnings about terrorist activity) to false pabulum, we would have heard it by now; the latest lame excuse is that the 14 edits merely reflect “bureaucratic infighting between the CIA and State.”
It’s time to return to Realityville, people. Bureaucratic infighting is typical when people are putting a plan together or figuring out a long-term strategy. Bureaucratic infighting isn’t supposed to happen when people are trying to determine the truth about events.
Bureaucratic infighting might happen when deciding whether to beef us security for diplomats. Bureaucratic infighting might happen when deciding whether to attempt a rescue of diplomats during a terrorist attack. Bureaucratic infighting might happen when people try to determine the proper response to repeated terrorist attacks on foreign missions.
Once the attacks have happened, however, the infighting stops. To determine the truth, the experts on the ground must be talked to. At that point, the only exercise left is determining whether the CIA’s report was accurate. If it was, then their report should be given to the proper people.
The BS that this administration has been spreading since the caskets returned to the United States has been insulting. It’s time this administration puts to rest their ‘the video made them do it’ storyline.
Finally, it’s time to utterly discredit James Clapper’s statement that he felt sorry for Susan Rice for telling the truth. Nothing she said on those Sunday morning talk shows was the truth. Clapper’s insistence that the talking points are accurate indicates that he’s a political appointee, not an intelligence officer.