Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category
In a stunning statement this morning, President Obama insisted that the Benghazi investigation is much ado about nothing:
“And suddenly three days ago this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story,” Obama said in response to a question about Benghazi. “There’s no there there.”
The president continued, “Keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice, five, six days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that I was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing.”
There’s plenty that’s new here. Prior to Wednesday, I didn’t know that Hillary Clinton talked with Gregory Hicks while the Benghazi attacks were happening. Prior to Hicks’ testimony, I didn’t know that Hicks told Hillary that there was an attack going on.
In addition to new information from the testimony, there’s also tons of new questions to get answers to. First, who eliminated the FEST option? Next, why was the FEST option eliminated? Third, who gave the orders to Lt. Col. Gibson to not rescue Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods? Fourth, why was this order given? Fifth, why did the State Department’s objections to the CIA’s report take precedence over the truth? After all, the CIA got it right the first time. Sixth, why did Beth Jones send out an email calling the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack? Seventh, why was the truth the final casualty of the terrorists’ attack?
As for President Obama saying that the “talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice” “pretty much the assessments” he was receiving during his PDBs, that’s BS. It’s insulting. The CIA’s initial report talked about a terrorist attack, with members of Ansar al-Shariah participating in the attack. The CIA’s initial report also talked multiple warnings from the CIA of mounting terrorist threats to foreign interests in Benghazi. That was deleted from the State Department’s talking points. Make no mistake, either, about the talking points. What started as a CIA intelligence report was eventually turned into a State Department CYA talking points memo.
This is my third post on Benghazi in the past 24 hours. My first post on the subject highlighted the whistleblowers coming forward. The second post highlights how the whistleblowers are destroying the administration’s credibility. This post deals with the fact that the media wall is crumbling. Here’s what CNN is reporting:
In an interview with congressional investigators, the former top diplomat in Libya expressed concern that more could have been done by the military on the night of September 11, 2012 and morning of September 12, 2012, to protect those being attacked at the U.S. compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, he wondered why the military did not send a plane as a show of force into Libyan airspace, and why four U.S. Special Operations soldiers were not permitted to travel to Benghazi on a Libyan plane the morning of September 12.
“The Libyans that I talked to and the Libyans and other Americans who were involved in the war have told me also that Libyan revolutionaries were very cognizant of the impact that American and NATO airpower had with respect to their victory,” Greg Hicks, then the US deputy chief of mission in Libya, told investigators on April 11 of this year. “They are under no illusions that American and NATO airpower won that war for them. And so, in my personal opinion, a fast mover flying over Benghazi at some point, you know, as soon as possible might very well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night.”
Hicks went on to say he believes “if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced”, around 9:30 p.m. that night, “I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.”
Prior to this article, most of the reporting on Benghazi had been done by Sharyl Attkisson and Lara Logan from CBS and Catherine Herridge and Jennifer Griffin of Fox News. With this article, CNN is now jumping into the issue. With that, the media freeze-out is almost over.
Brit Hume has as good of instincts on the DC media as anyone. Here’s his observations on the Benghazi coverage:
The media didn’t cover this properly for the longest time, mostly because they wanted President Obama to win re-election. Had the DC media investigated the Obama administration’s decision to leave Christopher Stevens and his diplomatic team to die going into the debates, it isn’t a stretch to think it might’ve changed the election landscape.
This morning, I wrote that Wednesday’s hearing on Benghazi will be explosive. This article assures us that President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice will be feeling the heat. Here’s some information that’s certain to increase the heat on the administration:
The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized. Hicks gave private testimony to congressional investigators last month in advance of his upcoming appearance at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
The Obama administration has insisted that there weren’t military assets that could’ve reached Benghazi. Gregory Hicks’ testimony contradicts the administration’s spin. Hicks’ testimony also demolishes the credibility of the ARB’s report on Benghazi. That report didn’t point the finger at anyone. Instead, it spoke of the systemic failures that happened that day.
If Hicks’ testimony is that Lt. Col. Gibson was prevented from putting together a rescue operation, then someone had to have given that order. We know that because a special operator told Fox News’ Adam Housley that special operators were prepared to respond quickly.
It’s impossible to predict with any certainty whether other networks will start covering this scandal. What’s totally predictable, though, is that Hicks’ testimony will put a big hit on the Obama administration’s credibility on Benghazi. It will also hurt the ARB’s report, which cited “systemic failures” for the poor response for Benghazi.
This wasn’t a systemic failure. This was about Hillary Clinton failing to do her job. It’s about Leon Panetta failing in his responsibility to have troops prepared for the anniversary of 9/11. It’s about President Obama ignoring the needs of the diplomats in Benghazi.
In short, it was a human failure.
This video of Bob Schieffer’s interview of Chairman Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) is explosive. What makes it explosive is that it includes quotes from people on the ground in Benghazi.
This article contains some of the explosive quotes. Here’s the first shocking quote:
“I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike, told investigators under authority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hicks, the former U.S. Embassy Tripoli deputy chief of mission, was not in Benghazi at the time of the attack, which killed Chris Stevens, then the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans.
That quote didn’t come from a political appointee. It came from a career diplomat. This verifies Stephen Hayes’ article:
Later, Hicks said this:
“…I’ve never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day,” Hicks continued in his interview with investigators. “The net impact of what has transpired is, [Rice,] the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world, has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar of doesn’t know what he’s talking about. My jaw hit the floor as I watched this.”
These quotes guarantee that Wednesday’s hearing will be the most explosive hearings on Benghazi yet. The administration is walking a tightrope on this. If they label Hicks and other whistleblowers as disgruntled employees, they risk having more whistleblowers step forward. If they portray Hicks as being misinformed, the administration should expect a backlash. People tend to believe the career diplomat, not the political appointee with an administration to protect.
Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison haven’t been accused recently of being national security hawks. After reading this statement, I’m pretty certain they’ll never be considered serious about national security:
Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the “Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act,” which would create a high level Special Envoy to Iran. The act pushes diplomacy as a vital route to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran in order to prevent war, and support human rights.
“The darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program are troubling. We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the ‘no contact policy and begin negotiations,” Congresswoman Lee said.
The bill calls for eliminating the State Department’s ‘no contact’ policy that prevents State Department officers and employees from making any direct contact with Iranian counterparts. The bill outlines measures to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran.
Original cosponsors include Representatives Earl Blumenauer, John Conyers, John Dingell, Keith Ellison, Rush Holt, Hank Johnson, James McGovern, Jim Moran, Betty McCollum, and Bobby Rush.
That’s quite a list of doves. Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against going to war with Afghanistan after 9/11. (It takes divine intervention to get to the left of Dennis Kucinich on national security.)
Hank Johnson is famous for saying that he thought Guam would capsize if troops then stationed in Iraq were redeployed to Guam:
Rather than focus on the goofy people that signed onto this legislation as co-sponsors, though, it’s important to notice that the policy that’s being espoused sends a terrible signal of weakness to the terrorists. What’s more is this policy is most likely to embolden terrorists. If the terrorists think that they can threaten the West, why wouldn’t they think that they can get away with much more than threats?
Follow this link for more on this topic.
The most explosive, hotly-contested part of yesterday’s Benghazi cover-up hearing came when Hillary lost it. When Sen. Ron Johnson questioned her on why the State Department didn’t investigate what happened in Benghazi, Hillary asked why it mattered. Today, Sen. Johnson’s op-ed in USA Today explains why this collossal failure shouldn’t have happened. This part cuts to the heart of why it matters:
When I questioned her about the misinformation disseminated for days by the administration, most notably by Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice on Sunday news programs five days after the attack, she asked, “What difference does it make?”
If you don’t expeditiously debrief the people who witnessed the attack, how can you understand who initiated it, what weapons they used and who may have been involved? How do you initiate a proper response if you don’t know what transpired? How do you move properly to protect other American assets and people in the region? How do you know what failures occurred, so that you can immediately correct them, if you have not debriefed the very victims of those failures? And lastly, how do you tell the truth to the American people if you don’t know the facts?
Our diplomatic forces in Benghazi were denied the security they repeatedly requested for many months before Sept. 11, 2012. Secretary Clinton stated that she was not told of those desperate requests in the most dangerous region in the world. As a result, our people in Benghazi were ill-prepared to repel or avoid that attack, and four Americans were murdered. For many days after the event, the American people were also misinformed as to the nature and perpetrators of that attack.
Hillary’s faux outrage about being questioned about her failure wasn’t convincing. She helped cover up the murder of 4 American patriots who deserved better from the nation they loved.
Yesterday’s hearings weren’t about learning lessons so we don’t repeat them. It should’ve been about exposing this administration’s lies about what happened in Benghazi. It should’ve been about highlighting for the American people the fact that this administration was more worried about maintaining their political viability than about doing the right thing.
Sen. Johnson’s crossexamination of Hillary went a long ways towards that goal. Sen. Johnson’s op-ed takes it a few steps further.
Thank God for patriots like Sen. Johnson.
This video of Tom Ricks’ interview with FNC’s Jon Scott shows off his infantile logic:
This statement is outrageous:
I think Benghazi was hyped, especially by this network. Now that the campaign is over, [Sen. McCain's] backing away from his previous statements.
When Scott asked how it’s possible to hype the killing of 4 American patriots, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Ricks asked if Scott knew how many security contractors were killed in Iraq.
That type of infantile logic is typical of progressive thinking. First, Chris Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq during the Bush administration, didn’t request additional troops to protect the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Similarly, he didn’t request additional troops for any of the U.S. consulates in Iraq.
Next, these security contractors know that they’re being hired to be the front line of defense against terrorists and militias. While there’s no question ambassadors in some nations have a dangerous job, they aren’t expected to be the front line of defense against RPG-armed, well-trained terrorists and militias.
Another key distinction that’s worth noting is that the Bush administration didn’t attempt to hide the fact that security contractors had a dangerous job. They didn’t manufacture stories about a non-existent mob got out of control, then killed a U.S. ambassador. They didn’t send out someone who didn’t know what had happened and wasn’t accountable for what happened to explain what happened.
Furthermore, during the second presidential debate, President Obama said that he’d called the terrorist attack on Benghazi a terrorist attack from the outset, then went to the UN and repeatedly apologized for a video that nobody had seen.
President Obama’s clear intent was to hide the fact that his administration’s inaction led directly to the deaths of 4 American patriots. If Mr. Ricks is suggesting that the needless killing of 4 American patriots isn’t a big thing, then I’d love debating him about that.
Finally, no progressive diatribe would be complete without them accusing FNC of being a campaign instrument of the GOP. Here’s the obligatory FNC is the GOP’s lacky statement:
I think the emphasis on Benghazi has been extremely political, partly because Fox is operating as the wing of Republican Party.
It’s apparent that Mr. Ricks is an operative for the progressive movement. He doesn’t think for himself. His logic is infantile. He’s willing to overlook the possibility that this administration is willing to say anything to hide their incompetence. He’s willing to say things that hide the fact that this administration’s decisions led directly to the unnecessary deaths of true American patriots.
That’s the responsibility of progressive spinmeisters.
Greta van Susteren is pissed at the Obama administration. That isn’t the daintiest way of putting it but it’s what’s called for. I could say that she’s upset with this administration. I might’ve said she thinks they’re playing games. I won’t say that because that’s pussyfooting around what Greta thinks. In Greta’s opinion, it’s time to take the gloves off and blister this amateurish, corrupt administration. She did that in this post:
The Obama Administration is playing dirty. Trying to put a price tag on access — either a news organization plays ball and accepts what they dish out without challenge, or the news organization is excluded, punished. Check this out:
Fox News has been aggressively reporting on Benghazi because it is newsworthy when 4 Americans are MURDERED and because it was obvious the Obama Administration was telling “silly stories” that didnt’ make sense and were not supported by the facts. The Administration’s Benghazi story got more curious when the Administration sent out Ambassador Susan Rice to sell the silly stories on 5 news shows. Two months later, the American people still don’t have the straight story. It is our job to get the facts. We are trying.
The Obama Administration has done everything but give us the straight story and they are fighting us on getting the facts.
And why do I say the Obama Administration should grow up? Because the Obama Administration is trying to punish Fox for trying to get the facts from the Administration (do I need to remind anyone that 4 Americans were murdered?) The Administration in what looks like a coordinated effort is denying Fox to information that they are handing out to other news organizations. Why exclude Fox? That is simple: to punish, to try to teach us a lesson not to pry, not to look further for facts.
This isn’t just Greta’s opinion, though it’s fair to say this is what she believes. Top flight attorneys know that opinions don’t stand up at trial if they aren’t supported by evidence. Greta is a top flight attorney who knows when to stick the dagger in. That’s what she did with this information:
Here is my proof. The Administration is now 3 out of 3:
1. The State Department called a media conference call the night before its employees testified on Capitol Hill and OMITTED FOX FROM THE CALL; (they claimed it was an accidental oversight);
2. About 2 weeks after the above State Department conference call to all in the media, the CIA had a media wide briefing and released their timeline. The CIA invited major news organizations to the briefing but THE CIA EXCLUDED FOX FROM THOSE INVITED TO THE BRIEFING.
3. and now the latest: DNI Director James Clapper told Capitol Hill last week that the DNI did not know who took the term Al Qaeda out of the talking points that was given to Ambassador Susan Rice. It turns out that is not true and the DNI released a memo to the media last night indicating that DNI Director James Clapper was wrong last week when he said that (incidentally two plus months after the murders.) The [DNI/CIA] removed Al Qaeda from the talking points memo given to Ambassador Susan Rice. But that’s not all; it isn’t just the “who is on first” at the DNI, it is also what the DNI did to Fox last night. The DNI LEFT FOX NEWS CHANNEL OFF ITS DISTRIBUTION LIST last night when it released this new memo to the media.
Only idiots from Media Matters or Huffington Post will be stupid enough to argue with Greta about this. Not even Paul Begala is stupid enough to question Greta about this information or Greta’s opinions.
This is a vindictive administration. They’ve repeatedly said on national TV that they intend on making an example of FNC. First, here’s a golden oldie from David Axelrod:
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.”
“I’m not concerned,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” when George Stephanopoulos asked about the back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News.
“Mr. [Rupert] Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument [White House communications director] Anita [Dunn] was making is that they’re not really a news station if you watch even; it’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming.
“It’s really not news; it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”
It’s the height of stupidity to say that Bret Baier, Catherine Herridge, Jennifer Griffin, Ed Henry and Jim Angle aren’t great reporters. They’ve broken stories that’ve put this administration in a difficult position.
Contrary to this administration’s belief, it isn’t the media’s job to hide their mistakes and divert the public’s attention from their mistakes. And Benghazi was far greater than a mistake. It’s a continuing national tragedy. It’s a full-fledged scandal. It’s a failure of this administration’s top national security officials.
Had this happened during the Bush administration, the compliant liberal media would’ve called for the firings of the Bush administration’s national security team. Frankly, they would’ve been justified had Bush’s national security team been this incompetent.
Hillary said no to Christopher Stevens’ pleas for additional security. Leon Panetta fiddled while Christopher Stevens was assassinated. Susan Rice said an obscure video sparked protests outside the Benghazi consulate when she knew there wasn’t a protest outside the consulate. Finally, the DNI scrubbed the mention of Ansar al-Shariah from the briefing document Ambassador Rice supposedly relied on.
Simply put, this bunch of incompetents and yes men/women did what they were told, including punishing a news organization for attempting to report the truth:
We at Fox are not simply accepting what they say, what they dish out. We are looking for facts and corroboration when there are inconsistencies and discrepancies. To the extent we get anything wrong is because the Administration is doing whatever it can to thwart us from getting the facts.
They are trying to punish us into going away, hoping we get their message that we will never have access to them as long as we dare to challenge what they put out. And guess what? What they have put out and what we have challenged shows they are cagey and not giving the straight story.
This won’t end well for the Obama administration. This will be Obama’s Watergate, Obama’s Iran-Contra. On steroids. The difference is that people didn’t die during the Watergate burglary or the Iran-Contra negotiations. Four American patriots died as a result of President Obama’s and Hillary’s mishandling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Tags: President Obama, Hillary, Leon Panetta, Susan Rice, James Clapper, National Security, Benghazi, Nixon’s Black List, Terrorist Attack, Democrats, Greta van Susteren, Investigation, Catherine Herridge, Jennifer Griffin, Reporting, Scoops, Fox News Channel
During tonight’s roundtable, Sen. Saxby Chambliss told Chris Wallace that he had seen video during today’s closed door hearing that “clearly showed” the terrorist attack on the Benghazi Consulate was a terrorist attack.
Later, the panel discussed what Sen. Chambliss said. Here’s what Juan Williams said:
WILLIAMS: Well, he said clearly that, you know what, events in Egypt were triggered by the video and it could mean that some of the things that happened in Benghazi could have been in response but it could have been used as a pretext for people who wanted to engage in a terrorist attack. The second thing he talked about was throwing Susan Rice under the bus and then he said it was a political statement and then he defended his comrades in the Senate, Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham. But clearly, he didn’t respond to the notion that there was intelligence as you pointed out earlier in the show, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who said that that’s the intelligence that Susan Rice had. There’s no question about that. There’s nothing political about that. She said that she was responding to the intelligence community’s assessment that said, and by the way, the fragmentary stuff that they may pick up, the guy in Tripoli sent in this report, that’s not what the community based their assessment on. That was fragmentary stuff at the time.
Unfortunately for Juan, Steve Hayes actually paid attention to what Sen. Chambliss said. Here’s Steve’s response:
HAYES: It’s not at all fragmentary. The takeaway from what Saxby Chambliss said is that, after reviewing this information all afternoon, “It was clear from Day One that this was a terrorist attack.” Now we’re two months out. We’ve seen all of this intelligence and that’s his assessment. It’s also the assessment of everyone who’s looked at the intelligence. Even the State Department has acknowledged that there was no protest. You had Democrats coming out on Sept. 13 saying, in effect, that this was a terrorist attack. It was pre-planned. It was sophisticated. The question is why did we know all of this information the first three days and why did David Petraeus say on Sept. 14 that all of this was possibly triggered by the video?
It’s impossible to say with intellectual integrity that a video that might or might not have triggered the Cairo riots might also have triggered the terrorist attack in Benghazi. After all, the distance between Cairo and Benghazi is 800+ miles.
Unfortunately, Juan Williams is letting party loyalty, not facts and logic, shape his opinions. An attack can’t both be a sophisticated, pre-planned attack and something that developed out of a spontaneous protest. The fact that the attack was pre-planned necessarily eliminates the terrorist-attack-grew-out-of-a-spontaneous-protest meme.
There’s another question that’s left hanging there, namely, why didn’t Susan Rice take into consideration the footage that was livestreaming from the overhead drone? It’s a scary thought to think that she totally relies on James Clappers’ briefings for her information.
Let’s remember who James Clapper is and what he’s ‘famous’ for, then explain why anyone would trust his briefings.
Finally, here’s the video of the SR Roundtable discussion:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), asked the right questions of President Obama, Ambassador Rice and the State Department during this interview:
Sen. Graham is spot on when he said that President Obama “failed before, during and after the [terrorist] attack.” That’s indisputable. He failed to insist that the State Department didn’t provide proper protection to our diplomats, especially considering the fact that Christopher Stevens and the CIA had identified 10 different al-Qa’ida-related militias in Benghazi.
President Obama failed, apparently, to check with Secretary Panetta about what steps he was taking to kill the attacking terrorists. There’s no excuse for why an American president wouldn’t be in the Situation Room, monitoring the video feed from the unarmed drone with his national security team. That’s a total failure on President Obama’s part.
At that point, all other appointments must be rescheduled. Orders must be given to the CIA and the Pentagon that they send President Obama’s national security team updates every half hour on the situation on the ground and where the military is in deploying troops to protect Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Ty Woods.
Anything short of that is sloppy behavior that can’t be tolerated during a crisis of this proportion.
As for Ambassador Rice, why did she rely solely on the CIA’s briefing? It’s sloppy for her not to have checked with Charlene Lamb, the State Department career woman who was maintaining live, real time communications with the diplomatic staff. She’s the woman that sent timely updates to the White House Situation Room, too. Didn’t she think that information might’ve been helpful in connecting the dots of what happened that tragic night?
Perhaps that was her goal all along. Perhaps Ambassador Rice didn’t want to know what had happened. Perhaps she thought that finding out what really happened in Benghazi would hurt her boss. Perhaps she thought that knowing the truth would end her opportunity to be the next Secretary of State.
Put in that context, Ambassador Rice’s actions are perfectly understandable.
Finally, President Obama’s repeated statements that his national security team did everything they could to rescue Christopher Stevens and the other American patriots doesn’t square with the facts. It’s a great-sounding statement in terms of PR value but it doesn’t have anything to do with the truth.
Tags: Lindsey Graham, Benghazi, Investigation, National Security, President Obama, Susan Rice, Situation Room, CIA Briefing, Charlene Lamb, Live Feed, State Department, Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Military, Christopher Stevens, Diplomats, Patriots