Archive for the ‘Military’ 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 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.
Bill Kristol’s article misses the point of Rand Paul’s filibuster. First, here’s part of what Kristol wrote about Paul’s filibuster:
On the other hand, Paul’s political genius strikes us as very much of the short-term variety. Will it ultimately serve him well to be the spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican party? How much staying power is there in a political stance that requires waxing semihysterical about the imminent threat of Obama-ordered drone strikes against Americans sitting in cafés? And as for the other Republican senators who rushed to the floor to cheer Paul on, won’t they soon be entertaining second thoughts? Is patting Rand Paul on the back for his fearmongering a plausible path to the presidency for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz? Is embracing kookiness a winning strategy for the Republican party? We doubt it.
This totally misreads what Rand Paul did. Sen. Paul’s filibuster was about defending the Constitution, nothing more, nothing less. Had Eric Holder said that presidents don’t have the constitutional authority to use a drone-fired missile on a US citizen on US soil, the filibuster never would’ve happened. If Mr. Kristol thinks that that qualifies Sen. Paul for the “Code Pink faction of the Republican Party”, he’d better quickly rethink that opinion.
The rest of Kristol’s paragraph is based on his misreading of Sen. Paul’s filibuster. Actually, it isn’t implausible to think that playing to the TEA Party “faction of the Republican Party” is a smart tactic for winning in 2016. That’s what Sen. Paul’s filibuster was about. Finally, there’s someone willing to stand up for the Constitution. Finally, there’s a Republican who’s willing to cut spending.
The past 2 weeks have been horrific weeks for President Obama. He tried intimidating the Republicans into another tax increase. He tried peddling the notion that reducing the size of the increase by $44,000,000,000 would cause poor children to starve, airplanes to drop from the sky and meat inspections to end until further notice.
And that’s before he cancelled White House tours that he said were the result of sequestration’s draconian cuts. Sen. Coburn and Sen. Lee have done a masterful job of highlighting the billions of dollars of wasteful spending in this year’s budget. While they were challenging President Obama on sequestration, Sen. Paul was challenging the Obama administration on the commander-in-chief’s authorities granted by the US Constitution.
As a result of these senators’ challenges, President Obama looks weaker than he did a month ago. His job approval ratine shows it, having dropped from 55% to 46%.
As for Sens. Cruz, Lee, Rubio, Toomey, Paul and Johnson, I’d argue that they’re part of the ‘picking smart fights faction of the GOP’. That’s the wing of the GOP that I’ll enthusiastically associate with.
Tags: Drone Strikes, President Obama, Eric Holder, Code Pink, Democrats, US Constitution, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, Sequester This, Not That, TEA Party, GOP, Election 2016
In less than a week, the federal government will start cutting defense spending across the board rather than setting intelligent priorities.
Sequestration is the Obama administration’s faux solution to the Obama administration’s reckless spending. Cutting the Pentagon’s budget is a major part of sequestration. Senate Democrats have helped paint the administration into this corner.
On top of the $500 billion Defense Department that’s already been cut, sequestration would cut another $500 billion from the Pentagon’s budget. The F-35 program offers the perfect illustration of the foolishness of sequestration. Under sequestration, the Defense Department budget would be automatically cut across the board by 10% every year for 10 years. That’s on top of the $487 billion that’s already been cut from the Defense Department budget.
If the full sequestration were to take effect, “we’re going to have to look completely at the [F-35] programme,” US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12. “It’s going to be impossible to modernize.” Under sequestration, it’s likely that our young pilots will fly fighters older than they are while our potential enemies continued to build their 5th generation capabilities.
The bottom line is simple. Sequestration will hurt the military. If sequestration is implemented, the US Air Force will be more vulnerable than it should be.
Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar have been invisible in this fight. Similarly, the US Senate has been completely absent in the budget debate. Real people are about to get hurt by these indiscriminate cuts. True American patriots will needlessly be put in harms way if these are fully implemented.
Cutting the F-35 program would cost Minnesota high paying jobs at a time when creating high paying jobs should be Sen. Franken’s and Sen. Klobuchar’s highest priority. Minnesota suppliers would be directly affected. Suppliers aren’t the only Minnesota companies that would be affected, either.
It’s important that people remember that these cuts come on top of other cuts to the military. Those cuts affect both jobs and the military’s ability to protect our nation.
It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to fight for Minnesota jobs. It’s time for Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar to demand the Senate do its job and put together budget cuts that don’t kill Minnesota jobs or weaken military readiness. It’s time that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar actually made decisions based on doing what’s right for America.
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.
According to Secretary Panetta’s testimony, President Obama didn’t bother to provide leadership while 4 American patriots died in Benghazi:
The Weekly Standard’s article shows how little President Obama cared about those American patriots:
Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, “up to us.”
In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that night. There were no calls about what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.
President Obama is a pathetic imitation of a real commander-in-chief. When he greeted the flag-draped coffins, he pretended to care. When the firefight was happening, he was too busy finalizing things for his Las Vegas fundraiser to care about those diplomats.
While President Obama deserves tons of criticism for not providing leadership, Secretary Panetta and Secretary Clinton deserve tons of criticism for not having lifted a finger to save Christopher Stevens. Panetta didn’t beef up the military presence in the region. Clinton didn’t respond to Christopher Stevens’ repeated requests to beef up the consulate’s security.
The only thing more disgusting than Clinton’s and Panetta’s indifference to the Benghazi crisis is that President Obama didn’t check with Panetta or Clinton for updates.
This truth is inescapable: Obama, Clinton and Panetta were there for the photo ops but they weren’t there to prevent the horrific deaths of 4 American patriots.
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.
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
During Wednesday’s presidential press conference, President Obama made a statement that hasn’t gotten the scrutiny it deserves. Here’s what President Obama said that’s got me curious:
QUESTION: Thank you Mr. President. Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate-style hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be secretary of State, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. Senator Graham said, he simply doesn’t trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi. I’d like your reaction to that? And would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?
OBAMA: Well first of all I’m not going to comment on various nominations that I’ll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term. Those are things that are still being discussed. But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill, and professionalism, and toughness, and grace. As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.
If Senator McCain and Senator Graham, and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? And to besmirch her reputation is outrageous. And, you know, we’re after an election now.
It’s interesting that President Obama said that the purpose behind Susan Rice’s appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012 was to “make a presentation” based on the intelligence briefing she’d received from the CIA. Making a presentation to the nation seems rather one-sided. Then again, President Obama has made it clear that he isn’t interested in getting all the facts out to the public, his statements about making everything available notwithstanding.
The last thing he wants is to face difficult questions like why the military, of which he’s the commander-in-chief, failed to respond to Christopher Stevens’ desparate pleas for help during the pre-planned and well-executed terrorist attack on Benghazi. It’s a safe bet that President Obama doesn’t want to talk about why he sent Ambassador Rice to the Sunday morning shows.
After all, by his admission, Ambassador Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi.” If she didn’t know anything about the Benghazi terrorist attack prior to her CIA briefing, why didn’t President Obama send someone from the CIA to the Sept. 16 talk shows? If not someone from the CIA, why not send someone from the DoD? Those people wouldn’t have needed a CIA briefing because they were watching the terrorist attack live on their video screens.
The only explanation that fits President Obama’s purpose is to have a black woman go on the talk shows so she wouldn’t be questioned by the hosts and who could plausibly say ‘I’m only repeating what the CIA told me’.
This established without doubt that President Obama a) didn’t want an expert talking about what really happened that night in Benghazi and b) doesn’t want to answer any questions about Benghazi.
Let’s be straightforward about this: President Obama’s political priorities got 4 American patriots killed. He knows that. What’s worse is that he’s hiding behind the oldest dodge in the book, aka the I-can’t-talk-because-there’s-an-investigation-underway line.
The other difficult question that President Obama doesn’t want to answer is why there’s such a huge discrepancy between the DoD’s timeline of events and the CIA’s and State Department’s timeline. He would’ve gotten pressed on those if we’d had real White House reporters instead of off the books Democrat stenographers.
The bright side for those of us who genuinely care about the truth is that President Obama’s biggest admissions happen when he’s off prompter.
Tags: Susan Rice, Plausible Deniability, CIA Briefing, Talk Shows, Benghazi, Terrorist Attack, President Obama, Christopher Stevens, DOD, Special Forces, Leon Panetta, State Department, Hillary Clinton, National Security, Democrats
It’s time for President Obama, Secretary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus and Defense Secretary Panetta to be grilled extensively on their decisions, or lack thereof, during the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2012. I don’t want this hearing to be about a ton of peripheral topics. Citizen journalists will sort through Susan Rice’s and Jay Carney’s spin.
This shouldn’t even be about President Obama attending a Vegas fundraiser the day after the terrorist attacks. Again, that’s something citizen journalists can sort through. Here are the things this hearing must be about:
- Who was the first senior administration official to get real time reports from the consulate the day of the terrorist attack? Did this senior administration official report this immediately to President Obama? If not, why not?
- When did President Obama’s national security team first tell him about the terrorist attack? Was this during his afternoon meeting with Defense Secretary Panetta the day of the terrorist attack?
- During his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order Panetta to send troops to protect the diplomatic staff in Benghazi? If he didn’t order protection for these American patriots during his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order military support later in the day? If not, why not?
- Secretary Panetta said that he didn’t send troops in because they didn’t know what they’d be jumping into. Mike Baker dispelled that myth by saying the CIA and military are receiving a “glut of information” in real time from the CIA, specifically the Global Response Staff. Did Secretary Panetta recommend to President Obama that the military jump into the firefight/terrorist attack? If he did, what was President Obama’s response? If he didn’t, why didn’t he make that recommendation?
- When did Charlene Lamb first tell Hillary Clinton about the terrorist attack? When she was told about the terrorist attack, did Ms. Clinton immediately contact President Obama? If not, why not? If she did, what time was it that she contacted him?
- President Obama was the only person with the constitutional authority to order troop deployments during an act of war. Terrorist attacks on American consulates are without question acts of war. Did he order spec-ops troops to be deployed to Benghazi to protect the diplomats from the terrorist attack? If he didn’t, why didn’t he?
These hearings need to start with focusing in on a single subject so the American people get a detailed understanding of President Obama’s national security team operations and his decisions to protect or not protect Christopher Stevens and his diplomatic staff.
Once that base of information is established and the American people understand President Obama’s failings, then the hearings can expand into other areas. Until then, they must stay focused.
Tags: Benghazi Terrorist Attacks, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, Democrat Politicians, David Petraeus, Delta Force, CIA, Charlene Lamb, State Department, Christopher Stevens, Ty Woods, Sean Smith, Glenn Doherty, Patriots, Jay Carney, Susan Rice, Spinmeisters