Archive for the ‘Investigations’ Category
Andrew Napolitano’s op-ed for Fox News is a great history lesson of the Nixon administration’s and the Obama administration’s attempts to suppress political speech. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s Judge Napolitano’s illustration of how the Nixon administration suppressed speech:
Classic examples of “chilling” occurred in the 1970s, when FBI agents and U.S. Army soldiers, in business suits with badges displayed or in full uniform, showed up at anti-war rallies and proceeded to photograph and tape record protesters. When an umbrella group of protesters sued the government, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, ruling that the protesters lacked standing, meaning, because they could not show that they were actually harmed, they could not invoke the federal courts for redress.
Here’s what Judge Napolitano highlighted about the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress political speech:
So, what has the Obama administration done to stifle, or chill, the words of its detractors? For starters, it has subpoenaed the emails and home telephone records of journalists who have either challenged it or exposed its dark secrets. Among those journalists are James Risen of The New York Times and my colleague and friend James Rosen of Fox News. This is more personal than the NSA spying on everyone, because a subpoena is an announcement that a specific person’s words or effects have been targeted by the government, and that person continues to remain in the government’s crosshairs until it decides to let go.
This necessitates hiring legal counsel and paying legal fees. Yet, the targeting of Risen and Rosen was not because the feds alleged that they broke the law, there were no such allegations. Rather, the feds wanted to see their sources and their means of acquiring information. What journalist could perform his work with the feds watching? The reason we have a First Amendment is to assure that no journalist would need to endure that.
To his credit, Rosen hasn’t stopped asking tough questions while reporting on the touchiest of subjects. Though there’s no question that Mr. Rosen and his family have felt pressured by the government, Mr. Rosen has continued doing his job.
I suspect that that’s due in large part to his bosses, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, have told him that they have his back. Further, I’m certain that his co-workers, people like Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Fox’s correspondents, have showed him that they’ve got his back, too.
The point is that people can withstand a tyrannical administration’s attempts to chill political speech if a) they’re suppported by their colleagues and b) they’re willing to show that administration that they won’t be intimidated.
That’s the lesson in this tyranny. There’s nothing that’ll send a stronger message to a tyrant than saying that you can’t be intimidated. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. Still, the rewards can be tremendous and the respect gained from colleagues immense. It’s what’s needed in stopping a bully like this:
Two weeks ago, a notorious pot stirrer in Norfolk, Neb., built a mock outhouse, put it on a truck and drove the truck with permission in a local Fourth of July parade. In front of the outhouse, he placed a mannequin that he claimed looked like himself, and on the outhouse, he posted a sign that stated: “Obama Presidential Library.”
Some thought this was crude, and some thought it was funny; yet it is fully protected speech. It is protected because satire and opinion about public figures are absolutely protected, as well as is all criticism of the government. Yet, the Department of Justice has sent a team to investigate this event because a local official called it racist. Such an allegation by a public official and such a federal investigation are chilling. The reason we have a First Amendment is to ensure that the government stays out of investigating speech.
There’s no question that President Obama and his chief henchman bristled when they saw this. President Obama has the thinnest skin of any American president in my lifetime. It’s one thing to not like it when people poke fun at you. It’s quite another to start a federal investigation when someone pokes fun at the president.
President Obama’s history has been to eliminate his political opponents whenever possible. When that isn’t possible, he’s resorted to Gestapo-like tactic. Threats and intimidation are definitely part of his ‘weaponry.’
The most indespensible tool in fights like this, again, is to show people you’re willing to stand up to their bullying tactics. Another great tool is to get people rallying around you. That’ happened in Rosen’s case. What hasn’t happened, though, is that Democrats haven’t shown they’ve got the integrity required to stand up to a thug in their own party.
The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to permit, encourage and even foment open, wide, robust debate about the policies and personnel of the government. That amendment presumes that individuals, not the government, will decide what language to read and hear. Because of that amendment, the marketplace of ideas, not the government, will determine which criticisms will sink in and sting and which will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.
This is one of those times when the best defense is a great offense. Nothing stops a bully as quickly as giving them a bloody nose or taking out their knee. That’ll send the message that you’re prepared for battle. That, more than anything else, will give a bully pause.
Yesterday, I wrote this post to highlight how the media is letting the people down. In this instance, I criticized the St. Cloud Times for their kid glove treatment of SCSU President Earl Potter III. This part especially upset me:
The struggle to fill St. Cloud State University’s Coborn’s Plaza, high-end student housing, needs to be viewed as an opportunity, not a blame game.
In my commentary, I said that that type of thinking is what helps people continue making terrible decisions. Anytime the media doesn’t question decisionmakers’ decisions, the media breaks their trust with We The People. That’s unacceptable. In fact, it’s downright dangerous.
It’s aggravating that the Times couldn’t even publish accurate information before making their editorial statements:
To the former, from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2015, the annual subsidy is projected to decline from $1.348 million to $937,800. While that’s progress, it only amounts to an annual decline of about $105,000. So how much longer will it take to break even?
Had the Times read my post on that matter, they wouldn’t have asked that question:
At the April 30, 2013 meeting of the Budget Advisory Committee, Patrick Jacobson-Schulte, Associate Vice President for Financial Management and Budget, informed the committee that, even under the best scenario of 100% occupancy, Coborn’s Plaza would lose between $50,000 and $150,000 annually.
This brings us to two important questions. First, why didn’t the Times learn about this information? Second, why did the Times hesitate in affixing blame on President Potter? They certainly didn’t hesitate in criticizing former SCSU President Saigo.
This isn’t meant as a critique of Dr. Saigo. Frankly, I didn’t pay that much attention to St. Cloud State prior to Potter’s administration. I won’t use this post to praise or criticize him. I’ll just use this post to highlight the fact that the St. Cloud Times frequently criticized Dr. Saigo but they refuse to criticize President Potter. What’s up with that?
It isn’t like President Potter hasn’t made lots of questionable decisions. For instance, he spent $50,000 on the Great Place to Work Institute’s Trust Index Survey. Here’s what the Trust Index Survey found:
Even after seeing these results, the Times insisted that both sides needed to ask themselves what they can do to make SCSU a better place to work. When 26% of respondents say that management delivers on its promises, there isn’t much that the faculty can do to change that figure, with the exception of lying. When 24% of respondents say that “management’s actions match its words”, it’s management’s responsibility to fix that crisis.
It isn’t the Times’ responsibility to say that ‘both sides can do better.’ It’s the Times’ responsibility to accurately state that it’s President Potter’s responsibility to fix the problem. Each time that the Times takes a on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand approach, it lets President Potter off the hook.
More importantly, the Times lets down the community by not giving people the information they need to make informed decisions. Each time the Times deflects attention away from President Potter, it’s taking sides. That, in turn, helps him pretend that he’s doing a good job.
Technorati: Earl Potter, St. Cloud State, Wedum Foundation, Great Place to Work Institute, Trust Index Survey, St. Cloud Times, Media Bias, Editorial Board, Our View Editorials, Bloggers, Investigative Reporting, Corruption
When President Obama told Bill O’Reilly that there wasn’t even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS, Americans rolled their eyes. They knew he was full of it. They knew it because they’d gotten to know Catherine Engelbrecht and how the federal government was used to persecute her for having the audacity of participating in the political process.
Ed Rogers’ article highlights the fact that more smidgens are popping up weekly. This week, some significant smidgens showed up:
In a stunning revelation this week, it was disclosed that former IRS official Lois Lerner told colleagues, “we need to be cautious about what we say in emails” and then proceeded to ask the IRS IT department, in an e-mail, “if [instant messaging] conversations were also searchable.” When she was told they were not, she e-mailed back, “Perfect.” This is a smoking gun e-mail in that it makes plain she had a cover-up in mind. There is no other plausible explanation.
Josh Earnest, the Obama administration’s latest version of Baghdad Bob, undoubtedly will explain that Republicans are grasping at straws because their fishing expedition is going nowhere. He’ll then recite the BS that the administration has turned over tens of thousands of documents and cooperate fully with the investigation.
What Earnest won’t be able to do is explain away Jim Jordan’s interrogation of John Koskinen yielding this stunning admission:
“Has anyone at the Justice Department talked to you or anyone at the Internal Revenue Service about Lois Lerner’s lost emails?” Jordan asked Koskinen. “I have no idea whether the Justice Department has talked to anyone at the agency,” said Koskinen, who started his job last December. “They have not talked to me.”
It’s important to note that DOJ allegedly started their investigation a year ago. That admission is a major bombshell on multiple fronts. First, it says that Justice isn’t interested in investigating the IRS. Second, it sends the message to the IRS that they don’t have to worry about stonewalling Congress. These are major smidgens of corruption.
The terrible news for the administration is that their stonewalling will end, thanks to a pair of no-nonsense judges. On Thursday, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the IRS had to explain what happened to Lois Lerner’s hard drive and emails:
Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington gave the Internal Revenue Service exactly a month, until Aug. 10, to file a report, which he demanded as part of a lawsuit from a conservative watchdog, Judicial Watch, against the agency.
On Friday, Judge Reggie Walton issued a similar ruling. Greta van Susteren posted Judge Walton’s ruling:
ORDERED that, on or before July 18, 2014, defendant the Internal Revenue Service shall submit to the Court an affidavit or declaration signed under oath by an appropriate individual with firsthand knowledge that: Case 1:13-cv-00734-RBW Document 91 Filed 07/11/14
1. outlines the expertise and qualifications of the individual or individuals currently conducting the forensic examination as part of the Inspector General’s investigation;
2. outlines the expertise and qualifications of the individual or individuals who previously conducted forensic examinations or otherwise attempted to recover information from the computer hard drive at issue;
3. provides a projected date of completion of the Inspector General’s investigation;
4. states whether the serial number, if any, assigned to the computer hard drive at issue is known; and
5. if the serial number is known, why the computer hard drive cannot be identified and preserved.
During her interview on Megyn Kelly’s show last night, Cleta Mitchell noted that this can’t be filled out by a political appointee like John Koskinen because his statements are inadmissable in a court of law because they’re hearsay. His statements aren’t based on firsthand knowledge. They’re based on what someone told him, at best.
Further, Judge Sullivan’s ruling and Judge Walton’s rulings have teeth in them. Prior to this, if Koskinen or Lerner or whomever misled House committees, the most that those committees could do is refer the case to the Justice Department for investigation. Thanks to Eric Holder’s corruption, that wasn’t a stick. It was a twig, if that.
These judges, however, have the authority to appoint a special prosecutor with the ability to put people in prison if they’re found guilty in a trial.
The smidgens are adding up. The American people reached their boiling point long ago. If the IRS tries playing games with these stiff-spined judges, Judges Sullivan and Walton will reach their boiling points, too. Time is running out on the Holder Justice Department. They can’t stonewall much longer and get away with it.
In the end, the smidgens will win.
Technorati: IRS, Lois Lerner, John Koskinen, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Reggie Walton, Emmet Sullivan, Lawsuits, True the Vote, Cleta Mitchell, Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton
President Obama is still convinced that he can bamboozle the American people. To a certain extent, he’s right. What’s discouraging, though, is that he still thinks he’s America’s king, not America’s president. President Obama’s press team is doing its best to sell him as a man who cares about the middle class. Meanwhile, Al Franken didn’t want anything to do with President Obama’s visit to Minnesota.
I can’t blame Sen. Franken for not associating with President Obama, especially a day after the Commerce Department admitted that the Obama-Franken economy shrunk by 2.9% in Q1 of 2014. If I were Sen. Franken’s campaign manager, I’d tell him to distance myself from President Obama, especially after the Supreme Court issued its 13th straight 9-0 rebuke of an unconstitutional presidential power grab.
I’d especially want to distance myself from the arrogant man that insisted that the IRS scandal is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of TEA Party organizations is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of a sitting US senator is Washington being Washington.
President Obama is the most corrupt president in US history. Whereas President Nixon told the FBI that they didn’t need search warrants, President Obama thinks that obeying the Constitution is optional. Further, President Obama thinks he’s king of the United States, rewriting the law he signed over 30 times.
That isn’t a public servant. That’s the profile of a narcissist. If I had a $10 bill for every time President Obama said that he had a pen and he had a phone and that that’s all he needed to govern, I’d be wealthy. That’s what autocrats say, not presidents. At least, presidents prior to President Obama never said they’d ignore the legislative branch.
President Obama’s arrogance is displayed another way. RNC spokesman Michael Short issued this statement criticizing President Obama and Sen. Franken:
“While President Obama is out surveying the economy his policies have failed to rejuvenate, hopefully he will take the opportunity to consider a different approach. Instead of pushing for more policies that make it even harder to create jobs, the President ought to call on Harry Reid and Al Franken to take up the dozens of House-passed jobs bills languishing in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As we saw with yesterday’s news that the economy shrank more than originally thought during the first three months of 2014, it’s clear President Obama’s policies still aren’t working and the country needs a new direction.”
President Obama has made it clear that he thinks his failed policies will provide the solutions families need. He couldn’t be more wrong about that. The sooner his policies are repealed, the sooner the economy will start doing what it’s always done, which is grow at incredible rates.
I’ll borrow a Reagan line to illustrate my perspective. A recession is when your neighbor is unemployed. A depression is when you’re unemployed. The recovery will start when President Obama is unemployed and his policies are dismantled.
It isn’t surprising that Sen. Franken hid during President Obama’s visit. I’d hide from President Obama’s track record of lawlessness, corruption and incompetence, too. That’s the last thing I’d want to be associated with.
Technorati: Al Franken, President Obama, Unemployment, IRS Scandal, Lois Lerner, Autocratic Rule, NLRB vs. Noel Canning, SCOTUS, Corruption, Democrats, Chuck Grassley, Sitting Senator, IRS Audit, Republicans, Election 2014
Now that it’s been revealed that Lois Lerner targeted sitting US Sen. Chuck Grassley with an audit, the debate over whether to prosecute Ms. Lerner should be over. I say should be because we don’t have a real attorney general or a real Justice Department. If we did, we’d already have an indictment in hand and a trial date would’ve been set.
The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.
The event organizer, whose name is not disclosed, apparently offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend the event, which caught Lerner’s attention. The December 2012 emails show that in response, Lerner suggested to an IRS colleague that the case be referred for an audit.
“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?” she wrote.
Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is “not prohibited on its face.” There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further.
What’s disturbing is the fact that Lerner is a lawyer within the IRS. Apparently, she didn’t know that this offer didn’t violate the law. Last night on Greta, she said that Lerner should know better. Then she said that everything is fine if the Grassleys report the payment on their income tax filings. Then Greta threw in a final caveat of import: At the time she wanted Grassley audited, it wasn’t clear if Sen. Grassley would accept the speaking engagement.
It’s stunning that Ms. Lerner targeted a sitting US senator. This clearly proves that, at least in her mind, the IRS should be weaponized against conservatives. This also proves that President Obama’s statement that there “isn’t even a smidgen of corruption” within the IRS is pure BS.
Lois Lerner is exceptionally corrupt. Ditto with John Koskinen and Steven Miller.
Grassley said in a statement that this kind of incident fuels concerns people have about “political targeting” at the highest levels. “It’s very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials,” the senator said.
That type of corruption should make indicting and prosecuting Ms. Lerner an imperative. Unfortunately, like I said before, that won’t happen because Attorney General Holder and President Obama are as corrupted by ideology as Ms. Lerner is.
More Democrats are calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation. Translation: Blah, blah…Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We get it. Democrats are outraged, outraged I tell you, about the VA scandal.
Frankly, I don’t care that they’re expressing outrage, mostly because I’m thinking that it’s faux outrage. I don’t care that firing Gen. Shinseki won’t fix the VA’s problems, either, because that’s missing the point. The VA was a disaster before Gen. Shinseki was confirmed as the VA secretary.
Gen. Shinseki must go because he’s utterly incompetent. The situation got significantly worse during his watch. Gen. Shinseki has to go because he isn’t capable of fixing the problem. Whether you’re mad as hell or whether you’re mildly upset about the VA Crisis (Yes, it’s a crisis.) or whether you’ve barely noticed it, the point is that this crisis must get fixed ASAP. That’s because it’s immoral to let another vet die because of the government’s corruption and incompetence.
George Will took a big step in solving the VA’s crisis this past Sunday on Fox News Sunday:
Here’s Will’s complete response:
WILL: You solve that problem Republican in the following way. Kirsten says, look, Amtrak has trouble and so does U.S. Air. The difference is airlines, as a lot of them could tell you, go out of business. Amtrak is run by a government that prints money and therefore can never let Amtrak go out of business no matter how many billions it loses year after year after year. With the Republicans, it seems (ph), we should say is this — this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Americans are here and there on the interstate system. When the government decided to build that, that the country needed it, it didn’t go into the highway building business. It didn’t start a federal highway construction company.
It dealt with the private sector. And it got done. They can do the same thing with this. There’s no reason in the world why, if I can use this word, it’s anathema to Democrats, give people vouchers to be redeemed in our private hospital system.
Gen. Shinseki is a genuine military hero. Unfortunately, he was also utterly unqualified to run the VA Department. The remedy that Will suggested just wasn’t used. It isn’t that Gen. Shinseki didn’t have the authority to send vets to private hospitals. He had that authority. He just didn’t use it.
Thanks to the corruption within the VA system that’s been exposed, I’d argue that it’s time to utilize that option far more frequently.
Democrats were late to this crisis. Now that they’re scrambling to look like they’re finally interested, they’re calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation. They’re right in that he needs to go. What’s irritating is that these senators think calling for Gen. Shinseki’s resignation will provide them with much-needed political cover. What’s disgusting is that they aren’t that interested in the solution.
Joe Lisbon’s LTE is typical progressive chanting points stuff. Lisbon apparently put little thought into his LTE because it’s reciting the same stuff for the gazillionth time. Here’s the opening of his LTE:
Republican opposition to Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, has become an embarrassment for the GOP, and conservatives seeking political advantage need to fire up their donor base for fundraising.
Thsi is of the same tone as saying this is a political witch hunt, that there’s been a gazillion investigations into Benghazi, that there’s nothing new to learn. If they kept it pithy, they’d say it’s time to move onto something the American people cared about.
First, the “Republican base” is fired up and then some. It’s been fired up for over a year. Poll after poll shows how the GOP is on the right side of the enthusiasm gap. That’s why professional political predictors like Charlie Cook, Michael Barone and Larry Sabato think Republicans will have another strong election cycle.
Right after the 2012 elections, Nancy Pelosi started talking about retaking the majority in the House. From time to time, you’d hear those mumblings resurface. Then came the IRS scandal, the DOJ spying on reporters scandal and the VA Hospital scandal. That’s in addition to the Benghazi scandal.
If you’re going to write an LTE, you shouldn’t put this BS in it:
The GOP says there is a coverup of internal discussions of whether to call the attack “terror” or “terrorism” because the White House did not want to admit al-Qaida was behind the attack. Except, of course, nobody has shown al-Qaida was behind it, nor have they claimed credit.
There’a huge problem with that statement. Within the first 24 hours of the start of the attack, the Libyan president said that Ansar al-Shariah, an affialiate of al-Qa’ida, had taken credit for the precision terrorist attack.
Forgive me but the Libyan president is definitely a somebody.
Gen. Robert Lovell testified that it was clear it was a terrorist attack:
Lovell said that as intelligence was streaming into command, it became “quickly evident” to AFRICOM that terrorists, namely Ansar al-Sharia, were behind the attack.
“What we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action,” he said. “This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.”
In other words, the spin coming from Jay Carney and Susan Rice was BS from the earliest moments of the attack.
This Republican kangaroo court’s purpose is just to make misleading or false political headlines about Clinton and Obama. I doubt there is a Fox News Channel viewer who even recalls that Benghazi occurred in the wake of Cairo. There were eight demonstrations on the same day at other U.S. embassies, 40 worldwide in major cities — which, at one point, were thought to be about an Internet video.
As someone who watches Fox News, I know that the military should’ve been put on high alert on 9/10 Egyptian time because the Blind Sheikh’s son announced that he was going to attempt to take the Cairo embassy staff hostage, then barter those hostages to get his father, the planner of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, released.
Not only do Fox News viewers know about the other demonstrations but they know that there never were any protests outside the Benghazi compound. We know that because of Gen. Lovell’s testimony and Greg Hicks’ dramatic testimony. This statement is disgusting but predictable:
No one inside the Fox bubble cares about the millions spent on the 54 repeal votes on Obamacare, or the millions spent on closing down the government, or that Mitt Romney on the day of the attack was grandstanding about Benghazi for political advantage before he had the facts of what happened.
Mitt Romney’s statement, the one which he’s accused of grandstanding about, was a reaction to the administration’s statement:
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Jay Carney repeatedly took to the podium, saying that intelligence was still coming in. Later, Carney said that the administration’s story changed as that intel came in. Apparently, Mr. Lisbon doesn’t think the administration was grandstanding when it issued a statement about the video within an hour of the start of the Cairo protests.
We know that President Obama thought this wasn’t a big deal because he never went to the White House Situation Room that night. We don’t know whether he received hourly updates as the terrorist attack continued. That isn’t to say he didn’t. It’s just that we don’t have proof of President Obama receiving updates.
Lisbon is a political hack who does what he’s told. This closing paragraph is proof of that:
At this point, anyone who is flogging this as a scandal has BDDS, Benghazi Delusional Derangement Syndrome. The only way to keep these shenanigans from happening is to vote Republicans out of office.
Shame on Mr. Lisbon for reading the Democrats’ chanting points rather than thinking for himself.
Byron York’s article explains in wonderful detail why Republicans are skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi obfuscations. Here’s the key part of Hillary’s testimony from York’s article:
But some lawmakers on Capitol Hill got the chance. In an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2013, Clinton testified under oath that she did not see the cable.
“That cable did not come to my attention,” Clinton said. “I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant-secretary level, where the Accountability Review Board placed responsibility.”
What struck some Republicans as odd, and still does, is that Clinton nonetheless knew about the conditions that prompted the Aug. 16 cable. “I was aware of certain incidents at our facility and the attack on the British diplomat,” she testified. “I was briefed on steps taken to repair the breach in the perimeter wall after the June bombing. …”
Clinton also testified she was “engaged” in what she called the “issues related to the deteriorating threat environment, particularly in Libya.”
It’s implausible for Hillary to say that she got detailed security briefings on the Benghazi facility, then say she didn’t know about Christopher Stevens’ August 16th cable. This testimony makes Hillary’s testimony totally implausible:
In an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, both former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testified they knew about it.
“You were aware that Ambassador Stevens — of his cable that said that the consulate could not withstand a coordinated attack, is that right?” asked Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
“Correct,” said Panetta.
Turning to Dempsey, Ayotte said, “General, you had said that you previously were aware of that?” “Yes, I was aware of the communication back to the State Department,” Dempsey answered.
Hillary cited the fact that “1.43 million cables a year come to the State Department” and that they’re “all addressed to me” before saying that they don’t all make it to her desk.
I don’t doubt that there’s a screening process involved with these cables. Undoubtedly, they’re prioritized so she isn’t deluged with cables. It’s inconceivable, though, that a cable from the US ambassador in Libya talking about the deteriorating security conditions and increasing terrorist threats wouldn’t have gotten Hillary’s attention.
That’s the type of communication that should’ve screamed ‘Urgent…highest priority.’
The ARB affixed blame on mid-level State Department officials for not bringing this cable to Hillary’s attention. That’s either BS or it’s proof that Hillary ran the most disfunctional State Department operation in recent history.
Neither speaks well of her qualifications to be the next commander-in-chief.
Finally, it’s one thing to have mid-level State Department personnel to hire security teams for the various diplomatic outposts. It’s quite another to have mid-level State Department personnel to make security policy decisions for those diplomatic installations.
Either way, Hillary’s story doesn’t add up. That’s why the investigation must continue.
Technorati: Hillary Clinton, Benghazi Terrorist Attack, , Leon Panetta, Defense Department, Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Christopher Stevens, Terrorist Threats, Accountability Review Board, Accountability, Investigation
According to Sam Stein’s article for the Huffington Post, Hillary has already answered questions that Trey Gowdy wants to ask her. Specifically, Hillary has said why the State Department hadn’t abandoned Benghazi:
But I was also engaged, and I think this is what Deputy Secretary Burns was referring to, in the issues related to the deteriorating threat environment, particularly in Libya. There were other places across the region. We were also watching to try to see what we could do to support the Libyan government to improve the overall stability of their country to deal with the many militias. We have many programs and actions that we were working on. I had a number of conversations with leading Libyan officials. I went to Libya in October of 2011. In fact, shortly before the attack on Benghazi we approved Libya for substantial funding from a joint State/DOD account for border security, CT capabilities and WMD efforts.
Earlier in her testimony, Hillary said that she’d been fully briefed on Benghazi’s deteriorating security situation. Combine that information with this information and another important question jumps to mind. Here’s the specific question: Given the fact that Hillary had been briefed on Benghazi’s deteriorating security and given that Hillary said that the administration was working to “improve the overall stability” in Libya, why wasn’t Africom prepared to respond to a crisis on the anniversary of 9/11?
Here’s another important question that hasn’t been answered: Did Leon Panetta pre-position and alert troops prior to the anniversary of 9/11? If not, why not? If he didn’t pre-position and alert troops, was it because President Obama told him not to?
I’d love knowing which programs the administration implemented prior to the ambassador’s assassination. Did they reflect the Obama campaign’s rhetoric of al-Qa’ida being on the run? Did they reflect the reality of the “deteriorating threat environment”?
Finally, shouldn’t the fact that the administration knew of a “deteriorating threat environment” have instructed them to question the story that the terrorist attack started as a protest that turned violent? The first question I’d have in that situation would be why the administration, including Susan Rice, didn’t immediately think this was a pre-planned terrorist attack.
Hillary’s testimony raises more questions than it answered.
This transcript from Sunday’s Fox News Sundays shows how Chris Wallace caught Xavier Becerra’s spin. Here’s a perfect example of that:
WALLACE: Congressman Becerra, you have been talking about the committee as a kangaroo court, your words. First of all, how do you know that before it even begins meeting? And do you really believe that all the questions about Benghazi have been answered?
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN XAVIER BECERRA, D-CALIF.: Well, what leads us to believe it could be a kangaroo court or a smokescreen from having to deal with the real issues Americans want to deal with like job creation and so forth, is that we’ve done these investigations some seven times, five of the investigations coming out of five of the House Republican committees.
Rep. Becerra’s logic is that the Select Committee on Benghazi is a kangaroo court because Republicans won’t change the subject to the topics Democrats prefer talking about. Wallace called Becerra and the Democrats out for this spin because Democrats want people to be prejudiced against the committee before the committee has met.
This exchange is telling:
WALLACE: Let me ask you a question and maybe you can answer it for me. Where was the president? And what did he do the night of the attack?
BECERRA: I believe the president was at the White House and he was in communication with some of the folks with his administration in and around time of the attacks.
Becerra insisted earlier that we knew everything we needed to know because there’d been in his words, 7 different investigations. Clearly, those investigations weren’t proficient because the best Becerra could do when asked about President Obama’s actions during the terrorist attack was say what he believed, not what he knew. That’s rather instructive. Compare Becerra’s answer with Chairman Gowdy’s reply:
WALLACE: Do you — do you know, Congressman Gowdy, where the president was and what he was doing during the seven hours of the attack?
GOWDY: No, sir, I do not. Nor do I know what communication if any he had with Secretary of State Clinton, nor can I tell you why we were still in Benghazi despite the fact that there was an escalation in violence in the months leading up, nor do I know whether or not the president called any of our allies in the region and said, can you get any assets to Benghazi? We’re under attack. I have more questions than answers despite the fact that committees of Congress have looked at this attack for 19 months now.
Chairman Gowdy’s honest response highlights the important things we still don’t know about the Obama administration’s decisions. Still, no exchange caught Rep. Becerra than this one:
WALLACE: Wait. Wait. You keep pointing to that. We didn’t find out. and they have subpoenaed all the State Department documents — excuse me, sir — they had subpoenaed all the State Department documents, and it took until last week for the administration finally to release the Ben Rhodes e-mail in which two days before Susan Rice appeared on this show, he was suggesting that she’d say that it was because of the video, not because of a policy failure.
BECERRA: You got juiced (ph). You know that that email shows nothing new. It simply — WALLACE: I don’t agree with that. I think it shows something dramatically new. It shows that despite what the White House — it shows despite what the White House has been saying for the last year and a half, it shows that inside the White House, they were telling Susan Rice what to say.
That’s what I’d call a classic slapdown. Saying that the email didn’t showing anything new is Democrat spin. Saying that the email showed “something dramatically new” is the truth. This ‘closing argument’ by Chairman Gowdy must’ve stung, too:
GOWDY: Yes, which is exactly why I said I will never and have never sent out any fund-raising literature trying to raise money in the grief and tragedy of four dead Americans. I have asked my colleagues to follow suit.
But my friends and colleague Tommy Cotton from Arkansas did a magnificent job on the House floor of pointing out the duplicity and hypocrisy of Democrats all of a sudden concluding that certain things are above politics. They raise money on Sandy Hook. They raise money on Katrina. They raise money on Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, for me, I will not raise money on Benghazi just like I never raised money using crime victims when I was a prosecutor and I’ve asked my colleagues to follow suit. But it would be helpful, it would be helpful if our colleagues on other side of the aisle did not have selective amnesia when it comes to what’s appropriate to raise money off of and what is not.
After watching that closing argument, I’m reminded of G. Gordon Liddy’s comment that he “wouldn’t fight a battle of wits with an unarmed man.” Clearly, Becerra was outmatched against Chairman Gowdy.