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**Posted by Phineas
In an earlier post, I quoted news reports that called into question the role General David Petraeus, the CIA director, regarding his analysis of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Since then, PJM’s Bryan Preston published information that speaks in Petraeus’ defense:
A U.S. intelligence official disputed the characterization of Petraeus’ briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14, saying: “The first briefing (to the Hill) carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, with briefers noting that extremists — including those with possible links to AQIM and Ansar al-Sharia — were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous. The talking points (from that weekend) clearly reflect the early indications of extremist involvement in a direct assault.”
As for the current assessment of the Benghazi attack, a U.S. intelligence official said no one is ruling out the idea militants may have aspired to attack the U.S., though the bulk of available information supports the early assessment that extremists — with ties to al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia — did not plan the attacks for day or weeks in advance.
One source who heard Petraeus brief also told Fox News, “I can confirm that he explicitly stated both to the House and the Senate oversight committees that members of AQIM and AAS participated in the attack in Benghazi. That assessment still stands.”
So, who’s right? Right now it’s the word of one side’s source against another, with, it seems, the White House and its political appointees on one side, and the Defense and Intelligence bureaucracies on the other, both with daggers drawn. Meanwhile those of us outraged over the multiple scandals apparently wrapped in the Benghazi affair are left to throw our hands in the air and demand someone –anyone– tell us the truth.
Amidst all the details of who said what when, let’s not forget what’s important here: After months of Washington failing to give adequate security to our diplomatic mission in Libya, the consulate in Benghazi was attacked by an al Qaeda-aligned force, resulting in the death of our ambassador and three other Americans, two of whom were former SEALs who fought like lions to defend their fellow Americans until help could come.
But that help never came, denied by someone for some reason never adequately explained. And the Ambassador, the mission staff member, and the two SEALs died.
And the ultimate responsibility for that lies with President Barack Obama, who has been blowing smoke in our eyes over this since the day it happened, hoping to get past the election.
Like the deaths in Operation Fast and Furious, the dead of Benghazi and respect for their survivors demands answers, accountability, and, if need be, punishment.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)