#Benghazi: consulate staff pleaded for help during attack

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**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

It’s enough to make one want to punch a wall in frustration:

State Department employees at the Benghazi compound knew they were in a death trap and made a series of radio distress calls to the CIA annex during the terror assault last year, according to congressional sources familiar with recent testimony on the attack from five CIA personnel.

Sources told Fox News that the radio calls, which were described in closed testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, were characterized as almost frantic, with State Department employees who knew they could not defend themselves “pleading” for their lives.

Let me interrupt for a moment to state something we all know in our hearts is true: If this had happened under George W. Bush, those Americans would not have had to beg for help. The operatives at the Annex would not have been told to stand down and they would not have had to defy orders in order to help those trapped at the consulate. Whatever his other failings, Bush understood a commander-in-chief’s  duties.

Unlike certain other Savior-Presidents I can think of.

Back to the story:

When the CIA team arrived from the annex about a mile away, they found the State Department employees without guns that could adequately protect them; one of the agents was found hiding in the consulate, apparently in a closet. The testimony lends more weight to repeated claims, in the wake of the attack, that the consulate was not adequately protected despite being located in a volatile and violent area prone to attack.

When the CIA personnel were asked for their reaction to the administration’s initial explanation that an anti-Islam video and a demonstration gone awry were to blame for the attack, Fox News is told they were seething with anger because everything on the ground — from their perspective — showed it was a premeditated attack.

At least three of the five — who were all in Benghazi — responded to the scene that night. The witnesses testified that five mortars rained down on the annex in less than a minute. They pointed to those details as more evidence of a professionally trained team, describing the attack on the annex as akin to a professional hit on the operation in order to drive it out of Benghazi.

Emphasis added. Be sure to read the rest. The testimony of the CIA personnel comports with the analysis given by Lt. Col. Wood in the now-retracted “60 Minutes” story on Benghazi. It also supports the contention of Dylan Davies, the British security specialist at the center of the “60 Minutes” controversy, that the consulate, located in a known al Qaeda recruiting area, was woefully insecure in spite of repeated requests to Washington for upgrades.

An article from yesterday, also by Catherine Herridge, raises new questions about the role of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, whose testimony in 2012 was strongly contradicted by that of the survivors of the battle:

This testimony is seen by lawmakers as more overwhelming evidence that the attack was premeditated terrorism and that these facts were known almost immediately by then-CIA Director David Petraeus – who downplayed the skill and planning needed to use mortars with such accuracy during his Sept. 14, 2012 briefing to Congress.

Somehow, I think the relevant committees of the House will have new questions for the disgraced war hero.

The central issue here, however, is the incompetence bordering on malfeasance on the part of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The State Department under Clinton was almost bloody-minded in its refusal to provide adequate security for a post that was effectively in daily contact with the enemy. And President Obama failed utterly in his duties to oversee our interests in a nation where he had overthrown the government and created a client state. Why wasn’t he verifying that Benghazi had sufficient protection? Why didn’t he make sure there was a sufficient force on standby to come to the aid of a station in hostile territory?

Wait. What am I saying? There was fundraising to be done!

Obama, Clinton, and their immediate advisers are absolute disgraces to their offices and an embarrassment to the nation. We’re stuck with Obama until January, 2017, but Hillary Clinton should be confronted with her catastrophic incompetence at every chance until she is finally and thankfully hounded from public life.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi: attackers knew where the “secret” safe room was

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**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Inside job

As if we needed more proof that there was no way this was the product of some “spontaneous” demonstration in protest against a video hardly anyone saw, one of the survivors has testified that the jihadis knew their way around the compound, including where the ambassador’s “safe room” was:

The terrorists who attacked the Benghazi consulate last year knew the location of the safe room where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security team sought shelter, according to a congressman who spoke for 90 minutes with the diplomatic security agent severely injured in the assault.

“He confirmed this – that it was a very well orchestrated, and well organized, almost a military operation, using military weapons and using military signals,” the late Florida Rep. Bill Young said after meeting diplomatic security agent David Ubben at Walter Reed Medical Center last summer, when both were patients there.

After Young’s death in mid-October, his widow, Beverly Young, gave Fox permission to use her husband’s comments about the Sep. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the record. The congressman had originally spoken to Fox on background last summer.

“He (Ubben) emphasized the fact that it was a very, very military type of operation they had knowledge of almost everything in the compound,” Young explained. “They knew where the gasoline was, they knew where the generators were, they knew where the safe room was, they knew more than they should have about that compound.”

Now, how could they have known that?

An August 16 classified cable, reviewed and reported on by Fox News last fall, showed there was an emergency meeting in Benghazi less than a month before the attack due to rapidly deteriorating security. The cable warned the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (1), and other State Department leaders in Washington, that the consulate could not sustain a coordinated assault.

The cable also reflected a grave concern among officials on the ground that the Libyan militia charged with protecting the consulate had been compromised, perhaps even infiltrated by extremists.

Don’t forget, that unit, the 17 February Brigade, melted away when the attack started. Wouldn’t want to get in their friends’ way, after all.

Ubben’s testimony supports the contention of LtC. Wood in the controversial “60 Minutes” interview that this was a well-planned, coordinated, professional assault.

Barack Obama’s largely avoided the consequences of Benghazi; barring compelling evidence of collaboration with the enemy, he won’t be impeached for it, though I suspect his dereliction that night warrants it.

However, Hillary Clinton is just as culpable, if not more so. The moronic “go softly” policy we undertook in Libya, to the extent of hiring local militias for security in a known al Qaeda recruiting zone, was hers. The failure to correct the security flaws were hers. The failure to press for sufficient forces pre-placed to launch a rescue mission in the event of attack was hers. And many of the lies told in the aftermath, including to the families of the fallen, were hers.

She was an incompetent, blundering, dishonest and dishonorable failure as Secretary of State and should never, ever come anywhere near the presidency. We can only hope that those investigating the events of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi keep digging and find enough to ruin whatever political future she has left.

That would at least be a measure of justice for the four Americans who died there.

via JWF

Footnote:
(1) Who therefore lied about never having seen cables about security risks in Benghazi. Yet another example of the Sgt. Schultz administration in action.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Unhappy with Obama, Saudi Arabia refuses UN security council seat (Update)

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**Posted by Phineas

"Not happy"

“Not happy”

Oh, they said it was because of the general ineffectiveness of he United Nations in the various crises in the region, but, really, the KSA is ticked off at the Obama administration for its bumbling mishandling of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Iran, and Iran. (You might notice a bit of a focus in the Saudi estimation of their security needs. If you guessed “Iran,” take a cigar from the humidor.) This has Walter Russell Mead rightly concerned, and he helpfully points out the many ways an angry Saudi Arabia could make life miserable for Team Smart Power:

It remains unclear to us whether the Obama administration has for its part thought through the full consequences (1) of a serious rift with the Saudis. It’s possible the administration thinks there is little they can actually do, and it’s also possible that they calculate that the costs of making the Saudis happy are not worth paying (getting tougher on Iran, distancing from the Muslim Brotherhood, and foregoing the ultimate dream of a democratic Arab Middle East).

There are not many signs of order and coherence in US Middle East policy at the moment, so there is at least the possibility that the White House hasn’t really thought through just what the Saudis could do that would make us unhappy. That would be a mistake. The Saudis have a lot of weight in Pakistan and could make things easier or harder for us there. They have a lot of influence particularly among the hard core Islamists and in the nuclear program. It’s worth thinking about what that could mean. Also, as US dependence on Middle East oil decreases, China looms larger as a customer for the Saudis, and there are a number of favors those countries could do for each other that would make life more complicated for American foreign policy.

Consider this a second warning shot from the Saudis, the first being their flirtation with Moscow. As I wrote at the time:

We are witnessing the growing collapse of American influence throughout a region crucial to our security, and our rivals will be sure to pick up the slack. This isn’t just the loss of a few years’ work: this is the crumbling of a geopolitical position that’s taken 70 years to build. And it’s all due to the stunning ineptitude of Barack Obama and the Hundred Acre Wood school of foreign affairs. They are leading us toward a major disaster.

We’re in the best of hands.

There’s more at Via Meadia.

Footnote:
(1) “…thought through…?” The team that couldn’t foresee a need to have an emergency reaction force handy for the consulate in Benghazi, in the middle of an al Qaeda recruiting ground — with the anniversary of 9-11 approaching? Why on Earth would anyone think that?

UPDATE: Slight mistake based on my misreading of Mead’s post. Saudi Arabia didn’t quit the UN Security Council, but the did refuse a seat on it, to almost everyone’s shock. I’ve corrected the subject.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

US, Russia, reach sham deal over Syrian chemical weapons

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**Posted by Phineas

"I won"

“I won”

With John Kerry as our lead negotiator, so you know it’s good:

The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.

The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.

Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin next year.

Senior administration officials had said Friday the Obama administration would not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons.

The Russians had made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry that the negotiations could not proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wanted assurances that a resolution would not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution.

President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S. use of force against Syria for a chemical attack last month remains on the table. But consideration of that action, already under challenge by a skeptical Congress, has been put on hold pending the outcome of the Geneva talks.

The rest of the article contains the usual blather about how inspections must be thorough, that there will be consequences for non-compliance, the international community has spoken, etc., etc. Note that the French are already circulating a resolution for “further measures” if Syria doesn’t live up to the deal. Naturally, those “further measures” are left undefined. It’s the 90’s inspection shell-game in Iraq all over again, just updated with new faces.

A Syrian government minister is much more honest:

“This agreement, an achievement of Russian diplomats and the Russian leadership, is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends,” Ali Haidar told Russian news agency RIA.

“We welcome this agreement. From one point of view, it will help Syrians exit the crisis, from another, it has prevented a war against Syria, having taken away the pretext for one from those who wanted to unleash (it),” he said.

(h/t Power Line)

Assad himself wasn’t available for comment; he was too busy laughing his head off.

This wasn’t only a victory for Syria, where the regime survives, they get to keep their chemical weapons (1), and an American attack is off the table for the rest of Obama’s term; this is a big win for Moscow, too. First, and regardless of how Team Smart Power spins it, the whole world a Nobel Peace Prize winner nearly bumble into war and then practically fall all over himself to grasp the life-preserver thrown to him by the ex-KGB tyrant. So much for American leadership and credibility.

Putin also showed he can deliver, where Obama can’t: his client is protected from the wrath of the Americans, he keeps his nice naval base at Tartus, and any future negotiations over Syria and its fate go through the Kremlin, not the White House. Oh, and while he’s at it, he’s letting the Iranians know that he has their back, too.

Mark Steyn called it: “American exceptionalism” has, under Obama, become American Ineffectualism:

Putin has pulled off something incredible: He’s gotten Washington to anoint him as the international community’s official peacemaker, even as he assists Iran in going nuclear and keeping their blood-soaked Syrian client in his presidential palace. Already, under the “peace process,” Putin and Assad are running rings around the dull-witted Kerry, whose Botoxicated visage embodies all too well the expensively embalmed state of the superpower.

There’s no way around it: this is an utter humiliation and we look absolutely foolish. A declining regional power has totally outplayed the world’s sole remaining superpower to reestablish itself in a region from which it was shut out 40 years ago. As Iowahawk put it, Putin is just doing donuts in Obama’s front yard. No wonder American allies in the area are looking to cut a deal with the new boss.

It’s going to be a long three years until the next election, isn’t it?

Footnote:
(1) Come on. You don’t seriously think Assad will really have to give those up, do you?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

If Obama-Putin were a boxing match, it would have been stopped on a TKO

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**Posted by Phineas

"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

Or if it were T-Ball, the 10-run rule would have been invoked to save Obama’s pride.

Remember how I mentioned that Obama had leaped at an offer from Putin to settle the Syrian chemical weapons crisis? Well, just as Charlie Obama was ready to kick that football through the goalposts in his speech tonight, Lucy Putin pulled it away:

Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday.

“As I understood, the Russians at this stage were not necessarily enthusiastic, and I’m using euphemism, to put all that into the framework of a U.N. binding resolution,” Laurent Fabius told French lawmakers after a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

This is like a bully in junior-high school grabbing a wimpy kid’s wrist and hitting him with his own hand, while shouting “Stop hitting yourself! Why are you hitting yourself?”

It was a total sucker play; there was no deal, ever. The Russians and the Syrians just set Obama up, knowing he’d take the bait and try to make himself look like a tough guy in the process. Instead, Putin’s just made him look like a chump.

Again.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Spinning so fast I’m dizzy: Obamabots claim Obama’s strength forced Putin and Assad to negotiate

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**Posted by Phineas

Wow. This, I think, wins the award for brass, even for this administration. From “Baghdad” Jay Carney:

“…And let’s be clear. What we’re seeing with the Russian proposal and the Syrian reaction has only come about because of the threat of — the credible threat of U.S. military action. Before this morning, the Syrian government had never even acknowledged they possessed chemical weapons. Now they have.”

Yeah, I’d buy that. Bashar Assad, who we believe used poison gas on his own people and who definitely imported Iranian snipers to shoot demonstrators, and Vladimir Putin, who flattened Grozny in a way that hadn’t been done since Berlin in 1945, were so intimidated by our threat of an “unbelievably small” strike that wouldn’t do any real damage that they immediately rushed to offer a deal (that originated in a Kerry gaffe).

They know better than to mess with this guy:

Obama-Bike4

I’d laugh, but I’m too busy picking my jaw up off the floor.

UPDATE: Deep in your heart, you just know Putin is loving every minute of this.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Syria (Video) Why we went to war in Iraq

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**Posted by Phineas

While the world waits to see if Obama will get his war …no…  warning shot across the bow …er… targeted, limited attack …umm… Wait! I got it!… “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort,” or if Vladimir Putin (!!) will save him from being mocked, comparisons inevitably come up to our invasion and liberation of Iraq from another bloodthirsty Baathist dictator, Saddam Hussein. “If we were willing to go to war over WMDs then (1),” proponents of striking Syria might ask, “why not now?”

Because the two don’t compare at all, as you’ll see in this Praeger University video hosted by historian Andrew Roberts:

There were a lot of reasons, strategic and moral, justifying war against Saddam Hussein. And while there are some good arguments for intervening militarily in Syria (2), there are many more convincing ones for finding another way.

via Jared Sichel

Footnotes:
(1) And before someone thrusts a fist in the air and starts shouting “Bush lied! People died!” over Iraqi WMDs, please do us all a favor and read the final report of the Iraq Survey Group.
(2) None of them involving President Obama’s self-esteem and credibility, or sending messages to Tehran. The Iranians have already received that message, loud and clear.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Ever get the feeling @BarackObama does not want the #Syria resolution passed?

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**Posted by Phineas

I mean, why else would you include in your “full-court press” of members of Congress a known liar (1) like Susan Rice?

From John Fund:

Up until now, the White House lobbying effort has been dismal. In an astonishing display of either ignorance or brazenness, the White House will mark the first anniversary of the Benghazi terrorist attack this Wednesday by sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice to Capitol Hill to argue the administration’s case for military force in Syria. Rice infamously delivered false talking points on national television, blaming the Benghazi attacks on a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Islam YouTube video. Sending Rice to Congress to brief members on Syria is like sending Typhoid Mary to lecture on public health. Her credibility is, to use a diplomatic term, limited. 

Okay, okay. Maybe I was being harsh on Rice. She *may* not have known she was lying. I don’t believe it, myself, but it is possible. In which case, the administration is instead sending a clueless tool rather than a brazen liar.

That’s an improvement?

Read the rest. There are more examples of the administration bungling its congressional “diplomacy” vis-a-vis Syria; this is just the most egregious.

But this is also what they get for doing everything but build relations with Congress over the past five years. President “I won”is now learning that, supine as Congress often is, there are still times when presidents will need them, and doing the necessary work to make sure members are on your side before you need them is part of the president’s job.

You’d think the guy widely proclaimed (by his own side) to be the smartest president ever would have known that, no?

Unless, maybe, he really just wants them to save him from his own red-line gaffe and make it go away by voting no.

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, Maureen Dowd. But, read her quotes from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME, and not known as a conservative hardliner) about Rice. Between the lines, they’re devastating and demonstrate just why Rice is such a poor choice for “reach out” work.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Delusional: Obama admin thought they could convince Iran to abandon #Syria

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**Posted by Phineas

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

Top Obama foreign policy adviser

I think this is final proof that The One and his band of happy progressives have been into the wrong mushrooms.

According to Samantha Power, our UN Ambassador and key mind behind the fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of humanitarian intervention (1), thought that a UN report on Syria’s use of chemical weapons could convince Iran (and Russia) to abandon Bashar Assad:

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, hoped that a team of UN investigators — many of whom, presumably, have a longstanding relationship with Iranian leaders — could write a report that would convince Iran to abandon its ally at the behest of the United States.

“We worked with the UN to create a group of inspectors and then worked for more than six months to get them access to the country on the logic that perhaps the presence of an investigative team in the country might deter future attacks,” Power said at the Center for American Progress as she made the case for intervening in Syria.

“Or, if not, at a minimum, we thought perhaps a shared evidentiary base could convince Russia or Iran — itself a victim of Saddam Hussein’s monstrous chemical weapons attacks in 1987-1988 — to cast loose a regime that was gassing it’s people,” she said.

This isn’t merely “detached from reality,” this is foreign policy as a psychotic break. Where do I begin? Iran? Syria is their key client in the region, essential to their influence along the Eastern Mediterranean and a vital conduit to their “foreign legion,” Hizbullah. When the protests first started a couple of years ago, they loaned Assad snipers for use against the demonstrators, a tactic they employed in their own country. They’ve even dispatched their elite troops, the Revolutionary Guard, to help Assad because, let me say this again, Syria is vital to them.

The idea that Iran, which is seeking nuclear weapons to fulfill their fondest dream of wiping Israel from the map and bringing about the Islamic “end times,” would be intimidated by a report from the United Nations is beyond laughable.

And Russia? That same Russia run by Vladimir “I leveled Grozny” Putin, who’s publicly slapping Obama, taking his lunch money, and is happily planning to supplant the US in the Middle East? That Russia? The one that blocked us at the Security Council? They’re going to say “Oh, well. A UN report. That’s different!”?

I think I’ve figured it out. “Smart Power” was one big joke all along. On us.

I’m with Victor Davis Hanson: Obama’s naive blundering is reminiscent of JFK’s mishandling of the Vienna summit, which lead Khrushchev to think he could get away with putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, which in turn almost resulted in World War III. It worries me that , with more than three years left to go, one of our major foes is going to think he can similarly test Obama.

Oh. Hi, China!

via Twitchy

Footnote:
(1) That worked so well in Libya.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Before we trust John McCain’s judgment on #Syria…

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**Posted by Phineas

Senator McCain said in Arizona this weekend that he was “unalterably opposed” to using American ground forces –“boots on the ground”– in Syria. Andy McCarthy thought that sounded familiar and recalled that John McCain also said he was “unalterably opposed” to Muslim Brotherhood participation in Egypt’s post-Mubarak government.

Right before he became in favor of it.

I hate to say it about a genuine war hero, but John McCain has become a old fool, lead more by his own vanity than by good sense and sagacity. His is not a voice the public should heed when making up its mind about Syria.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)