Obama: Upcoming election has “nothing to do” with #Benghazi murders


That’s what you think, buddy (hat tip):

President Obama again on Friday defended his administration’s handling of the attack that killed four Americans in Libya, and said he’s not holding back information ahead of Election Day.

“The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” Obama said in an interview with KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver.

“Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I’ve made a commitment to the families impacted as well as the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice,” he said in one of several interviews with local TV stations in battleground states that he sat for Friday afternoon at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.

Pressed twice during the KUSA interview, Obama wouldn’t address a Friday report suggesting that the Americans in Benghazi asked for more assistance as the Sept. 11 attack was taking place, and instead stressed that his administration is engaged in a thorough investigation.

What happened here is that President Obama thought he could avoid having to answer any questions about the Benghazi  murders by allowing local media affiliates to interview him ahead of the election rather than taking questions from the national media/WH press corps – which he has gotten very clever at avoiding. But KUSA had other plans. My hat is off to them for asking tough questions of this President.

And, yes, we know his administration is using one cheap delay tactic after another to stall on answers for Libya in advance of the election because they want the truth to remain hidden. They want so badly for this to blow over, for the American people to forget.  But they wont.   Benghazi will impact on how people vote in November. I know the military was pretty solidly in the tank for Mitt Romney to begin with, but I think his and his administration’s callousness and dodginess on this issue may persuade a not so small percentage of those in the military planning on voting for him to either not vote in the Presidential election at all – or to vote for Mitt Romney.  Not to mention how it may impact independents, who are already leading Romney in key battleground states.

William Teach at Pirate’s Cove writes in response:

Au contraire, it has everything to do with Americans left hanging out to dry, because this is all part of the the pattern of incompetence of the Obama administration, and the incompetence starts at the top. We have the worst economic recovery post-recession ever, with the US economy just malaising around since July 2009, the end of the recession. Two Americans and over 200 Mexicans killed thanks to the guns the Obama administration walked and didn’t bother tracking. Blowing off our allies around the world. Our enemies laughing at the USA. And now this fiasco in Libya.

Simply put, this man has done nothing to earn a single vote for re-election. Let’s hope the American people send that message loud and clear to him on Nov. 6th at the ballot box.

#Benghazi Consulate Massacre: Petraeus throws Obama under the bus


**Posted by Phineas

I’ve said before the intelligence community will not play the sap for Obama. And now The Weekly Standard reports (via JWF) that CIA Director Petraeus has thrown his boss under the bus:

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

As Bill Kristol writes, the decision to do nothing in Benghazi had to have been a presidential decision. (If not, that has its own scary implications.)

This is unraveling fast. You can bet more will come out before the election.

The spooks won’t play the sap.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi Consulate Massacre: was there an AC-130 over the battle? UPDATE: Yes


**Posted by Phineas

If so, this makes an awful situation even worse. Bob Owens at PJMedia writes:

There were two AC-130Us deployed to Libya in March as part of Operation Unified Protector.

The AC-130U is a very effective third-generation fire-support aircraft, capable of continuous and extremely accurate fire onto multiple targets. It has been used numerous times in Iraq and Afghanistan to save pinned-down allied forces, and has even been credited with the surrender of the Taliban city of Kunduz

It was purpose-built for a select number of specific mission types, including point-defense against enemy attack. It was literally built for the kind of mission it could have engaged in over Benghazi, if the administration had let it fire. As the excerpt above clearly shows, we had assets on the ground “painting” the targets with the laser.


What this means is that we have the forces in the air and on the ground to have stopped the attack at any point, eliminating the terrorists and saving American lives.

I’m not as sure as Bob that a gunship was circling Benghazi during the fight, though it would explain why the American on the roof was painting the mortar crew with a laser (and, God, what he must have been thinking!), though the fact remains we had forces within a couple of hours’ travel that could have done something. Yet Obama did nothing.

Except go to bed. And then Las Vegas.

I honestly hope there wasn’t an AC-130 overhead — can you imagine what they must’ve felt when told to hold fire?

UPDATE: via Blackfive, a retired Delta Force soldier says it was either an AC-130, or an armed Predator:

Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.

One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not “paint” a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.

Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.

If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.

If that SEAL was actively “painting” a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!

This is awful…

(via Fausta)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi Consulate Massacre: CIA refused help?


**Posted by Phineas

“You’re on your own.”

Message from the Obama Administration to all overseas personnel: If you get into a jam, the cavalry isn’t coming:

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.

(Emphases added)

And why were they denied help? From the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. military commanders decided against sending a rescue mission to Benghazi during the attack against the American diplomatic mission last month because they didn’t have enough clear intelligence to justify the risk to the troops, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday.

Panetta, in his fullest comments yet on the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, said Pentagon officials were aware of the assault by armed militants soon after it began Sept. 11. But he said they never had more than fragmentary information during the course of the attack.

The “basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s taking place,” Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. “This happened within a few hours, and it was really over before we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.

He said he, Army Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all believed“very strongly that we could not put troops at risk in that situation.

(Emphases added, h/t The Anchoress)

I have a one-word response to Secretary Panetta, but I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination.

No opportunity to know what was happening? Go read that FOX article, again. They were in constant radio contact with the CIA annex, from which the brass in DC were told at least twice that they needed help — and I bet they got plenty of detail about what was going on. They knew enough to move a Special Forces team from Central Europe to Sigonella — and then told them to stand down?

Remember, the attack started at 9:24 PM local time. Woods and Dougherty, the former Navy SEALs who defied orders in order to rescue their fellow Americans, weren’t killed until 4 AM, when they were taken out by a mortar round. That’s more than seven hours after the fighting started, yet Panetta says they didn’t know enough?

This is disgraceful. My father was in the US Navy in China in the 1930s. The place was a bigger mess than Libya: weak government, bandits everywhere, civil war. It regularly happened, he would tell me me, that Americans and other foreigners would find themselves in danger, so his ship’s CO would form an armed shore party to go deal with it.

No hesitations over not having enough intelligence, no qualms about risks. American lives and property were in danger, you’re the military and you go protect them.

And don’t tell me Panetta and Ham made these decisions on their own. We know the White House was in the loop. On something this big, the decision to intervene would have gone to Obama. Maybe he was getting warnings from the DoD about not risking “another Mogadishu,”, which, yes, is something he would have to take into account, but that was his moment to exercise leadership and say “find a way.”

But he didn’t. While our consulate burned and our people begged for help before dying, our forces were told to stand down.

Imagine what those people were thinking. Did they hold out hope that help would yet come? Or had they resigned themselves to their fates and decided to sell their lives dearly, knowing they had been disowned by their own government?

At the memorial service on the return of our dead to America, Vice President Joe Biden asked the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the SEALs killed in Benghazi, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”

I don’t know, Joe. But I do know your boss and his administration have none.

LINKS: More at Hot Air (and here), Pirate’s Cove, Q and O, and Power Line. Legal Insurrection thinks this revelation came from the CIA, which is refusing to take the fall. Earlier on Public Secrets, “Where was the military help?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: a word of caution about those emails


**Posted by Phineas

Yesterday I wrote about emails sent from Libya to the State Department and the White House, among others, indicating that an al Qaeda subsidiary, Ansar al Sharia, had taken credit for the assault on our consulate that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. These emails seemed to confirm what many have suspected all along: that the White House knew quickly the attack had nothing to do with an obscure video, that they knew who had really perpetrated it, and that they were lying to the American people to cover up their incompetence and to protect Obama’s reelection chances.

While I still think that’s largely true, last night Daveed Gartenstein-Ross pointed followers to an article containing an observation by Anthony Zelin that makes the “the White House knew within two hours” narrative much less certain:

However, an examination of the known Facebook and Twitter accounts of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi reveals no such claim of responsibility. Aaron Zelin, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tracks dozens of jihadist websites and archives much of what they say. He told CNN he was unaware of any such claim having been posted on the official Facebook page or Twitter feed of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.

Zelin, who said his RSS feed sends him any new statement from the group, provided CNN with a copy of that feed. It shows no Facebook update between September 8 and September 12, when a posting late that afternoon first referenced the attack. Zelin notes that the posting referred to a news conference the group had held earlier that day in Benghazi in which it denied any role in the assault on the consulate, while sympathizing with the attackers.

This is an important point: these groups are not shy about claiming credit when they strike at the infidels (that’s us); not only is attacking us an act of religious piety that, in their view, is something to be proud of, but bragging about it also boosts the prestige of their group. Yet they first said nothing, then denied involvement.

The article continues by describing the difficulties of obtaining solid information in a place as chaotic as Libya:

In the hours following such incidents, it is not unusual for “spot reports” from agencies and overseas posts to pour in to the State Department. They typically include intercepts, what’s picked up on social media, witness accounts and what’s being said by local officials. They often contain raw, unfiltered information that is then analyzed for clues, patterns and contradictions.

In the case of the Benghazi attack, there were plenty of contradictions. Such situations are frequently chaotic, with claim and counter-claim by witnesses unsure of what happened when, according to U.S. officials. Building a complete picture without access to first-hand-accounts and little visual evidence can be a major challenge to government experts working from thousands of miles away.

So too have been the attempts to pin down who represents Ansar al-Shariah and their movements on the night of the attack.

Wings of Ansar al-Sharia, which means “partisans” or “supporters of Islamic law,” are based not only in Benghazi but in the Libyan town of Derna, east of Benghazi. The group’s leaders in Derna are thought to include Abu Sufyan bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

A different Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, and budding franchises are said to exist in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.

In other words, with groups as decentralized as al Qaeda and its affiliates, the leadership in one place might take false credit, while that in another might deny it altogether, while a third, wholly unrelated group that happens to have the same name might (or might not) be the real perpetrators. (In fact, there is some indication al Qaeda jihadis from Iraq were part of the attack.) Thus the emails from Tripoli are not necessarily as damning as they may seem.

So, while I’m reasonably certain that this was an organized al Qaeda hit and not just a “flash mob with mortars,” I’m withdrawing my specific contention from yesterday that Obama had to have known within two hours that this was a terrorist hit and who did it — for now, until we get better information.

I am not, however, withdrawing or walking-back or wavering in my belief that the administration knew at some point early on that there was no anti-video demonstration and that this might well have been an al Qaeda attack. The evidence is too strong to believe otherwise (such as from drone surveillance during the fight). It appears much more likely, indeed probable, that they desperately latched onto any rumor that would allow them to claim it was someone else’s fault — an obscure film producer in California, for example. And then they stuck with it and lied to us for weeks afterward.

Forget about exactly when they knew: that they knew at all -and Obama and company had to have known- and continued to blow smoke in our faces in order to avoid responsibility is what we need to remember on Election Day.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi consulate massacre: Obama knew who did it within two hours and lied to us. UPDATE: emails withheld from Senate?


**Posted by Phineas

US Consulate, Benghazi

Dear Mr. President: Let this be a teaching moment for you not to throw the intelligence and foreign service communities under the bus. They know things you’d rather be kept secret. Try to make them the fall guys, and those things will …somehow… become public:

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

(Emphasis added)

It wasn’t just “for days” that the administration tried to blame the disaster on a video few had even heard of; with very few exceptions, it went on for two weeks, including an infomercial in Pakistan bought and paid for with US taxpayer money and a presidential address before the UN General Assembly. The film’s maker was rousted out of his home by the sheriffs at night and made a public scapegoat, his free speech rights gut shot and left to bleed.

But it didn’t end after just a few days or even a few weeks, or even after US officials finally acknowledged what our “lying eyes” had been telling us all along, that this was an al Qaeda terrorist operation. Let’s roll tape and review a moment from the second Obama-Romney debate that the president I’m sure wishes we’d all forget:

Remember those first 45 seconds.

The three emails (via PJM) mentioned in the Reuters report detail the early stages of the attack on the consulate. They arrived within the first two hours of a battle that lasted seven hours. There are two key takeaways here:

  • First, amidst all the addresses in the headers, note “nss.eop.gov.” That is the White House Situation Room, President Obama’s emergency command center. It is almost unthinkable that Obama himself wasn’t informed.
  • Second, the subject line of the last email, beginning “UPDATE 2,” reported that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack. Ansar al Sharia is al Qaeda’s subsidiary in Libya.

In other words, within 120 minutes of the battle’s beginning, while there still might have been time to send help and save lives, the president, who almost certainly was informed, instead went to bed, lied to us the next day in the Rose Garden (and for weeks after), and that night went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

As I’ve written before, these lies could not have been meant to keep secrets from the enemy; al Qaeda knew what they had done. It wasn’t to protect a retaliatory strike, for none was underway. (We were still “investigating,” trying to find out what happened, y’see.)

No, the only purpose of this repeated, serial lying from multiple administration officials, from the president to Secretary of State Clinton to Ambassador Rice to Mouth of Sauron Press Secretary Jay Carney and God knows how many others, was to lie to us, in order to protect Obama’s reelection.

Bear in mind that Obama had spent months spiking the ball over killing bin Laden, culminating at the Democratic convention in Charlotte early last September and proclaiming that al Qaeda was crippled. Then the Benghazi attack occurred, clearly planned in advance, clearly an al Qaeda operation, and, so clearly that even a blind man couldn’t miss it, demolishing Obama’s one great claim to foreign policy success, something he desperately needed in his race against Governor Romney.

And thus the “fables” about a “spontaneous reaction to a hateful video” and “no evidence of terrorism” were born. Thus the midnight knock on the door for guy who had made the video. The only question is who came up with the idea. Axelrod? Jarrett? Cutter? Obama, himself?

We’ll probably find out in a tell-all memoir after the election, when all these wretches are in retirement and pointing fingers at each other.

But I doubt we’ll ever find out who released these emails. That’s a secret that will be kept.

UPDATE: Oh, this is special. Apparently the Senate Intelligence Committee had been asking for the emails for weeks, but the White House –I just know you’ll be shocked– stonewalled them.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: where was the military help? UPDATE: “Not a foreign policy failure”


**Posted by Phineas

One of the unanswered questions surrounding the assault on our consulate in Benghazi is why no rescue mission was launched. We already know that multiple requests from the ambassador and others for heightened security –or even to keep the security they had– were turned down by the State Department. Two former Navy SEALs died trying to protect the consulate, but where, in that great American tradition, was “the cavalry?”

CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson asks that same question, but the answers are, well, less than satisfying:

Some lawmakers are asking why U.S. military help from outside Libya didn’t arrive as terrorists battered more than 30 Americans over the course of more than seven hours. The assault was launched by an armed mob of dozens that torched buildings and used rocket propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

But it was too late to help the Americans in Benghazi. The ambassador and three others were dead.

(Emphasis added)

Attkisson interviews a former Special Forces soldier, who is less than impressed with the “we checked all options” line:

Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen believes help could have come much sooner. He commanded CIA counter-terrorism missions targeting Osama bin Laden and led the team that responded after bombings of the U.S. Embassy in East Africa.

“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen says. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”

Remember, this “battle” went on for seven hours. That gave the US time to put a drone overhead, so we could watch the last few hours of fighting. But this begs the question: If we could get a drone overhead, why not a rescue force?

In fact, Attkisson reports that the military had assets at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, assets that included AC-130 gunships, which could have at least buzzed the crowd to drive them off before opening fire.

And that help was only an hour away in a battle that lasted seven hours.

Another interviewee mentioned military risks and potential diplomatic problems from intervening. My response is “So?” All combat operations involve risk. When American lives were in danger, that was a time to take that risk. And “diplomatic difficulties” with the Libyan government? Puh-leeze. One phone call from Clinton or Obama should have settled that with a reminder to the Libyan government that a) they wouldn’t exist without us and b) that we remember those who help us… and the implication that we also remember those who don’t.

And if that doesn’t work, you go in anyway and worry about Tripoli’s feelings later.

What you don’t do is worry about the niceties when this is happening:

US Consulate, Benghazi

You cannot tell me that the mightiest military the world has ever seen could do nothing useful in Benghazi. That we didn’t speaks volumes about the lack of leadership in D.C., including a Commander in Chief who went to bed while the fighting still raged. And if we really couldn’t, then that testifies to the lack of judgement on the part of policy makers who didn’t have the foresight to position assets ahead of time, just in case there was trouble in a region that is a known al Qaeda recruiting ground.

Either way, this incompetent crowd has got to go, before they get anyone else killed.

RELATED: More at Hot Air. The Anchoress makes a Catch-22 reference and asks some darned fine questions.

UPDATE: Doing her own rendition of “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”, Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter claims the only reason the Benghazi consulate massacre is a controversy is that those mean old Republicans are politicizing it, that it could have happened anywhere, and that it was not a failure on the part of the Obama administration. Be sure to read Ed Morrissey’s response to Cutter’s tripe; it drips with well-deserved scorn.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: the White House lied, there was no anti-video protest


**Posted by Phineas

For nearly two weeks after the murder of four Americans in an attack on our consulate in Benghazi, the White House, our Ambassador to the United Nations, and the Secretary of State repeatedly claimed, with variations, that the massacre arose from a protest against an anti-Islamic video that either got out of control or was infiltrated by extremists. That culminated in the President, himself, making that claim by inference in a speech in front of the United Nations. When the story started falling apart, they claimed they were operating on the “best information” they had at the time, were “still investigating,” and, by implication, trying to blame their intelligence services and professional staff.

That sound you hear in the background? That’s the State Department senior staff throwing Secretary Clinton and the White House under the bus:

Prior to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi late in the evening on Sept. 11, there was no protest outside the compound, a senior State Department official confirmed today, contradicting initial administration statements suggesting that the attack was an opportunistic reaction to unrest caused by an anti-Islam video.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, two senior State Department officials gave a detailed accounting of the events that lead to the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The officials said that prior to the massive attack on the Benghazi compound by dozens of militants carrying heavy weaponry, there was no unrest outside the walls of the compound and no protest that anyone inside the compound was aware of.

In fact, Stevens hosted a series of meetings on the compound throughout the day, ending with a meeting with a Turkish diplomat that began at 7:30 in the evening, and all was quiet in the area.

“The ambassador walked guests out at 8:30 or so; there was nobody on the street. Then at 9:40 they saw on the security cameras that there were armed men invading the compound,” a senior State Department official said. “Everything is calm at 8:30 pm, there is nothing unusual. There had been nothing unusual during the day outside.”

(Emphases added, and read it all)

Keep in mind that the government knew this was a terrorist attack within 24 hours of the event happening, but there was still some question, thanks to administration dissembling, about whether a protest was used as a cover by al Qaeda-allied groups.

Now we know the truth, no thanks to our elected officials or those whom they appoint.

We were lied to, repeatedly and, there’s no doubt, deliberately. Our ambassador was raped and murdered. Three other Americans died as well. We knew that night an attack was underway, though the president still went to bed. Within a day, they had confirmed it was a terrorist attack and knew at least some of the instigators.

And yet for nearly two weeks, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Ambassador Rice, and their mouthpieces all lied to us, insisting it was a protest over some obscure video. They even had the maker rousted by the cops, sacrificing his right to free speech to maintain their lie.

Now, we all know politicians lie. It’s in the nature of the job, even required by it at times. But there’s a difference between spinning a story or lying for the good of national security, on the one hand, and insisting black is white on the other, telling a pathetic lie just to cover your incompetent arse. The latter is absolutely unacceptable and destroys any credibility the liars may still have had. And the only reason to do it was to protect the bunglers whose decisions lead to this mess, including the President of the United States, who had been loudly and obviously prematurely claiming al Qaeda was “on its heels.” . Such a “bump in the road” might be bad for reelection chances, don’t you know?

Congressman Issa is holding hearings this morning in DC on this fiasco. Let’s hope that these bring out not only the truth, but force the resignations of Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice, both of whom have disgraced their offices.

As for President Obama, there’s no need for resignation. A crushing, humiliating defeat in November will suffice as reward for his deadly incompetence.

RELATED: an incriminating chronology.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: Embassy told by State, “Stop pestering us!”


**Posted by Phineas

Oh, this just gets better and better. Not only did State pull security teams (note: plural) from Libya over a period of months, but, according to an interview of LTC Wood by CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson (1), State finally told them to quit asking, and don’t you dare go to the Department of Defense:

ATTKISSON: Do you feel like there was a disconnect between what you saw on the ground and what the State Dept. folks thought was going on in Libya?

WOOD: There was certainly no disconnect in our transfer of information to them. They were getting the information on the situation on the ground. We sent it up through State Dept. cables and I sent it up to the military side on the D.O.D. side. So, there was awareness of what the situation in Libya was about.

ATTKISSON: How did you get the word that your team would not be allowed to stay?

WOOD: We knew that was coming through the cables and the draft cables that were going back and forth. The requests were being modified to say ‘don’t even request for D.O.D. support’.

ATTKISSON: So State Dept. was telling the folks on the ground in Libya ‘don’t continue to ask for this help’?

WOOD: Correct.

The Right Scoop has the whole interview. Be sure to watch it.

This is a bureaucratic snafu of monumental proportions, one that eventually cost lives. It looks like the knowledge of the people on the scene was disregarded in favor of a small-footprint, diplomatically-correct approach of relying on local security. And no one in the higher reaches of the bureaucracy and the political appointees above them wanted to hear any dissent.

The hearings at the House Oversight Committee tomorrow should be quite a show.

via Ace

RELATED: Did Libyan tribal politics leave the consulate without adequate protection? It seems two local militia leaders were upset we were backing a candidate they didn’t like for prime minister, so they threatened to pick up their guns and go home:

The brinksmanship is detailed in a cable approved by Ambassador Chris Stevens and sent on the day he died in the attack, the worst assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission since the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. The dispatch, which was marked “sensitive” but not “classified,” contained a number of other updates on the chaotic situation on the ground in post-Gaddafi Libya.

The cable, reviewed by The Daily Beast, recounts how the two militia leaders, Wissam bin Ahmed and Muhammad al-Gharabi, accused the United States of supporting Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the Libyan transitional government, to be the country’s first elected prime minister. Jibril’s centrist National Forces Alliance won the popular vote in Libyan elections in July, but he lost the prime minister vote in the country’s Parliament on Sept. 12 by 94 to 92. Had he won, bin Ahmed and al-Gharabi warned they “would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a critical function they asserted they were currently providing,” the cable reads. The man who beat Jibril, Mustafa Abushagur, lost a vote of no-confidence Sunday, throwing Libyan politics back into further uncertainty.

The threat from the militias underscores the dangers of relying on local Libyan forces for security in the run-up to the 9/11 military-style assault. The U.S. consulate in Benghazi employed a militia called the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade” for security of the four-building compound. In addition, there were five Americans serving as diplomatic security and a group of former special operations forces that acted as a quick reaction force on the day of the 9/11 attack. Members of the militias led by bin-Ahmed and al-Gharabi overlapped with the February 17 militia, the cable says.

This underscores the folly of not listening to our people in Libya, who knew the fractious, fragile state of politics there, and instead insisting on sticking to the preconceived notion of relying on Libyan militias. As this cable and the rest of the article by Eli Lake shows, the plan had serious flaws, to say the least.

Flaws that got Americans killed.

(1) Between this and her work on Operation Fast and Furious, Attkisson is rapidly becoming one of my favorite MSM reporters.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Benghazi Consulate Massacre: US Ambassador asked for Special Forces, State said “no”


**Posted by Phineas

I know he said it in the context of Operation Fast and Furious, but Congressman Darrell Issa’s description of that fiasco as “felony stupid” applies just as much to this fiasco:

Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a Special Forces “Site Security Team,” said in a pair of interviews that the embassy staff, including slain Amb. Chris Stevens, had wanted his group of 16 special operations soldiers to stay in Libya.

“[The] first choice was for us to stay,” Wood told ABC News. “That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.”

Wood told CBS News that when he found out his team was being removed in August, he felt, “like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.”

“We felt we needed more, not less,” Wood added.

The former security officer said embassy staffers approached him to express concerns about their safety, but said the State Department instructed diplomatic workers “to do with less.”

(Emphasis added)

I can understand that. After all, the security situation in Libya couldn’t be any more volatile than, say, Ottawa or Tokyo, right?

And you have to love State’s “response:”

“The SST was enlisted to support the re-opening of Embassy Tripoli, to help ensure we had the security necessary as our diplomatic presence grew. They were based in Tripoli and operated almost exclusively there. When their rotation in Libya ended, Diplomatic Security Special Agents were deployed and maintained a constant level of security capability. So their departure had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya generally, or in Benghazi specifically,” said the State Department in the statement.

The withdrawal of Special Forces had “no impact whatsoever?” As in “made no difference?” Really?

No impact.

State’s statement also says that LTC Wood was only stationed in Tripoli, implying that his team’s continued presence would have made no difference in Benghazi. Right. They’re trying to tell us that a Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces, if tasked to assess security in another city couldn’t quickly figure out the risks and needs? It just begs the question, why wasn’t Wood told to assess Benghazi, where there was an American consulate in a known al Qaeda recruiting ground?

And let’s not forget: Benghazi was not just a human disaster, but also an intelligence train wreck, too, as important documents and secrets were left unsecured. (And who knows how many lives will be lost as al Qaeda learns who was helping us?) Issa’s House Oversight Committee will be holding hearings on Benghazi this week. Given the number of whistle-blowers apparently eager to talk and high-ranking political appointees desperate to blame anyone but themselves, it should be an interesting day.

RELATED: Cover up? Revolt of the intelligence Professionals.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)