Foreign and Defense Policy

More lies, more scandal, more politics: Benghazi

Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson (Wikimedia Commons)

Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson (Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, I posted a timeline of events on September 11 that made clear that the White House had every reason to suspect that the assault on US facilities in Benghazi was an act of terror and not a random protest. Honestly, I believed at that moment that the morass of Obama administration lies would fizzle out. Even a team as high on the Obama cult of personality as this one had to know it was time to start owning up to what happened. Instead, the president decided again to deny that he or his staff knew anything at all, cloaking himself with indignation at the lese majesté that would permit such an inquiry:

“But I do take offense, as I’ve said at one of the debates, with some suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew, as information was coming in what we believed happened.”

Let’s run this through again, with thanks to Fox News and Reuters for ground-breaking reporting. All times are Libyan (DC is six hours earlier):

  • 2140 on September 11: Shots are heard coming from the US consulate in Benghazi. Former SEAL Tyrone Woods hears the shots, reports, requests for help and was reportedly told to “stand down.” Two UAVs were streaming live data to any takers in the United States. Some have reported those visuals were up at the White House in real time, though that is by no means confirmed.
  • 2205: An email with the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” came from the State Department’s Op Center to the White House, DoD, IC and FBI. (Emails reported by Reuters.)
  • 2254: An email update is sent from the Op Center subject line: “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi,” which reports that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.”
  • 2140-0000 (midnight Libyan time) on September 11: Woods and others defy order and head from a CIA annex to the consulate. They evacuate some personnel and recover the body of Sean Smith.
  • 0000: Another call for help because the annex is now under fire. The call reportedly went to Special Operations – a military command (and not a CIA command as some have reported). Back-up from a Spectre gunship in the area is denied. A gunner on top of the annex is targeting the source of mortar fire at the annex, and calling in coordinates but no back-up is supplied.
  • 0007: Another Op Center email goes out, subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
  • 0000 – 0400 Fighting at the annex continues. Comms are available the entire time.
  • 0400: A mortar shell hits the annex and kills Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who had come in from Tripoli (at the request of the CIA) in response to the initial attack.

Now let’s go back to the White House. As I wrote earlier, the president and his top aides insisted on September 12, September 13, September 14, and September 16 that what went down in Benghazi was a spontaneous attack because of a YouTube video. Only on September 19 did the director of the National Counterterrorism Center admit there was a terrorist attack that day in Libya. But that doesn’t matter to Barack Obama, who a full six days later blames the video again, this time in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

What are the questions?

  • Who gave the stand down order? The CIA denies it.
  • Who received the emails obtained by Reuters?
  • Was there a live stream of the attack in the Situation Room and was the president there?
  • Why did the president discount the report and claim of credit that occurred during the attack?
  • Who made the decision and wrote U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s talkers for her round of the Sunday shows in which she insisted it was all about the movie?
  • Why did it take the FBI three weeks to get to Benghazi?
  • Why didn’t US personnel clear the consulate site, and prevent the news media from recovering Ambassador Chris Stevens’ diary?
  • Why are the alleged ringleaders of the attack at large?

Now ask yourself, if the administration is willing to lie about this in the face of massive evidence of a terrorist attack, what else will they lie about in order to protect the president’s political life? Talks with Iran? Cuts to the defense budget? Unemployment? Economic growth? One wonders.

18 thoughts on “More lies, more scandal, more politics: Benghazi

  1. Ask the pollsters the very same question. EVERY poll with Obama 2-3 ahead is oversampling the dems by 7-8.

    Not only are the pollsters lying, the media is their complicit and willing accomplices. Remember, the very same media told us that based on their exit polls, Kerry beat Bush in 2004.

    • @MacDaddyWatch – ” EVERY poll with Obama 2-3 ahead is oversampling the dems by 7-8.”

      The latest election results have Obama up by about 2%, so I guess even the voting booths were in on the plot. I eagerly await your explanation of how they too conspired to oversample the Democrats by 7-8.

      • Yes.. the “conspiracy” WIDENS!

        I’m quite sure that there will be a serious “investigation” by FAUX to figure out how the heck this happened.

  2. how many of your pathetic questions did you ask for these:

    22 January 2002 Calcutta, India gunmen attack Consulate 5dead

    14 June 2002 Karachi, Pakistan al-Qaeda truck bomb detonates outside Consulate 12 killed

    12 October 2002 Denpasar, Indonesia Consular Office bombed

    28 February 2003 Islamabad, Pakistan Unknown gunmen attack Embassy 2 killed

    30 June 2004 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy 2 killed

    6 December 2004 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia al-Qaeda gunmen raid diplomatic compound 9 killed

    2 March 2006 Karachi, Pakistan Car bomb explodes outside Embassy unknown 2 killed

    12 September 2006 Demascuc, Syria Gunmen raid US Embassy 4 killed

    12 January 2007 Athens, Greece RPG Fired at Embassy

    18 March 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Mortar attack against US Embassy 2

    9 July 2008 Istanbul, Turkey Armed attack against Consulate 6 killed

    17 September 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Two car bombs outside US embassy in Yemeni capital

  3. At this point, I have serious questions about Ms. Pletka’s own honesty, not just her reading comprehension as I have in the past.

    1. Although there is other, later evidence pointing to the group, the accuracy of the initial email is in serious dispute.

    http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/24/doubts-surface-over-e-mail-on-claim-of-responsibility-for-benghazi-attack/

    Note also that there are multiple groups with the name Ansar al-Sharia.

    Ms. Pletka should know this by now. Failure to disclose is a lie by omission.

    2. Even if the attackers were members of a terrorist group, witnesses also reported that they were genuinely motivated by the video. “They were terrorists” and “they were an angry mob inflamed by the video” are _not_ mutually exclusive statements.

    http://world.time.com/2012/10/21/the-other-911-libyan-guards-recount-what-happened-in-benghazi/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/world/africa/election-year-stakes-overshadow-nuances-of-benghazi-investigation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Ms. Pletka appears to be picking and choosing which parts of the witness statements she believes and which parts she ignores based on her own extreme anti-Obama biases rather than any genuine concern for the truth.

    • re: ” Ms. Pletka should know”

      I think she does … and still chooses to do what she is doing.

      This reflects on AEI which is proving that there are no real standards here.. just propaganda, misinformation and disinformation, not only condoned but encouraged.

      AEI bills itself as a “non-partisan” organization.

      what a joke.

    • I expect no better than this from Ms. Pletka.

      1) Since the “SEALs” were contractors who else but their employers (most likely the CIA) could have told them to stand down? Also when people claim Obama told the “SEALs to stand down,” you of all people should know the blatant falsehood of that.

      2) Ms. Pletka should explain the intricacies of targeting a missile attack on a sovereign ally in a highly urban neighborhood where civilians, militia and friendlies are intermixed and there is massive confusion on the ground… on an evening where there is massive unrest across the Middle East because of that idiotic video.

      3) People suspected of involvement in the attack ARE being picked up across the region – see Ali Ani al-Harzi – but you know this since the GOP is screaming about our denial of access

      4) You should ask the FBI why they took three weeks to deploy. Same – except to DOS DS – goes for the inept post-incident “clearing” of the embassy.

      5) Nobody denies the response from the administration was awful. But you have happily mixed fact with rumors and YOU are part of the gang happily politicizing the deaths of 4 Americans so… spare us the hypocritical outrage please.

    • The accuracy of the evidence is not determinative of whether or not the evidence is in fact evidence. The fact remains that the claim was made by a group named Ansar al-Sharia claiming credit. That is evidence that Ansar al-Sharia took the action.

      Your second point is true, but fails to note that pretty much everyone has been referring to “a terrorist attack” as a shorthand for a pre-planned terrorist attack and an angry mob inflamed by the video as shorthand for a spontaneous attack (which I’d still consider terrorism). You are attempting to evade the point by arguing semantics.

      • ” There’s only one problem—well, actually, there are many, but one big one: The email appears to have been incorrect. Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, the group suspected of attacking the consulate, never claimed responsibility for the assault. In fact, according to Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who monitors jihadist activity online, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi didn’t post about the attack on its Facebook or Twitter page until September 12, the day after the attack. They expressed their approval of the incident, but they didn’t take credit; they did imply members of the group might have been involved, according to Zelin, stating, “Katibat Ansar al-Sharia [in Benghazi] as a military did not participate formally/officially and not by direct orders.” The statement also justifies the attack by implicitly alluding to the anti-Islam video linked to unrest in other parts of the Middle East, saying, “We commend the Libyan Muslim people in Benghazi [that were] against the attack on the [Muslim] Prophet [Muhammad].”

        http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/10/benghazi-libya-state-emails

        now what makes you believe otherwise?

        the right wing is cherry-picking selected parts and conflating it into something that is what they prefer to believe – purely for political purposes.

        and you believe these folks who basically lie if it suits their political narrative?

        • I’m not going to click on a Mother Jones link, but according to Reuters and CNN, the evidence that the White House had at the time was that Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility (CNN has published the actual emails if you want to look at them). Again. Whether that evidence turns out to be accurate or not (which is, I suppose, in dispute) has absolutely zero bearing on whether or not the information is actually evidence.

          • you ought to read the link guy because Hillary Clinton made the point about what some claim and what the reality really is.

            the real point here is that since the time of Ronald Reagan, we have suffered terrorist attacks – and such attacks are all types with different groups involved.. some claiming responsibility -etc….

            but WHY in this case – are we seeing this level of scrutiny and assumptions proffered as evidence?

            this is totally nutty .. it’s simply trumped up partisan politics… and not much more.

            most folks realize this. they understand that our embassies and consulates around the world are attacked by different groups…. that’s it’s not due to a specific POTUS and that since the time Ronald Reagan posted Marines to Beirut against the advice of his advisers..POTUS and State as well as CIA – make mistakes.

            so what is this REALLY ABOUT?

            partisan politics.

          • @Greg – Do please feel free to quote anything either @LarryG or I wrote that you interpret as claiming that a Facebook post from Ansar al-Sharia (assuming the post really ever existed) was not evidence _period_, as opposed to a claim that it was not _reliable_ or _conclusive_ evidence. I freely admit arguing the latter position, but categorically deny ever claiming the former. You’re fighting a strawman.

            You’re also dishonestly ignoring the fact that the White House had contradictory information at the same time it had the information you and Ms. Pletka seem to think should have been the only information that the White House should have paid attention to. Evidence is evidence, remember?

            Why are you unwilling to click on a Mother Jones link? Has their site been infected with malware that you fear might infect your computer? Or are you merely afraid to look at information that might challenge your prejudices? Wait – Obama isn’t allowed to dismiss evidence that he finds unreliable, but you are entitled to dismiss sources you don’t like without even looking? What happened to your “evidence is evidence” position? I think the Greeks have a word for that….

      • @Greg – You either share Ms. Pletka’s reading comprehension difficulties, or you did not bother to follow the link I posted. If you had followed the link I posted regarding the claim of responsibility, you would have seen that Aaron Zelin, who follows the Facebook and Twitter postings of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi (as opposed to others with that name) reported that he received nothing on the RSS feeds he set up that corresponds to what was reported in the 0007 “Update 2″ email from the Op Center. That email specifically mentioned Facebook and Twitter: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”

        So why did Mr. Zelin not see such posts and tweets? One possible explanation is that the report was flat-out wrong – that nowhere on Facebook or the Twitterverse was there ever any post under the name Ansar al-Sharia that claimed responsibility. In that case, there is no fact to remain. An erroneous claim of evidence is _not_ evidence.

        Another possible explanation is that it was posted to Facebook and Twitter accounts under the Ansar al-Sharia name of which Mr. Zelin was not aware. Does that mean that the report was accurate, that Ansar al-Sharia claimed credit, and that this is evidence they took the action?

        Not quite. There is nothing in the world to stop me from creating a Facebook account called “Greg” and posting a claim of responsibility for the Benghazi attack. If I were to go ahead and do that, should the White House issue an immediate press release announcing “Greg” as a suspect? Should we start rounding up every person named Greg, as there is now evidence that “Greg” was the mastermind? Remember – by your own standards, we would have evidence that “Greg” is behind the attack that is just as reliable and actionable as the Facebook and Twitter postings referred to in the “Update 2″ email. (If they exist, that is.)

        As the famous cartoon caption goes, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”.

        But it gets worse. The link I posted also mentions that Ansar al-Sharia held a news conference denying responsibility. So even if there were postings on accounts that Mr. Zelin did not follow, the news conference is evidence they did not take the action. And that evidence is exactly as reliable as the evidence that they did. Ms. Pletka is picking and choosing evidence in accord with her biases.

        As for your second paragraph, it is _precisely_ my point that Ms. Pletka, Marc Thiessen, et al. assume that if it was not a random angry mob without terrorist ties who independently converged on the consulate, then it must have been a pre-planned terrorist attack with no relation to the video. These worthies have been pretty openly accusing the President of lying, of knowingly stating a falsehood when he said that it was instigated by the video. Not only did he have reason to think at the time that it was the video, as in Cairo, but the current evidence still allows for that statement to be completely true. I am not arguing semantics. I’m pointing out a logical fallacy known as “false dichotomy”.

        • re: ” “false dichotomy” .. also known as “sound bite logic”
          which seems be rampant these days especially on FAUX Noise, Malkin, Limbaugh, etc et al.

          this is your basic right wing echo chamber machinations with the gullible following along.

  4. I dislike to be preemptive in my judgement about the rest of an article’s content. But once I see lines like these:

    “Honestly, I believed at that moment that the morass of Obama administration lies would fizzle out. Even a team as high on the Obama cult of personality as this one had to know it was time to start owning up to what happened. Instead, the president decided again to deny that he or his staff knew anything at all, cloaking himself with indignation at the lese majesté that would permit such an inquiry”

    I skip the rest of the article and rather just read about how Vince Young blew 30 Mill in 3 years.

    Seriously, as a reader, I would rather hear your previous biases addressed at the appropriate time presented dutifully with strong evidence presented. Please check your anger or unrelated opinions (to this article) at the door.

    NEXT article.

  5. The Obama COVERUP is big. Very big.

    The investigation of Obama’s COVERUP will be in progress long after this criminal is removed from America’s Oval Office.

    I won’t be a bit surprised that he and his conspiring accomplices are perp-walked in 2013 or 2014.

  6. BENGHAZIGATE–OBAMA KNEW WEEKS IN ADVANCE:

    According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.

    The details in the cable foreshadowed the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.

    In addition to describing the security situation in Benghazi as “trending negatively,” the cable said explicitly that the mission would ask for more help. “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”

    Perp-walks to follow !!

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