Monday, October 29, 2012
"The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good." - Psalms, 36:3
More and more of what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton farcically referred to as ' the fog of war' over the Benghazi debacle has dispersed...and what it reveals is sheer ugliness.
Even some of President Obama's loyal media lackeys aren't quite able to swallow what he's doling out, as this video clip from an MSNBC interview shows.
Here's a transcript, that mercifully leaves out the president's stammers, er-ahs and stutters:
MB: Why has it been so easy for critics to say the administration does not have its story straight on Benghazi?
BO: Well look, the fact of the matter is that this is a tragedy. There’s all kinds of legitimate questions to ask, because any time a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans who are serving our country get killed, you know, we’ve got to figure out what happened and fix it. And most importantly, we’ve got to bring those folks who carried that out to justice. That’s exactly what we’re going to do. But I do take offense, as I’ve said during one of the debates, with some suggestion that you know, in any way we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as information was coming in what we believed happened. And…
JS: Was it the intel community giving you bad information early on, because that’s…the stories keep changing.
BO: Well, that’s what we’re going to find out from the investigation. But the truth is that you know, across the board, when this happened, my number one priority was secure Americans, figure out what happened, bring those folks to justice. We are in the process of doing that right now Congress has been getting the flow of information continuously from day one, and what my attitude on this is, is if we find out that there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable. Ultimately, as commander-in-chief, I’m responsible, and I don’t shy away from that responsibility. My number one responsibility is to go after folks who did this, and we’re going to make sure that we get them. I’ve got a pretty good track record in doing that.
Meanwhile, a number of members of Congress have been quite vocal over the fact that the administration hasn't told them anything or complied with even the most basic requests for information.
As Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed today in an interview, not only are the recordings from the surveillance cameras that were all over the Benghazi compound now classified top secret so no one can view them, but repeated requests for information to James Clapper, the director of the National Intelligence, General Petraeus, the head of the CIA, or John Brennan, who is the White House head of counterterrorism.
I'll add to that by telling you that according to my sources, the videos sent from the drones overhead directly to the White House situation room in real time and the phone recordings of calls from the Benghazi consulate and the Benghazi CIA annex have suffered the same fate as the surveillance camera tapes. They're classified top secret so no one can get to them.A number of the e-mails that have been leaked were as well,but this president's wholesale blaming of the intelligence community for his own malfeasance has not gone without some blowback.
As for the information given to the American people, what we heard for days from this president, the Secretary of State, the White House spokesperson and our UN ambassador for days were outright lies about a video and a 'spontaneous protest' that got out of control. Because of the leaked e-mails, we know know that the State Department and the White House knew within hours that this was a planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate.
The other, unmistakeable fact that's leaked out is that there was no attempt made to save the trapped Americans in the consulate. When the men in the CIA annex in Benghazi, including two ex-Navy SEALS repeatedly asked for permission to put together an ad-hoc force to rescue the Ambassador and the other men trapped in the consulate, they were told to stand down three times.
There were helicopter gunships within easy range of the consulate, and F-18 fighters less than an hour away. One of those ex-Seals in the annex had a laser range finder and was actually radioing in coordinates of enemy targets. No U.S. aircraft were sent to attack.
There was even a Special OPs unit already deployed and ready to go at our airbase in Sigonella, Sicily, a little over a two-hour plane ride away from Benghazi.
This force, known as the Commander's In-extremis Force (CIF) is specifically designated and trained for exactly these kinds of missions, where Americans are endangered and quick, decisive action is called for. The CIF forces are designed to go in with a minimum of information and hit the ground running, and every military theater commander has access to one.
They never got the orders to move.
Instead, the fight was simply observed in real time for seven hours, by which time four Americans had been murdered - including the two heroic ex-SEALS who decided to disobey orders and do what their government lacked the stones to do, saddle up an ride out to try and save their fellow Americans.
Once all this intel leaked, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had an astounding response to media inquiries on this. After accusing people who were justifiably angry at being lied to for weeks and were critical of the administration of 'Monday Morning quarterbacking', he said, on October 25th that this was somehow just business as usual.
“A basic principle,” he said, “is you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on — without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”
Let's look at that. You have drones overhead showing you what's going on in real time, you have phone contact with the consulate, and you have a Navy SEAL feeding you precise coordinates on enemy targets from less than a mile away. And this excuse for a Secretary of Defense has the nerve and the contempt for people with far more combat experience than he'll ever have to try to lie his way out of this by saying they lacked sufficient information?
Those of you who've had combat experience, tell me - how many times have you been given a mission to perform with a lot less intel than that going in? It happens all the time. Even police officers often go in to hairy situations with nothing more than a message like 'shots fired' or 'burglary in progress' and an address.
Leon Panetta obviously was told to walk the plank with the media to try and defuse this. It's amazing that the media didn't excoriate him for such a cynical, dishonest statement.
And President Obama? All of sudden, his story has changed.
On the campaign trail in Denver on October 26, he said, “The minute I found out what was happening . . . I gave the directive,” he said, “to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do. I guarantee you everybody in the CIA and military knew the number-one priority was making sure our people are safe.”
According to the White House calender, President Obama met with his entire security team on September 11th,2012 5 PM DC time,including Secretary Panetta. By then the Benghazi attack had been going on for just under an hour.
The decision to send in the CIF or indeed any military forces would have been referred to the president as commander-in-chief.If the president gave that order, as he says, than either somebody countermanded it without telling him or the president never gave the order in the first place and he's simply lying again. He needs to clear the record by releasing the directive publicly.
Someone gave the orders to the men in the CIA annex to stand down, and knowing our military as I do, somebody specifically instructed them not to deploy when they checked back in and requested permission to go in and save American lives.
Who was it?
If SecDef Panetta or Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey countermanded the president's direct orders, they would have informed him directly.General David Petraeus, the head of the CIA has stated unequivocally that no such orders to stand down came from him.
On the other hand, if the president is simply lying and he never gave any such 'directive' then they were simply carrying out his orders while he rested up for his campaign fundraiser and celeb appearances in Las Vegas.
What Benghazi became for this president and his administration ultimately was a political problem that had to be handled to cover up far deeper questions that might be asked about his entire handling of foreign policy...especially his intervention in Libya and his insistence that al-Qaeda was 'on the run' after bin-Laden's assassination. So they lied. Repeatedly.
And the president's belated insistence that he 'gave a directive' which would have been transmitted directly to AFRICOM, the Defense Department, the CIA, and the State Department is either true or false. If it's true, it's in his interest to release and declassify the directive, the video recordings and everything else connected with this debacle so we can find out who disobeyed his orders. The fact that he isn't doing so tells us a great deal.
And as a signal as to where this might be going, I note that General Ham, the theater commander of AFRICOM whose responsibilities included Libya has suddenly been relieved of command. Is he being set up as yet another possible fall guy? We'll see.
After all the lies and the heavy handed attempt at a coverup, here's what's certain. Four Americans were left to die when they could have been saved, and all of the nonsense by the President and Secretary Clinton about how close Ambassador Stevens was to them while they were attending his funeral was some of the most cynical and self serving horse manure it's ever been my misfortune to observe.The fact they that could know what they knew, say those things and face these men's families beggars the imagination.
Either this president is either guilty of gross incompetence or he willfully deceived the American people.There's no other way to see this.
You pick whichever one you want, but either one shows why this president is unworthy of serving in any position of public responsibility, let alone as commander-in-chief.
This is not going to go away, in spite of the efforts of the president's lackeys in the media to bury it.