Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The White House is getting downright testy about U.S. Senators (not to mention the rest of us) continuing to ask unanswered questions about the Benghazi debacle.
White House spokeshole Jay Carney had a major hissy fit after Senator Lindsay Graham threatened to put a hold on the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan unless the administration was more forthcoming:
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday blasted Senate Republicans for threatening to block Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, nominated to head the CIA, in a quest for more information about what President Obama did on the night that terrorists killed four Americans in the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
“We have answered these questions,” Mr. Carney said. “The president found out about the attack in Benghazi in a meeting with his secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs from his national security adviser. He immediately ordered those two leaders to take every action necessary to try to position forces in a way that could assist in Benghazi and also potentially take action, if necessary, elsewhere, because of all that was enfolding around the region.”
He added that Mr. Obama was “regularly updated and kept appraised [sic] of events in Benghazi and in the region throughout that evening and into the night.”
“Those are the facts,” Mr. Carney said.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told lawmakers last week that he didn’t have any communication with the White House on the night of the Benghazi attack after informing Mr. Obama of the assault during a meeting at the White House late in the afternoon.
To use Mr. Panetta's exact words, "He left it up to us."
So Jay Carney is either misinformed or lying. Or both.
Actually, I assume President Obama probably voted present that evening, based on past performance. The questions I want answered are far different.
First of all, what were Ambassador Stevens and the others doing in Benghazi? Secretary Clinton did a lot of whining about how budget cuts prevented the Obama Administration from adequately securing the Benghazi consulate. This later turned out to be sheer partisan nonsense(the Vienna embassy, for example got a fleet of Chevy volts and a state of the art charging station among many other expenses you'd think would rank a lot lower than protecting our diplomats overseas) but let's run with it anyway. Benghazi was such a dangerous hotbed of terrorism that even the British and the International Red Cross pulled their people out. What were the Americans in the Benghazi Consulate doing that was so vital they had to be left in a hazardous situation Mrs. Clinton claimed the State Department was unable to secure?
It's been previously leaked that President Obama knew within 24 hours from the CIA head of station that this was a well organized terrorist attack. Why did he, Mrs. Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and a host of other surrogates tell the American people for 9 days that this was a spontaneous demonstration over an obscure YouTube video?
The Commander's In-extremis Force (CIF), a unit specifically designed for exactly these kinds of situations was already deployed at our base in Sigonella, Sicily, less than a two-hour plane ride away.They specialize in operations where intel is far more limited than it was in Benghazi, with a drone in place, phone contact and an ex-Navy Seal with a laser sight in the CIA annex with a clear line of vision to the consulate phoning in coordinates. Why wasn't the CIF called in?
Since a drone was overhead within minutes of the attack on the consulate, the White House was able to see what was going on in real time. And as I mentioned before, the White House was in phone contact with both the consulate and the CIA annex, which had a clear view of the attack on the consulate. There were also surveillance cameras who filed the entire attack at both locations, and there are 38 U.S. diplomats and personnel who survived the attack and who could give valuable eye witness testimony. Why are the security tapes, the phone records, the logs and the drone footage still classified as top secret so no one but the White House has access to them? Why have the 38 Americans who survived Benghazi been sequestered and ordered by the White House not to testify to Congress or to reveal any information about what happened that night?
President Obama has changed his story on Benghazi several times. In an interview with MSNBC, the president claimed he'd been briefed but that 'the intelligence was unclear' and he was still trying to find out what had happened, but that his 'number one responsibility is to go after folks who did this, and we’re going to make sure that we get them.' This was on October 29th, well after he had been informed by the CIA that this was an organized and well planned attack by an al-Qaeda affiliated militia.
Yet, on October 28th, the day before that, he was speaking in Denver and had an entirely different story, saying "“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.”
That not only contradicts Panetta's testimony, but the testimony of General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the JCS who says there was no directive ever issued. General Dempsey even went further, stating that there was no request from the State Department for military assistance to the Benghazi compound, even though it was under attack.
General Ham, then the theater commander of AFRICOM whose responsibilities included Libya would have received a presidential directive if anyone would have. Yet he's claimed he never got any orders in that regard, directly contradicting the president and Secretary Panetta on the matter. Who's telling the truth here? If there was a presidential directive, there's a written record, and General Dempsey and General Ham were deliberately insubordinate to their commander-in-chief if they ignored it, not to mention lying to Congress. Is Panetta lying then? Or is President Obama being less than truthful?
There are a great many other questions that could be legitimately asked, but I think these are the ones this president and his administration are most determined not to answer.And the reason for that is the biggest question of all.What are they trying so desperately to conceal?
At this point, putting a few things together, I think I have a pretty good idea about what that might be, and if I'm right, President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta have a lot to answer for...to the point where I won't even speculate about my suspicions because of what's involved.
For now, let it suffice to say that you have to wonder about the overall competence of this president and his administration and marvel at their outright contempt for Congress and the American people when they can't even get their stories straight. And then, to add insult to injury, they have the nerve to have someone like Jay Carney insist they've been forthcoming and truthful and to insist on no more questions.
Old news, what does it matter,nothing to see here, move along? I think the ghosts of four dead Americans demand otherwise.
Some things you simply can't bury forever. They have an foul odor about them that prevents them from being tidily hidden and ignored, like a corpse inadvertently left in the basement.
Benghazi is starting to reek badly, and even the complaisant Obama- friendly media won't be able to ignore the stench for much longer.