Obama and his team of incompetents are in full overdrive to divert attention from their failure to protect Ambassador Stevens and take appropriate precautions for an attack that intelligence had clearly warned was a possibility. Their latest ploy is to blame it on faulty intelligence:
Extremists from groups linked to al Qaida struck the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack,” the top U.S. intelligence agency said Friday, as it took responsibility for the Obama administration’s initial claims that the deadly assault grew from a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video.
The unusual statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence appeared to have two goals: updating the public on the latest findings of the investigation into the assault, and shielding the White House from a political backlash over its original accounts.
“In the immediate aftermath (of the assault), there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo,” spokesman Sean Turner said in the statement. “We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly.”
Nice try. But that is complete horseshit.
Let’s start before the attack. We know from Ambassador Stevens’ journal, which CNN recovered by simply walking around the site of the attack, that he knew full well he was a target of Al Qaeda and feared an attack. Now, if that was the only information out there, perhaps the White House could hide behind that fig leaf. But Congress need only ask DOD and CIA to provide the intel prior to the 9-11 attack that shows specific information about a specific group that was planning to attack in Benghazi. State Department needs to provide Congress with the cables sent by Ambassador Stevens airing his concerns. Rather than produce those, they are hunkered down withholding information that Congress has a right and duty to receive and evaluate.
Why were inadequate security procedures in place at Benghazi? That is not a function of intelligence. All intelligence can do is warn. That was done. The monkey is then on the back of the policymakers to act on the intelligence. State Department and the White House chose not to act. At State, the blame lies with M–the Under Secretary for Management. M is headed by Patrick Kennedy. He is in charge of Diplomatic Security and he sits on the 7th floor of State and reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kennedy signed off of the decision to ignore the recommendations of Security professionals in Diplomatic Security and Hillary did not overrule him.
When the attack came on September 11th, the information received at the White House Situation Room, the CIA Ops center and the Department of State clearly showed that this was a planned and organized attack. The use of mortars on the so-called “safe house” in Benghazi was not spontaneous. As the attack unfolded a variety of U.S. Government entities were alerted to prepare for action. Congress only needs to ask to see the briefings prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other counter terrorism units tasked with responding. Were they acting on the belief that this was a simple spontaneous riot?
Did those briefings state that the attack was spontaneous, inspired by some idiotic movie? There are smoking guns in those briefings.
Five days after those attacks, USUN Ambassador Rice was all over the television channels insisting that a lie was true. She had access to the information that the movie was irrelevant to what happened. Yet, despite the fact that the intel community told a different story, she insisted on lying. Congress can easily find this out. Decisions to dispatch US forces to Benghazi were based on written briefings in powerpoint presentations that specifically defined what the nature of the attack was and who the intelligence analysts believed were responsible.
If the White House bullshit story is true then those briefs would back them up. But rather than produce those briefings to the members of Congress, the White House is stonewalling. If the briefings supported the White House line you can bet your ass they would be leaking them to sympathetic reporters. That ain’t happening.
The average American does not understand nor appreciate the implication that mortars were fired on the Benghazi safehouse. A mortar is a crew served weapon. It requires a team of at least two people to set up, carry the rounds and fire. More importantly, such a weapon is based on knowing the coordinates of the target. This is not something someone gins up in the heat of the moment. It requires training and preparation.
According to the New York Times, not exactly an anti-Obama news outlet, the Benghazi safehouse harbored CIA operatives. The attack on that house essentially destroyed the ability of the United States to collect intelligence on the ground. The two former Navy SEALS who died in the assault were killed by mortar fire.
And let’s not forget that Osama Bin Laden’s replacement, Ayman Zawahiri, was on air in a videotape on 10 September vowing to avenge the death of a Libyan Al Qaeda operative. The attack in Benghazi was a reminder that Al Qaeda still can carry out a coordinated attack.
Charles Krauthammer had it exactly right–the Obama campaign wanted to portray itself as the conqueror of Al Qaeda. If the truth of the attack was known then that message was no longer valid. Instead of worrying about protecting Americans overseas who are still on the front lines of fighting Islamic extremists, Barack Obama was more worried about covering his sorry political ass.