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Some Accountability for Benghazi, But Cover Up Continues

Let’s give Obama and Hillary Clinton some credit–in stark contrast to the utter failure of George W. Bush to hold anyone accountable for the failures leading to 9/11/2001, at least three people have resigned in the wake of a report that places significant blame on State Department officials for the failure to protect the Special Mission in Benghazi. That failure contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.

According to the Accountability Review Board findings:

1. The attacks were security related, involving arson, small arms and machine gun fire, and the use of RPGs, grenades, and mortars against U.S. personnel at two separate facilities – the SMC and the Annex – and en route between them. Responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks. The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.

2. Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.

Security in Benghazi was not recognized and implemented as a “shared responsibility” by the bureaus in Washington charged with supporting the post, resulting in stove-piped discussions and decisions on policy and security. That said, Embassy Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security for Special Mission Benghazi.

The short-term, transitory nature of Special Mission Benghazi’s staffing, with talented and committed, but relatively inexperienced, American personnel often on temporary assignments of 40 days or less, resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity.

Eric Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Diplomatic Security, and Charlene Lamb, the inarticulate Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, have resigned. In addition, a senior official in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, also walked the plank. This is a move in the right direction, but it also is telling that Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, who oversaw both Diplomatic Security and the Accountability Review Board, received no reprimand or criticism, at least in the unclassified report.

Hillary Clinton, who said she accepted full responsiblity? She’s still on the job. If she truly accepted full responsibility she would resign.

What is truly fascinating are the topics avoided and the people not named in the report? As I noted above, Pat Kennedy was the boss of Eric Boswell. Kennedy should resign for his failures on this matter.

The ARB tries to ignore “the Annex,” which was a facility apparently under the control of the CIA, but lets slip some intriguing details that raise further questions. Check out the following timeline:

The Board found that Ambassador Stevens made the decision to travel to Benghazi independently of Washington, per standard practice. Timing for his trip was driven in part by commitments in Tripoli, as well as a staffing gap between principal officers in Benghazi. Plans for the Ambassador’s trip provided for minimal close protection security support and were not shared thoroughly with the Embassy’s country team, who were not fully aware of planned movements off compound. (p. 6)

Ambassador Chris Stevens arrived in Benghazi, Libya on September 10, 2012, accompanied by two temporary duty (TDY) Assistant Regional Security Officers (ARSOs) from Tripoli. (p. 18)

Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, who arrived in Benghazi one week earlier to provide TDY communications and management support; (p. 18)

After the Ambassador’s arrival at the Special Mission on September 10, . . . the Ambassador visited the Annex for a briefing. (p. 19)

At approximately 1940 local, Ambassador Stevens and an accompanying ARSO escorted a Turkish diplomat to the SMC’s main exit at the north C1 gate, where nothing out of the ordinary was noted. Some 30 minutes later, between 2010 and 2030 local, a UK security team supporting a day visit by British diplomats dropped off vehicles and equipment at the SMC (per arrangements made after the UK diplomatic office in Benghazi suspended operations in June 2012). (p. 20)

Stevens decision to go to Benghazi had nothing to do with his traditional State Department role. That’s why it was not fully coordinated with the country team. He was engaged in supporting a White House led intelligence activity to provide support to Syrian rebels with the help of Turkey. That’s why Sean Smith was sent out a week in advance. This was not a spontaneous, sudden visit. It was planned.

What happened a week earlier that was relevant? CIA Director Petraeus was in Turkey to discuss US concerns about military assitance finding its way into the hands of Al Qaeda operatives. Stevens’ mission? Close the loop in Benghazi with the Turks, the Brits and the intel operators at the Annex.

That’s why Stevens went to the Annex for a briefing and then met with Turkey’s Ambassador at the so-called “Consulate.”

In reading this report it becomes clear why State Department did not feel obligated to spend resources on this facility–the activites in Benghazi were largely intelligence related and had nothing to do with the traditional diplomatic activities of an Embassy or a Consulate.

I do have one word of caution for Republicans. Enough with the nonsensical comparison to Watergate. You make yourselves sound stupid and desperate. The cover up in Benghazi is because the Administration is trying to avoid exposing an idiotic policy of supporting the jihadists in Syria. It is not illegal, but it is dumb. Richard Nixon and his boys broke real laws and were trying to subvert the electoral process. He obstructed justice.

Obama is not obstructing justice, but he is busy trying to cover up White House fingerprints on an intelligence operation that Ambassador Stevens was carrying out at his behest.

  • Popsmoke

    So how prepared do you think we are as a country for almost any type of disaster?

    http://www.healthyamericans.org/report/101/

    Here is my advise…. Run!

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2
    • MG6

      Why is that? Is CNN less bias?

      • HELENK2

        I think CNN is trying to rebuild to up the ratings

        • MG6

          They would do better by telling and exposing Obama and Val Jarrett.

  • HELENK2

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-20/obama-expels-bp-record-number-of-firms-from-contracting.html

    backtrack bunch bar record number of firms from contracting.

    need someone else’s opinion on this. I am biased and my first thought was they were not backtrack contributors

  • Chris

    Hillary Clinton must die, period!!!!!!!!!!!

  • HELENK2
  • HELENK2

    per holder
    backtrack has the right to issue executive order on gun control????????????

    • Hokma

      He has experience at that – Fast and Furious.

    • KenoshaMarge

      Makes things so much easier for an Administration when you have an unprincipled thug at the DOJ!

  • HELENK2
  • http://twitter.com/MrLTavern Mr.L

    Yeah you’re right. It’s not anything like Watergate. It’s ten times worse. Oh yeah, Fast & Furious. That’s actually where Obama obstructed justice and another cover up that’s ten times worse than Watergate.

    • http://noquarterusa.net Larry Johnson

      Enough with the delusional thinking. You are trying to compare apples and coal. Watergate was a perversion of our electoral process and an abuse of Executive Power. Benghazi is incompetence coupled with an idiotic foreign policy being carried out in secret.

      • http://twitter.com/MrLTavern Mr.L

        Oh please fuck off you pompous hack. I’ve monitored your comments section for awhile now and your calling people deluded any time they disagree with your sorry over the hill ass. Watergate was a fucking third rate break in that was magnified 10 x over by the media and dopes like yourself making a mountain out of a mole hill. Obama intervening in Libya with out congressional approval in the first place is not a perversion of executive power??? Watergate is BULLSHIT compared to this. and it is a cover up just like Watergate was. And again you cold prick no one was killed in Watergate and once the problem was discovered in Benghazi it was addressed
        by both Repubs and Dems. All while Rice, Clinton, Obama were
        watching it on TV and listening to it in their earphones which was a completely callous political decision to let Americans die and they covered it up in order to get Obama reelected. Idiots like you who want to split hairs over whether it’s poor foreign policy or abuse of executive power and insult me, along with the psychotic liberals in the media who blatantly ignore this story–ALL OF YOU– will help Obama get away with this. While you sit down there in your little Ivory Tower in Florida pontificating over whether or not its like Watergate, or executive power grabs vs poor foreign policy how about call it what it really is — dereliction of duty. You make me sick.

    • http://twitter.com/147DW 147DegreesWest

      What do Watergate and Fast and Furious have in common? The use of Executive Privilege. Don’t be surprised if Zero attempts to use Executive Privilege to protect “she who has Benghazi Flu.

      Watergate was like my son’s attempt to read his ister’s diary and then covering it up. Benghazi would be like my son joining a gang and getting in a fire fight with a neighboring gang…. in fact, Benghazi may be worse than that ….. for it seems that it is a cover-up of something even bigger. Spot on Mr. L.

  • HObama HObamanana

    Someone would need a concussion, if not the full coma, to believe that this report is unbiased or conclusive. It portends that several intrinsic failures occurred simultaneously, completely independent of their selves. And no one of any significance was responsible for it.

  • MG6
  • getfitnow
  • HELENK2

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/new-impeachment-threat-with-democrat-involved/

    Is congress finally getting some backbone??

    look who’s talking impeachment

  • HELENK2
  • buzzlatte3

    Any exposure of Obama idiocy/policy is to be desired. Isn’t he supposed to be the”transparent one”?

    • KenoshaMarge

      Most smart people see right through him. Does that count?

      • Retired_from_SPOnaj

        If you are correct that “most smart people see right through him,” then we must surmize that the marjority of voters are not smart.

  • Popsmoke

    Between AIPAC pulling strings on one side and the Saudis pull ing on the other side. We should rename our Foreign Policy to Faulty Policy….
    Anyone for a round of isolationism?

  • akaPatience

    When are media and officialdom going to ask WHY the Benghazi attack even occurred in the first place? Immediately after the attack Hillary Clinton exclaimed, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate?”. Jesus, WHY is there no curiosity, no follow up? The story’s stuck on bureaucratic culpability and ineptitude. BFD – that almost goes without saying.

    • Deapster

      I think Somalia did the same thing. Welcomed the “liberators” until they started dragging their dead bodies through the streets. Or maybe they used us as long as we were useful and then discarded us when we were not. Heartless, bitches. The Middle East culture is far more ancient and wily about survival than we are.

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Patience wrote, “WHY is there no curiosity, no follow up?” Very simply, because the issue was put to a vote last month and a majority of the voters said that they didn’t care.

  • HELENK2

    off topic

    http://www.soopermexican.com/2012/12/19/vet-marine-injustly-imprisoned-in-mexico-might-be-released-this-friday/

    keep your finger, toes and whatever crossed
    marine vet imprisoned in mexico might be released Friday.
    no thanks to the state dept

  • HELENK2

    Sec. of State Clinton will testify next month on Benghazi, her aide tells House committees – @DanaBashCNN

    • Deapster

      Will she have been replaced as SOS by then?

    • getfitnow

      The actress Natasha Richardson
      died after a mild concussion. I find it impossible to believe that a Sec. of
      State would not be hospitalized at least for observation. Doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

      Any bit of respect I had for
      Hillary Clinton is gone.

  • Susan Bernard

    You have to put some of the blame on Stevens himself. If he had questions about his own safety he should have never been there and away from the more highly secured U.S. embassy in the first place. He did not seem to be in Benghazi that day for any particular important reason. They put too much trust in the local security, which actually was significiant, but not significant enought to stand up against the small army that attacked them.

  • HELENK2

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/libyan-militia-hired-protect-us-benghazi-mission-was-strike-sept-11-protest-over-salary

    the libyan guards were on strike.
    that is new and did the state dept know it?? If so why not replacements??

  • Deapster

    Was Susan Rice part of this intentional cover-up – due to election sensitivities?

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Yes.

      • Deapster

        The full story then still needs to come out. No one should abuse their position at this level for political purposes. I know this sounds like a joke statement; but integrity of office should always come first. Political realities need to be carried out by someone on a different pay check other than the people’s money and the people’s time.

  • DDDDSSSS

    Time Magazine named Obama Person of the Year. I suppose the new rule should be that you can fool 52% of the people 100% of the time.

    • KenoshaMarge

      I think it surprised even him how easy it is to dupe the dimwits.

    • Deapster

      Union members remain a powerful GOTV force. The tipping point has passed. There is nothing out there as well organized as unions for political purposes. When you have almost a 50/50 split in opinion on the eve of elections, that extra voter turn out margin the unions are so good at mustering changes many an election.

    • exmaple

      98% of the people voted for Obama or Romney, so 98% of the people are stupid. The craziest segment of our 98% overlords think that the Republicans are the financially responsible party.

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    Larry, Excellent! The Obama administration policy of the US providing lethal, however indirectly, to jihadis who have said that once they have overthrown Assad they will turn their guns on us still hasn’t been exposed or questioned by the press. But then, one wouldn’t want to jepordize one’s invitation to the “right” inaguaral balls come January.

  • HARP2

    Wow !!
    That bang on Hillary`s head must have been more severe than I thought.

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Hillary holds Congress in contempt. Will they reciprocate?

      • Deapster

        I assume Hilary is smart enough to know she can’t lie to Congress and put her own bar license at stake, just to keep falling on the sword for Obama. She is between a rock and a hard place.

        • getfitnow

          I wouldn’t bet on it. Bill lost his license for a time because of perjury.

        • Retired_from_SPOnaj

          She doesn’t need to lie. She just needs to have a headache until her resignation. Then she is home free,

  • KenoshaMarge

    Classic Washington cover-up as both parties have long been guilty of doing.

    The difference is that if this was a Republican cover-up the media hounds would be in full cry. That they seek to help this administration with the “cover-up” tells us all we need to know about their bias and their integrity. With a few exceptions.

    • exmaple

      Another distraction from what Obama actually did on the day of the attack. Did he overrule a protective response because he, or Jarrett, were convinced the attack must be a response to that “video>”

      • Hokma

        Obama knew exactly what the attack was and why.

        • KenoshaMarge

          And while good men died he cared only about his political ass.
          In the aftermath his co-conspirators in the media did the same.