The Washington Post assures its readers that “Obama [is] relatively unscathed by [the] Petraeus investigation.” In the online version, the Post goes further, describing Obama as “untouched” by the affair.
In other (unrelated) news, the Dow’s down 185.23 today, down 674,73 since before election day.
At this rate, the only way we’ll have to to make ends meet is to become “social liaisons”.
In a three-page cable on Sept 11, the day Stevens and the three other Americans were killed, Stevens wrote about “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” with the security forces and Libyan police. The ambassador saw both as “too weak to keep the country secure.”
Fox News asked the State Department to respond to a series of questions about the Aug. 16 cable, including who was specifically charged with reviewing it and whether action was taken by Washington or Tripoli. Fox News also asked, given the specific warnings and the detailed intelligence laid out in the cable, whether the State Department considered extra measures for the consulate in light of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks – and if no action was taken, who made that call.
The State Department press office declined to answer specific questions, citing the classified nature of the cable.
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”
Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
Let’s try this again … you had your people under attack, you had drones on site, you had a spec ops guy on the roof lasing the mortar team and Panetta claims they “didn’t know what was going on?”
That says a hell of a lot more about Panetta and Obama than anyone else. Anyone worth their salt goes for over kill, not “wait and see” in a situation like that. Situations like this are why you have contingency plans and units designated as Quick Reaction Forces (QRF). You can always recall your forces. And, if you give even a stinking whit about force protection you go in and secure the area and personnel who were under attack anyway.
Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
Specifically, they knew terrorists were claiming credit,
The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time – or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began – carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” and timed 4:54 p.m. Washington time, said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email, also marked SBU and sent at 6:07 p.m. Washington time, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
The NY Post reported on Oct 21 that the drone that monitored the final hour of the Benghazi battle was a Predator. So it’s very likely that that drone was armed, as the US used armed Predators during the Libyan revolution and uses them to dispatch terrorists as the opportunity arises. But there is no reporting that the drone fired any of its Hellfire missiles during the battle. It was relaying video back the United States where–
“They stood, and they watched, and our people died,” former CIA commander Gary Berntsen told CBS News.
The Post also reported:
Fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships — which could have been used to help disperse the bloodthirsty mob — were also stationed at three nearby bases, sources told the network.
The Obama national-security team had several hours in which to move forces from Sigonella to Benghazi.
Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours. If the attackers were a mob, as intelligence reported, then an F18 in afterburner, roaring like a lion, would unnerve them. This procedure was applied often in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Conversely, if the attackers were terrorists, then the U.S. commandos would eliminate them. But no forces were dispatched from Sigonella.
Sigonella, Sicily, was 480 miles away from Benghazi. Stationed at Sigonella were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft, and attack aircraft — a much more formidable force than 22 men from the embassy.
The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.
Not so, says National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor… or did he?,
Vietor, however, denied that any such agreement had been reached.
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” he said. We continue to work with the P5+1 on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”
Interestingly, so is the timing of the Zombie Fidel rumors, since both Iran and Cuba would like to influence the outcome of an American presidential election, but I digress.
While the Iran story came out, I was watching Argo, an excellent movie spoiled by Jimmy Carter’s little monologue trying to get some credit for the rescue of the six Americans. The 444-day long Iranian hostage crisis was not the shiniest moment of the Carter administration.
You can’t watch Argo and not think of the September 11 Benghazi attack, particularly during the scenes where we are subjected to the Iranian propaganda and the storming of the embassy. The parallels abound,
In fact, “Argo” may also inadvertently malign the current administration. Once more, the Middle East is on fire, an inept White House is inadvertently fanning the flames with appeasement-style policies and “Death to America” chants are heard across the region.
And now one-on-one negotiations with Iran? Or not?
When the New York Times updated its story late Saturday to reflect [National Security Council spokesman Tommy] Vietor’s statement, the paper made no mention of the update or any correction to the story, leaving readers with the impression that the White House’s denial had been in the story all along. In fact, the initial version of the story portrayed the development as a tentative victory for the Obama administration, which has recently been faced with foreign policy crises in the Middle East and Libya.
The new version of the Times’ story also removed this line about the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “Even with possible negotiations in the offing, there is no evidence Iran has slowed its fuel production.”
Normally, a pro forma denial by the White House would not send reporters and editors scurrying to cover up their work. With good sources, and reliable information, journalists could be expected to stand by their story.
Now, with the Times carrying out edits that it apparently hoped ho one would notice, the entire story seems like a desperate attempt to set the stage for the Third Presidential Debate in a way that favors the incumbent.
On the ground, the facts are inconvenient for the Obama victory narrative. That was the message delivered Monday, with all the subtlety of a live grenade, by CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan. Speaking to Chicago’s Better Government Association, she skewered the administration story as a “major lie.”
Al-Qaida is not on the run, Logan noted. The Taliban are not being tamed. Pakistan is not cooperating with us. Our enemies are no less eager to kill Americans than they were before 9/11. They will not stop their war against us just because we stop fighting them.
As Logan put it, “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”
Listen to the speech, read the article.
[Correction: I changed her name in the post title. It is now corrected to Lara.]
The Administration is trying to claim that the easy investigation is all wrapped up with and inextricably linked to the more difficult one, so they are claiming they can’t answer the easy questions (easily answered in a day or two) until they answer the hard ones (which will take, fortuitously enough, until after the election to resolve).
Now actually I don’t know if Tapper is being snowed by this or understands it perfectly. He seems like a savvy enough guy.
So I guess what I’m asking for is for Tapper to call Carney out on this deliberate conflation, and ever-so-gently remind him that the FBI is not required to find the memos in which US State Department personnel rejected requests for very necessary security.
State could release these at any time. The search, on their computers, would take no more than 1-2 days.
They are pretending mystifaction about something they already know the answers to.
Sure, they don’t know yet who the terrorists were. But they damn well already know who nixed all the security requests. And they damn well know which higher-ups told the underlings to nix the requests.
We don’t need to find out Which unknown twenty foreign terrorists carried out the attack? to answer the much-easier question Which US personnel denied the requests for security? or Who decided to trot out the “spontaneous protest”/”YouTube video” lie when all intelligence indicated this was a planned terrorist attack having nothing to do with a video or protest?
These are separate questions and separate investigations. The fact that one may take weeks doesn’t change the fact that the other takes hours — hours, plus a willingness of State to tell the truth.
I want to talk about this Libyan thing, because we crossed some lines here. It’s not about politics. First of all we’ve had nine day of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this. Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya. Twenty American embassies, yesterday, were under attack. None of that is on the national news. None of it is being pressed in the papers. If a President of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.
It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view. It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know, and I choose right now, openly, and this is—if I had more time I’d do all the names for it—but The New York Times, The Washington Post, or the most important papers that influence the networks, ABC, NBC, and, to a lesser extent—because CBS has actually been on this story, partly because the President of Libya appeared on [Bob Schieffer’s Face the Nation] and said, on Sunday, while [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice was out—the U.N. Ambassador has no portfolio on this matter—lying, said of the Secretary—you know why, notice the Secretary of State wasn’t out there doing this—was on national television, lying and promoting the White House line while the Libyan President, the very same moment, is saying “This is a premeditated attack.” Nobody has asked that question. This morning—take a look at The New York Times this morning, it’s a minor reference. Oh, now we’ve decided that it was a terrorist incident. But this is—that would have changed, that should change the politics.
This is not without accomplices, because the incompetence of the [Mitt] Romney campaign, which I said a week ago is the—my God!—the worst campaign in my lifetime, and the Republican establishment in general’s inability to fight, has allowed these things to happen in part because they don’t do it. But I want to go through two other quick points.
[Mohamed] Morsi and Egypt: The President of Egypt, we find out now, that his whole agenda has been getting the “Blind Sheikh” [Omar Abdel-Rahman], who’s responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, out of jail. Prison. I’ve been told specifically, by a member of the intelligence community that the White House and State Department are negotiating that now. They have now come out and denied it, but [Morsi] comes out, that they ordered—he’s the head of the Muslim Brotherhood! The American people know what they think of the Muslim Brotherhood: They are against them eleven to one, all right? And he’s the president of the Muslim Brotherhood, giving $2 billion to United States. He tells them—we had advance warning because they had said they were gonna do this, attack our embassy. The President—after the incident, after 48 hours, Mr. Morsi does nothing and says nothing—picks up the phone, calls him, and demands that they call it off. On Friday—last Friday, a week ago today—there was supposed to be a big demonstration. We thought that would be the big day—no, it disappeared, because Morsi called it off. But no press person has investigated this, just as no press person will go and ask the most obvious questions, when there are really good stories here, good media stories, and good news stories. They are in the tank and this is a frightening thing.
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.