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Posts tagged "BenghaziGate"

Channeling Glenn Beck, WorldNetDaily columnist and Fox News regular Erik Rush today writes that President Obama orchestrated the attack on the US annex in Benghazi, which he claims was had “clandestinely provided arms to the rebels in Syria,” in order to provide arms and chemical weapons to the rebel forces in Syria.

Now why would Obama and his supposed Islamist allies attack the same US annex they believe was arming Islamists? Well, as Rush explains, it was all an effort to cover up the fact that they were doing it in the first place, and then the administration had to cover up the reasons for the attack.

A cover-up of the cover-up.

But despite the fact that this makes absolutely no sense, Rush went on to say that the insurgents in Syria “came to possess chemical weapons” thanks to Obama, so now Obama must attack Syria in order to “erase the evidence of having provided them” and cover that up too.

h/t: RWW

(via Juan Williams Shuts Down Benghazi Outrage at Fox News: ‘It’s Gone, Baby. It’s All in Your Head’)

Fox News political analyst Juan Williams on Sunday told conservative colleagues Karl Rove and Brit Hume that their obsession about a so-called scandal over last year’s terrorist attack in Benghazi was “all in your head, baby.”

During a Fox News Sunday panel segment devoted to the one year anniversary of the Benghazi attack, Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz agreed that there were unanswered questions, but that “there is a drumbeat among conservatives — including some at Fox News — to turn this into a full-fledged scandal as opposed to a horribly tragic episode that killed four Americans.”

"And I do think that some Republicans — I’m not saying all — are trying to use this as a weapon against Hillary Clinton," he added.

Hume, however, insisted that there were “elements of mendacity in what the administration said and did after this attack.”

Williams pointed out that there was “not one shred of evidence that the White House knew about this beforehand, they covered up anything.”

"To make a scandal out of this, really — you say this is not going away, let me tell you, this is gone away," William said, turning to Rove.

"No, no. No, it hasn’t," Rove replied. "The American people were lied to. Somebody concocted a deliberate lie that this was not a terrorist attack, that this was a spontaneous response to video that no one saw. The American people were having [the] legitimate question, why were efforts not undertaken to save our people."

"Efforts were made," Williams pointed out.

At that point, Rove lost his cool.

"No, they weren’t!" for former Bush senior adviser shouted. "The death of four Americans and why they were allowed to die and no one went to their aid is not in the weeds, with all due respect, Juan! It’s not in the weeds!"

"What’s in the weeds is that you continue to prosecute this like there’s some huge crime," Williams remarked. "Karl, stop living in the past and trying to get after Susan Rice and whoever. This has nothing to do with Ambassador Stevens [Christopher] Stevens."

"We don’t who is responsible for lying to the American people!" Rove yelled. "You may be comfortable with the American people being told a deliberate lie by the administration, but I’m not. And I think we need to get to the bottom of it."

"Karl, you can continue to raise your voice, but it does not speak to the heart of the issue," Williams said, rolling his eyes.

"One more thing, think of the list of — going around this table here — the list of questions that remain unanswered to this day are what make this still a legitimate topic," Hume opined. "And, Juan, I’m sorry to say that this is simply not over."

"It’s gone, baby," Williams quipped. "It’s in your head. That’s about the only place."

A claim pushed dozens of times by Fox News that security forces were ordered to “stand down” during the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility collapsed after the commander of those security forces testified that he received no such order.

More than a month after the attacks in Benghazi killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Fox began airing accusations that security forces present in Libya at the time were ordered to “stand down” by the Obama administration. Fox’s confused coverage over the months claimed that both a reaction force that was dispatched to Benghazi and suffered two casualties while trying to defend the facility, and a group of four special forces troops in Tripoli received ”stand down” orders. This accusation was given new fuel after former Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks May 8 remarks made before a congressional committee appeared to confirm claims that Lt. Col. Gibson, who commanded a small team of special forces troops in Tripoli, was ordered to “stand down.” Fox baselessly speculated that either President Obama or then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave the alleged order.

A search of the Nexis database shows that the accusation that these security forces were ordered to “stand down” was made in 85 segments on the network’s primetime shows by Fox hosts, contributors, guests, and in video accompanying news reports and commentary.

But now even Republicans are admitting that a “stand down” order was never given. According to The Associated Press, Gibson told a Republican-led congressional committee on June 26 that he was never ordered to “stand down.”

Wednesday’s Congressional hearing on Benghazi is actually part two of the Benghazi show. Season two in the DVD box set, if you will.

Previously, on Benghazi!

Hillary Clinton, in her last appearance before Congressional committees as Secretary of State, was supposed to collapse at the feet of her GOP inquisitors, helpless before them as they posed for the cameras and delivered Fox-generated storylines. In reality, Clinton’s testimony resembled Neo from the Matrix, batting away nonsense and helping to remind the world why she has a historical legacy of her own apart from her husband.

Now with the latest dog and pony show, we will be treated to more GOP harrumphing and more Fox News alerts that will largely be about old, well-worn nonsense that the conservative media will treat as bombshells but turn out to be nothingburgers.

Pardon my grizzled cynicism, but I have seen this storyline before, with Clinton and Whitewater and breathless mumbles of scandal from the mainstream press that turned out to be nothing.

It’s all as fake as the claim that a tiny Arkansas land deal was an abuse of power. I’ve seen this show before, it sucks and it’s a perversion of our government. In other words, standard issue conservative politics.

More proof that the right-wing fearmongering about Benghazi is just a disgusting attempt to weaken Hillary Clinton’s chances for the Presidency or even the Democratic Party nomination in 2016.

H/T: Oliver Willis at The Daily Banter


Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate and current talk show host Mike Huckabee says Obama won’t finish his term because of the Benghazi “cover-up.”

“I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term. I know that puts me on a limb,” the former Arkansas governor said on “The Mike Huckabee Show.”

WASHINGTON — An investigation into the State Department’s preparations for and management of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, has concluded that “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” within the department played a major role in the devastation that took place there last September.

Four Americans were killed in the overnight raid on the compound, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The ensuing controversy over the incident, and the administration’s handling of it, threatened to derail President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign through the fall.

The new report, by an independent Accountability Review Board established by the State Department, concluded that two bureaus at the department — Near East Affairs and Diplomacy Security — failed to properly recognize the rising dangers of Eastern Libya despite the lack of any specific threats, and neglected the growing concerns of security analysts on the ground about the capabilities of the local Libyan guard force.

The result, the report said, was a “security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”

But while the unclassified version of the report, which was released Tuesday night, is undeniably harsh in its analysis of the State Department’s management ahead of the attack, it also appears to undermine a number of the more outlandish charges made during the heat of the uproar this fall.

For instance, while many figures — led, in large part, by the news analysts at Fox News — suggested that the administration had opted to watch the crisis unfold rather than send military reinforcements, the report found “no evidence of undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington.”

Many critics of the administration had raised question about why a team of specially trained military operators had been dispatched to an airfield in Italy but not, apparently, sent to help fend off the attack.

Another accusation rebutted by the report was the notion that senior-level officials had in some way refused to permit CIA operatives working out of a nearby annex to travel to the main compound to assist in repelling the attack.

That detail, first reported by Fox News, was not correct, the report said.

Instead, a “team leader” at the annex had “decided on his own” to delay leaving the facility briefly to see if local security elements would arrive with reinforcements. After “a brief delay,” and determining that they would not, the team leader made the decision to move some units toward the compound, the report said.

It is also not clear from the report if the attackers of the compound were aware that Ambassador Stevens was there on the night of the attack, or if he was their target.

The night before the attack, the report notes, local media turned up at an event that the embassy had believed to be an undisclosed meeting with the Benghazi City Council, meaning that at least some people in town were aware of Stevens’ visit.

The report also upholds much of the basic outline of the course of events on the ground in Benghazi as described by the State Department in a briefing for reporters that took place almost a month after the attack, and adds some striking details of bravery.

And while the report does not focus on the more heated controversy about how the Obama administration opted to share information with the public about the raid, it does make clear that the initial claim that the attack was simply an outgrowth of a larger protest is not correct. There was no protest outside the compound, the report states.

In a letter accompanying the release of the report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her department was accepting all 24 of the report’s recommendations.

I knew what the #TCOT morons have been saying about Benghazi was just lies and myths and was also a power play of trickery to attempt to get Scott Brown back in the Senate.

h/t: Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — An independent panel charged with investigating the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans has concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.

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

The report singled out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for criticism, saying there appeared to be a lack of cooperation and confusion over protection at the mission in Benghazi, a city in Eastern Libya that was relatively lawless after the revolution that toppled Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Despite those failures, the Accountability Review Board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action now. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.

The report appeared to break little new ground about the timeline of the Benghazi attack during which Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — who were contractors working for the CIA — were killed. Stevens’ slaying was the first of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.

But it confirmed that contrary to initial accounts, there was no protest outside the consulate and said responsibility for the incident rested entirely with the terrorists who attacked the mission.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, administration officials linked the attack to the spreading protests over an American-made, anti-Islamic film that had begun in Cairo earlier that day. Those comments came after evidence already pointed to a distinct militant attack. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on numerous TV talk shows the Sunday after the attack and used the administration talking points linking it to the film. An ensuing brouhaha in the heat of the presidential campaign eventually led her to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state in President Barack Obama’s second term.

The review board determined that there had been no immediate, specific tactical warning of a potential attack on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. However, the report said there had been several worrisome incidents in the run-up to the attack that should have set off warning bells.

On Thursday, the State Department’s two deputy secretaries, William Burns and Thomas Nides, will testify in open sessions before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Clinton was to have appeared at Thursday’s hearing but canceled after fainting and sustaining a concussion last week while recovering from a stomach virus that dehydrated her. Clinton is under doctors’ orders to rest.

The Benghazi attack has highlighted the larger question of how U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers can do their jobs in unstable environments, as al-Qaida spreads across Africa, without also expanding their security. Diplomats have said that overreacting to the attack could produce what some are calling a “Benghazi effect” that would wall them off from the people they are supposed to be engaging.

In her letter to lawmakers, Clinton said, “We will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security” but she stressed that “our diplomats cannot work in bunkers.”

“We must accept a level of risk to protect this country we love and to advance our interests and values around the world,” she said.

h/t: Washington Post

RWW: Wildmon on AFR’s Today’s Issues: “Obama Should be Impeached Over Attack in Libya” 

Frank Gaffney was the guest on AFA’s “Today’s Issues” radio program this morning to discuss the Right’s ongoing obsession with the conspiracy that there has been a systematic cover-up of the attack in Benghazi, Libya back in September.  The conspiracy theory now runs so deep that it prompted Tim Wildmon to go off on an extended rant about how President Obama and his administration lied and “intentionally misled the American people” about what happened in order to protect him ahead of the election.  As such, Wildmon asserted, this “scandal” is worse than Watergate and that had this happened back in 1973, Obama would have been unanimously impeached:

The leader of the Religious Right gun group Gun Owners of America is warning that the government, through the health care reform law and a new service program, is going after everyday Americans. Pratt, the organization’s executive director who has ties to white supremacists, appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk to float a number of conspiracies. Pratt alleged that the left is to blame for the Benghazi attack because of its “profound dislike of self-defense” and refusal to “believe in self-defense either personally or as a matter of national self-defense.”

But Pratt wasn’t done yet, as he went on to say that Obamacare will help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to “take away your guns.”

There’s a big one that doesn’t get much attention as a gun measure but it is, and that’s Obamacare. Obamacare among its many unconstitutional aspects, I’m sorry Supreme Court, has made privacy something that only applies between consenting adults but not certainly our relationship with the government. It says that all of our medical records are available to be pawed through by bureaucrats somewhere in Washington, looking for a reason to disenfranchise gun owners, to say ‘oh you have a medical diagnosis that means you might be a danger to yourself or others so we’re going to come and knock on the door for the BATF to take away your guns.’

Of course, the law that screens out people such as mentally ill individuals through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to prevent them from purchasing guns was signed by President Bush, and the health care reform law [PDF] explicitly does not allow for a gigantic gun owner database or discrimination against people who own guns.

Last time I checked, the President (and basically the entire Democratic Party for that matter) will NEVER take away your guns.!

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is accusing the Obama Administration of adopting a “false narrative” on the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed.

Bachmann insisted on “further investigation” in a statement issued by her office Friday, Patch reports. Bachmann issued the statement as a response to General David Petraeus’s testimony before Congress on the raid.

Bachmann also demanded more information on Obama’s knowledge of the attack, comparing the incident in Benghazi to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

"Ultimately, President Obama is responsible for the actions of his national security team and it is incomprehensible that we have yet to hear what the President knew, when he knew it, and the specific orders he gave his team," Bachmann’s statementsaid. “Almost immediately after Osama bin Laden was killed the Obama administration starting releasing specific details… By contrast, two months after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi… we have little knowledge of what the President knew and what his actions were.”

This isn’t the first time Bachmann has criticized Obama over the Benghazi attack. Speaking at the 2012 Values Voter Summit in September, Bachmann said Obama’s “supposedly genius foreign policy” is being “exposed for what it really is” after the attack.

h/t: Huffington Post

Matt Steinglass makes a point about the whole Benghazi “coverup” narrative that I didn’t have space to make in my post yesterday. He agrees that Susan Rice did nothing wrong, but says there’s more to it:

This is absolutely right as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. At the most fundamental level, the reason it is absurd to suspect the existence of a “cover-up” over the Benghazi attack is that such a cover-up could not have had any conceivable goal. Back to the beginning: the underlying accusation about Benghazi is that the Obama administration deliberately mischaracterised the terrorist attack there as having grown out of a spontaneous demonstration because that would be less politically damaging. Such a cover-up would have made no sense because the attack would not have been less politically damaging had it grown out of a spontaneous demonstration. The attack on the Benghazi compound would not have been any less politically difficult for the administration if it had grown out of a riot, nor would any normal voter have expected it to be less politically damaging, nor would any normal campaign strategist have expected any normal voter to have expected it to be less politically damaging.

As best I can tell, the suggestion from the right has been that Obama didn’t want to admit that Benghazi was a terrorist attack because….well, I’m not sure, exactly. Something about how this would blow a hole in his claim to be decimating al-Qaeda via drone attacks. Or maybe it would remove some of the luster from being the killer of Osama bin Laden. Or something. But one way or another, the story is that Obama was deeply afraid of admitting that terrorists are still out there and want to do us harm.

This has never made a lick of sense. If anything, the continuing existence of terrorists justifies his drone attacks. And it certainly wouldn’t do him any harm in an election. The American public routinely rallies around a president responding to a terrorist attack.

Actually, there’s considerable evidence that on September 15, when Rice taped her appearances, the CIA told her there had been protests in Benghazi earlier in the day. The CIA turned out to be wrong about that, but it simply makes no sense for them to have made this up. If it does anything at all, it only makes their response look worse. This whole thing is a conspiracy theory with no conceivable motive. It’s  a wild, scattershot attack hoping to take down someone, somewhere, just to claim a scalp. It’s disgusting.

h/t: Kevin Drum at Mother Jones


With your Benghazi rants and your threats against Susan Rice, you have become a pathetic spectacle, Sen. McCain.

You have morphed into what you once abhorred: a mindless partisan.

Once upon a time, back in the days of the Straight Talk Express, you were an inspiring figure. You were the rare politician who actually spoke his mind, and much of what you said made sense. 

You helped normalize relations with Vietnam, the country that held you captive for eight grueling years. You were an advocate for campaign finance reform. You were moderate on immigration.

You even teamed up with Sen. Ted Kennedy from time to time.

During that 2002 campaign, you were a very appealing alternative to George W. Bush, the spoiled preppie upon whom corporate America had placed multi-million-dollar political bets.

With the establishment lined up behind the scion of big oil and big politics, you never really stood a chance. But you gave him a good fight — and it was always refreshing to hear you speak your mind.

As a reporter for the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, I spent hours on the Straight Talk Express, watching you charm the socks off the reporters who were supposed to bring skepticism to their coverage of your quixotic quest. 

For all your appeal, however, it was always terrifying to hear you expound on foreign policy. Your shoot-first, ask-questions-later mindset scared the hell out of me, and the prospect of you with your finger on the nuclear button made my skin crawl.

You still believe our one mistake in Vietnam was a failure to drop enough bombs.

Now you have drawn equally tortured conclusions about the situation in Benghazi, where you see some sort of conspiracy by the Obama administration to whitewash the attack that claimed the life of our ambassador to Libya.

You and your pals at Fox News have stirred up a scandal where none exists. And now you want to blame this fictional mess on Susan Rice, whom President Obama might appoint as his next Secretary of State.

You and your pipsqueak partisan pal, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have vowed to do everything you can to block her nomination, should it come to pass.

But Susan Rice bears no responsibility for what happened in Benghazi.

The President is correct, Senator. Your efforts to besmirch her reputation are outrageous.

A slew of new reporting this morning debunks Fox News reports claiming that the Obama administration withheld assistance during the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. With these revelations, the combined conservative narrative as led by Fox News — that the Obama administration failed to respond adequately during the attack and that mainstream media has not covered Benghazi enough — is in further disarray.

The Los Angeles Times’ version of the CIA’s role focuses the most heavily on pushing back on Fox’s spin:

“At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”

Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin claimed in an “exclusive” report last week that the CIA denied Tyrone Woods, one of the four Americans killed in the attack, permission to help repel the assault. Griffin’s reporting spun off into a bevy of conspiracy theories on the far right. ThePentagonWhite House, and CIA had all previously denied refusing requests for support. The New York Times reports on the Pentagon’s involvement:

[A] senior official also sought to rebut reports that C.I.A. requests for support from the Pentagon that night had gone unheeded.

In fact, the official said, the military diverted a Predator drone from a reconnaissance mission in Darnah, 90 miles away, in time to oversee the mission’s evacuation. The two commandos, based at the embassy in Tripoli, joined the reinforcements. And a military transport plane flew the wounded Americans and Mr. Stevens’s body out of Libya.

The new reports also contain previously unreported details about the CIA’s role in Benghazi. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta did order U.S. forces into the region, but the CIA was the first to respond to the attack, arriving on the scene in under half an hour.

The lack of security at the outpost in Benghazi, far removed from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, has been the subject of inquiry by both Fox News and Congressional Republicans. The Wall Street Journal sheds new light onto why that was the case.

The primary role of the CIA was intelligence gathering and covert operations within Benghazi. Agents there operated out of an annex originally reported to be an offshoot of the diplomatic mission, revealed officially — and accidentally — during Issa’s highly politicized hearing into the Benghazi attacks. The Agency’s large presence may also help explain why the diplomatic compound was open to journalists and looters for weeks after the attack, as more vital intelligence documents were collected.

Washington Post’s David Ignatius has gone as far as to produce a detailed minute-by-minute timeline, of the events that night. These reports together give the clearest picture yet of the events in Benghazi. Rather than the Obama Presidency unraveling as the “news” organization has claimed, it appears to be Fox News’ narrative that is coming undone instead.

h/t: Hayes Brown at Think Progress Security