For those who say ISIS doesn’t have a strategy. #blackgold
A conservative group backed by several Fox News contributors has pulled ads featuring footage of murdered journalist James Foley after his family sharply criticized the campaign as “deplorable.”
Secure America Now (SAN) had been running advertisements attacking Democratic candidates with footage of Foley’s beheading at the hands of ISIS. Foley’s parents told New England Cable News (NECN) that the ads are “very sad” and “deplorable,” and called for them to be pulled with an apology.
The group announced on October 15 that it would launch advocacy campaigns featuring the Foley footage in ads against Democratic Senators Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Udall (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Congressman Gary Peters (MI). Secure America Now president Allen Roth said that “Pryor, Udall, Landrieu, Shaheen, and Peters have all ignored the crisis at our southern border. While evading efforts of those attempting to secure the border, they have silently supported President Obama’s rumored amnesty plans.” The group also posted on Facebook that day, “Watch the ad that’s got the left riled up. Help us get it out, SHARE this video now.”
Roth later told NECN, “It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. It was never our attention to upset Mr. Foley’s family and we apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.”
SAN used the Foley ad to fundraise. An October 15 email stated, “With your help, we can finally capture the attention of these ignorant few. Every dollar you donate will go directly to advocating for border security in the Senate race of your choice” and included links to donation pages featuring the now-removed ads.
The group’s advisory board includes Fox News host Mike Huckabee and Fox News contributors John Bolton and Pat Caddell. Despite claiming to be “non-partisan,” the group has previously been involved in projects pushing for President Obama’s impeachment and more investigations into the already thoroughly-investigated attacks in Benghazi.
Bolton previously defended the use of the Foley video in other campaign advertising. Commenting to The Hill in early October about a Republican House candidate’s ad, Bolton said that ”When you hear people say, ‘Oh you shouldn’t run ads on that issue,’ to me it demonstrates fear of the issue … if we don’t talk about it as adults we’re never going to understand the problem fully.”
NECN reported that Roth said “SAN board members are not involved in creating ads, nor do they see them before they go public. Roth says Bolton had nothing to do with this.” Regardless, Fox News contributors like Bolton are integral to establishing the group’s credentials, as the group touts their advisory board membership and testimonials.
Michele Bachmann has big plans for her career after Congress, and apparently that includes “looking to burnish her credentials as a foreign policy expert.”
As Politico reports today, the retiring Minnesota congressman is working with Rick Santorum and Tony Perkins in hopes of becoming “a female conservative foil” to Hillary Clinton.The divisive four-term congresswoman is leaving Capitol Hill in January, but she has no intention of fading into post-congressional irrelevance.
Instead, the Minnesota Republican is fiercely courting media and speaking opportunities, likely in Washington, New York or Los Angeles, and looking to burnish her credentials as a foreign policy expert ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Her hope is to emerge as the “anti-Hillary,” a female conservative foil to likely Democratic presidential contender and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But even critics have learned to underestimate Bachmann at their peril. To prepare for the post-congressional transition, Bachmann is working with conservative heavyweights like former GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. She’s also working on softening her public persona by repeatedly hitting up television shows with younger audiences that focus on families.
Bachmann’s foreign policy views are, by her own admission, immensely shaped by her belief that the U.S. is living in the End Times.
Last year, after falsely claiming that President Obama was aiding Al Qaeda, Bachmann cited the non-existent aid to Al Qaeda is proof that “we are in God’s End Times history” and that “we need to rejoice, Maranatha come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand. When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah. We are seeing that in our time.”
“These are the times of birth pangs, we’re seeing the intensity of age and the speed and rapidity that these events are starting to speed up so fast that we can hardly get our minds about it,” she said of the coming Last Days in another interview last year.
Bachmann believes that Obama’s Mideast policy was predicted by biblical passages about an End Times battle where the powers of the world align against Israel: “The nations of the world will come against Israel and the scripture very specifically says all nations, now for the United States we don’t have that experience until recently under President Obama with the United States not standing with Israel.”
She also contends that the Obama administration, especially the State Department under former Secretary of State Clinton, has experienced “deep penetration” by Muslim Brotherhood agents and as a result U.S. officials have “embraced the worldview aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
If Bachmann does decide to become a leading conservative voice on foreign affairs as a “foil” to Clinton, we shouldn’t forget that Bachmann sees the End Times struggle taking place today, and has already claimed that God is not on Clinton’s side:
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
At #VVS14, Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum Falsely Suggests That Only Muslims Are Violent [TW: Islamophobia, Religious Bigotry]
Ex-Senator and religious film producer Rick Santorum blasted practitioners of Islam at the Values Voter Summit this past week, contending that the current conflict in the Middle East is a product of an age-old fight between the West and those who see the world in a “fundamentally different” way — namely, Muslims.
During his speech to the assembly on Friday and a subsequent interview with The Daily Beast, Santorum drew a firm line between the Muslim world and the “Western world,” arguing that America’s current conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) represents “a very big clash [of civilizations].” He then went on to insist on a distinction between Islam and Christianity, implying that Christians have moved beyond the kind of violence exhibited by groups like ISIS.
“Christendom [once] expanded by the sword, that doesn’t happen anymore … you don’t have any Baptist ministers going on jihad,” Santorum, who is Catholic, said. “The Western world has come to terms with religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and that persuasion is the way to spread the faith.”
“[There is] a fundamental foundational problem in Islam of embracing issues of freedom of conscience and religious persecution,” he later added.
Santorum’s comments elicited applause from those at the summit, but appear to ignore recent examples of people who cite Christianity as justification for violence and hate. The Lord’s Resistance Army in Western Africa, which claims to pursue the teachings of Jesus Christ, regularly terrorizes villages and enlists child soldiers to do its bidding. Fighters who claim to be both Christian and Muslim continue to clash in the Central African Republic, where atrocities have been enacted by fighters on both sides. And while there likely aren’t Baptist ministers going on jihad — primarily because jihad is a Muslim concept, albeit one that doesn’t necessarily require to violence — the Westboro Baptist Church has certainly engaged in its own war of words with those who don’t share their views, and currently maintains a website entitled “God Hates Islam.”
Also, while Santorum casts the West as a region that has moved beyond religious persecution, many in the United States still struggle to freely exercise their faith. Religious minorities such as Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and many other believers throughout the Untied States regularly endure physical beatings and attacks on their houses of worship at the hands of those who disagree with them.
Bill O’Reilly has an idea: employ an “anti-terror army” of 25,000 “English-speaking” mercenaries to take on all terrorists around the world.
Thankfully, U.S. Naval War College Professor Tom Nichols didn’t hesitate to decimate O’Reilly’s “terrible idea” while appearing on Fox:
It’s a morally corrosive idea to try to outsource our national security. This is something Americans are going to have to do for themselves. We’re not going to solve this problem by creating an army of Marvel’s Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re gonna have to do it ourselves.
While the U.S. certainly used mercenaries before, the national security expert pointed out that we’ve never used them “to do the bulk of our fighting.”
Update: On CBS News, Bill O’Reilly stood by his suggestion, saying that a mercenary force would "take the politics out of it." He predicted, "It’s going to happen. This anti-terror army is going to happen."
Because we all know how well it works out when the U.S. wages a war against a faceless, shapeless enemy, justifying military intervention in any part of the world…
With the House Select Committee on Benghazi scheduled to convene for its first public hearing tomorrow, Media Matters is unveiling All Questions Answered, the definitive user’s guide to the committee that demonstrates how conservative inquiries into the 2012 attacks have been litigated over and over again.
You can read All Questions Answered at BenghaziHoax.com, a new Media Matters website featuring our latest research and curating nearly 1,000 pieces we have produced over the past two years chronicling and debunking the lies right-wing media have pushed about Benghazi.
Fox News and the conservative media have been politicizing Benghazi for more than two years, seeking to turn the tragic events of that night into a phony scandal in order to damage President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The network took credit for House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to create the select committee, a development Fox News contributors had sought for months. In the two weeks after the announcement the network devoted over 16 hours and 27 minutes — at least 227 segments — to Benghazi, a value of more than $124 million.
An excerpt from All Questions Answered details how the right-wing press turned an innocuous email from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes into a sham “smoking gun,” leading to the creation of the committee:
Conservative media outlets were up in arms, and they were soon followed by mainstream reporters. According to this new right-wing narrative, the White House had been withholding these emails from the public and congressional committees. But what did these emails actually demonstrate?
Rhodes’ job on the National Security Council was to provide communications guidance to administration officials speaking on foreign policy issues. In the wake of upheaval across the entire region, with violent protests taking place in Cairo and the attack on the United States’ diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Rhodes was tasked with preparing messaging guidance for then-national security adviser Susan Rice. In the emails unveiled by Judicial Watch, Rhodes took CIA-authored talking points — whose creation had been made public in detail a year earlier — and turned them into a messaging document.
That no new information was revealed mattered little. Simply the perception that the Obama administration was hiding something from the public created a media firestorm.
All Questions Answered goes down the list of conservative questions about Benghazi one by one, debunking the lies and myths about the attacks and the Obama administration’s response.
All Questions Answered is a supplement to Media Matters' best-selling 2013 ebook The Benghazi Hoax, which “tells in intimate detail the story of the deception created by those who fill airtime with savage punditry and pseudo-journalism and how the Republicans in charge of the investigative committees were empowered but ultimately failed to find a scandal - any kind of scandal - to tar a Democratic White House.”
h/t: Matt Gertz at MMFA
The House Intelligence Committee just concluded a nearly two-year investigation on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and finds no wrongdoing by the Obama Administration — destroying all claims by Tea Party and conservative activists.
In a stunning rebuke to its base, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted to declassify on Thursday the results of its nearly two-year, $3.3 million taxpayer-paid investigation on the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, finding no intentional wrongdoing by President Barack Obama, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or by the Obama administration.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat, “said the report ‘confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.’”
Among the Intelligence Committee’s findings, according to Thompson:
— Intelligence agencies were “warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened.”
— “A mixed group of individuals, including those associated with al Qaeda, (Moammar) Khadafy loyalists and other Libyan militias, participated in the attack.”
— “There was no ‘stand-down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind.”
— The administration’s process for developing “talking points” was “flawed, but the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the attacks.
The Tea Party, Republicans, and conservatives have spent nearly two years claiming the Obama administration committed treason, were at the center of a massive cover-up, and have propagated many other falsehoods and conspiracy theories that have been officially rebuked by this report and several other official government investigations, most led, ironically, by Republicans.
Meanwhile, Republicans will start yet another series of hearings, led by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, trying g once again to prove that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were somehow to blame for the deaths of four Americans.
For a look at Tea Party memes of Benghazi, including Obama hang nooses, see our compilation on Storify.
Obama also addressed post-9/11 America in remarks about the Central Intelligence Agency. “We tortured some folks,” he said. “We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell, and the Pentagon had been hit, and a plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this.”
This isn’t the first time Obama has said that the US tortured people but the usage of “folks” immediately set tongues wagging. Presumably it’s because “folks” is far more humanizing than “detainees” or “enemy combatants”. The US did torture people (real flesh-and-blood human people) after 9/11, and it’s good that Obama says so—even if he was just trying to get off the topic of his CIA admitting to spying on Congress.
For a long time it was incredibly controversial to call “enhanced interrogation” torture. It’s a sign of progress that no one batted an eye at the “torture” bit and instead focused on the “folks” part. To their credit, even conservatives have come around to using the dreaded T word.
I am stunned our President just said “we tortured” people from the podium. This is a PR victory for our enemies. Make it stop. Make it stop.— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) August 1, 2014
Typical week in the Obama Administration: conservatives labeled ‘a**holes’ terrorists labeled ‘folks’— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) August 1, 2014
Barack Obama is an inexperienced “celebrity” community organizer/campaigner-in-chief who won’t stop apologizing for America and was only elected president because of The Decemberists.
(AP) Military officers testified that there was no “stand-down order” that held back military assets that could have saved the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans killed at a diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya. Their testimony undercut the contention of Republican lawmakers. …
The right’s BENGHAZI!!! narrative collapses once again.
It seems that The Daily Banter’s Bob Cesca just discovered that Fox’s “Judge” Jeanine Pirro is completely out of her gourd. We’ve been posting some of her rants for a while now, so this latest one comes as no surprise to me, but it does seem she’s getting crazier and more vicious by the week if that’s possible.
Bob did do a great job of taking her apart and debunking the majority of the garbage she was spewing in the clip above, and I’ll just share part of his opening here: This is One of the Craziest Fox News Rants Ever, and It’s Not Hannity or O’Reilly:
John Bolton getting a taste of his own medicine.
From the 06.16.2014 edition of FBN’s The Independents:
President Obama announced today that, while the U.S. is willing to do their part to help deal with a terrorist insurgency, he will not be sending combat troops back to Iraq.
The president said:
Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen significant gains by the ISIL terrorist organization that operates in both Iraq and Syria. In the face of a terrorist offensive, Iraqi security forces have proven unable to defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists to overrun part of Iraq’s territory, and this poses a danger to Iraq and its people and given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat, eventually to American interests as well.
Now, this threat is not brand new. Over the last year, we’ve been steadily ramping up our security assistance to the Iraqi government with increased training, equipping, and intelligence. Now, Iraq needs additional support to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces. We will not be sending U.S. combat troops back into Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq’s security forces, and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.
Obama’s position on helping Iraq was summed up with one sentence, “We can’t do it for them.” He added, “The United States will do our part, but understand that ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems.”
President Obama was correct. This isn’t something that the United States can do for Iraq. The problems in Iraq are best summed up by a report from The Guardian, “Two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of an assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting.”
If the Iraqi security forces aren’t willing to fight when they have an overwhelming advantage, there isn’t much that the United States, or anyone else can do for the Iraqi government. The security situation in Iraq that was constructed by the Bush administration was always a house of cards. Since the U.S. invasion, there have always been issues with Iraqi security forces not wanting to fight.
None of this is new. The difference is that Republicans have long held the position that the United States should never have taken our combat troops out. Under a Republican president, U.S. troops would still be fighting and dying for some people who don’t want to take responsibility for their own national security.
Recent events are demonstrating why it was a good idea for the United States to get the combat troops out of Iraq. The Bush doctrine has been a total failure, and Obama is doing the right thing by making the Iraqis stand on their own.
Good call, President Obama.
One of the world’s most dangerous extremist groups moves to build a state of its own.
ISTANBUL, Turkey — It was never simply about Syria for the extremists who have overrun Iraq so suddenly this week, even as they built their brand and carved out territory amid the chaos of the war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. They called themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — and they were deadly serious about the name. The goal was to take big pieces of each nation and use them to build their own, to be ruled by a harsh and rudimentary Islam. The war in Syria was most useful in this sense: A weakened regime gave them room to operate, as well as an easy means of recruitment.
This desire for statehood manifested itself across Syria. ISIS plastered its logo over the towns and cities it controlled with exuberance. Its fighters were said to be irked by the nickname other rebels gave the group — Daesh, its acronym in Arabic — preferring the grandeur of the full title.
Now the offensive sweeping Iraq — a blitzkrieg assault that saw the surprise takeover of Mosul on Monday, and has seen ISIS and allied militants pressing closer by the day to Baghdad — suggests ISIS is booming. And it seems as intent as ever on state-building — taking over banks and security installations, even the airport, in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, whose population of 2 million would put it fifth on the list of U.S. cities. As jihadi expert Aaron Zelin noted, taking a look at these boundaries on a map, the territory includes a number of oil refineries. “For those who think ISIS doesn’t have a strategy. #blackgold,” he wrote.
To be sure, ISIS seems to have collaborated in this offensive with some of Iraq’s disenchanted Sunni groups, including Baathist officers from the Saddam Hussein era. And much of its success can be blamed on the dysfunction of the Iraqi state, marred by the U.S. war and the disastrous tenure of Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite prime minister. Iraqi troops reportedly laid down their arms and fled before the far smaller invading force. Though ISIS leaders are urging their forces onward to Baghdad, it remains to be seen whether the group will hold its recent gains or pull back to its stronghold in Syria.
Regardless, the idea of a possible ISIS state has now been made very real — both to a worried international community, and to potential supporters watching from the sidelines. One of the group’s first moves after its win in Mosul, according to images posted by fighters online, was to take commandeered bulldozers and demolish the borderline between Syria and Iraq.
ABDUCTION, IMPRISONMENT, AND TORTURE
As ISIS grew into one of Syria’s most fearsome militant groups, signs of the intensity of its vision became apparent. The group cracked down relentlessly on its opponents, be they regime, fellow rebel, or simply civilian. It employed abduction,imprisonment and torture on a grand scale, beheadings, and crucifixions — all a dark preview for the new reality the group was trying to create.
This brutality made ISIS increasingly unpopular among Syrians, as did the presence among its ranks of so many foreign jihadis, recruited from across the world, from Saudi Arabia to England. These outsiders developed reputations as some of the group’s most brutal and extreme members, adding to its image as an alien oppressor. The group’s senior leadership, though secretive, was believed to be Iraqi. After those in the organization’s ranks came other foreigners, some Syrians complained, saying that local recruits were used mainly as rank and file, guards and frontline soldiers, and fodder for suicide attacks. Other rebel groups launched aninternal war against ISIS earlier this year, and even the local branch of al-Qaeda joined the fight — even for them, ISIS had become too extreme. At times, ISIS seemed to be on the ropes in Syria, but its recent gains in Iraq will put that narrative to rest.
There is a word for the relationship between ISIS’s steady growth in Syria and its newfound surge in Iraq: spillover.
Regional spillover is the alarm that has been sounded about the Syrian conflict from the start — often by critics of U.S. policy who called on the White House to put an end to the conflict by helping moderate rebels topple Assad. The risk was that a long war would destabilize Syria’s five neighbors, all of them important allies. (The Obama administration’s supporters countered that serious U.S. involvement would only magnify the effect.) In Lebanon, which has descended into regular sectarian bloodletting, the spillover happened gradually, in fits and starts. Turkey and Jordan, likewise, were pulled ever deeper into the murky world of offering assistance to the rebels while taking on the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The recent ISIS surge in Iraq has been far more jarring. It threatens to undermine any progress U.S. forces made before leaving the country in late 2011. It also looks a lot like a worst-case scenario, threatening to throw the region even further into chaos. The world’s most dangerous extremists — as many experts now describe ISIS — now control significant territory, appear to be armed with significant weaponry, and have just received a very significant boost to morale. ISIS and its allies captured the Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah earlier this year, prompting a flurry of international concern that soon dropped from the news headlines. But Mosul is a far greater prize.
It remains to be seen whether Iraq’s neighbors will be drawn into this brewing and sectarian fight. If they do make it to Baghdad, ISIS and its allies will deal a bracingblow to Prime Minister Maliki; with his army in a shambles, he has reportedly turned to irregular Shiite militias. Iraq’s Kurds are already up in arms and reportedly skirmishing with ISIS, playing out tensions inflamed by the war in Syria, where ISIS has engaged in bitter fighting with Syrian Kurds.
In Turkey, the military has already sent shells, on occasion, across the border into Syria, aimed at both ISIS and the regime. But the crisis in Iraq threatens to draw in the powerful NATO country even deeper, with ISIS having kidnapped Turkish diplomats and staff from the consulate in Mosul on Wednesday. Markets in Turkey dipped at news of the Mosul offensive while the press has speculated that the Turkish military may somehow intervene. But after years of allowing foreign fighters to cross its borders into northern Syria, Turkey has given ISIS the chance to build up a dangerous presence in its own back yard.
Iran, Maliki’s Shiite benefactor, has been heavily engaged in propping up the Assad regime in Syria. It may now see fit to step lend a hand to its ally in Iraq. On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran would not “tolerate this violence and terror.”
Smaller countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, meanwhile, would only suffer from any further regional instability. “The problem is that the U.S. expected its regional allies to bear the brunt of the containment of the Syria crisis,” said Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at the the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, adding that the Obama administration’s best chance of stemming the ISIS tide is to help its moderate Sunni rivals. “You can’t defeat ISIS without having a moderate Sunni force in Syria. The same goes for Iraq.”
U.S. SLOW TO REACT
But as in Syria, Iraq’s moderate Sunnis are looking weak, and the U.S. will likely remain “late, very late” in addressing such concerns, Tabler said. The Obama administration has been deliberate in its approach of limited action in Syria as elsewhere in the world, as it tries to wean the U.S. public and policymakers off the idea of America as the world’s policeman. The U.S. may well stick to that mind-set, even as warnings of spillover and worst-case scenarios sound louder than ever.
Source: Mike Giglio for Buzzfeed
6 facts everyone needs to know about Benghazi:
1. The non-partiasn Accountability Review Board did not find Hillary Rodham Clinton responsible for the Benghazi attacks. She was cleared of any wrong-doing.
SOURCE: UNCLASSIFIED REPORT
2. Republicans cut millions and millions of dollars in “embassy security.” Cuts that Hillary Clinton called “detrimental” to our security overseas. I can’t wait for her to bring this up in the 2016 election.
3. Over 50 people died from embassy/consulate attacks under George Bush’s Presidency. Where was the outrage over that? Oh, and if you want to play the blame game, 9/11/2001 happened under the Republican’s watch.
4. The Obama Administration did not “cover-up” the Benghazi attacks. Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen told Senator Joe Lieberman that Benghazi was a “terrorist attack”. This was only a few days after Susan Rice went on the Sunday morning talk-shows. Therefore, this would have to be the shortest “cover-up” in history. Thankfully, we were not plunged into another war based on faulty intelligence.
Senator Joe Lieberman: “Let me begin by asking you whether you would say that Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans died as a result of a terrorist attack.”
Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen: “Certainly on that particular question I would say, yes. They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.”
5. Hillary’s quote, "What difference, at this point, does it make" has been taken out of context. Hillary was referring to the Republican’s obsession with what Susan Rice said, not Benghazi itself. We now know the intelligence communities talking points were incorrect. But to accuse the Administration of intentionally lying, when Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen called it a “terrorist attack” only a few days after Susan Rice went on the Sunday morning talk shows, is dishonest.
6. The reason the YouTube video was cited as a possible reason for Benghazi is because violent protests had been erupting throughout the Middle East when Benghazi took place. Some of the protests had to do with the YouTube video, which is why it was originally thought Benghazi was also related to the YouTube video.
Steve Kornacki’s collection of conservatives jonesing for impeachment is pretty instructive. When I first saw the segment I thought he was basically stating the obvious, but it’s a great compilation of their build toward impeachment.
If you go back to my post about the Groundswell plotters and their meeting to “message” that tragedy, you’ll see clear strategic planning around how best to use it to their advantage.
That got me thinking about other times where US Consulates were attacked. One in particular stands out — the attack on our embassy in Beirut in 1984, which followed a devastating attack in 1983 and a deadly attack on a Marine base that killed 241 people. It was a terrible time for diplomats to be in dangerous places. At the very same time Islamic extremists were bombing the hell out of our diplomatic installations, President Ronald Reagan was responsible for the sale of weapons to Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism.
One might imagine that if impeachment can be considered for Benghazi over some perceived talking point failure that Democrats missed an impeachment opportunity for Saint Ronnie. After all, selling weapons to the same guys that are killing your diplomats and military personnel could be considered downright treasonous.
From the 05.11.2014 edition of MSNBC’s Up With Steve Kornacki:
Two groups opposing the potential 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton are fundraising off of Benghazi. The groups aim to use the money to keep Benghazi in the news through earned media coverage and advertising smearing Clinton as “responsible for 4 dead American patriots in Benghazi.”
The groups join conservative pundits such as John Bolton, Mike Huckabee, and Allen West, who have all been fundraising off of the 2012 attacks. The Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and National Republican Senatorial Committee are also soliciting funds while invoking Benghazi.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is leading a recently formed House select committee to investigate the thoroughly investigated attacks, has asked Republicans not to fundraise off of Benghazi (Gowdy himself has ”discussed the supposed Benghazi scandal at fundraisers and campaign events”).
Anti-Clinton groups Stop Hillary PAC and America Rising PAC are cashing in on Benghazi. Solicitations claim Clinton lied about the attacks and is “complicit in the deaths of four Americans when she left them to burn in Benghazi.”
Stop Hillary PAC states it was “created for one reason only - to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.” The group is headed by Republican Colorado State Sen. Ted Harvey, and backed by political professionals who previously worked for Republicans such as Sen. John McCain and Rep. Tom Price.
America Rising was formed by Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager and Republican National Committee staffers. The super PAC aims to “ensure we never see another Clinton administration.” It reportedly also sells its research to Republican groups such as Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.
The groups make clear their fundraising is part of a strategy to keep Benghazi in the news. Stop Hillary PAC has stated they need money to speak “on FoxNews and mainstream media outlets,” and air “hard hitting radio ads reminding Americans that Hillary is responsible for 4 dead American patriots in Benghazi.” America Rising has said their research is aimed at “earned media coverage” and “reporters and bloggers looking for information.”
The push to fundraise off of Benghazi is part of Republican efforts to capitalize on tragedies by using them to try to hamstring a potential Clinton run. RNC chair Reince Priebus took to Twitter last night to attack Clinton for a “leadership failure” over the recent kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist group Boko Haram.
Stop Hillary PAC
The Stop Hillary PAC has sent 15 fundraising emails mentioning Benghazi since April, according to a Media Matters review.
An April 15 email claimed “Hillary is complicit in the deaths of four Americans when she left them to burn in Benghazi.” It later asked for “your most generous contribution of $100, $50, $25 — or even $5 — IMMEDIATELY.” A May 7 email demanded the House select committee on Benghazi subpoena Clinton, who “is complicit with the White House in selling the American people a bold-faced-lie.” It later asked readers to “chip in $5.”
The Stop Hillary PAC states it will use the friendly confines of Fox News to speak out against Clinton. Treasurer Dan Backer wrote on April 10 that the group’s “battle plan” includes “Speaking on FoxNews and mainstream media outlets” and running ads on television and elsewhere:
Ted Harvey wrote on April 24 that it needed money so it could air “More hard hitting radio ads reminding Americans that Hillary is responsible for 4 dead American patriots in Benghazi.”
An ad released by the group purports to highlight various Clinton scandals — among them are “Benghazi” and “Vince Foster.” Foster was a deputy White House counsel that committed suicide in 1993 and conservative conspiracy theorists have repeatedly suggested the Clintons had him murdered.
On October 29, 2013, America Rising sent an email touting the since-retracted 60 Minutes report on Benghazi as “must-watch” and “scathing.” The group remarked, “our central mission is doing the research now to hold Hillary Clinton accountable for her national security failures, especially in Benghazi, to make sure we never have to experience a Hillary Clinton Administration.” It then asked for donations so “we can ensure we never see another Clinton administration.”
America Rising sent a May 1 email claiming “the Obama Administration said they released all the emails related to the Benghazi talking points. You shouldn’t be shocked to find out that was a lie … They played politics with Benghazi to protect Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.” They then added: “Contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can to help us continue to do the research necessary to expose these lies and prevent a third Clinton administration.”
The media plays heavily in America Rising’s strategy in disseminating attacks against Clinton. When the group launched, The Washington Post wrote that “the group plans to test different dissemination methods for maximum impact. Campaigns will include social media, digital advertising and PR aimed at earned media coverage.” Executive director Tim Miller told Politico that its site “serves as a resource for voters, reporters and bloggers looking for information.”