Do you feel safer yet?
Brilliant cartoons by Michael Ramirez.
Michael Ramirez is a two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 1994 and 2008, and a three-time Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalism Award.
He is a Senior Editor and the editorial cartoonist for Investor’s Business Daily.
End the Benghazi Cover-up
Months after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, critical questions still remain unanswered:
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) has introduced a congressional resolution, H. Res. 36, calling for the establishment of a special Congressional committee to investigate the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration’s handling of it in the weeks that followed. It’s an opportunity for a comprehensive investigation that connects all the dots, and holds people accountable.
Read the SOS Open Letter to Congress:
To: Members of The U.S. House of Representatives
Subject: The Benghazi attacks on 9/11/ 2012
The undersigned are a representative group of some 700 retired Military Special Operations professionals who spent the majority of their careers preparing for and executing myriad operations to rescue or recover detained or threatened fellow Americans. In fact, many of us participated in both the Vietnam era POW rescue effort, The Son Tay Raid, as well as Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt in April of 1980 in Iran, so we have been at this for many years and have a deep passion for seeking the truth about what happened during the national tragedy in Benghazi.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage all members of the US House of Representatives to support H.Res. 36, which will create a House Select Committee on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. It is essential that a full accounting of the events of September 11, 2012, be provided and that the American public be fully informed regarding this egregious terrorist attack on US diplomatic personnel and facilities. We owe that truth to the American people and the families of the fallen.
It appears that many of the facts and details surrounding the terrorist attack which resulted in four American deaths and an undetermined number of American casualties have not yet been ascertained by previous hearings and inquiries. Additional information is now slowly surfacing in the media, which makes a comprehensive bipartisan inquiry an imperative. Many questions have not been answered thus far. The House Select Committee should address, at a minimum, the following questions:
1. Why was there no military response to the events in Benghazi?
a. Were military assets in the region available? If not, why not?
b. If so, were they alerted?
c. Were assets deployed to any location in preparation for a rescue or recovery attempt?
d. Was military assistance requested by the Department of State? If so, what type?
e. Were any US Army/Naval/USMC assets available to support the US diplomats in Benghazi during the attack?
f. What, if any, recommendations for military action were made by DOD and the US Africa Command?
2. What, if any, non-military assistance was provided during the attack?
3. How many US personnel were injured in Benghazi?
4. Why have the survivors of the attack not been questioned?
5. Where are the survivors?
6. Who was in the White House Situation Room (WHSR) during the entire 8-hour period of the attacks, and was a senior US military officer present?
7. Where were Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey during the crisis, and what inputs and recommendations did they make?
8. Where were Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough, his deputy, Valerie Jarrett and John Brennan during the attacks, and what (if any) recommendations or decisions did any of them make?
9. Why were F-16 fighter aircraft based in Aviano, Italy (less than two hours away) never considered a viable option for disruption (if not dispersal) of the attackers until “boots on the ground” (troop support–General Dempsey’s words) arrived?
10. Were any strike aircraft (such as an AC-130 gunship) in the area or possibly overhead that would cause former SEAL Tyrone Woods to laser-designate his attacker’s position and call for gunship fire support, thereby revealing his own location that led to his death?
11. Who gave the order to “STAND DOWN” that was heard repeatedly during the attacks?
12. What threat warnings existed before the attack, and what were the DOD and DOS responses to those warnings? What data (which will reveal exact timelines and command decisions) is contained within the various SITREPS, records, logs, videos and recordings maintained by the myriad of DOD, Intelligence Community and State Department Command Centers that were monitoring the events in Benghazi as they unfolded?
13. Why did the Commander-in Chief and Secretary of State never once check in during the night to find out the status of the crisis situation in Benghazi?
14. What was the nature of Ambassador Stevens’ business in Benghazi at the time of the attack?
15. What guidance has been provided to survivors and family members since the time of the attack, and who issued that guidance?
16. Why are so many agencies now requiring their personnel that were involved in or have access to information regarding the events that took place in Benghazi sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?
This was the most severe attack on American diplomatic facilities and personnel since the attacks on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Thus far, it appears that there has been no serious effort to determine critical details of this attack. This is inexcusable and demands immediate attention by the Congress. Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue.
A longstanding American ethos was breached during the terrorist attack in Benghazi. America failed to provide adequate security to personnel deployed into harm’s way and then failed to respond when they were viciously attacked. Clearly, this is unacceptable and requires accountability. America has always held to the notion that no American will be left behind and that every effort will be made to respond when US personnel are threatened. Given our backgrounds, we are concerned that this sends a very negative message to future military and diplomatic personnel who may be deployed into dangerous environments. That message is that they will be left to their own devices when attacked. That is an unacceptable message.
The House Select Committee should focus on getting a detailed account of the events in Benghazi as soon as possible. H. Res. 36 will provide a structure for the conduct of a thorough inquiry of Benghazi and should be convened immediately.
We ask that you fulfill your responsibilities to the American people and take appropriate action regarding Benghazi. With over sixty members of the US House of Representatives calling for this Select Committee already, it seems that the time is right to take appropriate action on Benghazi.
Lt Gen Leroy J. Manor, USAF (Ret)
Commanding General, Son Tay POW Raid, et al.
Published on Feb 10, 2013
2/10/13 – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on CBS News’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday where he pledged to try to block the nominations of both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan in an effort to get more information about the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi out of President Barack Obama. Graham told Schieffer that he thought it was unfortunate that Obama did not place a personal call to officials in the Libyan government on the evening of September 11, 2012, when an American consulate in Libya was overrun by militants.
“I do believe, if he had picked up the phone and called the Libyan government, these folks could have gotten out of the airport to the annex and the last two guys may very well be alive,” Graham said. “If he failed to call on behalf of those people under siege, then I think that’s a massive failure of leadership by the commander-in-chief.”
“This seems to be a very disengaged president,” Graham said. “I’m not going to stop until we get an accounting.”
“If they don’t give you an answer, what can you do?” Schieffer asked. Graham replied that he was not prepared to vote to confirm either Brennan as CIA Director or Hagel as Secretary of Defense unless the White House comes forward with more information about the president’s actions on the night of the Benghazi attack.
“Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?” Graham asked.
“What did he do that night?” Graham asked regarding the president’s activities on the night of the attack. “That’s not unfair. The families need to know, the American people need to know.”
“You are saying that you are going to block the nominations, you’re going to block them from coming to a vote, until you get an answer to this?” Schieffer asked.
“Yes,” Graham replied, though ruled out filibustering the president’s nominees on the Senate floor. “This is complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham declared.
White House: Obama Called Libyan President Day After Benghazi Attack
By Jonathan Karl Feb 14, 2013 2:47pm
ABC News has learned that the White House, in a bid to clear the way for a vote on Chuck Hagel’s delayed nomination to be Defense Secretary, has turned over more information on the President’s activities during the 24 hours after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
Among other things, the letter points to an accountability review conducted by the State Department which found the response from Washington to the attack was “timely and appropriate.” The letter argues the “intensive response” was “directed by the President.” On the day of the attack – Sept. 11 – then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Libyan President Magariaf. President Obama called Magariaf the next day, Sept. 12, according to the White House.
The information on the President’s involvement in the response to the Benghazi attack comes in the form if a letter from the White House Counsel addressed to Senators McCain, Ayotte and Graham — who had demanded it.
Here is a key passage from the White House letter:
“This intensive response, which was directed by the President, included 13 meetings of interagency Principals and Deputies within a week of the attack and involved continuous outreach by senior administration officials to the Government of Libya, includingby the President and members of his Cabinet. As to the specific question in your February 12 letter, Secretary Clinton called Libyan President Magariaf on behalf of the President on the evening of the September 11, 2012 to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya and access to the Libyan territory. At that time, President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation. The President spoke to President Magariaf on the evening of September 12th.”
Hagel was not in government service when the consulate was attacked, but Republicans lead by Sen. Lindsey Graham have used the Hagel nomination as a way to further investigate the Benghazi attack.
Graham insisted that outgoing Defense Sec. Leon Panetta testify on Capitol Hill with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey about the reaction to the attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Amb. Chris Stevens.
At that hearing, Graham asked Panetta and Dempsey if they had personally heard from President Obama on the night of the attack and implied that the President was not enough engaged in the response.
It is unclear if this new disclosure by the White House will clear the way to a vote on the Hagel nomination, but it is an effort to do just that.
Senator Graham: “Benghazi Was About Breakdown of Security, Failure of Leadership, and a Prez Who Was Virtually Disengaged” (Video)
February, 14, 2013 — nicedeb
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) held a press conference, today, to make a statement in response to Obama’s letter acknowledging he did not call anyone in Libya on September 11, 2012 during the 8 hours the U.S. mission was under attack. He didn’t pick up the phone to call any government officials in Libya until Sept. 12, after everyone was dead.
If it were not for the three of us and other colleagues, you would still believe – the American people would still believe that this was a spontaneous event caused by a hateful video, Graham told reporters. “That’s what was being told by Susan Rice five days after the attack, that’s what was being said by the POTUS for weeks. The reason we know that’s not true, is because we dug, and we pushed, and we prodded. And now we know, that during the entire attack, POTUS never picked up the phone to put the weight of his office into the mix, and there’s no stronger voice in the world than the President of the United States.”
Graham noted that during the three and a half hours the rescue team was waiting at the Benghazi airport to get to the annex, “Sec. Clinton said that she was on the phone yelling at the Libyan government to help, and my belief is that if the POTUS had picked up the phone and lent the weight of his office, it could have made a difference because the last two guys died within the last hour of the attack.”
And finally, he asked, “who changed the talking points? How could the President and Susan Rice tell the country that there’s no evidence of coordinated, pre-planned terrorist attack when the Sec. of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs described in detail how they knew that night it was a pre-planned coordinated terrorist attack.”
“The record needs to be clear”, Graham continued, “this was not about a hateful video, it was about a breakdown of national security, it was about an ambassador who was begging the State Dept. to send reinforcements for months, this was about a deteriorating security situation, this is about a attack you could see coming, this is about a complete failure of leadership in a Sec of Defense who never talked to the Sec of State, and a President who as far as we know was virtually disengaged.”
He concluded, “America needs to learn what happened, and we need to learn from our mistakes.”
– Accuracy In Media – http://www.aim.org –
Shameful Media Coverage of Benghazi Scandal and Cover-up
Posted By Roger Aronoff On November 6, 2012 @ 4:52 pm
Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election on November 6th, the most outrageous media malpractice of the election has been coverage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, including two former Navy SEALs. From the outset, Obama and other people speaking for the administration claimed that the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration sparked by anger from an anti-Islamic video made in the U.S. But that was just the beginning.
That argument was made repeatedly. UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on five talk shows the following Sunday morning claiming that their best intelligence at that point was that it was sparked by the video, rather than a planned terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. President Obama, speaking before the UN General Assembly on September 25th, cited the videotape six times.
As the story unfolded, we were reminded that there had been a series of attacks in April and June of this year in Benghazi by so-called “militants” carried out on the U.N., the Red Cross, the U.S. consulate, and the British consulate. There had been requests for additional security by Ambassador Stevens and others who worked there, but they were denied. The evidence shows that President Obama and his national security team were able to watch part of the attack in real time, but failed to call in back-up support.
Within two hours of being notified that there was an attack under way at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the White House received an email from the State Department stating that a specific terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda had taken credit for the attack.
Fox News, and in particular Jennifer Griffin and Catherine Herridge have led the way in reporting on the story. The evidence, including classified documents leaked to Fox News, and reported on October 31st, showed that the U.S. Mission in Benghazi had “convened an ‘emergency meeting’ less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a ‘coordinated attack,’ according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.” Calls for additional security went unheeded. Yet the administration had continued to argue that the attack came without warning.
The rest of the media largely stayed away from the story, deflecting it on numerous talk shows by changing the subject, and rarely, if at all, treating it as an Obama administration scandal. Brian Williams spent two days with Obama for a long feature story on NBC’s Rock Center on October 25th, asked him one softball question about Benghazi, which Obama answered with his standard delay-until-after-the-election answer, with no follow-up.
Here was the exchange:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Mr. President, since we’ve been airborne, a person or persons of interest picked up in Tunisia in connection with Benghazi. The question becomes: Have you been happy with the intelligence, especially in our post 9-11 world? The assessment of your intelligence community, as we stand here, is that it still was a spontaneous terrorist attack and were you happy with what you were able to learn as this unfolded? It went on for several hours.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as I’ve said, Brian, we’re going to do a full investigation. Obviously, when four Americans are killed, you know, you have to do some soul searching in terms of making sure that all our systems are where they need to be. And that’s what we are going to find out. But what I’m confident about is that we will be able to figure out who perpetrated this act, that we’ll be able to bring them to justice and we are confident that we’ve got the cooperation of the Libyan government. We’re going to continue to make sure that we figure out what intelligence was coming in when, how was it gathered, how was it analyzed? And my expectation is that as a consequence, we’re going to be able to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta explained why no troops were sent in to attempt to save or rescue Ambassador Stevens and the others: “The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” he said. “And as a result of not having that kind of information…[we] felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
But as Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, U.S. Army (ret.) wrote  in WorldNetDaily, “On its face, that is a remarkable, indeed incomprehensible, change from America’s doctrine in past wars. By that standard, there would have been no Normandy or Inchon. In fact, I can’t think of a war we fought in which we didn’t go into harm’s way without real-time information or to save lives—something the president refused to do in Benghazi.”
Brady, a retired general who has received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration one can receive, continued his critique: “To fully understand the doctrinal change, one has to understand President Obama. He has a dearth of understanding of our military and military matters. We hear he is uncomfortable in the presence of ranking military and seldom meets with them. He is not a person who can make decisions, and he takes an extraordinary amount of time to do so…He cowers from crisis decisions. He is a politician who thinks only in terms of votes and his image…I believe he is risk-averse—fearful of risk—and that is the basis of the Obama-Panetta doctrine.”
As William McGurn, chief editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Libya was supposed to be the Obama success story, showing how this president achieves our goals abroad without committing American troops or treasure. However ridiculous it might have been to blame the whole thing on a YouTube video, politically the tactic was far preferable to admitting that the president who boasts about getting us out of war in Iraq and Afghanistan might have a whole new one brewing in Libya.”
The Washington Post finally editorialized on November 2nd that Benghazi “increasingly looks like a major security failure.” They argued that “sooner or later the administration must answer questions” about it and “the policies that led to it.” The Post even cited Fox News’ reporting.
The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial that the Obama administration had tried to avoid accountability by offering “evasive, inconsistent and conflicting accounts about one of the most serious American overseas defeats in recent years.” The editorial continued: “Unresolved questions about Benghazi loom over this election because the White House has failed to resolve them.”
Claudia Rosett, writing for Pajamas Media, pointed out  the conflicts in the timeline put out by the State Department versus that of the CIA. The administration has been caught in significant lies and contradictions, and has managed to kick the full consequences of their actions, and inactions, down the road, past the election.
CBS withheld a snippet of their September 12th interview with Obama that could have cleared up the question that became famous in the presidential debate moderated by Candy Crowley as to whether or not he considered the attack to be a planned, terrorist attack, or a spontaneous attack resulting from the video. That day, during the CBS interview, the same day he had used the term “act of terror” in his Rose Garden comments, he refused to identify it that way. But for some reason, CBS chose to hold that back until less than two days before the election.
What should have been a full blown scandal before the election was largely swept under the rug by the mainstream media, certainly up until the last week or two before the election. And even then, its coverage was limited and tepid. Obama certainly owes a debt of gratitude to his media allies who covered for him the best they knew how.
Article printed from Accuracy In Media: http://www.aim.org
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Media Gave ‘Pathetic’ Benghazi Coverage To Aid Obama
Posted 11/05/2012 07:11 PM ET
Bias: Call it the “October Suppress” as the so-called “mainstream” media provided less coverage to the current president’s bungling of and lying about Benghazi than they did to another president’s decades-old DUI arrest.
Last Friday, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Kirsten Powers, a Daily Beast columnist, appeared on Fox News’ “Happening Now” program to justifiably bash the mainstream media and its orchestrated suppression of coverage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Neither is a charter member of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” but both roundly condemned the shameful and politically motivated actions of their colleagues. Miller called them “co-conspirators” in a Benghazi cover-up, and Powers said the “mainstream media is pathetic” and “carrying water for the administration.”
They are right and just one example is what happened on all the Sunday talk shows on Oct. 28. When the Benghazi attack was brought up by a guest, the moderator quickly changed the subject.
When Newt Gingrich raised Benghazi on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos quickly moved on to another topic. Also running interference for Team Obama was NBC’s David Gregory who cut off GOP panelist Carly Fiorina while promising to “get to that a little later,” which he never did.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Candy Crowley, who aided President Obama in the second presidential debate by wrongly telling Mitt Romney that Obama called Benghazi a terrorist attack from day one, sloughed off attempts by two GOP officials to bring up Benghazi.
Folks like ABC’s Rick Klein explain away the Benghazi non-coverage by saying it’s because GOP nominee Mitt Romney did not make much of an issue of it, particularly during the presidential debates. If he had spoken out about it, he would have covered it.
Yet witness what happened in the town hall debate when Romney did bring it up. Crowley took Obama’s side and argued with Romney as the president looked on approvingly. When Romney condemned our Egyptian embassy’s apology for the video the administration used as an excuse for weeks after the attack, he was condemned for politicizing the issue, the media spending more time on his comments than the terrorist attack.
NBC’s Brian Williams opened his Sept. 12 Nightly News with: “Romney is taking fire tonight for the way he went on the attack” over Benghazi. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley noted “Democrats said the governor had injected politics into a tragedy.”
That first night, a Media Research Center analysis found the Romney angle received nearly 10 minutes of coverage on the Big Three evening newscasts (9 minutes, 28 seconds) vs. just 25 seconds questioning Obama’s Mideast policy.
From there it was downhill, as the networks ignored revelations that the Obama administration didn’t heed prior warnings, denied requests for added security and knew the al-Qaida-linked group Ansar al-Sharia was responsible for the attack they watched as it happened.
What the media consider news important enough to judge a presidential candidate on has apparently changed over time. In 2000, a Democratic operative orchestrated an “October surprise” attack on George W. Bush, revealing that 24 years earlier Bush had been arrested for drunken driving. That spawned a media feeding frenzy that nearly cost Bush his election bid.
In 2004, CBS icon Dan Rather thought forged documents proved former F-102 fighter pilot Bush had used his father’s influence to avoid service in Vietnam. Even after it was revealed the documents were fraudulent and that Bush the younger had in fact volunteered for Vietnam service, Rather still insisted the story was true.
But the murder of four Americans in a terrorist attack, including the first ambassador in three decades, was ignored because it might have hurt their candidate, President Obama, who falsely claimed the war on terror was over and terrorism was as dead as Osama bin Laden.
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