Sen. Graham: Benghazi Survivors ‘Told to Be Quiet’ | CNS News
CNSNews.com was launched on June 16, 1998 as a news source for individuals, news organizations and broadcasters who put a higher premium on balance than spin and seek news that’s ignored or under-reported as a result of media bias by omission.
At least no one lost their life during Watergate and there was only one story — a political scandal due to a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex and the subsequent cover-up by the Nixon White House. UNLIKE Benghazi with multiple murders and stories (or “narratives” if you are too hip you cannot bring yourself to use the tried and true word STORY) including a video, a State Department failure, an intelligence failure, a Republican political witch-hunt, not a preplanned attack on 9/11, etc., etc.
Let’s face it this was an Obama administration failure and cover-up of colossal proportion where four Americans died and no one is jailed (except for the blamed video’s filmmaker) or held accountable PARTICULARLY in our government which is why it DOES matter, Hillary.
ss = s2 = stylish satirist
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.”
During joint interview, Obama praises Clinton as she prepares to leave office
Published January 27, 2013 Associated Press
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama lauded Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as one of his closest advisers and said their shared vision for America’s role in the world persuaded his one-time rival — and potential successor — to be his top diplomat while he dealt with the shattered economy at home.
During a joint interview that aired Sunday, Obama and Clinton chuckled as they described their partnership and stoked speculation that Obama may prefer Clinton to succeed him in the White House after the 2016 elections. Clinton is leaving Obama’s Cabinet soon, and speculation about the former first lady and senator has only grown more intense after a heated appearance last week on Capitol Hill.
Both Obama and Clinton batted away questions about future campaigns, but the joint interview — the president’s first with anyone other than first lady Michelle Obama — was only likely to increase the fascination with Clinton’s future.
“The president and I care deeply about what’s going to happen for our country in the future,” Clinton said. “And I don’t think, you know, either he or I can make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next year.”
Obama, who suggested the joint interview as Clinton prepared her exit from the State Department, lavished praise on his rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He called her a friend and an extraordinary talent, and praised “her discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project.”
It teetered on an endorsement of a 2016 presidential bid that is still an open question. Clinton advisers say she has not made a decision about a run, while Democratic officials suggest Clinton would be an early favorite if she decided to mount another campaign.
Obama and Clinton laughed when asked about the political future.
“You guys in the press are incorrigible,” Obama said when pressed on another Clinton presidency. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago. And you’re talking about elections four years from now.”
The possibility of a presidential campaign for Vice President Joe Biden did not come up during the interview, taped Friday at the White House.
Obama described why he insisted Clinton become his secretary of state.
“She also was already a world figure,” Obama said. “To have somebody who could serve as that effective ambassador in her own right without having to earn her stripes, so to speak, on the international stage, I thought, would be hugely important.”
It was a job she initially refused. But Obama kept pushing, Clinton said.
“The one thing he did mention was he basically said: `You know, we’ve got this major economic crisis that may push us into a depression. I’m not going to be able to do a lot to satisfy the built-up expectations for our role around the world. So you’re going to have to get out there and, you know, really represent us while I deal with, you know, the economic catastrophe I inherited.”
It’s a job she embraced during the last four years. She arrived on the job with a global brand she quickly lent to promoting U.S. interests. In return, the public rewarded her with high approval ratings that could come in handy if she runs in 2016.
But her tenure has had its blemishes. For example, the United States did not directly intervene in the civil war in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million people have been internally displaced since the start of the conflict in March 2011.
“There are transitions and transformations taking place all around the world. We are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation,” Obama said, saying his jobs are to protect the United States and engage where the U.S. can make a difference.
In a separate interview with The New Republic, also released Sunday, Obama said, “As I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations.”
On “60 Minutes,” he praised Clinton’s State Department for helping him sort out what the United States can — and cannot — accomplish.
“It has been a great collaboration over the last four years. I’m going to miss her. Wish she was sticking around. But she has logged in so many miles, I can’t begrudge her wanting to take it easy for a little bit,” Obama said.
It’s something of a turnaround from 2007 and 2008, as the two raced through Iowa and New Hampshire and onward. In increasingly bracing language, the two excoriated the other. At one point, a visibly angry Clinton seethed, “Shame on you, Barack Obama.”
Obama now jokes about the rivalry.
“Made for tough debates, by the way, because we could never figure out what we were different on,” the president said.
Both acknowledged disagreements continue but said they had common goals.
“Are there going to be differences? Yeah. Deep differences? Of course,” Clinton said. “You had a lot of strong-willed, -minded people. But the president deserves our best judgment, our advice and then he deserves us to stand with him and to execute.”
Five Moments from President Obama & Hillary Clinton’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview
by Ben Teitelbaum Jan 28, 2013 4:45 AM EST
In their first joint interview, President Obama and Hillary Clinton couldn’t get enough of each other, as they talked about their friendship, the last four years, and America on the world stage.
Obama Wanted to ‘Publicly Say Thank You’
President Obama started off the interview effusively, telling Steve Kroft that Hillary Clinton “will go down as one of the finest secretary of state we’ve had.” Complimentary and grateful, the president also allowed himself a moment of reflection. “I’m gonna miss her,” he said. “Wish she was sticking around.”
Appointment Took Hillary by Surprise
When Kroft brought up reports that Hillary at first had no interest in accepting the position of secretary of state, Clinton admitted she was “so surprised” by Obama’s offer and initially felt “hesitancy.” But after mulling it over, she understood where the president was coming from and couldn’t say no. “If the roles had been reversed,” Clinton said, “I would’ve desperately wanted him to be in my cabinet.” She then said she’d made a “great decision.”
Are Obama and Hillary Besties?
They might not be getting manicures together, but Obama described Clinton as a “strong friend.” Hillary didn’t go quite that far, but she did say they were “warm” and “close” and shared “a sense of understanding that doesn’t even take words.” And they have a very healthy professional relationship to boot.
The ‘Incorrigible’ Media
Nothing unites politicians like shared distaste for the press. The interview would’ve been incomplete without Kroft alluding to the 2016 election, but neither Obama nor Clinton would entertain the thought. “I was literally inaugurated four days ago, and you’re talking about elections four years from now,” said a beaming Obama, while Clinton laughed alongside. And as still-active secretary of state, Clinton told Kroft, she was “out of politics” and “forbidden from even hearing these questions.”
Foreign Policy Must Be ‘Careful’ and ‘Thoughtful’
In response to Kroft questioning whether the administration is guilty of “an abdication of the United States on the world stage,” Clinton stressed that the modern world is both “dangerous” and “incredibly complicated,” and that “you can’t rush in” to foreign entanglements. Still, she affirmed the government’s commitment to “American values,” “freedom,” and “the aspirations of all people to have a better life.” Obama then commended Clinton for taking advantage of “opportunities where our intervention, our engagement, can really make a difference.”
Published January 23, 2013| FoxNews.com
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began her long-awaited testimony Wednesday on the Benghazi terror attack by taking “responsibility” — but she used the full day of hearings to repeatedly deny involvement in key controversies and pointedly reject the allegations of Republican lawmakers.
The at times heated testimony before House and Senate committees, likely to be the outgoing secretary’s last, elicited praise from Democrats and frustration from Republicans. Far from putting the issue to rest, the testimony further fueled a debate that has raged on Capitol Hill for four months.
Though she said officials are following some “very promising leads” on the terrorists, Clinton herself acknowledged there are still several open questions about what prompted the attack that night.
The secretary battled tough criticism from lawmakers throughout the day. In one of the final jabs of the session, Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., told her, “Madame Secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap.”
The biggest flash point Wednesday came during morning testimony.
Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson claimed the department could have “easily” determined what happened that night by interviewing staffers who were evacuated. He was referring to the administration’s initial claim that the attack sprung out of a protest. It was later determined there was no protest on the ground in Benghazi. Diplomatic security agents said as much to the FBI during interviews on Sept. 14, despite administration claims to the contrary two days later.
“We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that,” Johnson said. “The American people could have known that (there was no protest) within days, and they didn’t know that.”
At that point, Clinton began to raise her voice.
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said.
“I understand,” Johnson said.
Clinton continued to speak, raising her voice and gesturing: “Was it because of a protest or is it because of guys out for a walk one night and they decide they go kill some Americans?
“What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Clinton, lowering her voice, then said it is the administration’s job to “figure out what happened” and prevent it from happening again.
Later in the testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton acknowledged the administration did not have a “clear picture” of what happened in the immediate aftermath. She said perhaps officials didn’t do a good enough job explaining that they “didn’t have a clear picture.”
But Clinton still said the motivations of the attackers, to this day, are not clear. “Even today there are questions being raised,” she said, referring to findings in the classified version of a recent report that she could not describe in detail.
Clinton, throughout the hearing, walked a fine line between taking responsibility generally for what went wrong and challenging specific allegations against her department and the administration.
During the opening of the hearing, Clinton said she has “no higher priority” than the security of her department’s staff, and that she is committed to making the department “safer, stronger and more secure.”
“As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right,” Clinton said, later choking up when describing how she greeted the families of the victims when the caskets were returned.
Clinton went on to deny having ever seen the requests for more security from the Libya team that were denied by officials within the State Department.
“I didn’t see those requests, they didn’t come to me,” Clinton said, adding those kinds of requests wouldn’t normally come to the secretary.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., later suggested lives could have been saved if Clinton were more involved in reviewing security requests.
He said that if he were president, “I would have relieved you from your post.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after the exchange with Johnson, said he was not satisfied with the secretary’s answers, complaining that the public still doesn’t have answers on what happened.
Clinton, while pushing back against Johnson, also said she was not involved in crafting the controversial statements that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice made on Sept. 16 — in which she asserted the attack was “spontaneous” and linked to a protest.
“I wasn’t involved in the talking points process,” Clinton said, though she said she wasn’t aware of anything that would have “contradicted” the information Rice had at the time. She noted that “going on the Sunday shows is not my favorite thing,” a possible reference to claims that she declined to go on television Sept. 16.
Clinton also defended the administration’s actions on the night of Sept. 11, when the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi came under fire and four Americans died.
“I directed our response from the State Department and stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government,” she said. “No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from our military.”
Citing the findings of a review panel, she said: “The board said the response saved American lives in real time — and it did.”
Several accounts relayed to Fox News, though, suggest possible delays in the response.
Fox News has learned from senior U.S. defense officials that a FAST team of Marines out of Spain was asked by State Department officials to change out of their Marine uniforms after being asked to leave for Libya to help — this required them to deplane and delayed them by about 90 minutes, according to Pentagon officials.
Then there is the decision by Clinton and State Department Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy not to mobilize the Counterterrorism Security Group, which is composed of experts on terrorism from across government agencies and makes recommendations on the response to crises involving terrorism.
Further, there are questions about the perceived delays CIA officials — stationed in Benghazi — encountered that night and their frustration that air support was not sent from nearby Sigonella air base. In recent weeks, Fox News has learned that the rescue unit that left Tripoli was told that air support would be above when they landed in Benghazi. It wasn’t.
During the hearing on the House side Wednesday afternoon, Clinton was also pressed on why she was never interviewed by the State Department-sponsored board that investigated the incident. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said that was “outrageous.”
Clinton said the board thought she was not “relevant” to their investigation because they were focusing on security officials. She said she “gladly” would have spoken with them.
She also addressed concerns about the four State Department officials who were removed from their jobs in the fallout from the attack – but were not removed from the department. She suggested federal law restricts what disciplinary measures could be taken against them.
The hearing Wednesday comes amid a broadening threat to U.S. interests across North Africa. There are reports that some of the attackers who took hostages in the deadly raid on an Algeria gas plant may have also participated in the Libya attack.
“Benghazi did not happen in a vacuum,” Clinton said Wednesday, while saying later she could not verify that specific claim. She said instability has created an “expanding safe haven for terrorists” who plot into Algeria and other countries.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., top Republican on the Senate committee, lamented “the spiking of the ball and the thinking that when Usama bin Laden was gone that was the end of Al Qaeda.”
“We know nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
Clinton appeared to agree that the terrorist threat is far from diminished, saying Al Qaeda “wannabes” and “affiliates” continue to pose a challenge.
Hillary Handles Hardball
Published January 23, 2013| FoxNews.com
“I guess everybody says to me, how can you be so calm? Or how can you just, you know, look like you’re not upset? And I guess I’ve just been through it so many times.”
— Then-first lady Hillary Clinton in a Jan. 17, 1998 interview with NBC News.
This is the last we will probably hear from Hillary Clinton for a while.
The secretary of State will face double-barreled questioning today in the Senate and the House about how her department made such a botch of the raid by Islamist militants the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Some of Clinton’s interrogators will be focused on her effort to spin the raids as an unforeseeable consequence to a YouTube clip offensive to Muslims. Other questions will focus on why her team denied pleas for more security despite warnings and with the anniversary of 9/11 approaching. Another likely line of inquiry will be about what President Obama knew and when he knew it as it relates to the video spin and the decision not to try to rescue the doomed Americans killed in the raid.
Those who are looking for a Benghazi breakthrough today should bear in mind that perhaps no one in Washington is better equipped to slip these snares than the former first lady.
This is a woman who has survived tough questioning on everything from her sudden interest in livestock commodities trading and real estate speculation in Arkansas to the suicide of one of her closest friends to the cover up of her husband’s affair with a White House aide to, to firings in the White House travel office, to her claim that she braved sniper fire in Bosnia… Well, you get the idea.
Those who think Clinton is going to crack under questioning over Benghazi now should remember how she survived prior media uproars and conservative outrages. Her best strategy has almost always been to wait for one of her detractors to overreach and then use that to discredit the more reasonable concerns raised about her or her husband.
She will no doubt be hoping for the chance to raise her righteous indignation over a nasty-sounding question. In the best-case scenario for Clinton, she would be able to summon the indignation not on her own behalf but for her staff and the president.
Now, as one of the most popular political figures in the country and viewed with deep sympathy by women who saw her mistreated by her husband and edged out by a man for the Democratic nomination in 2008, Clinton comes with a lot of clout.
She is also helped by all of the lines of questioning. As someone who once helped prepare the congressional inquiry into Watergate, she knows that it’s easier to fend off an array of questions rather than just one central line of inquiry. And having had months to prepare her answers, she’s not likely to get tangled up.
So assuming that she survives the day without breaking down or saying something truly preposterous, Clinton will be able to slide out of her official position and do so to press accolades for a job well done. Her successor, Sen. John Kerry, is a shoo-in for confirmation and Clinton should have little trouble lowering her profile until all of this Benghazi business blows over.
Then, as a very rich, very famous and very popular politician, Clinton can decide her next moves. If she wants to run for president, which it seems almost certain that she does, she can wait and watch.
While potential presidential contenders New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden have to hustle to warm up the Democratic base, Clinton can bide her time. Cuomo and Biden need to inspire the left with gun bans and other social issues, while Clinton can stand pat and talk about “big picture” ideas and lofty international goals.
Obama is revving up the base big time, finally acting like the man they wanted him to be all along: confrontational, ideological and uncompromising on key issues.
Depending on how the next two years unfold, the Democratic base may be still in the thrall of Obama-style liberalism and will want to see someone who promises to continue the incumbent’s fight against inequality, global warming, etc.
If things go poorly for the president, though, the party may be in the mood for something else and be looking for someone more centrist in hopes of holding on the White House.
Clinton, after today, will have time to see which way the wind is blowing before she starts positioning herself after the 2014 midterm elections. Whether she’s unstoppable or not, she certainly has something no other viable Democrat enjoys: the luxury of time.
And Now, A Word From Charles
“KRAUTHAMMER: [Members of Congress] will ask [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] one question that nobody in the press is asking: ‘Where are the embassy personnel who were flown out and unhurt who know and can say what happened and have not even been named by the State Department, and why aren’t they allowed to speak to the American people and the congress?
BAIER: Almost no one in the press.
KRAUTHAMMER: Of course, because I exclude us as standing above the press.”
— An exchange between Charles Krauthammer and Bret Baier on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET at http:live.foxnews.com.
Review of Benghazi attack faults ‘grossly’ inadequate security, leadership failures
By Anne Gearan, Published: December 18
An independent investigation of the fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya on Sept. 11 found that “grossly” inadequate security and reliance on local militias left U.S. diplomats and other personnel vulnerable, the State Department told Congress on Tuesday.
The review of the assault on the mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans faulted systemic failures of leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department, according to an unclassified version posted on the department’s Web site Tuesday night.
The review by the Accountability Review Board said the temporary, lightly defended compound where Stevens died lacked disciplined oversight of its security operations. The diplomatic post’s ad hoc nature, with inexperienced staff members working there for short periods, “resulted in diminished institutional knowledge, continuity, and mission capacity,” the report said.
Finally, the report said State Department officials in Washington ignored requests from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, for additional guards and better security for the Benghazi compound, which served as a temporary U.S. consulate for eastern Libya. It also said that there had been worrisome incidents in the weeks before the attack that should have led to increased security, but the report did not identify any specific threats to the compound on Sept. 11.
The report said State Department security personnel on the scene and CIA officers at a nearby annex used as an operations base had responded in a timely and appropriate manner, and it absolved the U.S. military of any blame, saying there was not enough time for a military response that would have made any difference.
Despite the broad security failures, the report did not single out any individual officials as violating procedures and did not recommend any disciplinary action.
The report also concluded that, contrary to initial reports by the Obama administration and by media outlets, there was no protest outside the outpost ahead of the attack and that the assault on the diplomatic compound and the CIA annex was carried out by terrorists.
Stevens and another diplomat, Sean Smith, were killed inside the compound. Two other Americans, CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in the attack on the annex. Ten people were injured in the assault.
The panel’s report “provides a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic challenges,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in letters to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She said that the State Department had already begun to address the lapses and that she accepts “every one” of the recommendations for improvement.
Officials said Clinton will ask Congress to transfer $1.3 billion in money allocated to Iraq. The funds would be used for additional Marine guards, diplomatic security personnel and security improvements at U.S. missions overseas.
The report called on Congress to fully fund the request for additional security funds. “For many years the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work with varying degrees of success,” the report said. The result, it said, has been inefficiencies that sacrifice security for savings.
An unclassified summary of the report was posted on the State Department’s Web site. A copy of Clinton’s letter was provided to reporters. More-detailed classified versions were made available earlier Tuesday to congressional leaders and the two committees in preparation for testimony by Deputy Secretaries William J. Burns and Thomas R. Nides on Thursday.
The Benghazi attack became a major issue in the presidential campaign, with GOP candidate Mitt Romney and numerous Republicans in Congress criticizing the Obama administration for what they viewed as poor security at the compound. Republicans also have been critical of initial administration reports that said the attack grew out of protests outside the Benghazi outpost over a U.S.-made anti-Islam video.
The report describes a somewhat loose and confusing arrangement for security and accountability at the site. It notes that everyone involved in Stevens’s trip to Benghazi from Tripoli for a week of meetings with local officials was aware of the potential for increased risk associated with the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. As a result, Stevens was confined to the post on that day.
The panel faulted Libyan guards who had been hired to protect the compound, saying that they may have abandoned their posts at the front gate and allowed the attackers to overrun the facility. The report also said that the response of the Libyan government was “profoundly lacking on the night of the attacks, reflecting both weak capacity and a near total absence of central government influence in Benghazi.”
But the report also suggests that Stevens put himself in danger. It notes that he did not perceive an outsize risk created by traveling to Benghazi and that his deep experience in Libya and his management style meant that he made many decisions himself.
“His status as the leading U.S. government advocate on Libya policy, and his expertise on Benghazi in particular, caused Washington to give unusual deference to his judgments,” the report said.
The report found significant lapses in judgment and oversight by a few unidentified State Department employees but said no mistake amounted to a dereliction of duty. It did not recommend that anyone be fired.
First among the recommendations in the report is a general improvement in security for front-line posts in conflict zones and other dangerous countries. The United States cannot rely so heavily on the security forces of host countries, the report said.
“The department should urgently review the proper balance between acceptable risk and expected outcomes in high risk, high threat areas,” the report said.
Abandoning such posts is not acceptable, but neither is sending people to them without adequate support and forethought, the report said. It recommends a cost-benefit analysis of the mission, the risk and the responsibilities.
The five-member panel was led by former ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and included retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two men are scheduled to present their findings in closed-door, classified meetings on Wednesday with the Senate and House foreign affairs panels.
Read the full report and Hillary Clinton’s letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations below:
Omertà (/ɵˈmɛrtə/; Italian pronunciation: [omerˈta]) is a popular cultural attitude and code of honour that places heavy importance on a deep-rooted “code of silence“, non-cooperation with authorities, and non-interference in the illegal (and legal) actions of others. It originated and remains very common in Southern Italy where Mafia-type criminal organizations such as the Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, and Camorra are strong. It also exists to a lesser extent in certain Italian-American neighborhoods where the Italian-American Mafia has influence and other Italian ethnic enclaves in countries where there is the presence of Italian organized crime (e.g. Germany, Canada, and Australia).
9NEWS questions President Obama on Libya attack
4:18 PM, Oct 27, 2012
KUSA – President Barack Obama would not directly address questions from 9NEWS on whether Americans under attack in Libya were denied requests for assistance during the September 11th terror attack.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that the military did not send immediate help to the consulate in Benghazi because commanders lacked enough information about the ongoing attack to put troops in harm’s way.
President Obama discussed the situation in Libya during a satellite interview Friday afternoon with 9NEWS reporter Kyle Clark, who also asked if it’s fair for Americans to be told to wait until after the election to learn what truly happened in Libya.
“The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” President Obama said. “Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”
President Obama was directly asked twice whether pleas for help on the ground in Libya were denied during the attack. Both times, he repeated his standard call for a thorough investigation.
The President was also asked about the loss of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in the failure of Abound Solar, a Fort Collins company connected to one of the President’s billionaire fundraisers.
“These loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country,” President Obama said. “Some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction.”
“These are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics,” President Obama said.
President Obama was asked, in light of his calls for increased civility in politics, why he recently called Governor Mitt Romney a “bullsh—–” in an interview appearing in Rolling Stone magazine.
“This was a conversation after an interview in a casual conversation with a reporter,” President Obama said. “A major issue in any election is can you count on the person that you’re putting into the Oval Office?”
Excerpts of the full interview appear below:
KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.
KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.
KYLE CLARK: In a national address, you touted the stimulus money going to Abound Solar – a Colorado company connected to one of your billionaire fundraisers. Now, as you may know, Abound Solar is out of business and under criminal investigation. The jobs are gone and taxpayers are out about 60 million dollars. How do you answer critics who see Abound Solar as Colorado’s Solyndra – a politically connected clean energy company that went under and took our money with it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Laughs) Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.
KYLE CLARK: Mr. President, you’ve called for more civility in our nation’s political conversation – and much has obviously been made about the tone of this race. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, you called Governor Romney a “bullshitter.” What did you mean and why did you choose that word?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, this was a conversation after an interview, a casual conversation with a reporter. The basic point that I’ve been talking about throughout this campaign, is people know what I mean and they know that I mean what I say and what I care about, who I’m fighting for and you know a major issue in any election is can you count on the person you’re putting into the Oval Office fighting for you having a clear set of convictions that they believe in.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)
The Omertà Administration
Stephen F. Hayes November 5, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 08
At a speech in Davenport, Iowa, on October 24, with 13 days left in the presidential election, Barack Obama introduced a new closing argument: “Trust matters,” Obama said.
“There’s no more serious issue on a presidential campaign than trust.”
We agree. It’s a good way—among the most important ways—to evaluate a leader.
On October 18, five weeks after terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, President Obama told television host Jon Stewart that his administration had moved quickly to share all of the intelligence with the public. “Everything we get, every piece of information we get—as we got it we laid it out for the American people.”
The president reiterated this point in an interview with Philadelphia talk radio host Michael Smerconish on October 26. “This is something that the American people can take to the bank . . . my administration plays this stuff straight. We don’t play politics when it comes to American national security. So what we consistently have done throughout my presidency and what we did in this circumstance is as information came in we gave it to the American people. And as we got new information we gave that to the American people. And that includes, by the way, members of Congress.”
This is false. We know this because senior members of the Obama administration have spoken about the need to keep information from the American people. From the White House to the State Department to the FBI, administration spokesmen have said that they are withholding information until the completion of the several administration-backed investigations into the matter.
On September 14, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland declared that the department would no longer answer questions related to the Benghazi attacks. “It is now something that you need to talk to the FBI about, not to us about, because it’s their investigation.” The FBI, not surprisingly, won’t answer questions about an ongoing investigation.
What about the White House? Last Wednesday, a spokesman for the White House’s national security staff refused to answer very basic questions about the president’s schedule during and after the attacks, telling reporter Fred Lucas: “We decline to comment.”
And the secretary of state? When reporters asked Hillary Clinton last week about emails that the White House received as the assault was unfolding, indicating possible terrorist involvement in the attacks, she refused to provide details. “The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything, not cherry-picking one story here or one document there, but looking at everything—which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach for something as complex as an attack like this.”
And the president himself? Late Friday, Kyle Clark, a reporter for a Denver television station, attempted to get answers directly from Obama in an interview at the White House. Did the president committed to sharing everything make good on his promise? Here is how Clark’s report of the interview began: “President Barack Obama would not directly address repeated questions from 9NEWS on whether Americans under attack in Libya were denied requests for assistance during the September 11th terror attack.”
Basic questions. No answers.
We know this much: What Barack Obama said is unambiguously false. Members of his administration have not provided information to the American people about Benghazi as they have received it. And in many instances, the opposite has been true. The Obama administration has used every means at its disposal to avoid sharing information about the Benghazi attacks—not only with the American people, but with Congress, too.
Sources tell The Weekly Standard that the administration is ignoring—or denying—routine requests for information from the congressional committees with oversight on national security. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” says one congressional Republican. “Basic questions—unanswered for literally weeks.”
One could argue that this is good news. An administration refusing to provide information about the attacks is an administration that isn’t providing misleading information about those attacks. And that’s what the American public got for the better part of four weeks.
• There was “no evidence” of a planned terrorist attack. At his briefing on September 18, a full week after the attacks, Jay Carney said this: “I’m saying that based on information that we—our initial information, and that includes all information—we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.” (Emphasis added)
There was, in fact, abundant evidence of a planned terrorist attack. Emails sent to the White House as the attacks unfolded reported that Ansar al Sharia (AAS), an al Qaeda-linked group in Libya, had claimed credit for the attack. Virtually everything else about the assault suggested planning—from the precision of the mortar attacks to the “blocking maneuver” used by the terrorists to attempt to ambush the Americans as they fled the consulate for the CIA annex.
• The protest outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was about a YouTube video. More Carney from September 18: “We saw evidence that [the attack] was sparked by the reaction to this video. And that is what we know thus far based on the evidence, concrete evidence—not supposition—concrete evidence that we have thus far.” The basis for this claim was a telephone intercept between two al Qaeda-linked terrorists, one from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the other from the Libyan branch of Ansar al Sharia. There was no “concrete evidence” that the video played a role. The AAS terrorist, who took part in the attack, reported to the AQIM operative that he had been watching the activities in Cairo before participating in the Benghazi attack. He said nothing about the film. Importantly, he never claimed that the Benghazi attack happened because of the Cairo protests. There was never a direct link between the YouTube video and the Benghazi attack. But the administration claimed—repeatedly, and for weeks—a causal relationship between the video and the attack in Benghazi.
The Obama administration built its entire explanation of Benghazi around this detail it learned from a call between two al Qaeda-linked operatives. But as the administration made its public case that the 9/11/12 attacks resulted from a mob spun out of control, top Obama officials emphasized (and manipulated) that detail while excluding the far more relevant fact that the conversation took place between . . . two al Qaeda-linked operatives. Beyond that, there was no protest in Benghazi, as virtually everyone now acknowledges.
So where the administration didn’t hide information, it cherry-picked what it would share. And where the administration shared information, it manipulated that intelligence. Now, as Americans seek information about what happened in Benghazi, the administration stonewalls.
The State Department’s Accountability Review Board is due to report on November 15—9 days after the election. “We don’t play politics when it comes to American national security,” Obama says. What will the State Department have learned in 65 days that it won’t know after 56 days?
And what about the president’s claim, “Everything we get, every piece of information we get—as we got it we laid it out for the American people”?
It’s simply not true. And trust matters.