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.
April 30, 2013
EXCLUSIVE: Special Ops Benghazi Whistleblower Claims Obama Could Have Intervened
BAIER: The administration has insisted from the beginning there was no help available for the Americans under assault in Libya. None that could arrive in time to change the outcome in Benghazi. Tonight is the first of three exclusive reports charging that claim is just not true. Because the special operator in this piece is fearful of reprisal, we have agreed to conceal his identity.
Correspondent Adam Housley has the story.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Many Americans are asking indeed, I asked myself. How could this happen?
ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a seven months since the Benghazi attacks on 9/11, information from the administration has been incomplete at best. Details and timelines provided by the state department, the U.S. military and the CIA had been contradictory and failed to answer many questions. In December, a state department review concluded
ADM. MIKE MULLEN (RET), FMR JOINT CHIEF CHMN: There simply was not enough time for U.S. military forces to have made a difference. Having said that, it is not reasonable nor feasible to tether U.S. forces at the ready to respond to protect every high risk post in the world.
HOUSLEY: But members of the military who are monitoring events in Benghazi disagree. Only a few dozen people in the world know what happened that night and Fox News spoke exclusively with a special operator who watched the events unfold and has debriefed those who are part of the response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know for a fact that C-110, the (INAUDIBLE) was doing a training exercise in the region of Northern Africa but in Europe.
And they had the ability to react and respond.
HOUSLEY: The C-110 is a commanders and extremist force. In Layman’s terms, a 40 men (ph) special operations force capable of rapid response and deployment, specifically, trained for incidents like the attack in Benghazi. That night, they were training in Croatia just three and a half hours away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had the ability to load out, get on birds, and fly there at a minimum stage. C-110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in four to six hours from their European theater to react.
HOUSLEY: They would have been there before the second attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would have been there before the second attack. They would have been there at a minimum to provide a quick reaction force that could facilitate their exfill out of the problem situation. Nobody knew how it was going to develop. And you hear a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of advisors say hey, we wouldn’t have sent them there because, you know, the security was unknown situation.
HOUSLEY: No one knew that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it’s an unknown situation, at a minimum, you send forces there to facilitate the exfill or medical injuries. We could have sent a C-130 to Benghazi to provide medical evacuation for the injured.
HOUSLEY: Our source says many connected to Benghazi feel threatened and are afraid to talk. So far, confidential sources have fed some information, but nobody has come forward publicly on camera until now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is, you know, you got guys, in my position you got guys in special operations community who are — still active and still involved. And they would be decapitated if they came forward with information that could affect high level commanders.
HOUSLEY: Despite the concern, our confidential source says the community feels there was a betrayal all the way to the top. And that people on the ground in Benghazi were left to fend for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don’t blame them for not coming forward, you know? It’s something that’s a risky, especially in a profession to say anything about anything in the realm of politics or that deals with policy.
HOUSLEY: Our source provides insight into how the U.S. government and military reacted from the moment the attack began through the immediate hours after Ambassador Chris Stevens went missing, what they were told to do and what not to do as Stevens, diplomatic officer, Sean Smith, and former special operations members, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of onus that needs to be taken up and accounted for.
HOUSLEY: The attack began about 9:30 p.m. on September 11th, 2012 at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi and culminated roughly seven hours later at a second location, a CIA annex about one mile away.
While the official responses from Washington have been that the assets could not have made it to Benghazi in time to stop the second attack that killed Woods and Dohety, our source says otherwise and insists there were at least two elite military units that could have made it in time, including the one training in Croatia.
So, besides those guys who went in on their own, we had two more assets that could have been there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two more assets that could have been on the ground. It’s frustrating. It’s upsetting especially being in the community. The hardest thing to deal with in any kind of, you know, dangerous scenario or gun fight, is, you know, we always look to each other to help each other and that’s how we get through situations. It’s not about the assets overhead. It’s about the guys on the ground.
HOUSLEY: He also says that as the attack began, there were at least
15 special forces and highly skilled state department security staff available in the capital Tripoli who were not dispatched, even though they were trained as a quick response force. Meantime, a group of American reinforcements also in Tripoli, which included the CIA’s global response agent, Glen Doherty, and about seven others took matters into their own hands.
A little known fact which also contradicts the version of events in the state department report. The team commandeered a small jet and flew to Benghazi to help try and secure the CIA annex still under fire. Doherty would eventually be killed on the roof along with his friend, Tyrone Woods.
And our source say, these men deserve the highest medal of honor for their actions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it wasn’t for that decision, I think we’d be talking completely different about this entire situation. I think you would be looking at either 20 plus hostages loose captured by AQ or you’d be looking at a lot of dead Americans dead in Benghazi.
HOUSLEY (on-camera): We’ve heard some of these same details from a number of our other sources who have not yet come on camera, also some of our British sources on the ground that night, Bret. Tomorrow, more of our exclusive interview including the hunt for those responsible or the hunt that’s lack thereof — Bret.
BAIER: Interesting story. Adam, thank you. We’ll look for part two tomorrow.
Obama administration officials threatened whistle-blowers on Benghazi, lawyer says
By James Rosen Published April 29, 2013 | FoxNews.com
At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.
Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.
“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”
Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to the attack, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded, and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials incorrectly described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.
“It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”
Federal law provides explicit protections for federal government employees who are identified as “whistle-blowers.” The laws aim to ensure these individuals will not face repercussions from their superiors, or from other quarters, in retaliation for their provision of information about corruption or other forms of wrongdoing to Congress, or to an agency’s inspector-general.
Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday to complain that the department has not provided a process by which attorneys like Toensing can receive the security clearances necessary for them to review classified documents and other key evidence.
“It is unavoidable that Department employees identifying themselves as witnesses in the Committee’s investigation will apply for a security clearance to allow their personal attorneys to handle sensitive or classified material,” Issa wrote. “The Department’s unwillingness to make the process for clearing an attorney more transparent appears to be an effort to interfere with the rights of employees to furnish information to Congress.”
The Obama administration maintains that it has been more than forthcoming on Benghazi and that it is time for the State Department to move on. At a recent hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry noted that administration officials have testified at eight hearings on Benghazi, provided 20 briefings on the subject and turned over to Congress some 25,000 documents related to the killings.
“So if you have additional questions or you think there’s some document that somehow you need, I’ll work with you to try to get it and see if we can provide that to you,” Kerry told committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., on April 17. But Kerry added: “I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi.”
Asked about Issa’s complaints about attorneys not receiving security clearances, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Monday indicated that – far from threatening anyone – the administration hasn’t been presented with any such cases. “I’m not aware of private counsel seeking security clearances or — or anything to that regard,” Ventrell told reporters. “I’m not aware of whistle-blowers one way or another.”
Ventrell cited the work of the FBI – whose probe of the attacks continues almost eight months later and without any known instances of perpetrators being brought to justice – and the Accountability Review Board. The board was an internal State Department review panel led by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. An unclassified version of the board’s final report that was released to the public contained no conclusions that suggested administration officials had willfully endangered their colleagues in Benghazi or had misled the public or Congress.
“And that should be enough,” Ventrell said at Monday’s press briefing. “Congress has its own prerogatives, but we’ve had a very thorough, independent investigation, which we completed and [which was] transparent and shared. And there are many folks who are, in a political manner, trying to sort of use this for their own political means, or ends.”
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.
An act of political malpractice
By Ruth Marcus, Published: April 7
On the matter of the president and Kamala Harris, I could go either way.
I could write a column — call it Classic Feminist High Dudgeon — lamenting the president’s comments about the California attorney general’s good looks.
high dudgeon noun
a feeling of intense indignation (now used only in the phrase “in high dudgeon)
This column would discuss the continuing, albeit more subtle, discrimination against women in the workplace. It would explain how, even if unintentionally, Obama’s reference to Harris’s attractiveness is demeaning — that it serves, in the apologetic words of White House press secretary Jay Carney, “to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities.” It would, inevitably, invoke the president’s daughters, and question how he imagines they would have felt in Harris’s place.
Sorry, President Obama, but Complimenting a Colleague’s Looks Isn’t Harmless
By Amanda Marcotte Posted Friday, April 5, 2013, at 10:56 AM
President Obama, despite having a mostly feminist policy record, occasionally screws it up on a personal level. Yesterday, this side of him peeked out when he called California’s attorney general Kamala Harris “by far, the best looking attorney general,” though at least he bothered to praise the quality of her work first. The forces of Twitter feminism, many male (woot), rebuked Obama.
Unsurprisingly, the defensive whining started immediately. Dylan Byers of Politico tweeted, “How did it become so difficult to call a woman good looking in public?” Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post demanded that people “lighten up,” adding, “you’d swear the president was guilty of luridly cat-calling a woman he doesn’t know.” (Note: Being acquainted with someone does not necessarily make it better to make boorish comments about them in front of an audience.)…
No fan of Barry am I (as should be apparent as I refer to the POTUS as Barry), but geez Louise a boorish comment is telling an attractive woman she is attractive? Barry was not being boorish. He was paying a woman with whom he is friends and who happens to be Attorney General for the State of California, a compliment. It’s Armageddon! A compliment was paid to an attractive women!
If you want to fight legit sexism, please pick up the mantel of women around the world living under sharia law. And quit feigning indignation about a hot babe being called a hot babe. Maybe forced female circumcision, or stoning for adultery or refusal to educate girls may be a more worthy cause than compliments.
Maybe Amanda doesn’t know the meaning of the word of which she speaks. Here you go Amanda, feel free to bookmark it for your next commentary where you quote from a 1996 research paper describing benevolent sexism. Were the 1986 research papers out of print? ss = s 2 = stylish satirist
coarse, uncouth, loutish, churlish. Boorish, oafish, rude, uncouth all describe persons, acts, manners, or mannerisms that violate in some way the generally accepted canons of polite, considerate behavior. Boorish originally referring to behavior characteristic of an unlettered rustic or peasant, now implies a coarse and blatant lack of sensitivity to the feelings or values of others: a boorish refusal to acknowledge greetings. Oafish suggests slow-witted, loutlike, clumsy behavior: oafish table manners. Rude has the widest scope of meaning of these words; it suggests either purposefully impudent discourtesy or, less frequently, a rough crudity of appearance or manner: a rude remark; a rude thatched hut. Uncouth stresses most strongly in modern use a lack of good manners, whether arising from ignorance or brashness: uncouth laughter; an uncouth way of staring at strangers.
It would make melancholy reference to “benevolent sexism,” linking to Slate’s Amanda Marcotte and studies that indicate the insidious danger of such attitudes. “Benevolent sexism is not necessarily experienced as benevolent by the recipient,” psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske write in a paper quoted by Marcotte. “For example, a man’s comment to a female co-worker on how ‘cute’ she looks, however well-intentioned, may undermine her feelings of being taken seriously as a professional.” It’s easy to imagine Harris hearing the president’s praise and wincing.
This column would invoke the recent New York Times obituary of a female rocket scientist that began with a paean to her “mean beef stroganoff.” As the (male) obituary writer discovered, sometimes a compliment has the opposite of its intended effect. Context matters. And it is still necessary to tread carefully on issues related to gender.
So while it is true — and an interesting insight into the premium the president places on physical appearance — that Obama routinely refers to male Cabinet secretaries and other officials as “good-looking guys,” it is also irrelevant. Such compliments, yes even in 2013, carry different resonance when applied to women.
Or I could write precisely the opposite column — call it Contrarian Persnickety — bemoaning the tyranny of political correctness in which male politicians and executives shy away from making even the most innocuous remarks, comments clearly intended to amuse and not belittle.
It would quote from the entirety of Obama’s words, noting that the president was obviously aware of the third-rail nature of such quips and sought to insulate himself from the potential fallout. He didn’t concentrate solely on Harris’s looks — he remarked on them in the context of her overall capabilities.
“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” the president said at the fundraiser heard round the world. “She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.”
It would quote from Obama’s more over-the-top critics — New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, for instance, termed the remarks “disgraceful,” which seems dialed up awfully high — and suggest that the inevitable result of such commentary is to produce a cadre of hyper-cautious politicians, devoid of spark or humor.
I could write either of these columns, because I agree in part with both. And my ambivalent reaction to the Harris kerfuffle illustrates the continuing paradox of modern gender politics.Of course looks matter, in politics as in business. In America and other countries, physically attractive candidates — male and female — outperform less attractive peers. But for female politicians, the issue of looks is more complicated. They must learn to navigate the treacherous line between looking good (a plus) and looking sexy (dangerous), being attractive without being distracting.
A female politician is, inevitably, going to devote more attention to her appearance than is her male counterpart. Inevitably, because voters — female and male — are going to pay more attention to her clothes, or whether she’s gained (or lost) a few pounds, or whether she is, in Obama’s words, “the best-looking attorney general in the country.” Harris no doubt took pains with her hair and makeup before heading to the fundraiser where the president made those remarks.
But it is simultaneously true that the role of attractiveness, especially when it comes to women in politics, remains the phenomenon that dare not speak its name. Obama’s real fault wasn’t being sexist — it was committing political malpractice. This wasn’t a gaffe on the scale of Hillary Clinton being likable enough, but it was still awfully dumb. You can think it, but you can’t say it, especially when you are the president.