Do you feel safer yet?
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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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.
Petraeus testifies CIA’s Libya talking points were changed, lawmaker says
Published November 16, 2012|FoxNews.com
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in a closed-door hearing Friday morning that his agency determined immediately after the Sept. 11 Libya attack that “Al Qaeda involvement” was suspected — but the line was taken out in the final version circulated to administration officials, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who spoke to reporters after Petraeus testified before the House Intelligence Committee, indicated he and other lawmakers still have plenty of questions about the aftermath of the attack.
“No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points,” he said.
Petraeus was heading next to the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify. At the same time, lawmakers unexpectedly convened a briefing with top members of various committees to examine a Sept. 25 letter to President Obama that asked a series of classified questions on Benghazi.
Petraeus’ testimony both challenges the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the attack was a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. Sources have said Petraeus, in that briefing, also described the attack as a protest that spun out of control.
“His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack,” King said, adding that he told Petraeus he had a “different recollection.”
Still, the claim that the CIA’s original talking points were changed is sure to stoke controversy on the Hill.
“The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists,” King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague “inter-agency process.”
Further, King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the Al Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”
Lawmakers are focusing on the talking points issue because of concern over the account U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice gave on five Sunday shows on Sept. 16, when she repeatedly claimed the attack was spontaneous — Rice’s defenders have since insisted she was merely basing her statements on the intelligence at the time.
The suggestion that the intelligence was altered raised questions about who altered it, with King asking if “the White House changed the talking points.”
One source told Fox News that Petraeus “has no idea what was provided” to Rice or who was the author of the talking points she used.
“He had no idea she was going on talk shows” until the White House announced it one or two days before, the source said.
While Petraeus resigned last Friday over an extra-marital affair, his testimony Friday was expected to focus on Libya as opposed to personal matters. King said it barely came up, and only when Petraeus was asked if the affair and investigation had any impact on his testimony on Libya. “He said no,” King said.
The pressure was on Petraeus to set the record straight, after other top intelligence officials struggled a day earlier to explain why their initial talking points after the Libya attack minimized the role of militant groups.
Lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees heard testimony Thursday in private meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell. But Fox News was told there were heated exchanges on the House side, particularly over the talking points that administration officials relied on in the days after the Sept. 11 strike.
Fox News was told that neither Clapper nor Morell knew for sure who finalized that information. And they could not explain why they minimized the role of a regional Al Qaeda branch as well as the militant Ansar al-Sharia despite evidence of their involvement.
Further, Fox News was told Morell was pushed to explain why, during a Sept. 14 briefing, Petraeus seemed wedded to the explanation that the attack was in response to an anti-Islam video. Morell apparently said he wasn’t at that briefing and had nothing further to add.
Lawmakers continue to express concerns on several fronts — on whether warnings in the months preceding Sept. 11 were ignored, and on why the administration first insisted the attack was a “spontaneous” act.
Rice has been the focal point of that criticism. Obama, though, in his first post-election press conference Wednesday, called the criticism “outrageous” and told those lawmakers to “go after me” instead.
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff also came to Rice’s defense Thursday, saying after the House intelligence committee hearing that Rice was given the intelligence community’s “best assessment” at the time.
“Those who have suggested that Ambassador Rice was politicizing the intelligence or misrepresenting what the intelligence community was putting forward as its best assessment are either unfamiliar with the facts, or willfully disregarding them,” he said.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.
(REALCLEARPOLITICS) — “As I said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and besmirch her reputation is outrageous,” President Obama said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Rescue Me Lyrics by Aretha Franklin
Oh take me in your arms
I want your tender charms
‘Coz I’m lonely and I’m blue
I need you and your love too
Come on and rescue me
Come on baby and rescue me
Come on baby and rescue me
‘Coz I need you, by my side
Can’t you see that I’m lonely
State Department emails from day of Libya attack show Al Qaeda-tied group on radar
By Chad Pergram |Published October 24, 2012|FoxNews.com
A series of internal State Department emails obtained by Fox News shows that officials reported within hours of last month’s deadly consulate attack in Libya that Al Qaeda-tied group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility.
The emails provide some of the most detailed information yet about what officials knew in the initial hours after the attack. And it again raises questions about why U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, apparently based on intelligence assessments, would claim five days after the attack that it was a “spontaneous” reaction to protests over an anti-Islam film.
Ansar al-Sharia has been declared by the State Department to be an Al Qaeda-affiliated group. A member of the group suspected of participating in the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi has been arrested and is being held in Tunisia.
The emails obtained by Fox News were sent by the State Department to a variety of national security platforms, whose addresses have been redacted, including the White House Situation Room, the Pentagon, the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence.
Fox News was told that an estimated 300 to 400 national security figures received these emails in real time almost as the raid was playing out and concluding. People who received these emails work directly under the nation’s top national security, military and diplomatic officials, Fox News was told.
The timestamps on the emails are all Eastern Time and often include the subheading SBU, which is shorthand for “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The third email came at 6:07 p.m. ET and was sent to a different email list but still includes the White House Situation Room address and a subject line of “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU).”
“Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli,” the email reads.
Earlier emails did not go into who might have been responsible for the attack.
The first email indicates that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and other personnel were “in the compound safe haven.” Officials later discovered that Stevens and three other Americans had died in the attack.
The first email was sent at 4:05 p.m. ET with the subject line: “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack (SBU).”
“The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic mission is under attack,” the email reads. “Embassy Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.
“The operations Center will provide updates as available.”
The second email came at 4:54 p.m. ET, with a subject line: “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi (SBU)”
“Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel.”
The emails on the day of the attack further challenge not only the initial statements made by administration officials like Rice about the strike, but also recent claims that they were only basing those statements on the intelligence they had at the time.
State Department official Patrick Kennedy recently testified to Congress that anyone in Rice’s position would have made the same statements about the attack being spontaneous.
But the newly uncovered emails clearly state the involvement of a militant group whose agenda is to establish an Islamic state in eastern Libya.
Despite this, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney backed up Rice on Sept. 18. He said: “Based on information that we — our initial information … we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack; that we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video.” Carney went on to say “that is what we know” based on “concrete evidence, not supposition.”
Stephen F. Hayes October 29, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 07
At about 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, Barack Obama strode into the Manhattan studios of Comedy Central for a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The two men discussed several issues, including Libya. Stewart noted the exchange between Obama and Mitt Romney on that subject at the debate earlier in the week and asked Obama about the “confusion within the administration” over the attack that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead in Benghazi.
“Why? What was it that caused that confusion?” -Stewart asked.
“Well, we weren’t confused about the fact that four Americans had been killed,” the president replied. “I wasn’t confused about the fact that we needed to ramp up diplomatic security around the world right after it happened. I wasn’t confused about the fact that we had to investigate exactly what happened so it gets fixed. And I wasn’t confused about the fact that we’re going to hunt down whoever did it and bring ’em to justice. So, as I said during the debate, nobody’s more interested in figuring this out more than I am.”
As you can plainly see above, the President appears to be very interested in figuring out what happened in Benghazi as he campaigns on September 12th in Las Vegas — the day after the murders of four Americans. Wow! (the stylish satirist = ss = s2)
At roughly the same time the president was chatting with Stewart in New York City, another interview was taking place in Benghazi, Libya. The man suspected of organizing the attack on the U.S. consulate there, Ahmed Abu Khattala, “spent two leisurely hours . . . sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio” with a reporter from the New York Times and boasting that he hasn’t even been questioned by investigators from the governments of Libya or the United States. He has not gone into hiding and has no plans to do so. The Times reported that Abu Khattala, a leader of al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Sharia, “expressed a notable absence of remorse over the assault.” According to the story, “witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters that night,” and both governments believe he was involved. Abu Khattala denied he masterminded the attack but confirmed reports that he was in the compound. Why? He happened to be in the area “to break up a traffic jam,” and after the fighting broke out he entered the -facility because he wanted to help Libyan guards working for the Americans.
We commend Times reporter David Kirkpatrick for getting the interview, but it raises an obvious question. Why is it that, more than a month after the attack, a New York Times reporter can spend two leisurely hours with the alleged mastermind, yet no agent of the U.S. government has ever approached him?
In his interview with Jon Stewart, Obama also claimed, implausibly, that his administration has been eager to share information about the attacks with the American people.
“When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world, immediately a whole bunch of intelligence starts coming in and people try to piece together exactly what happened,” he explained. “And what I have always tried to do is to make sure we just get all the facts, figure out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. And we’re still in that process now. But everything we get, every piece of information we get—as we got it—we laid it out for the American people.” Really?
On Friday, the Associated Press reported: “The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”
But the Obama administration took more than a week to acknowledge directly that it was a terrorist attack. And some two weeks after the fact, top administration officials, including the president himself, were still pushing the discredited notion that the assault grew out of a spontaneous protest sparked by the video.
The CIA station chief in Libya would certainly be the first person consulted after the attacks and the official with the most authoritative voice in explaining what happened. Are we really to believe that his reporting was ignored for two weeks?
If the president really wants to level with the American people, here are some questions he needs to answer.
1. Were there references to Libyan security threats in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) during the three weeks before the attacks in Benghazi?
2. If there were, did President Obama participate in an intelligence briefing after the Libya threat was raised in the PDB?
3. Did President Obama ask his CIA briefer about threats in Libya during the three weeks before the attacks?
4. Were Libyan security threats discussed in any daily intelligence briefing that President Obama did not attend?
5. How many morning intelligence briefings did President Obama participate in during the month prior to the Benghazi attack?
6. Did any other governments or liaison intelligence services warn us about threats in Libya in the days before the attack in Benghazi?
7. Did any of the communications from intelligence officials in Libya on September 10 include discussions of threats to the consulate in Benghazi or other U.S. interests? Will the administration make those communications available?
8. The State Department’s timeline notes that Ambassador Stevens, who participated in meetings around Benghazi on September 10, was instructed to remain in the Benghazi compound on September 11, the day of the attack? Why? Were there specific threat warnings?
9. Did any intelligence product—raw or finished—include detailed reporting on any protest outside the compound in Benghazi before the attack began?
10. If not, why did administration officials repeatedly mention alleged protests? Where did those claims originate?
11. A senior administration official told the Washington Post on September 13 that the compound in Benghazi featured a “robust American security presence.” Does the White House stand by that assessment?
12. Why did U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, who has no direct involvement in the Libya attacks and no special intelligence knowledge on Libya, appear on multiple TV shows on September 16 to claim that spontaneous protests over the video led to the attack? Was Secretary Clinton or some other high official asked to represent the administration, before Rice was sent out instead?
13. Did James Clapper, the director of national intelligence and CIA director David Petraeus clear Susan Rice’s talking points? If not, who did?
14. A September 28 statement from Clapper’s office claiming that administration talking points had come from the intelligence community was not signed by Clapper. Why not?
15. Who was on the interagency phone call on Saturday, September 15, to prepare Rice for her TV interviews?
16. Did Rice talk to any senior Obama campaign advisers before she spoke for the administration?
17. Is there any intelligence product—raw or finished—that links the attacks in Benghazi to the anti-Islam YouTube video?
I just have to interject a snippet from the LA Times about Islamic irony. Oh and be sure to take special note of the Times reporter’s description of the cover as showing a “highly unflattering picture of screaming Muslim men…” It’s ironic to me that people who are not squeamish about beheading someone on live TV are very delicate if their portrait on a news mag is unflattering. Sheesh… (the stylish satirist = ss = s2)
From anti-Islamic video to Newsweek cover: Irony, anyone?
September 17, 2012|By Matt Pearce
“Muslim rage” is the headline, and it’s brought the country full circle. To recap: Americans made a grotesque video about Islam, violent protests ensued, and now other Americans have condemned Muslims for reacting poorly.
On Monday, Tina Brown’s Newsweek released a cover once again intended to provoke, outrage, create buzz and sell copies of the magazine: “MUSLIM RAGE,” the new cover reads in bold font, “HOW I SURVIVED IT, HOW WE CAN END IT.” The text straddles a highly unflattering picture of screaming Muslim men in Morocco.
In the parlance of the Internet, this kind of thing could be called trolling — that is, deliberately provoking people for the sake of attention. And it’s how a crudely made YouTube video came to foment a global crisis in the first place.
18. If not, why did President Obama himself make a direct link between the film and the attack during his September 18 appearance on the David Letterman show?
19. Will the White House release unclassified versions of the PDBs and Daily Threat Briefs for the three weeks before the Benghazi attack?
20. Will President Obama ever hold a news conference to address these and other unanswered questions about the attacks in Benghazi?
That makes 20 questions for the president, but this is no parlor game. Four lives were lost, and the credibility of the administration is at stake.
Published October 16, 2012/FoxNews.com
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, in her first public comments on Libya since her controversial account days after the attack, blamed intelligence community talking points for the faulty narrative.
The light-on-details explanation Monday came as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for any security failures leading up to the consulate attack last month.
But with the accounts coming as both presidential candidates head into a debate Tuesday night that will focus in part on foreign policy, neither appeared to settle mounting questions on the Hill about how the administration got the story so wrong.
Rice did not offer many details on the nature of the intelligence updates or whether they reflected a more nuanced version of events than the one she told the Sunday after the attack. In those interviews, Rice repeatedly claimed the deadly assault was a “spontaneous” reaction to protests over an anti-Islam film.
The administration later acknowledged it was a coordinated terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11.
Rice told The Washington Post that she used daily updates from the intelligence community and talking points prepared by that community for senior administration members before her Sunday show appearances.
She said her comments were “absolutely not” an attempt to cherry-pick an explanation.
“It was purely a function of what was provided to us,” she said.
Rice kept up the finger-pointing at the intelligence community, as Clinton took responsibility in a separate interview for any security failures.
Clinton, though, appeared to back up Rice in claiming shifting intelligence accounts and the “fog of war” were to blame for the faulty narrative.
“Remember, this was an attack that went on for hours,” Clinton said in an interview with Fox News during a trip to Peru. “There had to be a lot of sorting out. … Everyone said, here’s what we know, subject to change.”
However, sources have said some in the intelligence community suspected terrorism within 24 hours after the attack. Republicans on Capitol Hill have called into question claims that the State Department simply didn’t realize terrorism was at play.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the White House is the one that put Rice on the Sunday shows to push the narrative that the attack was spontaneous.
“They kept that up for an unacceptable length of time when there was no demonstration. … It was an eight-hour attack,” he told Fox News. “They are either deceiving the American people or they are so incompetent that they don’t deserve to serve.”
McCain and other lawmakers, meanwhile, continued to raise questions about what the White House knew regarding security at the Benghazi consulate, even as Clinton took responsibility. They pointed to earlier attacks on the consulate in April and June.
“My question is did anyone ever inform the president of the United States about these terror attacks on our consulate,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “What did he know, when did he know it, and what did he do about it? It would be stunning to me for our national security team not to inform the president back in April and June.”
Graham added: “If that’s the case, I have no confidence in our national security team.”
Vice President Biden, at last week’s vice presidential debate, claimed to be unaware of the requests for more security at the Benghazi outpost leading up to the attack. The White House later clarified that he was referring to both himself and Obama. It’s unclear, though, to what extent either might have been briefed about any of the security incidents in the region.
Biden, in that debate, also blamed the intelligence community for the erroneous claims made by senior officials that the attack was triggered by protests.
It’s scary, how much the New York Times is in the tank for Obama over Libya
By Patrick Caddell Published October 15, 2012 FoxNews.com
Radio talk show host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham was right when she confronted New York Times political reporter Jeff Zeleny on the set of “Fox News Sunday” this weekend:
“I would hope that the New York Times, as they camped outside of Scooter Libby’s house during the whole Valerie Plame thing — are you guys camped out of the Susan Rice residence?” She said, “This is ridiculous and I think the press is partly culpable here.”
And she wasn’t alone in voicing that sentiment. Fox News’ Brit Hume agreed with Ingraham during the same roundtable discussion on the program Sunday.
“I do think Laura’s made a good point. It shouldn’t be up to the campaign and candidates to try to get to the bottom of this before Election Day. This should be a job for all the good investigative reporters in the media to be out on this story, investigative teams such as they are should be all over this. This does have, it seems to me, an extremely strong scent of cover-up and it does looks like that it was engineered in some way. There’s just something about those five appearances on a Sunday with a story that they had to know was off base. That doesn’t smell right and ought to be exposed.”
Both Ingraham and Hume are 100 percent right. Yet, if you look at the front page of the New York Times on Monday morning (view front page here), Libya is nowhere to be found. Yet, the Benghazi attack on 9/11 that killed our ambassador and three others was the topic of every Sunday talk show this weekend.
The New York Times still thinks of itself as “the paper of record”; it’s the one paper every network newscast consults on a daily basis. So why isn’t Libya on the front page Monday morning?
Here’s why: The Times is so in the tank for the Obama administration it’s scary. I’ve never seen anything like it. They are doing everything they can to protect the Obama White House over this disaster.
When are Republicans — and all Americans — going to call on the press to look into this outrage?
Patrick Caddell is a Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor. He served as pollster for President Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and others. He is a Fox News political analyst and co-host of “Campaign Insiders” Sundays on Fox News Channel and Mondays at 10:30 am ET on “FoxNews.com Live.”