I meant to post this podcast yesterday but things got hectic. I do a breakdown of the exchange between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Ron Johnson at the January hearing on Benghazi.
The goal of Hillary Clinton aligned Media Matters for America was to discredit the entire Benghazi story as “a hoax.” They were helped along by nameless people in the FBI who disputed part of what Dylan Davies said in the 60 Minutes interview.
They got 60 Minutes to delete the entire segment. They got CBS News to issue an apology for the entire segment.
Even assuming that Dylan Davies lied about going to the compound was the entire segment wrong?
How much of it was wrong?
Was Dylan Davies the main interview subject?
See for yourself.
Before I reprint the entire transcript, here are some of the points raises in the story that are NOT disputed.
- Contrary to the White House’s public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.
- The black flags of al Qaeda flying openly in the streets
- There were concerns about security forces in place at Embassy says Davies
- Andy Wood is a top American security official quoted extensively. Says there were concerns.
- Al Qaeda stated intent to attack Red Cross, British and Americans in Benghazi
- Al Qaeda made good; Wood told State Department and DOD
- Wood raised security concerns directly with Amb. Stevens 3 monhts prior to attack “You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It’s gonna happen. You need to change your security profile.”
- Wood: “Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch– or change locations within the city.”
- Senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country
- Greg Hicks — Steven’s deputy “That was a frightening piece of information”
- Hicks’s third request for more security was not allowed to go forward and he doesn’t know why
- Amb. Stevens approved a series of detailed cables to Washington, specifically mentioning, among other things, “the al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings”.
- Embassy is attacked. Jones says guards told him “We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans,”
- Quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound and repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith
- The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli.
- Wood: attack required “Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a– that was a well-executed attack.”
- Two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they’ve since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cros
- Hicks told no help coming “”Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”
- The U.S. government today acknowledges the Americans at the U.S. compound in Benghazi were not adequately protected
- those who carried out the attack are still being hunted down.
- ID of planners known
- Al Qaeda has grown in power across Libya
Here’s the transcript. I’ve marked the disputed section in italics and a red background.
When Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of September 11th last year, it was only the sixth time that the United States had lost an ambassador to its enemies. The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and intense partisanship. But for those who lived through it, there’s nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.
Tonight, you will hear for the first time from a security officer who witnessed the attack. He calls himself, Morgan Jones, a pseudonym he’s using for his own safety. A former British soldier, he’s been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade.
Morgan Jones said he’d never felt so angry in his life. Only hours earlier, Amb. Chris Stevens had sought him out, concerned about the security at the U.S. Special Mission Compound where Morgan was in charge of the Libyan guard force.
Now, the ambassador was dead and the U.S. compound was engulfed in flames and overrun by dozens of heavily armed fighters.
Although the attack began here, the more organized assault unfolded about a mile across the city at a top secret CIA facility known as the Annex. It lasted more than seven hours and took four American lives.
Contrary to the White House’s public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.
Five months before that night, Morgan Jones first arrived in Benghazi, in eastern Libya about 400 miles from the capital, Tripoli.
He thought this would be an easy assignment compared to Afghanistan and Iraq. But on his first drive through Benghazi, he noticed the black flags of al Qaeda flying openly in the streets and he grew concerned about the guard forces as soon as he pulled up to the U.S. compound.
Morgan Jones: There was nobody there that we could see. And then we realized they were all inside drinking tea, laughing and joking.
Lara Logan: What did you think?
Morgan Jones: Instantly I thought we’re going to have to get rid of all these guys.
Morgan Jones’ job was training the unarmed guards who manned the compound’s gates. A second Libyan force — an armed militia hired by the State Department — was supposed to defend the compound in the event of an attack. Morgan had nothing to do with the militia, but they worried him so much, he could not keep quiet.
Morgan Jones: I was saying, “These guys are no good. You need to– you need to get ‘em out of here.”
Lara Logan: You also kept saying, “If this place is attacked these guys are not going to stand and fight?”
Morgan Jones: Yeah. I used to say it all the time. Yeah, in the end I got quite bored of hearing my own voice saying it.
Andy Wood: We had one option: “Leave Benghazi or you will be killed.”
Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day.
The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda — using a familiar tactic — had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.
Lara Logan: And you watched as they–
Andy Wood: As they did each one of those.
Lara Logan: –attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left–
Andy Wood: Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.
Lara Logan: And Washington was aware of that?
Andy Wood: They knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DOD.
Andy Wood told us he raised his concerns directly with Amb. Stevens three months before the U.S. compound was overrun.
Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, “You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It’s gonna happen. You need to change your security profile.”
Lara Logan: Shut down–
Andy Wood: Shut down–
Lara Logan: –the special mission–
Andy Wood: –”Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch– or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are– they are– they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they’re in the final planning stages.”
Lara Logan: Wait a minute, you said, “They’re in the final planning stages of an attack on the American mission in Benghazi”?
Andy Wood: It was apparent to me that that was the case. Reading, reading all these other, ah, attacks that were occurring, I could see what they were staging up to, it was, it was obvious.
We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country. Al-Libi was already wanted for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.
Greg Hicks: It was a frightening piece of information.
Lara Logan: Because it meant what?
Greg Hicks: It raised the stakes, changed the game.
Greg Hicks, who testified before Congress earlier this year, was Amb. Stevens’ deputy based in Tripoli – a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Service with an impeccable reputation.
Lara Logan: And in that environment you were asking for more security assets and you were not getting them?
Greg Hicks: That’s right.
Lara Logan: Did you fight that?
Greg Hicks: I was in the process of trying to frame a third request but it was not allowed to go forward.
Lara Logan: So why didn’t you get the help that you needed and that you asked for?
Greg Hicks: I really, really don’t know. I in fact would like to know that, the answer to that question.
In the months prior to the attack, Amb. Stevens approved a series of detailed cables to Washington, specifically mentioning, among other things, “the al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings”.
When the attack began on the evening of September 11, Amb. Stevens immediately called Greg Hicks, who was back in Tripoli.
Greg Hicks: Ambassador said that the consulate’s under attack. And then the line cut.
Lara Logan: Do you remember the sound of his voice?
Greg Hicks: Oh yeah, it’s indelibly imprinted on my mind.
Lara Logan: How did he sound?
Greg Hicks: He sounded frightened.
In Benghazi, Morgan Jones, who was at his apartment about 15 minutes away, got a frantic call from one of his Libyan guards.
Morgan Jones: I could hear gunshots. And I– and he said, “There’s– there’s men coming into the mission.” His voice, he was, he was scared, you could tell he was really scared and he was running, I could tell he was running.
His first thought was for his American friends, the State Department agents who were pinned down inside the compound, and he couldn’t believe it when one of them answered his phone.
Morgan Jones: I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “We’re getting attacked.” And I said, “How many?” And he said, “They’re all over the compound.” And I felt shocked, I didn’t know what to say. And– I said, “Well, just keep fighting. I’m on my way.”
Morgan’s guards told him the armed Libyan militia that was supposed to defend the compound had fled, just as Morgan had predicted. His guards — unarmed and terrified — sounded the alarm, but they were instantly overwhelmed by the attackers.
Morgan Jones: They said, “We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans,” so they’d give them a good beating, pistol whip them, beat them with their rifles and let them go.
Lara Logan: We’re here to kill Americans.
Morgan Jones: That’s what they said, yeah.
Lara Logan: Not Libyans.
Morgan Jones: Yeah.
About 30 minutes into the attack, a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there. Inside the compound, they repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. They were forced to fight their way out before they could find the ambassador.
The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli. From defensive positions on these rooftops, the Americans fought back a professional enemy. In a final wave of intense fighting just after 5 a.m., the attackers unleashed a barrage of mortars. Three of them slammed into this roof, killing former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Lara Logan: They hit that roof three times.
Andy Wood: They, they hit those roofs three times.
Lara Logan: In the dark.
Andy Wood: Yea, that’s getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder.
Lara Logan: What does it take to pull off an attack like that?
Andy Wood: Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a– that was a well-executed attack.
We have learned there were two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they’ve since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross — two of the military’s highest honors. The Americans who rushed to help that night went without asking for permission and the lingering question is why no larger military response ever crossed the border into Libya — something Greg Hicks realized wasn’t going to happen just an hour into the attack.
Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says–
Greg Hicks: Effectively, they’re not. And I– for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, “Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.”
Lara Logan: That’s a tough thing to understand. Why?
Greg Hicks: It just is. We–, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience.
The U.S. government today acknowledges the Americans at the U.S. compound in Benghazi were not adequately protected. And says those who carried out the attack are still being hunted down.
Just a few weeks ago, Abu Anas al-Libi was captured for his role in the Africa bombings and the U.S. is still investigating what part he may have played in Benghazi. We’ve learned that this man, Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and long-time al Qaeda operative, was one of the lead planners along with Faraj al-Chalabi, whose ties to Osama bin Laden go back more than 15 years. He’s believed to have carried documents from the compound to the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan.
The morning after the attack, Morgan Jones went back to the compound one last time to document the scene. He took these photos which he gave to the FBI and has published in a book he has written. After all this time, he told us he’s still haunted by a conversation he had with Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, a week before the attack.
Morgan Jones: Yeah, he was worried. He wasn’t happy with the security.
Lara Logan: And you didn’t tell him all your worries?
Morgan Jones: No. No, didn’t want to–
Lara Logan: Why not?
Morgan Jones: I didn’t want to worry him anymore, you know? He’s a nice guy. I sort of promised him he’d be OK.
Lara Logan: You think about that?
Morgan Jones: Every day, yeah.
The U.S. pulled out of Benghazi and al Qaeda has grown in power across Libya. When a member of our team went to the U.S. compound earlier this month, he found remnants of the Americans’ final frantic moments still scattered on the ground. Among them Amb. Stevens’ official schedule for Sept.12, 2012, a day he didn’t live to see.
With CIA officials set to testify behind closed doors at a classified hearing, it’s a good point to recap some of what has already been published about the CIA’a role in Benghazi. We know there’s been a cover-up. We know there’s been intimidation not to talk. Now, we’re beginning to be able to put together the pieces why.
October 15th. 2012: YouTube Video showing Syrian rebel with SA-7 Surface To Air Missle
October 19th, 2012: How US Ambassador Chris Stevens May Have Been Linked To Jihadist Rebels In Syria
…there’s growing evidence that U.S. agents — particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens — were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.
In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group — a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.
In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.
Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
Those heavy weapons are most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles—the bulk of them SA-7s—that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc. Reuters reports that Syrian rebels have been using those heavy weapons to shoot downSyrian helicopters and fighter jets.
November 12th, 2012 : Why did Paula Broadwell think the CIA had taken prisoners in Benghazi?
In an Oct. 26 speech at the University of Denver, she said that Libyan militants had attacked the post to retrieve some fellow fighters who’d been taken prisoner at the nearby CIA annex. She also seems to suggest that Petraeus himself knew about it, implying that he may have been her source. Here’s the relevant passage from the speech, transcribed in full here by Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell.
Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.
The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this — they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in, in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.
The CIA is flatly denying this. “CIA adamant that Broadwell claims about agency holding prisoners at Benghazi are not true,” The Post’s Greg Miller tweeted. Fox News cites a single anonymous source saying that the CIA annex had prisoners at the time, and “multiple intelligence sources” as saying that the annex had at different times held prisoners.
November 14, 2012 : The Petraeus affair: A lot more than sex
The scandal surrounding the decorated four-star Army general who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan involves questions of national security, politics and even the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.
Petraeus, 60, resigned Friday after acknowledging he had an affair with a woman later identified as his biographer, Paula Broadwell, 40, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general’s leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
May 15h, 2013: CIA role in Benghazi underreported
To really understand the push-pull over the bungled talking points in the wake of the Benghazi attack, you have to understand the nature of the U.S. presence in that city.
Officially, the U.S. presence was a diplomatic compound under the State Department’s purview.
“The diplomatic facility in Benghazi would be closed until further notice,” then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced last October.
But in practice – and this is what so few people have focused on – the larger U.S. presence was in a secret outpost operated by the CIA.
About 30 people were evacuated from Benghazi the morning after the deadly attack last September 11; more than 20 of them were CIA employees.
Clearly the larger mission in Benghazi was covert.
May 20th, 2013: The Benghazi Scandal Grows
CIA director David Petraeus was surprised when he read the freshly rewritten talking points an aide had emailed him in the early afternoon of Saturday, September 15. One day earlier, analysts with the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis had drafted a set of unclassified talking points policymakers could use to discuss the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. But this new version — produced with input from senior Obama administration policymakers — was a shadow of the original.
The original CIA talking points had been blunt: The assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi was a terrorist attack conducted by a large group of Islamic extremists, including some with ties to al Qaeda.
These were strong claims. The CIA usually qualifies its assessments, providing policymakers a sense of whether the conclusions of its analysis are offered with “high confidence,” “moderate confidence,” or “low confidence.” That first draft signaled confidence, even certainty: “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.”
May 22nd, 2013 How Petraeus Turned the CIA into the Good Guys in Benghazi:
The CIA has been quite effective in limiting the public discussion of its role in Benghazi. The existence of the CIA annex — where two people died in the second round of attacks in September — was classified. It wasn’t clear till a month after the attacks that the Benghazi post was mostly CIA, that two-thirds of the people evacuated were agency employees. CNN’s Jake Tapper reports that the State Department strongly objected to the talking points because it “felt it was being blamed for bungling what it saw as largely a CIA operation in Benghazi.” And Tapper suggests the CIA was going CYA, too: ”Current and former U.S. government officials tell CNN that… Petraeus may have been reluctant to conclude it was a planned attack because that would have been acknowledging an intelligence failure.” There was a big debate within the CIA to even reveal that two Navy SEALs who died in Benghazi were CIA employees, and Petraeus didn’t attend their funerals.
At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.
Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.
Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.
At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.
At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.
So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.
August 13, 2013:Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack
Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings.
The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.
It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.
In exclusive communications obtained by CNN, one insider writes, “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well.”
Another says, “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”
(This post will add more information: check back for updates.)
The tensions between the grassroots and establishment Republicans are out in the open as two groups over the issue of primary challenges to incumbent GOP Senators.
The battle has been brewing for weeks and this past week, the NRSC began pulling out the stops.
As the New York Times lede says on November 1st:
In a warning shot to outside conservative groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week informed a prominent Republican advertising firm that it would not receive any contracts with the campaign committee because of its work with a group that targets incumbent Senate Republicans.
Even more striking, a senior official at the committee called individual Republican Senate campaigns and other party organizations this week and urged them not to hire the firm…
The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s power play is part of a larger effort among establishment Republicans after the recent government shutdown to seize control of the party from insurgent forces who want to push Republicans toward a more hard-line posture and aggressive brand of conservatism. The attempt to effectively blacklist the consulting firm illustrates the extent of the tensions between the establishment and the hard-liners.
And liberal news sites like Talking Points Memo are having a field day with quotes like
Mitch McConnell’s chief of staff — currently assigned as a senior staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee through the 2014 election — compared the Senate Conservatives Fund to a drunk making a ruckus at a bar.
“S.C.F. has been wandering around the country destroying the Republican Party like a drunk who tears up every bar they walk into,” Josh Holmes said according to The New York Times. “The difference this cycle is that they strolled into Mitch McConnell’s bar and he doesn’t throw you out, he locks the door.”
Which GOP Senators are being challenged?
Among those facing primary challenges are…
- Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)
- Thad Cochran (Mississippi)
- John Cornyn (Texas)
- Mike Enzi (Wyoming)
- Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
- Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
Friends, do not be discouraged by the shenanigans of D.C.’s permanent political class today. Be energized. We’re going to shake things up in 2014. Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let’s start with Kentucky – which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi – from sea to shining sea we will not give up. We’ve only just begun to fight.
October 21st: Business looks to challenge tea party in primaries
“The Senate Conservatives Fund, Heritage Action and FreedomWorks are really just eating the lunch of some of the normal business groups,” said Dan Mattoon, former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
While many heads of trade groups have been trying to navigate the new political reality in Washington, in some ways they are ill-equipped to battle more recently formed groups like Heritage Action For America and Senate Conservatives Fund that are focused on making Congress more conservative and holding Republican lawmakers accountable by ginning up the grass roots.
“Fundamentally, if the business community wants to be more engaged in the grass-roots politics, they have to have a permanent presence there,” Heritage Action’s Dan Holler said. “Arguably, there are local businesses at every level. They could be the conduit for that message. The problem is the policies big business groups are trying to sell don’t resonate outside of Washington.”–
The Cruz Factor
Complicating things is the fact that Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz is a vice chair of the NRSC.
December 15 2012: A tricky task: Ted Cruz as NRSC link to tea party
The Texas senator-elect’s decision to take a formal role at the National Republican Senatorial Committee places him squarely inside an organization many on the right view with suspicion, if not outright disdain.
His title will be vice chairman, but it could just as easily be ambassador — to the ideological grass-roots wing of the party, which helped propel Cruz’s long-shot bid over a sitting lieutenant governor this year.
On August 19th, Cruz and SFC founder Jim DeMint began their Defund Obamacare tour.
Days later, Cruz said he didn’t think the NRSC should be involved in primaries.
Cruz has been quiet publicly about what, if anything, he’s been doing behind the scenes for the committee. And in an interview earlier this month, he shed little new light on the matter. But he did make a couple of things clear: The committee shouldn’t meddle in primaries, but he very well might.
“In my view, primary elections should be determined by the voters of each state. So I don’t think the National Republican Senatorial Committee should be involved in primaries,” Cruz said in the interview.
In that August 13th article, they added a follow from
After the government shutdown, that wasn’t good enough for some of Cruz’s colleagues.
October 30th, 2013: Ted Cruz extends olive branch to GOP senators
Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won’t engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund’s hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races.
At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman conservative told his colleagues that he would not intervene in their 2014 primary fights or fundraise for the controversial outside group. Cruz added that the SCF’s decision to try to defeat sitting GOP senators in their primaries was its alone, according to several people familiar with the session.
One source said Cruz made clear to his colleagues at the Wednesday meeting that he would not associate himself with the group any longer. But a Cruz spokeswoman said the senator would still be involved with the group’s effort in “promoting conservative causes.”
The spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said Cruz reiterated to the GOP senators his previous statements that he wouldn’t get involved in their primary fights. At the meeting, Cruz pointed to a statement the SCF recently issued that neither him, Paul nor Lee was involved in its endorsement decisions, Frazier said.
“He’ll continue working with them to promote common conservative policies but not get involved in their endorsement or fundraising decisions,” Frazier said. “SCF’s organization is not just about primary politics but promoting conservative causes that Republicans across the spectrum can support.”
For more reading:
- AllahPundit at HotAir; War: NRSC blacklists ad firm because it helps Senate Conservatives Fund target Republicans
- The Hill: NRSC aims to blacklist conservative group’s ally
(Found other good articles? Please suggest links in comments.)