What We Know Now
This story could not have been written 14 months ago. Parts of it perhaps could have been exposed if people were paying more attention at the time. I’ll confess, I was not.
However, as I write in November, 2013 we know a good deal more about the September 11th attack on Benghazi than we did when it broke. Part of that information gap was intentional. I’ll show you there was a deliberate cover-up campaign by the Obama administration. I’ll show you that part of it was a deliberate campaign of omission and misinformation by media, especially CNN. Part of it is just the normal process of more information coming out over time.
The main motive of the cover-up by the Obama administration and the media was straightforward: to ensure a second Obama term.
When the temporary mission in Benghazi was attacked and four Americans killed, the 2012 presidential election was less than sixty days away.
Today, it’s acknowledged that the attack was planned in advance and carried out by Ansar Al Sharia, an Al Qaeda affiliate.
For example, a year after the attack the Washington Post ran an article titled U.S. officials identify extremist groups in Benghazi attack.
The article’s lead paragraph says:
U.S. counterterrorism officials have determined that several extremist groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, took part in last year’s attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other officials. They think the terrorist organizations selected the U.S. diplomatic outpost there as a potential target ahead of time.
The first official acknowledgement of that Benghazi was a planned attack by Al Qaeda appears to have come from Former CIA Director David Petraeus.
This admission came on Capitol Hill testimony on November 12, 2012–six days after the election victory of President Obama.
CNN reported that night Ex-CIA chief Petraeus testifies Benghazi attack was al Qaeda-linked terrorism.
The hearing was closed but New York Congressman Pete King spoke to reporters afterwards and said this conflicted with previous accounts.
King said Petraeus’ testimony differed from an earlier assessment the former CIA director gave lawmakers just days after the September 11 attack, which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“He (Petraeus) … stated that he thought all along he made it clear that there was significant terrorist involvement, and that is not my recollection of what he told us on September 14,” King said.
“The clear impression we were given (in September) was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration, and was not a terrorist attack,” he said.
Rep. King’s belief that the information supplied by the Obama administration has changed was correct.
That’s because the administration knew within hours that the Benghazi attack had been carried out with military precision by Al Qaeda. Not only did the Obama administration know but CNN had actually reported this information live on the night of the attack, pointing out the same details that Petraeus told Congress after the election was over.
Before I go over the shocking and indisputable timeline of events that proves the Obama administration and CNN covered-up the truth about Benghazi, it’s important to understand a little about the events of the night and how we know what we know.
In the days following the attack, the Obama Administration and CNN tried to paint the events in Benghazi that night as muddled and confusing. In official White House statements and news stories, they convinced the American public that nobody could really know what happened. They told the nation that uncovering the truth about Benghazi would be a long process.
Ambassador Susan Rice made five now-infamous appearances on Sunday morning talk shows five days after the attack on September 16, 2012. She repeated the same thing that she told Jake Tapper on ABC’s “This Week”:
Well, Jake, first of all, it’s important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed.
Ambassador Rice didn’t mention in the any of the five appearances what the Obama administration knew within hours: that the attacks were well organized and had been carried out by Ansar Al Sharia. With the election so close, they needed to run out the clock by muddling the facts.
Part of this cover-up involved not telling the public that they were actually many eyewitnesses at the Embassy that night.
Those eyewitnesses to the attack provided immediate testimony that was clear and consistent; Ansar Al Sharia blocked the roads around the mission and attacked with RPGs and rifles. No witness reported a demonstration like the one in Cairo earlier that day, because there was no such demonstration in Libya. In Benghazi, there was an attack.
Who were these witnesses?
First and foremost, there were the people stationed at the embassy that night. This included U.S. personnel as well as Libyan guards who worked for Blue Mountain Security or were part of the Quick Response force.
These guards and personnel not only knew what happened that night but they also were well aware of the growing public presence of Al Qaeda in Benghazi leading up to the attack.
The problem with many of these eyewitnesses is that they either can’t talk on the record or they are Arabic speaking Libyans who are hard for U.S. journalists to access.
The good news: there is one witness who has gone on the record who was part of mission operations, speaks English and Arabic and was willing to go on the record with a detailed account that included the fact that the attack was carried out by Al Sharia.
The bad news: that witness is Dylan Davies, who was the subject of controversy recently for his appearance on 60 Minutes.
So, let’s leave Mr. Davies aside for the moment.
There were other witnesses who saw the attack; bystanders who weren’t connected with the operation of the mission.
One of these witnesses was a man named Sofian Kadura, whose account of the attack was published the next day by France 24. I’ve found Mr. Kadura’s Facebook page and he’s currently living in Ontario, Canada.
The article with the statements of Sofian Kadura written by journalists Gaelle Faure and Segolène Malterre provides a great deal of insight on what actually happened that night in Benghazi.
For once thing, it confirms all the other reports about what we now know to be true: that the attack was by Ansar al Sharia, that roads were blocks and it was well organized.
Kadura, who is Muslim, said he was out with friends when they saw shooting at the mission:
…when we tried to get closer to the consulate, we realized that armed Islamist extremists had blocked off the streets. They had automatic rifles, RPGs, and big machine guns mounted on cars. It was obvious they were Islamists due to their long beards.
Mr. Kadura also reveals something that may shock many of people, especially conservatives, who have been critical of the Obama administration over the Benghazi issue; the YouTube trailer of the film The Innocence of Muslims may have been a co-factor in the attack by Ansar Al Sharia.
The issue of the Innocence of Muslims video is a complex one that I’ll discuss later.
While the motives of Ansar Al Sharia aren’t 100% clear, even today, what is clear is that 1) Ansar Al Sharia led the organized attack on the Benghazi mission 2) the Obama administration and CNN knew this on 9/11/12 and covered it up and 3) the cover-up involved ‘blaming the video’ by trying to conflate the attack in Libya with a large protest earlier that day in Cairo, Egypt.
There were eyewitnesses to what happened in Benghazi. As you’ll see in the next chapter, the Obama administration and CNN knew about them. The eyewitness stories are consistent with what General Petraeus finally admitted to Congress six days after the election.
The American people still haven’t heard from them all the eyewitness, in part because it would reveal what the Obama administration and CNN knew and when they knew it.
Before looking at the timeline, it’s also important to remember what President Obama’s claims had been about Al Qaeda during the 2012 elections. This issue is crucial because it shows why the cover-up was so important to the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Even as late as the third Presidential Debate on October 22nd, President Obama was claiming that Al Qaeda’s core leadership had been “decimated.”
In an article called CNN Fact Check: Is al Qaeda’s core decimated or is group growing?, the news network laid out Obama and Romney’s positions this way:
Obama: Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.
Romney: This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries, and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to America, long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism.
What did CNN conclude? CNN said:
Both claims are true.
Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been seriously weakened, but the affiliates remain active, particularly in Yemen and North Africa, where the threat to Western interests and plotting against the homeland remain strong.
Romney’s claim that al Qaeda is in 10 to 12 countries is in the ballpark, and the administration would seem to agree that poses an enormous threat.
You’ll note that CNN makes no mention of the attack on Benghazi in their Fact Check.
Now, imagine for a moment how this debate and the entire election would have been altered if CNN and the Obama administration told the truth as they knew it on the night of September 11th, 2012.
President Obama’s repeated claims that Al Qaeda had been decimated were proven false by the Benghazi attack, which the Obama administration and CNN both knew was carried out by Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Al Sharia.
Not only would revealing the truth about Benghazi have been a body blow to the Obama campaign, it also would have likely snuffed out Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
In fact, it’s the 2016 election dreams of Hillary Clinton that are still at stake with the Benghazi issue.
As I’m about to demonstrate, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton along with world famous news network CNN were personally, actively involved in hiding the truth from the American public about what really happened on that dark night in Benghazi. They did this by hiding information, failing to reveal what they knew to be true until after the election and outright lying.
Even more damning, the Obama administration intimidated the media, eyewitnesses and government officials as part of their cover-up. The Obama / Clinton political machine used the bully pulpit, the White House briefing room and outside groups like Media Matters for America to not just bury the story but to smear and insult anyone trying to find the truth. They turned the death of four Americans into a partisan political issue and called it a phony scandal, a hoax and right-wing conspiracy theory.
In order to keep and preserve political power, Obama and Clinton ran roughshod over the facts as they knew them on the night of attack, used a scorched earth strategy against truth-tellers and with the direct help of CNN managed to win the 2012 election.
And the whole time, they knew the truth. They knew the truth. They knew.
The truth about Benghazi is that the cover-up is the biggest crime of all.
That’s my contention. Now, let me prove it to you.
The Timeline 9/11 – 9/12, 2012
I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have. (Cheers, applause.) We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan and in 2014, our longest war will be over. (Cheers, applause.) A new tower rises above the New York skyline, Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead. (Cheers, applause.)
Barack Obama DNC Acceptance Speech, September 6th, 2012
We have to start our Benghazi cover-up timeline somewhere. I choose the morning on September 11th, 2012.
This choice of 9/11/12 as a starting point isn’t the only option in telling this story. The attack on the mission didn’t happen in a vacuum. A coherent understanding of the Benghazi attack must include some discussion of events that preceded the attack such as The Arab Spring, the war in Libya, the Syrian conflict, the role of the Obama administration in the Istanbul Process, and the role that the CIA played.
My focus is on the cover-up, however, so Septemeber 11th, 2012 is where we begin. It’s point from which I believe we can most clearly see what came both before and after.
I also choose to begin on that Tuesday morning because I don’t want to lose the skeptical or critical reader. I’m making a serious accusation: that the Obama administration and CNN deliberately misled the public about Benghazi for political purposes. I’m aware that if I spend too much time on other topics without proving that case, some readers will head for the exits.
By the end of this chapter, I think the case that the Obama administration and CNN were engaged in a monumental cover-up will be proven.
In a couple of paragraphs, here’s what you need to know right now for some of the Benghazi timeline’s twists and turns to make sense.
Many of the official statements of the Obama administration about what they term the ‘disgusting and reprehensible’ film The Innocence of Muslims only make sense in the context of the administration’s promotion of United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. This was an effort that had been led by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a 57 nation alliance at the U.N. who describe themselves as ‘the collective voice of the Muslim world.’
Resolution 16/18 had the stated goal of ‘Combating Intolerance, Discrimination, and Violence Based on Religion or Belief.’ Critics of 16/18, such as Abigail Esman writing in Forbes, called it an ‘anti-free speech measure’ designed to stifle criticism of Islam. Passage of 16/18 was a priority for Obama/ Clinton State Department. Mrs. Clinton herself gave the closing remarks at the first meeting of the “Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or Belief” hosted by the U.S. and held in Washington at the State Department on December 13th, 2011. Without debating the merits of resolution 16/18, it was a clear influence on statements by the White House surrounding the Benghazi attacks.
The film The Innocence of Muslims is exactly the sort of work that Resolution 16/18 was meant to combat. It’s openly, vehemently critical of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, accusing him of being, among other things, a pedophile. The crudely made film was produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka Sam Bacile, a Coptic Christian with a criminal background who was targeted and arrested shortly after September 11th. It was directed by the B-Movie filmmaker whose previous works include The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.
The Innocence of Muslims played to a couple of empty screenings in Hollywood in June, 2012 before being posted on YouTube on July 2nd by ‘Sam Bacile.’ The film was reported to have been promoted to journalists on July 6th by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American critic of Islam. It’s believed a version of the trailer translated into Arabic was uploaded to YouTube and word began to spread.
There was rioting in a number of Muslim countries over the film in the next few weeks. Demonstrations in Pakistan on September 21st left fifteen people dead, for example.
It should be noted that Egypt–a member of the OIC that supposedly stands against “Discrimination, and Violence Based on Religion or Belief”–eventually sentenced The Innocence of Muslims filmmakers to death in absentia.
In Egypt, a protest over the film was planned for September 11th, 2012. Let’s begin the timeline.
All times are EDT.
9/11, 6am : The U.S. Embassy In Cario Tweets Condemnation Of Efforts To “Hurt The Religious Feelings of Muslims”
Before the protest started in Egypt, the official @USEmbassyCairo Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo tweeted:
We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.
This tweet immediately caught the eye and ire of consecrative-leaning sites like Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy.com. They documented an exchange that shows Resolution 16/18 inspired logic behind the Embassy’s statement. Twitter user Eric Mertz asked the Cairo Embassy account:
Why are you condemning the 1st amendment rights of US Citizens? Do you have any idea how creepy that is?
And the Cairo Embassy replied:
we’re not condemning rights, we’re criticizing specific statements, a right guaranteed by freedom of expression
The Cairo Embassy also released a longer statement that contained a number of talking points that would be repeated in the following days.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
These statements came before the Egyptian protest began.
That night, Twitchy also documented how the original tweet had been deleted.
9/11 : 11am — Crowd begins to gather outside U.S. Embassy In Cairo
At around 5pm local time, the planned protest begins at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. The crowd is later estimated to be around 1,000 people.
Video from the protest shown that night on CNN showed a large crowd chanting and yelling. One protestor wore a Guy Fawkes mask.
The Egyptian protest is an actual protest as contrasted with what would happen hours later in Benghazi, which was an attack. However, the images coming back from Egypt would create an image of ‘protest’ in minds of many; something the Obama administration would play upon in their subsequent cover-up.
9/11 4:47 pm: Tweet from @USEmbassyCairo:
As Spokesperson Nuland said, protestors breached our wall and took down flag. Thanks for your concern and kind wishes.
One puzzling thing: despite the fact that a large protest was underway at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo where protestors breached the Embassy, there’s no indication that extra security was called for in Benghazi or anywhere else.
Meanwhile, in Libya…
That morning at the temporary mission in Benghazi someone dressed in a police uniform was taking photos.
Sean Smith, who would be killed in the attack, posted a message to video gaming friends of his that day saying:
assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures
Smith was actually online with his friends when he suddenly said GUNFIRE and disconnected.
This is significant. Smith didn’t tell his friends PROTESTORS OUTSIDE or make any reference to a protest. Simply “GUNFIRE” and then he vanished.
Despite the protests in Egypt and man taking photos, no extra security precautions were taken.
At 9:42 pm local time, the assault on the temporary mission in Benghazi began.
There’s gunfire and Ambassador Stevens calls Greg Hicks in Tripoli to say they are under attack. There is no discussion of an Egyptian style protest because there was no such protest.
9/11 3:59 PM Washington D.C. : The Department of Defense orders a surveillance drone to move over Benghazi mission.
9/11 4:54 PM State Department email says firing has stopped.
9/11 8:06pm State Department email: Ansar Al Sharia has claimed responsibility for Benghazi attack.
The third email is the smoking gun: the administration was told that it was Ansar Al Sharia behind the attack. There’s a written record of it.
However, let’s go beyond that email for moment. We also know today that, in fact, Ansar Al Sharia WAS behind the attack.
Not only was Ansar Al Sharia behind the attack but we know that it was clear to people on the ground in Benghazi that it was Ansar Al Sharia.
As eyewitness Sofian Kadura said in a report that was published just hours after the attack on France24.com:
The Islamists I talked to last night belong to a brigade affiliated with the radical Islamist group Ansar Al-Sharia…
The Obama administration suddenly had a real public relations problem on their hands; Obama had claimed that Al Qaeda was decimated yet our embassy had been been attacked by them.
Worse, there were numerous eyewitnesses who could tell this damaging truth. There wasn’t a great mystery. Al Sharia had blocked off the roads with military vehicles then attacked the mission in Benghazi with RPGs and automatic rifles.
Were there demonstrators? Not in the same sense there were demonstrators in Egypt earlier in the day. As Sofian Kadura asked one of the Al Sharia brigade:
…did you really think it was a good idea to show up to ‘protest’ with RPGs and automatic rifles?
By 6:07pm, the internal email had gone out to saying that Al Sharia was behind the attacks. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus and others in the administration all knew it.
By 9:00pm, anyone watching CNN would know it, too.
But by 10:00pm, the truth about Benghazi would vanish until after the election.
9/11 8pm-9pm : Anderson Cooper’s CNN show AC360 reveals the truth about Benghazi.
On the night of September 11th, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had the TV news scoop of the decade. While the firefight in Benghazi was still going on, his show AC360 correctly reported the details of who was behind the attack and how it unfolded.
After a report on the Egyptian protests, Cooper brought CNN Producer Jomana Karadsheh on via audio from Tripoli, Libya. At the time, there was only one confirmed death in Benghazi. Cooper asked her what the situation was in Libya and she told him:
Well Anderson, according to the eyewitness up to about an hour ago he describes the situation there as a frontline. Libyan security forces were engaged in heavy clashes with members of an armed group; that is Ansar Al Sharia, that is a radical militant group that is based in eastern Libya. He also reported rocket propelled grenades hitting the consulate building. Libyan army troops were deployed. Roads were blocked off by military vehicles.
As Jomana Karadsheh spoke about how the consulate had been taken over and looted, eerie video credited to Reuters/Libya showed the scattered groups of fighters with heavy weapons. They looked nothing like the earlier footage of protestors in Egypt. They looked like terrorists.
Elvis Costello once said ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ In other words, the right way to experience music is to hear it.
And so it is with this Anderson Cooper segment that exposed the truth about Libya months before the Obama administration would admit the truth.
I can write a description of the segment but what you should do now is stop reading this and watch the segment for yourself.
Then, you might do what I did when I first saw it and watch it again. It’s not often you can see a buried story.
Then you may want to sit quietly and consider that you’ve just seen. You might want to consider a few questions, such as:
1) On the night of the attack-while Ty Woods and Glen Doherty were still alive-White House and State Department knew that Al Sharia was behind the attack. It was reported live on Anderson Cooper’s show. Why did it take David Petraeus until November 12th to admit it to Congress, behind closed doors?
2) Since Anderson Cooper and Jomana Karadsheh had reported the story, why didn’t they bring up this eyewitness testimony ever again?
3) Who were the eyewitness? Is it one of the people who was at mission that night like Dave Ubben, who is now apparently still at Walter Reed hospital? Was it Greg Hicks, from Tripoli?
One of Anderson Cooper’s slogans is ‘keeping them honest.’ It’s time for Mr. Cooper to be honest.
An honest journalist who’d been told in no uncertain terms by a producer on live television that the people who attacked the Benghazi mission were the Al Qaeda connected Al Sharia brigade would have questioned the White House version of the story.
An honest journalist would have kept pursuing the lead and brought the producer back on the show to get answers.
An honest journalist would have pursued the truth, even if the consequences of telling the truth meant the possible election of a candidate you didn’t favor.
Anderson Cooper did none of these things.
So, after he and CNN producer Jomana Karadsheh reported the truth about Benghazi on September 11th, did they shout it from the rooftops on September 12th?
Luckily, we don’t need to speculate.
CNN keeps a nice archive of the contents of Mr. Cooper’s AC360 shows. We need only look at them to see that Anderson Cooper used the death of four Americans at the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists for a segment on September 12th…to attack Mitt Romney.
Cooper did a ‘Keeping Them Honest’ segment on September 12th titled “Libya attack now campaign controversy.” The description on the AC360 website reads:
Mitt Romney is accusing the White House of apologizing to the mob that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.
Another segment on the September 12th show was called “The timing of Romney’s Libya criticism.” It’s described as:
Ari Fleischer and Cornell Belcher debate Mitt Romney’s swift reaction after the attacks in Libya.
Lest you think he was being unfair, Anderson Cooper did have a special guest on to defend Mitt Romney; Senator John McCain. According the AC360 website:
McCain said he hasn’t paid much attention to the back-and-forth, but he told Anderson that he shares Romney’s argument that “this president is weak in his leadership.”
It’s unknown whether Sen. McCain wasn’t “paying much attention’ because he was distracted by video poker, as McCain was doing during a hearing on whether to go to war with Syria earlier this year.
While Anderson Cooper dropped the truth about Benghazi like it was hot, what about CNN producer Jomana Karadsheh — the woman who actually reported the story? Is there any evidence of a political bias in her past?
There is, actually.
Karadsheh wasn’t always a CNN producer. In 2006, she was working in the Middle East for Fox News. That’s right; Fox News, the outlet that the left reviles and hates.
However, Karadsheh left Fox News in a very public way that actually reveals a good deal about her own political bias.
Two weeks ago, two producers working for Fox News in Amman Jordan resigned in protest of the network’s coverage. In their resignation letter, Serene Sabbagh and Jomana Karadsheh wrote “We can no longer work with a news organization that claims to be fair and balanced when you are so far from that.” They went on to write “Not only are you an instrument of the Bush White House, and Israeli propaganda, you are war mongers with no sense of decency, nor professionalism.”
Given that statement, I’d wager it’s possible Jomana Karadsheh might not be someone who’d want Mitt Romney in the White House.
Karadsheh is credited on a few other stories that mention Ansar Al Sharia on the CNN site, including some that actually lay out what happened.
For example, a September 24, 2012 story titled Clinton praises Libya for its move to rein in militias that lists Karadsheh as co-author says:
Ansar al Sharia is blamed for organizing the protest outside the consulate against an inflammatory video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed and that may have served as a cover for heavily armed militants to launch their attack on the complex. Libyan authorities have detained eight people including Ansar al Sharia members, Libya’s prime minister said last week, though he added that not all the suspected attackers came from one specific group.
This admission comes in the sixth paragraph of the story.
When Anderson Copper’s CNN show AC360 ends on the night of September 11th, 2012 it’s 9pm in Washington D.C. The show has just reported on live TV that Ansar Al Sharia had launched the attack on the mission in Benghazi using RPGs and that they’d blocked off the roads.
By 9pm in Washington, an internal email had already been sent three hours earlier to the White House, CIA, State Department officials and others stating that the attack on Benghazi was carried out by Ansar Al Sharia.
It’s 9pm in Washington but it’s 3am on Sepetember 12th in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith are dead. There’s a firefight going on outside the CIA annex. Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods are still alive.
9/11 10:08pm : Statement Department Issues Statement By Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Here is the state by Sec. Clinton in full.
It mentions ‘inflammatory material posted on the Internet.’
It does not mention Ansar Al Sharia or a terrorist attack on the mission.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.
It’s 10:08pm in Washington and it’s 4:08 AM in Benghazi. Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods are now dead, killed in a mortar attack on the CIA Annex building.
Libyan officials told the Reuters news agency about the attack the that killed Wood and Doherty. It’s reasonable to assume that Libyan gave the White House and State Department this same info.
If U.S. government officials weren’t given this information, they could have read about the next day in a short article titled Two killed as U.S. troops ambushed en route to rescue besieged diplomats in Benghazi
The article quotes a Libyan commander who was a direct eyewitness to the attack and says he believes it was planned:
Captain Fathi al-Obeidi, commander of a special Libyan operations unit, said his men and an eight-man U.S. force came under attack after American survivors had left the blazing consulate and moved to an ostensibly secret location in an isolated villa. The villa came under an intense and highly accurate mortar barrage.
“I really believe that this attack was planned,” he said. “The accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any regular revolutionaries.”
11:42pm 9/11 : WTVR Website Reports Attack Was By Ansar Al Sharia
Just before midnight, a Richmond CBS affiliate posted an article credited to Raymond Hawkes. It says it was based on reporting by, among other people, Jomana Karadsheh-the producer who had the scoop on the Anderson Cooper show earlier in the evening. The article stated:
In Libya, witnesses say members of a radical Islamist group called Ansar al-Sharia protested near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where NATO jets established no-fly zones last year to blunt ground attacks from then Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
The article correctly identifies Ansar Al Sharia, although it says they were ‘protesting.’ As we’ve shown, the protests consisted of an attack with heavy weapons after military vehicles closed off the roads.
Even if the nature of the ‘protest’ was unclear to a Virginia reporter, the fact that a known Al Qaeda affiliate was behind it is significant.
Let’s recap what the Obama administration knew by midnight, Washington D.C. time.
The following times are all Washington, D.C. time:
- By 11am, a planned protest over the film The Innocence of Muslims started in Cairo, Egypt.
- By 1:30pm in Egypt, a crowd of at least 1,000 had gathered, the embassy in Cairo had been breached and American flag was replaced with a black Al Qaeda style flag.
- At about 3:40pm, the attack on the Benghazi mission begins. Ambassador Stevens immediately calls Greg Hicks and says they are ‘under attack.’ Sean Smith is playing a video game with friends overseas, says GUNFIRE and then disconnects.
- At around 4pm, a drone is put in position for over the mission in Benghazi
- By 6:15pm, there have been a number of meetings including the President and other top officials. Three emails have gone out from the State Department, including one saying that the attack on Benghazi was by known Al Qaeda affiliate group Ansar Al Sharia.
- By 9:00, it’s been reported on AC360 that Ansar Al-Sharia had attacked the mission with RPGs and automatic weapons.
Keep all of this in mind when you read the two statements issued the following morning by Secretary Clinton and President Barack Obama.
Morning of 9/12 : Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya
Sec. Clinton does not mention Ansar Al Sharia or use the words terror or terrorism.
Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.
This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost.
All over the world, every day, America’s diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values, because they believe that the United States must be a force for peace and progress in the world, that these aspirations are worth striving and sacrificing for. Alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation.
In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn.
Chris Stevens fell in love with the Middle East as a young Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Morocco. He joined the Foreign Service, learned languages, won friends for America in distant places, and made other people’s hopes his own.
In the early days of the Libyan revolution, I asked Chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. He arrived on a cargo ship in the port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya’s revolutionaries. He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya. The world needs more Chris Stevenses. I spoke with his sister, Ann, this morning, and told her that he will be remembered as a hero by many nations.
Sean Smith was an Air Force veteran. He spent 10 years as an information management officer in the State Department, he was posted at The Hague, and was in Libya on a brief temporary assignment. He was a husband to his wife Heather, with whom I spoke this morning. He was a father to two young children, Samantha and Nathan. They will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to our country, service that took him from Pretoria to Baghdad, and finally to Benghazi.
The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary, and we and the people of Libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. This is not easy. Today, many Americans are asking – indeed, I asked myself – how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.
But we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris’ body to the hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last night, when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.
The friendship between our countries, borne out of shared struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that, nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought to justice. We are working closely with the Libyan authorities to move swiftly and surely. We are also working with partners around the world to safeguard other American embassies, consulates, and citizens.
There will be more time later to reflect, but today, we have work to do. There is no higher priority than protecting our men and women wherever they serve. We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear – there is no justification for this, none. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.
It is especially difficult that this happened on September 11th. It’s an anniversary that means a great deal to all Americans. Every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished, that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues. But September 11th means even more than that. It is a day on which we remember thousands of American heroes, the bonds that connect all Americans, wherever we are on this Earth, and the values that see us through every storm. And now it is a day on which we will remember Sean, Chris, and their colleagues.
May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Morning of 9/12 : Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya
Pres. Obama does not mention Ansar Al Sharia or refer specifically to the attack on Benghazi as terrorism.
Good morning. Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation. Often, they are away from their families. Sometimes, they brave great danger.
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.
Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya. Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.
It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi. With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya. When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.
Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on. I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.
We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.
Thank you. May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.
Understanding the “Ace In The Hole” phrases buried in the Clinton and Obama statements.
The Obama administration and especially the Obama Presidential Campaign found itself in a difficult position on the morning of September 12th. Two U.S. embassies had been attacked on the anniversary of 9/11. An Al Qaeda flag had been flown over the Egyptian embassy. Four Americans– including the U.S. Ambassador–were dead in Libya. The temporary mission was a smoking ruin. A secret CIA outpost had been exposed and destroyed. The attackers in Benghazi were organized Al Qaeda terrorists.
And six days earlier at his speech closing out the Democratic National Convention, President Obama had told the country “Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.”
This was a political nightmare.
The Obama administration must have known that they could only hold back the truth for so long. There were too many eyewitnesses. Too many who knew the truth.
I believe it’s clear that the Obama administration employed a brilliant strategy. The 9/12 statements by both Pres. Obama and Sec. Clinton each contain an ‘Ace In The Hole’; an ambiguous phrase buried in their statements, waiting to be brought out at the right time.
This would allow them to create confusion in the American public’s mind about what had really happened. Through omission and commission, the Obama administration could cover-up the truth that they knew about Al Sharia terrorists attacking the Benghazi embassy in an organized operation.
However, when the truth came out–hopefully after the November elections–Obama and Clinton could play their Ace In The Hola to prove that they’d been honest the entire time about the terrorist attack.
The entire “Ace In The Hole” strategy (my phrase, by the way) would sound too risky and absurd if it weren’t exactly what happened.
It was a calculation made with a politician’s brain and a lawyer’s heart. Get everybody confused about the facts for as long as possible. If your political enemies start to catch on to the truth, deride them as ‘playing politics’ and call them conspiracy theorists. Your political friends will go along with your Ace In The Hole argument and provide enough cover to squeak by. And if you’re a Democrat, your political friends include most of the media. By the time you have to admit the truth, most of American public won’t know what to think and will be sick of the whole thing. Your friends will say it’s time to move on and your enemies will be left shaking their fists. For bonus points, point to the fist shakers and mock them.
That was apparently the strategy. And it worked.
Let’s look at the Ace In The Whole phrases and see how and when they were played.
We’ll start with Hillary Clinton’s 9/12 statement. Her Ace is comes at the beginning, where she says:
Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together.
Sec. Clinton’s Ace In The Hole is “Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound.”
“Heavily armed militants” is completely ambiguous. Does that apply to Ansar Al Sharia? Sure, it could. Clinton never mentions them, though. Could it apply to protestors who got out of control, as the Administration would say directly and indirectly for the next several weeks? Sure, could be!
Lest you think I’m cooking up an elaborate fantasy about Clintonian parsing, let’s look at Hillary Clinton playing her Ace. She slapped it down on the table in front of Republican Senator Ron Johnson in January, 2013. Here’s a verbatim transcript. Sec. Clinton begins in her opening remarks, where she says:
The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound. I vowed to bring them to justice, and I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.
In his questioning, Sen. Johnson starts to hone in on a key question: why did the Obama administration say for weeks that there was a protest when there were eyewitnesses who could have told them that there was no such protest. Clinton–who knew within hours that Ansar Al Sharia had launched the attack–is frustrated and evasive.
When you read the ARB, it strikes me as how certain the people were that the attack started at 9:40 Benghazi time. When was the first time you spoke, or have you ever spoken to the returnees, the evacuees? Did you personally speak to those folks?
CLINTON: I have spoken to one of them, but I waited until the ARB had done its investigation because I did not want there to be anybody raising and issue that I had spoken to anyone before the ARB had conducted its investigation.
JOHNSON: How many people were evacuated from Libya?
CLINTON: Well, the numbers are a little bit hard to pin down because of our other friends.
CLINTON: Approximately 25 – 30.
JOHNSON: Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterward?
CLINTON: There was discussion going on afterward, but once the investigation started the FBI spoke to them before we spoke to them. And so other than our people in Tripoli, which I think you’re talking about Washington, right?
JOHNSON: Yes. The point I’m making is a very simple phone call to these individuals, I think, would have ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this. I mean this attack started at 9:40PM Benghazi time and it was an assault. And I appreciate the fact that called it an assault.
And there is Johnson’s one big slip. “And I appreciate the fact that called it an assault.”
Johnson just bought into Hillary’s bluff.
Johnson clearly has her frazzled though. The exchange comes to a head in Clinton’s now famous and incoherent rant:
But I’m going back to Ambassador Rice, five days later going to the Sunday shows and what I would say pruposefully misleading the American public.
CLINTON: Well, since -
JOHNSON: Why wasn’t that known? And again I appreciate the fact that the transparency of this hearing. But why weren’t we transparent at that point in time?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, Senator, I would say that once the assault happened and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was number one taking care of their injuries. As I said I still have a DS agent at Walter Reed seriously injured. Getting them into Frankfurt Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over immediately to start talking to them – we did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not I think this is accurate, sir, I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the IC talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows.
And, you know, I just want to say that people have accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of misleading Americans. I can say, trying to be in the middle of this and understanding what was going on, nothing could be further from the truth.
Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren’t reached initially? And I appreciate -
JOHNSON: Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn’t have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? I mean that was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained.
CLINTON: Well, Senator -
JOHNSON: Within hours if not days.
CLINTON: Senator, I – when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is itnerfere with any other process going on.
JOHNSON: I realize that’s a good excuse. CLINTON: Number two, well, no it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about and the classified ARB, because even today there are questions being raised.
Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people, but what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still -
JOHNSON: No, no. Again. We were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something spread out of that – an assault sprang out of that. And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact -
JOHNSON: And the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the-the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The I.C. has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out.
It’s good to have friends in the media. MSNBC’s take on the exchange and Clinton’s “What difference, at this point, does it make?” outburst?
More so than even most of his colleagues, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is not a fan of doing his homework. Occasionally, this causes the far-right senator some embarrassment – and this morning offered a classic example.
At a Senate hearing on the Benghazi attack, Johnson clearly had a political goal, hoping to use the discussion to score cheap points by focusing on the intelligence community’s preliminary talking points from mid-September. For the senator, the fact that some of the early details were incorrect is still critically important. For Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Johnson’s pettiness is annoying.
Hillary Clinton has never faced serious scrutiny over her implication that invoking the phrase ‘heavily armed militants’ was tantamount to admitting the truth as the administration knew it about the Al Sharia terrorist attack. Clinton’s most challenging questioning at that hearing came from Sen. Ron Johnson and even he granted her the premise that’d she’d mentioned it.
Nobody has asked Hillary Clinton, “When were you first told that Ansar Al Sharia had attacked the Benghazi embassy?”
We’ve seen the most likely answer would be at 6:07pm on September 11th. It is possible she knew sooner but we have written confirmation the email stating it as a fact went out at that time.
Nobody has asked Hillary Clinton, “When you used the phrase ‘heavily armed militants’ in your statement on Septemeber 12th, were you making a reference to the group you knew at that time to be Ansar Al Sharia?”
As I’ve said, this was a brilliant strategy. Clinton effectively gave herself plausible deniability. Hillary Clinton was able to have it both ways. She gave a statement that didn’t tip off America that the President’s claim of Al Qaeda being ‘decimated’ had been proven false in a hail of gun and grenade fire. Then months later in front of a Senate committee she trotted out her statement as proof that there was no cover-up at all.
However, this wasn’t the most audacious use of the Ace In The Hole strategy. That honor goes to the President himself, along with the team at CNN.
Clinton herself told us what Barack Obama’s Ace was when she told the Senate Committee:
The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound. I vowed to bring them to justice, and I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.
The President’s Ace phrase was ‘an act of terror.’
He’d played it on live television in front of millions of Americans in his second debate with Mitt Romney, where CNN host Candy Crowley was moderator.
It was American history’s most blatant case of the media colluding openly to help one person win the presidency.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher for the second Presidential debate. In his quick rise to power, President Obama had been deified by the media and even praised by his opponents for his speaking skills. Yet, he’d been trounced in his first debate with Mitt Romney.
Left leaning Slate.com’s headline was Pundits Agree: Romney Wins Round One—and It Wasn’t Even Close.
Leftist British newspaper The Guardian summed it up Mitt Romney comes out on top as Obama stumbles in first debate.
The Pew Research Center would say days later, Romney’s Strong Debate Performance Erases Obama’s Lead
For the Democrat faithful, it was unthinkable. It was Barry Bonds losing his bat speed. It was Gandalf stripped of his magic. It was Austin Powers with no mojo.
Time for the Ace In The Hole.
For over two months, the Obama administration had engaged in a deliberate attempt to keep the truth from the American people about Benghazi. They’d done it through surrogates like Jay Carney and Susan Rice, but Barack Obama himself had lied to the public a number of times.
As Senator John McCain said to Hillary Clinton in the January Senate committee:
September the 12th, he made a reference to acts of terror, September 12th on “60 Minutes,” “too early to know”; September 20th on Univision, “We’re still doing an investigation”; September 24th on “The View”, “We’re still doing an investigation.”
The president of the United States as late as September 24th, two weeks later, did not acknowledge that this was an act of terror conducted by people who were at least somehow connected to the Al Qaeda.
As usual, Senator McCain was actually going easy on President Obama.
Nobody could have predicted to lengths that President Obama would go to win the second debate. Despite weeks of obfuscation, chicanery and outright lies about Benghazi, the President would have CNN’s Candy Crowley play his Ace for him. Not only that, the President would speak to Crowley as though she were a low level employee. Not only THAT, but his wife Michelle Obama would actually violate debate rules agains applause while Mitt Romney was triple-teamed on the Benghazi issue.
Let’s go to the transcript:
QUESTION: We were sitting around, talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans.
Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?
OBAMA: Well, let me first of all talk about our diplomats, because they serve all around the world and do an incredible job in a very dangerous situation. And these aren’t just representatives of the United States, they are my representatives. I send them there, oftentimes into harm’s way. I know these folks and I know their families. So nobody is more concerned about their safety and security than I am.
So as soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team and I gave them three instructions.
Number one, beef up our security and procedures, not just in Libya, but at every embassy and consulate in the region.
Number two, investigate exactly what happened, regardless of where the facts lead us, to make sure folks are held accountable and it doesn’t happen again.
And number three, we are going to find out who did this and we’re going to hunt them down, because one of the things that I’ve said throughout my presidency is when folks mess with Americans, we go after them.
OBAMA: Now Governor Romney had a very different response. While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release, trying to make political points, and that’s not how a commander in chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue. Certainly not right when it’s happening. And people — not everybody agrees with some of the decisions I’ve made. But when it comes to our national security, I mean what I say. I said I’d end the war in Libya — in — in Iraq, and I did.
I said that we’d go after al-Qaeda and bin Laden, we have. I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan, and start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security, that’s what I’m doing. And when it comes to this issue, when I say that we are going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable. And I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home. You know that I mean what I say.
CROWLEY: Mr. President, I’m going to move us along. Governor?
ROMNEY: Thank you Kerry for your question, it’s an important one. And — and I — I think the president just said correctly that the buck does stop at his desk and — and he takes responsibility for — for that — for the failure in providing those security resources, and — and those terrible things may well happen from time to time. I — I’m — I feel very deeply sympathetic for the families of those who lost loved ones. And today there’s a memorial service for one of those that was lost in this tragedy. We — we think of their families and care for them deeply. There were other issues associated with this — with this tragedy. There were many days that passed before we knew whether this was a spontaneous demonstration, or actually whether it was a terrorist attack.
ROMNEY: And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people. Whether there was some misleading, or instead whether we just didn’t know what happened, you have to ask yourself why didn’t we know five days later when the ambassador to the United Nations went on TV to say that this was a demonstration. How could we have not known?
But I find more troubling than this, that on — on the day following the assassination of the United States ambassador, the first time that’s happened since 1979, when — when we have four Americans killed there, when apparently we didn’t know what happened, that the president, the day after that happened, flies to Las Vegas for a political fund-raiser, then the next day to Colorado for another event, other political event.
I think these — these actions taken by a president and a leader have symbolic significance and perhaps even material significance in that you’d hope that during that time we could call in the people who were actually eyewitnesses. We’ve read their accounts now about what happened. It was very clear this was not a demonstration. This was an attack by terrorists.
And this calls into question the president’s whole policy in the Middle East. Look what’s happening in Syria, in Egypt, now in Libya. Consider the distance between ourselves and — and Israel, the president said that — that he was going to put daylight between us and Israel.
We have Iran four years closer to a nuclear bomb. Syria — Syria’s not just a tragedy of 30,000 civilians being killed by a military, but also a strategic — strategically significant player for America.
The president’s policies throughout the Middle East began with an apology tour and — and — and pursue a strategy of leading from behind, and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes.
CROWLEY: Because we’re — we’re closing in, I want to still get a lot of people in. I want to ask you something, Mr. President, and then have the governor just quickly.
Your secretary of state, as I’m sure you know, has said that she takes full responsibility for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Does the buck stop with your secretary of state as far as what went on here?
OBAMA: Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I’m the president and I’m always responsible, and that’s why nobody’s more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I do.
The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.
And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.
And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president, that’s not what I do as Commander in Chief.
CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to…
ROMNEY: Yes, I — I…
CROWLEY: … quickly to this please.
ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That’s what I said.
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.
It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.
CROWLEY: It did.
ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And to suggest — am I incorrect in that regard, on Sunday, the — your secretary –
ROMNEY: Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how –
OBAMA: Candy, I’m –
ROMNEY: — this was a spontaneous –
CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me –
OBAMA: I’m happy to have a longer conversation –
CROWLEY: I know you –
OBAMA: — about foreign policy.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. But I want to — I want to move you on and also –
OBAMA: OK. I’m happy to do that, too.
CROWLEY: — the transcripts and –
OBAMA: I just want to make sure that –
CROWLEY: — figure out what we –
OBAMA: — all of these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get some of their questions answered.
CROWLEY: Because what I — what I want to do, Mr. President, stand there a second, because I want to introduce you to Nina Gonzalez, who brought up a question that we hear a lot, both over the Internet and from this crowd.
Now, that is audacity.
Copyright 2013, Lee Stranahan
for more info: LeeStranahan.com
Although neither the statement by President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned Ansar Al Sharia, at least one other internal email that day did. The September 12th email came from Beth Jones, the Assistant Security for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department and was sent to Ambassador Susan Rice and a number of other people in State Department, although not Hillary Clinton.
The existence of this email wasn’t made public until May of 2013, however. It came up in sworn testimony by Greg Hicks, the former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya who was also CC’d on the email. South Carolina Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy claimed the email said:
I spoke to the Libyan Ambassador and emphasized the importance of Libyan leaders continuing to make strong statements. When he said that his government suspected that former Qaddafi regime elements carried out the attacks, I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Shariah is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.
Welcome to another controversy that proves the cover-up.
This was but news. It was another indication that Hillary Clinton’s State Department knew full well that the attack on the mission was carried out by Ansar Al Sharia. It also showed that Ambassador Rice knew it at least three days before her five Sunday Morning Talk show appearances.
The news was so big it made the New York Times. Of course, the New York Times is the New York Times, so the angle wasn’t the exposé of the Benghazi cover-up one might hope for.
Benghazi Debate Focuses on Interpretation of Early E-Mail on Attackers was the yawn inducing headline. The focus was on State Department pushback about the email revelation. You see, Congressman Gowdy had quoted the email incorrectly and the State Department had to correct this huge error.
The email did not, in fact, say “I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Shariah is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”
It actually read, “I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Shariah is affiliated with Islamic extremists.”
If you missed it, Gowdy had used the word ‘terrorists’ instead of what the email said, which was ‘extremists.’ The Times picks up the story:
The distinction is important, administration officials said, because while the White House did not initially characterize the attack as terrorism, senior officials, including Ambassador Susan E. Rice, acknowledged the possibility that extremists had been involved in the assault.
Mr. Gowdy and other Republicans dismissed that as a distinction without a difference, saying that the e-mail’s significance was in its timing — the day after the attack — and in its blunt description of what happened.
I am not the New York Times, which allows me to tell the truth clearly.
Gowdy is right and the unnamed State Department officials are part of the Benghazi cover-up.
Yes, Gowdy quoted the email incorrectly. After being informed of the error, he corrected it when he quoted the email later.
However, when the September 12th email went out, everyone knew that Ansar Al Sharia didn’t just hold extreme views. They knew that they had planned and executed the assault on the Benghazi missions and CIA annex that had left four Americans dead. Ansar Al Sharia had committed a terrorist act.
The fact that Beth Jones hadn’t used the word ‘terrorists’ to describe Ansar Al Sharia in her email isn’t a mark in the State Department’s favor. The fact that the State Department chose to push back over a meaningless error shows the sort of Clintonian word parsing that characterizes the entire cover-up.
This is a point that bears repeating : to understand the Benghazi cover-up, it’s imperative to understand The Clinton School of Deception.
The critics of Benghazi-both politicians and citizens-tend to be plain spoken. They want to cut to the chase. They want the truth. They want clear answers and no bullshit.
The Clinton School of Deception is forehead deep in bullshit.
It’s a particular strain of bullshit, however. Follow the stench of its scent and it leads to Ivy League colleges and top law schools. It’s verbal gymnastics and lawyerly linguistic tricks. It’s death by a thousand cuts to the notion of the truth. It’s the art of confusion through nuance.
Methods Of The Madness
This is as good a time as any to mention some of the tactics of deceit that get used in a cover-up such as this. Let’s first define our terms. What’s a cover-up?
For a working definition and description, I’ll use what Wikipedia has posted for November 16th.
A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. In a passive cover-up information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up deception is used.
One of the primary tactics used by the people perpetrating a cover-up is denying that a cover-up exists at all. As arch-villain and master of deceit Keyzer Soze said in the film The Usual Suspects:
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
Speaking of masters of deceit, let’s talk about the Clintons for a moment. Let’s harken back to the halcyon days of the Clinton Lewinsky scandal.
President Bill Clinton’s performance was a Master’s Class in the art of the cover-up. You had parsing, innuendo, discrediting, behind the scenes intimidation, feigned outrage, plausible deniability and more. The world was able to see the full range of what power, lust, power-lust, a fine Ivy League legal education and absolutely no ethical basement was capable of.
Of course, I’m not bringing up Bill Clinton as a random example; Benghazi is a Clinton scandal as much as it is an Obama scandal. It’s got Clintonian cover-up fingerprints everywhere. Look no further than the heavy involvement of Clinton created Media Matters for America, which I’ll discuss in depth later.
But I want to discuss the Lewinsky scandal for a moment because today, we all know that Bill Clinton was lying. That’s settled fact. Whether you think the offense was major or minor, we know that Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. We also all know that he and his wife Hillary Clinton used a variety of tactics and techniques to mislead the American people about that fact.
In the public’s mind right now, whether Benghazi is a scandal of any sort is far from settled fact. In fact, you may be among those who remain skeptical that there’s a cover-up at all.
So, under the assumption you’re reserving judgment on Benghazi, let’s find a place where we can agree about some other topic. I’m using Clinton / Lewinsky as our common ground.
So, the first thing to point out is simple: these people will lie. They’d done it before, shamelessly and without concern for victims. Hillary Clinton was an active part of the Lewinsky cover-up.
Of course, because Hillary Clinton has lied in the past doesn’t mean she is lying now. People can and do lie all the time and that doesn’t invalidate anything and everything they say.
Still, there’s a real qualitative singularity about the way the Clintons lied in the Lewinsky scandal. Many men cheat on their wives. Few use every means at their disposal to actively destroy and discredit the woman they cheated with. Few use a public forum and acting skills to lie to the world about their cheating, as Pres. Clinton did with his finger wagging “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” scene. That is some epic, ubermensch level lying.
Part of the problem with the Clintons and Barack Obama is simple. They are lawyers.
I don’t mean this as a pithy insult. I mean it is actually part of the problem. The esteemed reference source The Urban Dictionary has a good summary of the lawyer problem in a section on ‘plausible deniability’:
Because many lawyers are in politics, they brought this lower standard of ethics and integrity with them. This is why they rarely put anything controversial in writing. This is also why they most often have you talk to an underling or an agency bureaucrat so they can plausibly deny knowledge of the conversation or be able to say the underling or bureaucrat misstated their position.
Clinton-Lewinsky also showed the war mentality of the Clintons. They are ruthless, vicious and constantly looking for a political edge. Again, many men cheat. Few have their wives denigrate the people who accuse them of an affair as being part of a vast conspiracy. As Hillary Clinton told Matt Laer in 1998:
I do believe that this is a battle. I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this — they have popped up in other settings. This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.
The same people who believed Bill and Hillary Clinton then are likely the same people who believe Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton now.
The arguments they use are fallacious. Let’s go over a few of them, which are commonly very weak:
- “Well, what about Bush and Cheney?” This is a simple non-sequitur; an attempt to change the subject. No rhetorical value.
- “The only people talking about Benghazi are right-wing nut jobs.” Ad hominem; nothing more than an insult.
- “I read Dylan Davies lied on 60 Minutes, so Benghazi is discredited.” Fallacy of hasty generalization. One person lying about one subject doesn’t disprove other statements made about that subject.
For the clearest possible example of this method, let’s turn for a moment to The Master; Bill Clinton and his sworn deposition in the Paula Jones case.
To set the stage, I’ll quote from the best essay ever written about William Jefferson Clinton. It’s by late writer Majorie Williams. Williams was a liberal feminist, which makes the opening salvo of truth in her piece Bill Clinton, Feminist all the more compelling. Williams cuts to the chase. No bullshit. What’s the truth?
The man in question has been sued for sexual harassment over an episode that allegedly included dropping his trousers to waggle his erect penis at a woman who held a $6.35-an-hour clerical job in the state government over which he presided. Another woman has charged that when she asked him for a job he invited her into his private office, fondled her breasts, and placed her hand on his crotch. A third woman conceded to friends that when she was a 21-year-old intern she began an affair with the man – much older, married, and the head of the organisation whose lowliest employee she was. Actually, it was less an affair than a service contract, in which she allegedly dashed into his office, when summoned, to perform oral sex on him. After their liaison was revealed, he denied everything, leaving her to be portrayed as a tramp and a liar. Or, in his own words, “that woman”.
That’s what the truth looks like,
Now, watch The Master. While giving a sworn, videotaped deposition Clinton is confronted with the undeniable fact that his attorney had relayed an utter falsehood to the court about Clinton’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. How does President Clinton respond?
Clinton leaning forward in his chair. His eyes drop as speaks and he appears to be suppressing a smile:
It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If ‘is’ means ‘is and never has been’, that’s one thing. If it means ‘there is none’, that was a completely true statement.
The obvious question is ‘Who the hell does he think he’s fooling?’
And the answer is: tens of millions of Democrats.
Or rather, he wasn’t exactly fooling them. President Clinton was just keenly aware that if he gave his supporters even the thinnest possible sliver of a defense, many of them would pick it up and run with it.
And so they did, to the great disappointment of honest people like Marjorie Williams. Read her essay to see her shocked realization of what was being surrendered by the defenders of Bill Clinton; the feminist leaders who supported the crudest misogyny imaginable. Willaims did not live to see the scenario play out again with Clintonesque John Edwards and Clinton protege Anthony Weiner.
The Clintonian tricks of language are actually appreciated by some, who marvel at the sheer cleverness of it all. This is especially true of many in the media, who push words around all day for a living. It’s a sort of sport to twist the ideas of people you don’t like or the defend the indefensible with a reporter’s toolbox of feints and parries.
And so it was that Bill Clinton was able to become a respected elder statesman of the Democrat party; admired by the media and party insiders in a way that Jimmy Carter and his Christian house-building were not.
This same smugly self-satisfied word wizardry runs like a thick, flowing Mississippi River of bullshit through the entire Benghazi cover-up.
The simple truth is that on the day after the Benghazi attack that left four men dead and others severely wounded, a top State Department official stated in an email what had been revealed to top Obama officials on the night of the attack: the military style assault was carried out by Ansar Al Sharia, a group with known Al Qaeda ties.
The Obama administration knew this and they hid it from the American public because it could have cost them the election.
No amount of parsing or wordplay changes any of this. They knew. They covered it up. The media played along. It was wrong.