Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Benghazi Primer: What Do We Now Know?

John Kerry Lost Somewhere In The Gobi Desert...The Onion

Preface:  Since this was posted, a final report on Benghazi was released today.  It details the specific failures of the administration and of Hillary Clinton.  There are new details.

This coming week, Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, will resume hearings on Benghazi. What makes these upcoming hearings exceedingly important and significant will be the testimony of witnesses (now being referred to as "whistleblowers").

As the hearings approach, let's take a look at what we now know regarding events leading up to the attack, the attack itself and the aftermath.

  • We now know, from a bi-partisan Senate report last December, there were "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies." These pointed to inadequate security prior to the attack. In fact, we now know that in-country consulate staff had requested additional security but were denied. This request for more security was in response to intelligence reports indicating the area was becoming more unstable and dangerous. In fact, earlier attacks had occurred in the area of the consulate grounds. We know the State Department was negligent in providing for more security.
  • The same report contradicted all of the initial claims the attack was "spontaneous" and/or the result of a response to an anti-Muslim film. If you recall, Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday morning news shows peddling that erroneous story.
  • We also know that many of the accounts about the attack on Benghazi were in conflict including the "talking points" regarding the attack on the consulate and aftermath. In fact, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard reported this week there were "significant" revisions made to the CIA talking points just weeks prior to the 2012 election. He asserts this through emails that reveal efforts by the administration to change the talking points. More disturbing, it appears the talking points were edited purely for political reasons.
  • We now have---in evidence---a cable bearing Hillary Clinton's signature on a request from the U.S. Ambassador to Libya requesting more security.
  • We also know, from Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary, that he was up all night monitoring the situation at Benghazi but he never heard from Obama. In fact, the very next day, the president flew to Vegas for yet another fundraiser.
  • From Panetta's testimony we also know the president never asked what military assets could be used (last week, an unidentified former special operation's operative said military assets were available if needed). Panetta added that Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, never spoke to him at all.
  • We need to know if Hillary Clinton was aware of the security threats prior to the attack on the consulate (remember, she allegedly signed off on cables that requested additional security).
  • To date, we've arrested no one responsible for the attack on the consulate. In fact, it was only this week---7 months after the attack---that photos  of three men were released of persons of interest.
  • In addition, the State Department's Inspector General is now investigating the Accountability Review Board that reported on Benghazi last December. The IG wants to know why the panel ever called any key witnesses. There were also reports last week that whistleblowers were threatened by reprisals.

  • While Hillary Clinton testified before going out to pasture, it was she who infamously said of the attack on Benghazi, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Well, we now know it made a big difference.
  • But, to date, we do not know what exactly Pres. Obama and Clinton were doing on Sept. 11, 2012, the day of the attack. We need to know when she was told of the attack and how she responded. We also need to know if she requested assistance. If she did, was that request denied and by whom?
  • And just as important, we need to know why and who came up with the bogus narratives immediately after the attack.
  • When taking all of these accounts and more into consideration, it appears, at a minimum,  there's been gross incompetence. But, as more reports surface, it now appears there's been stonewalling and cover-up as well as outright lies.

  • So when the president's spokesperson, Jay Garney, said last week the attack "happened a long time ago," it didn't. And when that fake, phony and back-stabbing fraud John F. Kerry said, "We got a lot more important things to move on to and get done;" I'd like to see and hear him say that to the families of the four dead American heroes of Benghazi.
  • All of these and more make Rep. Issa's hearings next week that more important. And perhaps, we'll finally get a taste of the truth.