Monday, September 23, 2013

Benghazi: What We Knew Then + What We Know Now

Are they going to call Hillary again? She needs to know for concussion planning...Tweet by David Burge

Note: Since this was posted, this week's revelations show this attack was preventable.

I've written a number of pieces on Benghazi. Also, Rep. Darrell Isaa's House Oversight Committee has been holding hearings this past year. This is what we knew then and what we now know from more recent reports.

  • Last December, a Senate bi-partisan report found there were "systemic failures and management deficiencies" prior to, during and after the attack on our consulate.
  • We know that in-country consulate staff had requested additional security PRIOR to the attack. In fact, we now have in evidence a cable bearing Hillary Clinton's signature on a request from the U.S. ambassador requesting more security.
  • The same report contradicted earlier reports by the administration and State that the attack was "spontaneous" or a response to an anti-Muslim video.
  • In fact, in a new book entitled, "Under Fire, The Untold Story Of The Attack In Benghazi," the authors report within minutes of the attack, the consulate got word to the State Department, the FBI and Pentagon that terrorist were attacking. In fact, they report that a security official at the Benghazi consulate sent a message to our embassy in Tripoli reporting: "Benghazi under fire. Terrorist attack." Keep in mind, throughout this period and days later, the American people were being told by the administration that the attack was a response to the anti-Muslim video. Susan Rice, then US ambassador to the UN and now National Security Advisor, appeared on several Sunday morning news shows pimping that lie. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the staff at the compound that day never reported there was a spontaneous attack. As shown above, they reported otherwise.
  • The book also details that drones flew over the consulate and viewed armed terrorist attackers not movie protesters.
  • We also know---from Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary---he was up all night monitoring the attack on Benghazi but never heard from Pres. Obama. In fact, the very next day, the president flew to Vegas for yet another fundraiser. NY Post

  • In a more recent report by the House Oversight Committee, we now know that Hillary Clinton appointed a majority of the members of the Administrative Review Board that unfairly placed the blame on midlevel officials while giving senior officials a pass. Last month, John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, allowed the four midlevel officials to return to work but not to their former positions. Again, senior State Department officials were never disciplined.
  • The House Committee continues to look into what role Hillary played throughout this entire episode. In fact, it was also reported---by the Daily Beast---that the ARB never interviewed Hillary Clinton. But we do know from testimony by Gregory Hicks, second in command to the late ambassador Stevens, he personally debriefed Hillary the very night of the attack.
  • As we also now know, we didn't send anyone to help our people being attacked at the compound other than some CIA operatives. In fact, the book also reports our allies in Libya remained on the sidelines. Italy's top diplomat allegedly watched the attack unfold while at the Venezia CafĂ©. Many in the neighborhood surrounding the embassy filmed the attack on their cell phones.

  • In summary, we know these facts: The attack was not spontaneous, even the FBI, Pentagon and State Department knew that within 30 minutes of the attack. Hillary was briefed during the night of the attack. Yet, the administration refused to admit it was a terrorist attack for over a week. Even then CIA Director, David Petraeus, said he knew it was a terrorist attack "almost immediately." We also know our in-country staff requested more security on several occasions prior to the attack.  We also know no help was sent to our people who were being attacked and besieged by the terrorists.

  • Over a year after the attack, we still don't know where our senior officials were physically during the attack. That includes Pres. Obama. We still do not know who denied requests for additional security. In fact, that leads to another question. If your in-country staff are requesting more security, why wasn't the compound made more secure? We still don't know who issued any "stand-down" orders to our military. We still don't know who gave Susan Rice her bogus talking points. And finally, why haven't any of the attackers been apprehended when even reporters found one, and we have video of many of the attackers?
  • In other words, over a year after the attack, many questions still remain.

Fox News reported CIA operatives on the ground during the attack on Benghazi were denied requests for assistance on at least 3 occasions. In other words, they were told to "stand down" by their supervisors. Eventually they defied those orders and responded to the attack.
Also breaking last week, former Assistant Secretary of State, Raymond Maxwell, accused Clinton's staff of sanitizing the Benghazi files.