Friday, September 28, 2012

Is Clinton Driving Benghazi Debate To Cover Her Tracks?

09/28/2012 [UPDATED] -- As a result of the assassinations in Benghazi, there actually may now be a behind the scenes struggle going on under the Obama tent, between the Clintonites at State, and the Obamaites in the White House. Only time will tell whether we're talking about an ordinary ongoing "debate" within the Obama team, the kind that take place in every Administration, or if this may become something more in the nature of a knife fight.

That NYT story linking an Al Qaeda affiliate to the attack which was published yesterday is primarily from right out of Hillary's camp. The Secretary of State speaks, contradicting the prior Administration story -- that the attack in Benghazi was all just an anti-movie demonstration that somehow turned violent. It followed on the heels of a piece by Eli Lake in the liberal Daily Beast, alleging that the Obama administration knew within 24 hours of the attack on 09/11 that it had really been an Al-Qaeda affiliate operation, well before Susan Rice's round trip, a few days later, to the TV "talkies."

Here is a concise and apt description of the initial Obama Administration "explanation" from a Wall Street Journal article published on September 27th:
None of the initial explanations offered by the White House and State Department since the assault on the Benghazi consulate has held up. First the Administration blamed protests provoked by an amateurish anti-Islam clip posted on YouTube. Cue Susan Rice, the U.N. Ambassador and leading candidate for Secretary of State in a second Obama term: "What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . . . as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent."
Only after several more days did the Administration grudgingly begin conceding that the attack was an act of "terrorism."  And even then, they continued to insist that it was not a pre-planned attack, but rather an opportunistic outgrowth of the demonstration over the film.

Now, however, more than two weeks after the murderous attack, several senior players in the Administration are conceding that it was a planned and premeditated terrorist attack, including Sec'y of Defense Panetta, who now openly says it was "terrorism" though he will not say by whom. Asked how long it took him to arrive at that conclusion, Panetta was quoted by the Washington Post vaguely saying, "It took a while."

ABC's Jake Tapper reported yesterday that intelligence assessments right from the beginning suggested that the attack may have been a planned terror attack.
[S]ources told ABC News that intelligence officials on the ground immediately suspected the attack was not tied to the movie at all. The attackers knew Ambassador Stevens had been trying to flee — to a so-called safe house half a mile away. That building was hit with insurgent mortars — suggesting the terrorists knew what they were doing.

As of Thursday afternoon, officials from the Obama administration were not even 100 percent certain that the protest of the anti-Muslim film in Benghazi occurred outside the U.S. diplomatic post.
Yet top Administration officials ignored these early assessments, and pushed the demonstration over the video story instead. Even when the fact of terrorist involvement became evident, they still clung to the story that it was an "opportunistic," rather than a pre-planned attack.

At this point, Hillary Clinton has to be most concerned that the focus of the overall Benghazi story not turn to the topic of how the security conditions for our diplomats in Benghazi and Libya were allowed to slip to the point where a planned terrorist attack could so easily result in the assassination of the Ambassador and three others. The one other "blame" assessment suggestions in the press so far, have been pieces wondering if the attacks represented an intelligence failure. A New York Times piece dated September 24th leaves little doubt that it was indeed a huge intelligence loss.

The WJS article (link above) also addressed that very issue as well.

Hillary has reacted to the attack so far by appointing an Accountability Review Board to be headed by former career diplomat, Thomas Pickering, as a group to assess the diplomatic security situation, and one that she can control.  The so called FBI investigation of the "crime scene" appears to be stalled to a point of absurdity.  The fatal incident took place on the 11th, and, according to CNN, the FBI has yet to visit the "crime scene" in Benghazi, despite a public claim made by Hillary Clinton that they arrived in Libya (Tripoli) early last week! She made a statement to that effect last Thursday the 20th -- that the FBI had arrived in Libya earlier in the week. In other words, they've been in Libya more than a week, and the crime scene has yet to be secured or visited by the investigators! 

Hillary obviously wants the "evolving" story to be exclusively focused on her pronouncements about who did this outrageous act, and that is what this NYT story was all about -- her U.N. "declaration" was that it was clearly an AQ affiliate operation.

And notice that one little curious comment from the NYT initial story today has since mysteriously disappeared. The following lines were contained in the original NYT story, which was the reporter's way of signaling that it was a Clinton-driven story, but that there were others within the Administration who may not be fully on-board with her version of events.
. . .
"Mrs. Clinton's comments caught intelligence and other administration officials off guard, with some saying there was not yet conclusive evidence that the operatives from the Qaeda affiliate were involved in the attacks.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment on Clinton's remarks.

. . . .
Curiously, those lines have mysteriously disappeared from the latest "corrected" on-line NYT version, with no explanation whatsoever offered for that change! Proof that they were there lies in the fact that the lines are still contained in other posted versions, such as the version posted today on the website of the Denver Post.

"Oooops! Clean-up on aisle six!"

If the focus of the overall story about the Benghazi disaster should now should become, "How did diplomatic security conditions deteriorate to the point where this could happen?" then Hillary Clinton will be the big loser. As the Sec'y of State, she was in charge of ensuring the safety of our diplomats and our missions there.  She made the decisions that resulted in that weakened security situation.

Again, from that WSJ article:
Cell phone video footage and witness testimony from Benghazi soon undercut the Administration trope of an angry march "hijacked" by a few bad people. As it turned out, the assault was well-coordinated, with fighters armed with guns, RPGs and diesel canisters, which were used to set the buildings on fire. Ambassador Chris Stevens died of smoke inhalation. Briefing Congress, the Administration changed its story and said the attacks were pre-planned and linked to al Qaeda.

You'd think this admission would focus attention on why the compound was so vulnerable to begin with. But the Administration wants to avoid this conversation. The removal of all staff from Benghazi, including a large component of intelligence officers, would also seem to hinder their ability to investigate the attacks and bring the killers to justice.
And there is more. Hillary was the one who made the decision to exclude the Marines from any pre-September 11, 2012 involvement in diplomatic security in Libya -- that's right, there were no Marines at all in Libya until after the fatal attack on the Consulate in Benghazi.  They were not in Benghazi, and they were not at our Embassy in Tripoli either. Hillary was the one who instead hired the British security outfit, Blue Mountain Group, to perform all the diplomatically-related security functions in Libya and who imposed those restrictive "rules of engagement" on them -- the ones that kept the Marines out, and which she will not talk about now!

The slip-up in diplomatic security is showing, and it looks like Hillary may well have been responsible for it. The available evidence seems to be suggesting that she failed miserably, and four people are dead as a result.

The bottom line is that if it is pointed out clearly to the American public how badly she failed, Obama will fail as a direct consequence too.  So, Barack Obama will not fire her, nor will he openly criticize her for the failings.  But he has to be very concerned that a fight over assessing blame for Benghazi is going on inside his tent.

And when tempers are flaring, it doesn't even take too much legitimate inquiry to put certain Clinton operatives right over the edge! It was her people who initially lied to the press about the British security outfit that was pulling security for our diplomatic installations in Libya.  And they were also the ones, per her spokesman, Phillipe Reines, who went ballistic on CNN when, three days after the attack, the news outfit found Ambassador Stevens' diary in the rubble and used observations he had made about security problems in Benghazi and Islamic extremism, as a basis for a story.

Finding that diary in the rubble not only exposed the fact that Ambassador Stevens himself had had serious reservations about the security situation in Benghazi, and what he observed as an uncomfortable rise in Islamic extremism in the region, but also revealed that no serious investigation of the scene itself was underway despite statements by Hillary Clinton to the contrary.

And there still in no investigation of the scene underway.

UPDATE: Jonathan S. Landay, an international correspondent with McClatchy Newspapers, has published an account detailing a late-breaking attempt via a statement issued earlier today [09/28] from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to try and take the heat for the intelligence failure that had induced Administration officials to present a false picture to the American public about the causes of the incident in Benghazi, Libya.

According to Landay the purpose of the statement appeared to be to "update" public understanding on the facts, as well as making an attempt at "shielding the White House from a political backlash over its original accounts."

Landay added, "[t]he statement did not quiet the political backlash."

There has been at least one Congressional from Cong. Peter King (R-NY) for the firing or resignation of U.N. Ambassador Rice for her active role in misleading the public about the causes of the incident. Rice is resisting that call.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Marine Hymn (as "amended" by H. Clinton)

09/19/2012 -- Ronald Reagan once famously said, way back in 1985:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Apparently Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama (who appointed her) had disagreed. Maybe, just maybe however, those two are just now beginning to see exactly where they went wrong! And for them, it was a little too late, and for others tragic.

Let me explain:

We all recall by heart the stirring first stanza of the Marine Hymn, the second line of which has now apparently been recommended for amendment and modification by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, as follows:

"From the Halls of Montezuma,

the shores of Tripoli a naval ship off of Gibraltar, and ONLY to be deployed to any place in Libya as a FAST team response to the murder of our Ambassador to Libya, a key foreign service officer, and two security personnel all being "protected" by locals working for a British security firm operating under strict State Department "rules of engagement," such as no bullets allowed;
. . . .

It really doesn't track quite as well as the original, now does it?  Why, just in terms of basic euphony, it really grates!  

Everybody with any sense much prefers the original!

Though I've taken a little literary license to make my point -- and I obviously mean no disrespect -- it was the sad but unbelievable truth about what happened in Libya last week.  

When our Consulate in Benghazi was overrun in a terrorist attack, resulting in the murder of our Libyan Ambassador, Chris Stevens, a Foreign Service information officer named Sean Smith, and two private security personnel named Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, there were NO MARINES providing any form of security anywhere in Libya, including in our Embassy in Tripoli!

Here also was a key portion of a statement made by a Marine Corps spokesperson, Captain Kendra Motz, when she was asked last week whether there were any Marines anywhere in Libya at the time of the violent attack on our Consulate in Benghazi:

"The Marine Corps does not have any Marines stationed at diplomatic installations in Libya."
No Marines -- not in Benghazi, and not in Tripoli either, where the main Embassy is. 

And then there was this . . . moments before the attack, the foreign service information officer who was inside sent an ominous note to "on-line gamer" friends that one of their local "security guards" was seen outside taking photos of the Consulate building!

So, what are we to make of all this? 

The fact is that a fabian socialist is currently serving as President, a man with whispering tendencies to a few foreign heads of state about what he'll be able to do after the election this November, e.g., first here to his pal Dmitri Mdevedev (as a message for Putin) while the President was in South Korea  and then much more recently speculated on here, as a possible State Department message for Morsi -- on the possible release of the "Blind Sheik" after the election!

The fact also is that the Secretary of State is a long-time Democrat power aggregator, obviously without a lick of common sense when it comes to responding to threats aimed at our Embassies from terrorists. 
Hillary Clinton was in charge of security for our Embassy in Tripoli and the Consulate in Benghazi. 

And she said "no Marines" in either place!

She curiously seemed to believe instead that condemning bad movie clips and profusely apologizing to mobs who were breaching the walls of our Embassy in Cairo via a statement posted on the Embassy website was the way to go, because the "feelings" of the mob had been hurt.  

She now denies she had anything to do with the posting of that apology message, but who can believe the risible story they tell -- that senior public affairs official, Larry Schwartz, wrote and posted that statement on the Embassy website all on his own, and against direct orders?

It is most implausible because Schwartz not only incurred no consequences for his "actions," but was subsequently and very quickly "forgiven" by the President, right on national television!

President Obama commented on the controversy in an interview to be aired Wednesday evening on 60 Minutes.

"In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn't come from me, it didn't come from Secretary Clinton. It came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger," Obama said. "And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they're in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office."
Oh, come on! Who would believe such a lame cover story?  They posted the statement and it blew up in their faces when Mitt Romney criticized them for it.  So they concocted an utterly unbelievable lie to hide the truth, and it's slowly disintegrating.  

The whopper Susan Rice told on the talk shows last weekend -- that it was all about the Mohammed film and nothing more -- is slowly coming apart at the seams.

Couldn't happen to a less worthy bunch! 

UPDATE:   The Obama Administration story, as told by Susan Rice on the Sunday talk shows -- that the attack in Benghazi was "spontaneous," is now it tatters. 

According to a report from Foreign Policy, an Obama administration official has admitted in congressional testimony that the attack on the Benghazi Consulate was a terrorist act

And further, Fox News is reporting that anti-terrorism sources have identified Sufyan Ben Qumu, a former GITMO detainee as having been involved in the attack, and possibly of having actually led the operation.

And, more from Reuters here.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Obama Corrupts the Democratic Process -- At His Own Convention!

There is an obvious explanation for what happened after the DNC parliamentarian spoke to the DNC Convention Chairman, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, during the voice-vote fiasco over the changes rammed into the Democrat Party Platform on Wednesday.

What the Chairman wanted was "More Cowbell" from the delegates.  But it just never came.

Sadly, it also makes very clear how Barack Obama managed to even corrupt the operation of the democratic process at his own nominating convention!

Having replayed and listened to that portion of the clip a few times, it is also pretty clear what the Parliamentarian said to the Chairman, just before his "ruling" on the "voice vote" motion to amend the party platform.

She said to him, "You've got to rule and then you've got to let them do what they're going to do."

On Thursday morning, Setember 6th, both David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett went on Charlie Rose's special morning show to give a "joint" interview, as part of the run-up to the Obama acceptance speech to be delivered that night, and as an opportunity for them to rehash the significance of Bill Clinton's nominating speech that had been delivered the night before their interview.

Right at the end of that exchange of otherwise friendly flummery, Charlie Rose suddenly asked about the "change" of the language in the platform that had taken place, (see, CBS video of the interview, beginning at 5:29), which had received so much attention as a result of the posting of the video of that portion of the convention in a YouTube clip featuring the actual taking of the voice vote, as had been televised on C-SPAN.

Rose carefully phrased his question so that it addressed only the language that dealt with the status of Jerusalem, and he did not mention the corresponding platform change that had eliminated any reference to God.  He asked it in the context of the omission of the language stating that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel.

So, here is what Rose asked:  

Rose: "Why was it necessary for the President to have to make a phone call to change what the platform had said about Jerusalem?'

Suddenly, facial expressions changed all around the table -- including the look on Norah O'Donnell's face, as she drew back in her chair from what had been, up until that moment, all smiles and happy banter with the President's two top advisers!

Jarrett offered the first volley in response, simply saying that the president had just wanted the document to reflect what it had previously said.

Jarrett: "Well, he just thought it was important to put, uh, back in what has been in the platform -- Jerusalem being the capitol -- um, uh, and so he put it back in. I don't, I think ..."

Rose interrupted her with the obvious follow-up:  

Rose: "He didn't know it was not in?

It was then that the two "deep" White House insiders -- Axelrod and Jarrett -- proceeded to claim that President Obama had not been previously aware of those changes to the wording of the party platform prior to it's final adoption by the delegates on Tuesday evening -- i.e., that is, they said he had not been aware of the language changes taking out of any reference to God, and the elimination of the language recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.

In fact, Jarrett and Axelrod each told Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell that Obama had been unaware of those platform changes until Wednesday.  And Axelrod specifically added that Obama had ordered that the changes to be reversed -- (See the YouTube clip and key portion of the transcript, as embedded at HotAir)

We pick up the conversation exchange with Charlie's follow-up question:

. . .
CHARLIE ROSE: He didn’t know it was not in?

VALERIE JARRETT:  He — he was not aware –

DAVID AXELROD: Honestly, Charlie, he had, you know, he was counting on others to — he has some other duties, and responsibilities.  So, when he learned that what had been in the platform had been taken out, he said, "Put it back in."

ROSE: He learned yesterday?

. . .
Obviously, Antonio Villaraigosa, as the Chairman of the DNC Convention, had therefore been ordered sometime Wednesday -- after the firestorm of criticism that swept Twitter and other social media during the day -- to get that language back in, via orders from President Obama.

So, the "democratic" vote that was taken by the Convention on Wednesday night was really a complete sham -- it was a "show" of process intended for public consumption.  But the result was already fixed.  The Chairman knew what he had to do.  He was under orders to make that change.  And he did, in spite of the obvious failure of the vote!

I doubt very much that the Parliamentarian knew that the Mayor was going to rule the way he did.  I think that what she was doing was telling him that he couldn't keep hesitating -- that he had to issue a "ruling" on the voice vote, and then let the delegates react, whether that meant cheering, remaining silent, protesting, booing, challenging the ruling of chair, etc.

Of course, Chairman Villaraigosa had obviously been hoping against hope that the delegates in support of the motion would out-shout the nay-sayers.  That was why he kept taking votes.

But they never did.  The Chairman kept failing to get the "more cowbell" he was pleading for with those multiple redos.

Again, what the Parliamentarian said to him right before he took that third voice vote was: "You've got to rule and then you've got to let them do what they're going to do."

So, it was the action of Barack Obama, having ordered that the "change" be made, that corrupted the democratic process at the Democratic National Convention. 

And it was Villaraigosa "ruling" against the obvious failure of the motion to carry on a "voice vote" that closed the deal on that obvious sham.

Americans now have proof positive of the corrupting action of the President, taken against the will of the delegates attending his own party's nomination -- of him!