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April 23, 2013

Congressional Panel Releases Report on Beghazi: Hillary Not Truthful In Claiming That She Was Unaware of Requests for Improved Security; White House Blamed Video In Order to Deflect Attention Away From State's Refusal to Provide Security

Hillary was "unaware" of things. Gee, she's never attempted that claim before. Hillary's a genius except when it comes to remembering her mistakes and malfeasances, as in Benghazi or Whitewater.

Sheryl Akisson's timeline is putting this out in advance of an article. Here are some of her disclosures:

CBS: Five House Committees (Armed Svcs, Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, Intel, Oversight) released interim report on Benghazi.

Congressional Report: Secy Clinton's testimony to Congress was incorrect when claiming she was unaware of certain Benghazi security requests

Cong Report: Secy Clinton signed an 4/12 State Dept cable acknowledging then-Amb Cretz's formal request for additional security assets

Cong Report: but Clinton ordered the withdrawal of elements to proceed as planned.

Secy Clinton testified in Jan. 2013 "I didn't see those requests. They didn't come to me. I didn't approve them. I didn't deny them."

Cong Report:White House/SState Dept. Officials Altered Talking Points to protect State Dept. from criticism for inadequate security levels.

MORE: Sexton has a much, much fuller report, all of the bullet points and explanatory paragraphs for each.

You have to be some kind of genius to think of the helpful organizational conceit of explaining the scandal in terms of Before, During, and After.

Before the Attacks:

After the U.S.-backed Libyan revolution ended the Gadhafi regime, the U.S. government did not deploy sufficient U.S. security elements to protect U.S. interests and personnel that remained on the ground.

Senior State Department officials knew that the threat environment in Benghazi was high and that the Benghazi compound was vulnerable and unable to withstand an attack, yet the Department continued to systematically withdraw security personnel.

Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department. For example, an April 2012 State Department cable bearing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.

...

During the Attacks:

...

Department of Defense officials and military personnel reacted quickly to the attacks in Benghazi. The effectiveness of their response was hindered on account of U.S. military forces not being properly postured to address the growing threats in northern Africa or to respond to a brief, high-intensity attack on U.S. personnel or interests across much of Africa.

After the Attacks:

The Administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video. U.S. officials on the ground reported – and video evidence confirms – that demonstrations outside the Benghazi Mission did not occur and that the incident began with an armed attack on the facility. Senior Administration officials knowingly minimized the role played by al-Qa’ida-affiliated entities and other associated groups in the attacks, and decided to exclude from the discussion the previous attempts by extremists to attack U.S. persons or facilities in Libya.

...

Evidence rebuts Administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Email exchanges during the interagency process do not reveal any concern with protecting classified information. Additionally, the Bureau itself approved a version of the talking points with significantly more information about the attacks and previous threats than the version that the State Department requested. Thus, the claim that the State Department’s edits were made solely to protect that investigation is not credible.

...

The Administration is knocking down this story, I believe, via an underhanded method.

Here's the deal:

Everyone pretty much knows we were running weapons into Syria via our outpost at Benghzi. This is supposedly "a secret," but everyone and his mother's uncle knows it.

The Administration is keeping the media in line, I believe, by feeding them a fiction that they were required to lie about Benghazi to protect this secret.

Except it's not a secret. There is no one in the entire world who doesn't know this secret. And when I say "know," I don't actually know; I am not privvy to NSA documents. So let's say there is not a person in the world who does not strongly suspect that Syrian weapons were being facilitated by Chris Stevens.

And there's nothing wrong with that. One can disagree with that policy, but one cannot say the president doesn't have the power to order covert operations of this type. Certainly all former presidents have.

But what the White House is doing is claiming that they are only misleading, just a touch mind you, hardly a misrepresentation at all, really, in order to protect this secret -- which is no secret at all -- when in fact they are misleading people to keep the real secret, which their own incompetence, bad judgment, malfeasance, and subsequent lying about the same.

That's why you have people like David Gregory grandstanding by demanding that Republicans answer the question "What do you hope to prove?" He's attempting to bait them into saying something about the weapons-smuggling aspect, which Congressmen can't talk about, it being a state secret and all (except it's not a secret), and he's doing that because he's been spun that the Republicans just want to expose this secret (which is not a secret) and embarrass the president and compromise national security for shits and giggles.

No, that's not it all. Everyone knows what was going on in Benghazi and no one is making an issue of that.

I don't care that we were covertly running guns to Syria. I happen to agree with the policy. Even if I did not, I would concede the president has historically had the authority to conduct such covert missions.

That's not the question at all. I don't care about that. I'm completely willing to let the WH keep that secret (even though it's not a secret), and so are Congressional investigators.

But that does not give license to the Administration to keep Hillary Clinton's lethal fuck-up a secret as well.


The issue is: Given that you were running a covert operation out of Benghazi which everyone knew about, shouldn't you have put some goddamned security around your operatives, rather than leaving them to the wolves?

But the Administration will continue to lie to the press, that the only secret here is something unobjectionable (the covert arms mission), and that Republicans are Big Meanies for trying to expose that, in order to keep the press from asking about the real secret, which is the egregious decision-making and lackadaisical attitude towards our diplomats' and covert operators' security.

Everybody Knows, Part II: By the way, here's another thing that Everybody Knows: Everybody Knows that every diplomatic mission and embassy and consulate all over the world is stuffed full of spies.

This is not a secret. Every country smuggles its spies into a target country by disguising them amidst a bunch of genuine diplomats.

Not a secret. Everyone knows this. Everyone knows that our London Embassy does in fact have CIA officers in it. London knows that. And we know the British Embassy in DC has British spies in it.

It is not a secret. It just isn't. There is literally no one who knows anything about espionage who doesn't know this.

I mean, we do try not to talk about it, as we don't want to get Our Spies into trouble, but everyone knows we have spies in our embassies, just as our enemies -- and also, all of our friends -- have spies in theirs. This is how the business works. And Everybody Knows.

This fact does not give any administration a license to lie about all aspects of a bloody, stupid, thick-headed, arrogant deadly failure. Just because you are allowed to lie about one thing (covert operations) does not grant you carte blanche to lie about all things.



Everybody Knows - Leonard Cohen from manoel caraballo on Vimeo.

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posted by Ace at 04:31 PM

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