This Isn’t Going Away

This is a copy of a letter posted at the Center for Security Policy. The letter was written to Representative Trey Gowdy, Chairman House Select Committee on Benghazi and signed by a group of American leaders seeking the truth about the attack on the CIA Annex in Benghazi.

This is the letter:

October 10, 2014

Hon. Trey Gowdy
Chairman
House Select Committee on Benghazi
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As you are well aware, on May 8, 2014, the House of Representatives adopted H. Res. 567 “Providing for the Establishment of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya”. With the publication this week of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leaders in War and Peace, the need for such an inquiry has become both indisputable and even more urgent.

In particular, it is clear that there is more – and likely much more – that has yet to be established about the murderous September 11, 2012 jihadist attack on American facilities in Benghazi and those assigned to them. Indeed, former Secretary Panetta is providing an account of the Benghazi attacks that differs dramatically from what President Obama and his spokesmen presented in the hours, days and weeks after the attack.

For example, when shown a video clip of the former security contractors who defended the CIA Annex, who described how they were told to stand down that night by their superiors, Mr. Panetta agreed that Congress needed to investigate their story. Secretary Panetta has claimed that he set in motion a number of military units that night. Why was none of them directed to actually reach Benghazi? Who gave the ultimate order to U.S. military forces not to come to the rescue of our people in Benghazi that night? Was it the Secretary of State? The President? Or someone else? If so, on whose authority?

In addition, Mr. Panetta is saying in the course of his book tour that he disagreed with the assessment of CIA Director David Petraeus that the attacks were a demonstration turned violent. But what was the source of Gen. Petraeus’ assessment, since we know from other congressional committees that the CIA station chief in Tripoli was emailing the Director’s deputy, Mike Morell, within 48 hours of the attacks, telling him emphatically there had been no demonstration in Benghazi that night?

The need for full accountability for what really happened in Benghazi – and to establish how to prevent such murderous attacks on our foreign missions in the future – has taken on even greater urgency in light of recent developments with ominous implications for American diplomats, military personnel and security contractors overseas. These include:

  • This summer, we had to evacuate our embassy in Tripoli, Libya because of threatening jihadist operations there.
  • This week, our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen has come under attack – reportedly putting another 80 Americans at risk from jihadists who are openly boasting of their plans to kill Americans.
  • Should Baghdad fall to the Islamic State in coming weeks or, more likely, the Green Zone come under enemy fire, some1000 of our countrymen and women could be at risk.

Has our government learned the lessons of Benghazi? Does it have actionable plans in place that will provide for the defense of our embassies and people in Sanaa or Baghdad?

We believe that Congress has a responsibility to get to the bottom of such questions as a matter of the utmost urgency. Otherwise, more American lives may be on the line and needlessly lost.

Clearly, the fact that the House of Representatives is in recess is not an impediment to holding hearings in the immediate future as you and other Members of Congress have been returning to Washington in recent days to hold high-profile hearings concerning a Secret Service scandal and the spread of Ebola. It strains credulity that Congress cannot find time for hearings about an act of war in which four Americans – including our ambassador – were killed, with many others seriously wounded as sovereign American territory was attacked by terrorist enemies determined to murder more of us. We know for a fact that the Islamic State, al Qaeda, Iran and a growing universe of jihadists are busy plotting to create more Benghazis, here and elsewhere.

What is the select congressional committee doing to prevent that?

We respectfully request that you make plain to the American people, who are seeking the truth and anxious to avoid any repetition of Benghazi that might arise from its continued suppression, that you will promptly secure the testimony under oath of Secretary Panetta and the other principals and key subordinates who have first-hand knowledge of the events that took place on the night of the 11th of September. In light of the stakes, hearings for this purpose should be held this month, not weeks and weeks from now.

Sincerely (signatories as of 4:15 PM DST – 10/10/14),

  • Andrew C. McCarthy, Chairman, Benghazi Accountability Coalition
  • Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President & CEO, Center for Security Policy
  • Charles Woods, Father of Ty Woods, victim of 9/11/2012 terror attack in Benghazi
  • Michael Ingmire, Musician, Writer, Activist, Uncle of Sean Smith, victim of 9/11/2012 terror attack in Benghazi
  • Allen Roth, President, Secure America Now
  • Sandy Rios,  Director of Governmental Affairs for AFA
  • Paul Caprio, Director of Family Pac Federal
  • Kenneth Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador, UN Human Rights Commission
  • Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
  • Dick Brauer, Colonel, US Air Force (Retired), Co-Founder of Special Operations Speaks and member, Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • Ken Benway, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired), Co-Founder of Special Operations Speaks
  • Dennis B. Haney, Lietenant Colonel, US Air Force (Retired), Special Operations Speaks
  • Daniel W. (Jake) Jacobowitz, Political-Military Consultant
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman & Founder, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Thomas McInerney, Lieutenant General, USAF (Retired), Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • Wayne V. Morris, Colonel, US Marine Corps, (Retired), Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • Kevin M. Shipp, Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • Charles Jones, Brigadier General, US Air Force (Retired), Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • John A. Shaw, Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • Clare Lopez, Vice President, Center for Security Policy
  • Joseph E. Schmitz, Former Inspector General of the Department of Defense
  • Tera Dahl, Executive Director, Council on Global Security
  • Brigitte Gabriel, Founder & CEO, ACT for America
  • Anita MonCrief, Advisory Board Member , Black Conservatives Fund 
  • Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
  • Allen B. West, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired)
  • Fred Fleitz, Former CIA analyst and Senior Fellow, Center for Security Policy
  • Roger Noriega, former US Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to the OAS
  • Henry F. Cooper, Ambassador and former Chief U.S. Negotiator at the Defense and Space Talks and former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative
  • Paul E Vallely, Major General, US Army (Retired), Chairman, Stand Up America
  • Roger Aronoff, Citizens Commission on Benghazi
  • William G. “Jerry” Boykin, Lt. General, US Army Special Forces Command (Retired)
  • James A. “Ace” Lyons, Admiral, US Navy (Retired), President/CEO, LION Associates, LLC
  • Dr. Ron Crews, CH, Colonel, US Army (Retired), Executive Director, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty
  • C. Preston Noell III, President, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.
  • Kenneth R. Timmerman, Author, Dark Forces:  The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi
  • David N. Bossie, President, Citizens United
  • Ginni Thomas, President, Liberty Consulting, LLC
  • John Fonte, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

The list of people who have signed this letter is an indication of the concern about the seeming cover-up of the events in Benghazi. It is time for the truth to come out.

 

The Problem With Attempting To Rewrite Recent History

The problem with attempting to rewrite recent history is that there are too many people around who remember what actually happened and that some of them write books. Such is the case with the political spin President Obama has used to explain why there were no troops left behind in Iraq.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Leon Panetta‘s new book “Worthy Fights,” excerpted in Time Magazine.

The article reports:

In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal 2011 withdrawal; that the U.S. had “leverage” to strike a deal; and that the Defense and State departments attempted to do so. However, says Panetta, “the President’s team at the White House pushed back” and thus no deal was reached.

This statement agrees with statements made by Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq during the period in question.

National security should not be governed by politics. Unfortunately, under President Obama, every decision is governed by politics. We need to elect leaders who will put the good of America ahead of their own desire for personal gains.

Sometimes It’s Hard To Imagine How Some People Think

Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has suggested that military pay be cut in order to help with the budget cuts facing the Pentagon due to sequestration. This suggestion comes after President Obama signed an executive order raising the salary of Vice President Joe Biden and other federal officials.

The article reports:

“The President’s pay hike even increases the salary for federal employees who receive poor performance reviews from their own supervisors,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said when a group of lawmakers proposed legislation to reverse the pay increase. “As President Obama continues to say one thing and do another on deficit spending, it is appropriate for Congress to challenge his unilateral decision to spend $11 billion on non-merit based pay raises for federal workers.”

Secretary Panetta suggested that military salaries be limited to a one percent increase in 2014.

This is simply disgusting.

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The 3 AM Telephone Call That Was Never Answered

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is testifying before Congress today, and the Weekly Standard has posted some of that testimony.

The article reports:

Panetta said that Obama left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under seize, “up to us.”

In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Panetta said that, save their 5 o’clock prescheduled meeting with the president the day of September 11, Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that day. There were no calls about the what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.

This is the video posted at YouTube::Enhanced by Zemanta

I have nothing to say.

I Don’t Know Why This Makes Me Crazy, But It Does

Military.com reported last Thursday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review ethics training and to brainstorm on ways to steer officers away from trouble. This is the same Leon Panetta that was President Bill Clinton‘s White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997. One wonders if he every made a similar recommendation for ethics training for Presidents.

The article reports:

Panetta told Dempsey to work with the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to review ethics training for officers to determine whether they are adequate, and to provide views on “how to better foster a culture of value-based decision-making and stewardship” among senior officers and their staffs. That is another way of saying Panetta wants a game plan for ending the string of bad behavior.

He said the initial results of the chiefs’ review, along with their recommendations, should be ready in time for Panetta to report to President Barack Obama by Dec. 1. The text of the Panetta memo, which he signed on Wednesday, was provided Thursday to reporters traveling with the Pentagon chief, who was in Bangkok for talks with senior Thai government officials in advance of Obama’s visit here this weekend.

I probably need to apologize for my cynicism, but how come the Defense Secretary, the State Department, and the CIA can’t get a report on Benghazi on the President’s desk by December 1? It would seem to me that Benghazi would have a higher priority?

The article further points out:

Panetta also told reporters he could not rule out the possibility that the Taliban in Afghanistan would try to use Petraeus’ admission of an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, for propaganda purposes. Petraeus, who resigned Friday from his post as CIA director, was Allen’s predecessor as top commander in Afghanistan, leaving in summer 2011.

I am sorry that General Petraeus and General Allen did not behave appropriately while they were in Afghanistan. However, I need someone to explain to me why the head of the CIA had to resign over an extra-marital affair and the President of America (Bill Clinton) remained in office after an extra-marital affair. I am more than a little confused.

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What In The World Were They Thinking ?

The story of Benghazi has been in the news for more than a month now. There are many aspects of this story that are downright disturbing. The latest has to do with the military and special forces people that could have helped the Americans under fire being told to stand down. Stand down? While the higher-ups in the Obama Administration watched Americans being killed in real time? What in the world is this?

Fox News reported some of the details today. Fox reports:

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.” 

…According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from. 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help. 

American soldiers have a tradition of leaving no man behind. Evidently the Obama Administration was not familiar with that tradition. One of the problems Benghazi has caused is that it will reinforce the Al Qaeda attitude that America is a paper tiger. The lack of response to this attack with embolden Al Qaeda to plan and execute more attacks on American soil (an Embassy is considered American soil) without fear of retribution. This is very reminiscent of the Jimmy Carter administration–the reason the Iranian hostages were returned as soon as Ronald Reagan took office was that the Iranians feared that President Reagan would actually retaliate if the hostages were not returned. There was reason to respect the power of America. We have lost that respect and need to restore it.

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The History Of An Unfortunate Situation

On Wednesday I reported on the fate of Dr Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the United States in the raid on Osama Bin Laden, who has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for conspiring against the state (rightwinggranny.com).

There is some further information on this story. The January 28, 2012, New York Times reported that:

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has confirmed publicly for the first time that an imprisoned doctor in Pakistan was working with the C.I.A. to gain access to Osama bin Laden’s compound in the months before American troops killed Bin Laden last May.  

What was Secretary Panetta thinking? In the past, the United States would have had the decency to get Dr. Afridi out of Pakistan before his cover was blown. The doctor was not allowed to be present in the court that sentenced him or allowed to defend himself.

An article in the American Spectator posted today points out:

A resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council after 9/11 required member states to assist in bringing Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network to justice.

Does either the United States or the United Nations have the character to intervene in this situation?

This is the administration that gave Hollywood unprecedented access to Defense Department information to make a movie about the killing of Osama Bin Laden (which coincidentally will be released shortly before the Presidential election). Someone needs to provide the entire administration with a detailed lecture on the proper handling of classified information.

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This Really Bothers Me

I have supported the war in Afghanistan. I believed that we needed to go in and clean out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. I am disappointed that we have not been willing to commit the manpower to do so and that the rules of engagement have prevented us from doing so. I am now at the point where I think the only time we should send our military anywhere is when we arm them to the teeth and tell them to take no hostages. Well, I really must be in the minority on that one.

The UK Telegraph reported today that American soldiers were barred from bringing guns into a talk given by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The article reports:

Around 200 troops who had gathered in a tent at Camp Leatherneck were told “something had come to light” and asked abruptly to file outside and lay down their automatic rifles and 9mm pistols.

“Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy – we just adjust,” said the sergeant who was told to clear the hall of weapons.

Major General Mark Gurganus later said he gave the order because Afghan troops attending the talk were unarmed and he wanted the policy to be consistent for all.

This is just not smart. What would have happened if there had been an attack on the base at that particular moment? Now we are sending our soldiers into harm’s way and taking their guns away. Whoever made that decision should immediately be relieved of his command.

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It’s All Smoke And Mirrors

To claim that the cuts we will make in the defense will make us stronger is the defense equivalent of the emporer’s new clothes. National Review Online posted an article today about the impact of the nearly $500 billion in cuts.

The article reminds us:

And all this in the name of what, exactly? Fiscal rectitude? In his remarks today, Secretary Panetta was absolutely right to note that debt is a national-security issue. And to be sure, in any bureaucracy as large as the Pentagon, there is room for cuts. But a bank looking to reduce overhead does not often start by firing guards and cutting corners on vaults. Nor should national defense be cannibalized in the name of itself.

Worse still, in a move that is cynical if not outright dishonest, neither the president’s strategy nor his expected FY2013 budget takes into account the additional $500 billion in automatic defense sequestrations and spending caps wired into the infamous “trigger” in last year’s debt deal. As is his wont, the president is punting to Congress on the business of avoiding or undoing these cuts, which Panetta himself knows are unconscionable. But sequestration remains the law of the land, and if nothing is done, Obama’s cuts will become gashes.

Military spending is not responsible for the deficit–entitlement programs are, but it is more politically expedient to cut the military than to deal with the actual problem. I hope our next President has more courage than this one.

 

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