Still Seeking The Truth

Today’s Daily Signal posted an article by Sharyl Attkisson about the scrubbing of the records turned over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigating the attack on the Benghazi CIA annex. Sharyl Attkisson left the Washington bureau of CBS News after realizing that they were not interested in actual investigative reporting on the Obama Administration. She has continued her investigative reporting and has been one of the few people to continue the investigation into Benghazi.

The article reports:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

The story at the Daily Signal provides a detailed account of Secretary Maxwell stumbling on the operation one Sunday afternoon.

The story continues:

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

We need more people in Washington with integrity and fewer people who simply follow orders.

The article continues:

When the ARB issued its call for documents in early October 2012, just weeks after the Benghazi attacks, the executive directorate of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was put in charge of collecting all emails and relevant material. It was gathered, boxed and—Maxwell says—ended up in the basement room prior to being turned over.

In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.”

Unfettered? I don’t think so.

The article concludes:

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.

“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.

“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”

I hope the Congressional Committee investigating Benghazi has better ‘unfettered access’ than the ARB.

Unfortunately This Is Not A Surprise

Yesterday’s Daily Beast reported that Secretary of State John Kerry has cleared the Benghazi officials placed on administrative leave by Hillary Clinton after the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. The four State Department officials come back to work at the State Department starting today.

The article reports:

Last December, Clinton’s staff told four mid-level officials to clean out their desks and hand in their badges after the release of the report of its own internal investigation into the Benghazi attack, compiled by the Administrative Review Board led by former State Department official Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Ret. Adm. Mike Mullen. Those four officials have been in legal and professional limbo, not fired but unable to return to their jobs, for eight months… until today.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell, the only official from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau to lose his job over the Benghazi attack, told The Daily Beast Monday he received a memo from the State Department’s human resources department informing him his administrative leave status has been lifted and he should report for duty Tuesday morning.

No explanation, no briefing, just come back to work. So I will go in tomorrow,” Maxwell said.

This a classic cover-up operation. Choose four scapegoats, wait until the scandal is no longer on the front pages of the newspaper, and then re-instate them. The article mentions that none of the four officials will be able to get his previous job back.

The article concludes:

There was also concern in Congress that only mid-level officials with little direct responsibility for the Benghazi attack had been taken out of their jobs following the ARB report release.

“The ARB tried to blame everyone but hold no one responsible, except for some of the lower level people who were not in control of the situation,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight National Security subcommittee, told The Daily Beast in May.

Unless Congress develops a backbone and truly investigates what happened at Benghazi and why, this scandal will fade quietly into the sunset. This is what happens when organizations investigate themselves.

 

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Searching For The Truth

Yesterday CNS News posted a story questioning the accuracy of some of the Congressional testimony regarding the attack at Benghazi.
The article reports:

An attorney whose firm represents two Benghazi whistleblowers said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lied to the Senate when he said there was never a “stand down” order during the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012.

This contradicts the testimony of Gregory Hicks, former number two State Department diplomat in Libya. According to the article:

Hicks told Congress that after the first attack, a security team left Tripoli for Benghazi with two military personnel and that four members of a special forces team in Tripoli wanted to go in a second wave but were told to stand down.

I have previously reported on this aspect of the story (rightwinggranny.com). Despite the fact that the attack was more than nine months ago, these questions about what happened that night remain unanswered. I believe that all Americans are entitled to answers–especially the family members of those who lost their lives their night.

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Is It Acceptable To Lie To The Public?

On Thursday President Obama nominated Victoria Nuland to be assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department. Ms. Nuland was the State Department spokesperson during the Benghazi press conferences. She was also involved in revising the talking points given to Susan Rice regarding the Benghazi attack before Ms. Rice went on the Sunday talk shows.

Fox News posted an article today explaining the problem of promoting Victoria Nuland:

Nuland’s statements on Benghazi are sure to be thoroughly examined. 

On Sept. 17, 2012, six days after the attack, she declined to label it an act of terrorism. 

“I don’t think we know enough. I don’t think we know enough,” she said. 

That was a day after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on several Sunday shows that the strike was triggered by protests over an anti-Islam film. Rice for months has been the target of Republican ire over the administration’s mixed signals on the attack narrative. But a set of emails released by the Obama administration this month in fact showed Nuland and other officials involved in editing the talking points before Rice’s appearance. 

Nuland challenged references to extremists being involved in the attack, and objected to references to prior security warnings and incidents. 

The things Ms. Nuland said were outright lies. Even if she was pressured into lying by her superiors, has it become a policy of our government to promote people who lie? Don’t we need people in the government who will stand up and tell the truth regardless of the consequences?

I am sure Victoria Nuland has been a valued member of the State Department. I have a problem, however, promoting someone who chose departmental loyalty over loyalty to the American people. Was she required to take an oath pledging to uphold the U. S. Constitution? If she was, I suspect that her actions after Benghazi violated that oath. It is unfortunate that she got caught up in this mess, but it also unfortunate that she made the choice to lie to the American people.

This Really Does Not Look Good

CNS News reported today that when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Libya in 2011, the Department of Defense pre-positioned ‘assets’ off the coast of Libya in order to ensure her safety.

The article reports:

The fact that the assets were pre-positioned for Clinton’s visit was included in the annual report of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS).

CNSNews.com asked the Pentagon if it would specify which military assets had been prepositioned off Libya at the time Clinton’s visit. The inquiry was forwarded to U.S. Africa Command, but a spokesman for that command declined to add any details to what had been stated in BDS report.

“One of the most complex security challenges presented to the Secretary’s [Diplomatic Security] Detail was her equally historic and ground-breaking trip to Libya in October [2011], after the fall of the Qaddafi regime,” said the BDS annual report.

So we are left with a variety of questions. Was our intelligence so far off that we had concluded that Benghazi was safe when we decreased the security provided there? Does America routinely abandon its diplomats in unstable areas without adequate protection while going out of its way to protect their superiors? What did the State Department think had changed in the time Secretary Clinton visited Libya and the time Benghazi was attacked.

Just a note. As hearings convene next week on Benghazi, remember one thing–the person who produced the video that was NOT responsible for the attack in Benghazi is still in jail. How is that possible?

Please follow the link above to read the entire story.

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Will We Ever Hear The True Story Of Benghazi?

CNS News reported yesterday that the State Department was denying security clearances to the lawyers hired by the whistle-blowers who want to testify to Congress about Benghazi.

The article reports:

Rep. Darryl Issa (R-) is demanding Sec. of State John Kerry grant clearances to attorneys like his partner, Victoria Toensing, who has an active Top Secret security clearance:

“Victoria Toensing, my partner, has just been retained by one of the Department of State whistleblowers who are going to appear before the Issa committee.  On April 26, Congressman Issa sent a letter to the new Sec of State, John Kerry, demanding that the lawyers who are going to represent the whistleblowers be cleared – be given clearances – so they can talk to their clients and the committee about classified information.”

“She (Toensing) got a new top secret security clearance within the last year. And, now, they will not clear her or any of the other lawyers to represent the Department of State people. This is so outrageous,” DiGenova (ormer U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova, founding partner of the Washington, D.C. law firm of diGenova & Toensing, LLP) said.

The question that comes to mind when I read this is, “How much of the information about Benghazi is classified because it needs to be and how much of the information about Benghazi is classified to save face for someone involved?”

I hope that we have enough people in Congress to pressure the Obama Administration to grant the security clearances to the lawyers so that the attack at Benghazi can be investigated. If there were available forces in the area, America needs to know why they were not deployed and why Americans were left to die.Enhanced by Zemanta

A Story That Keeps Simmering Beneath The Surface

Forbes Magazine posted an article yesterday about the survivors of the attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi in September.

The article reports:

And the number of survivors may be even larger than previously suspected. There may be more than 30 survivors, including State Department and CIA personnel as well as government contractors, according to a March 1, 2013 letter sent by Rep. Wolf and Rep. Jim Gerlach to Secretary of State John Kerry . As for those government contractors mentioned, they are believed to include former U.S Navy Seals and other former special-forces operators.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been in touch with the families of the survivors, and has stated that family members told him that the Obama Administration has asked the survivors to remain quiet and not share their stories.

Why is this important? It has become fairly obvious that the attack on the outpost was was a major al Qaeda operation. It had nothing to do with any protest about a video.

The article further relates:

The survivors could tell Congress, and the public, important new details. Libyan reports indicate that there were upwards of 100 attackers in Benghazi, that they were organized into machine-gun fire teams and mortar crews, and appeared to take orders from men wearing Afghan-style clothing. So far the Obama administration has provided few details about the attackers, their organization or their motivation.

The attack was an act of war. Because America is war-weary, President Obama ignored that fact in order to win an election. There is also the basic problem of a terrorist attack–who do we go to war with? Even if you look at terrorism as a law enforcement issue, which this administration and the Clinton Administration have tended to do, the criminals responsible for this attack are still at large.

The article also points out that no one has been held responsible for the fact that the State Department ignored the warnings that the outpost needed more security.

The attack on the Benghazi outpost needs to be investigated fully and the American public informed as to what happened. Meanwhile, the way America responded to that attack has made us look weak in the Middle East, opening the door for more unrest.

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What Has America Become ?

Today’s New York Post is reporting that the four State Department officials who resigned in the wake of the Benghazi attacks really didn’t resign–one has a new job and the other three took a short leave of absence.

The article reports:

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately.” What Nuland omitted was that Boswell gave up only the presidential appointment as assistant secretary, not his other portfolios.

The other officials — Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a third who has not been identified — were found to have shown “performance inadequacies” but not “willful misconduct,” Pickering said, so they would not face discipline.

It is so sad to see what has happened to America. The political class now rules at the expense of the people, at the expense of the concept of responsibility, and at the expense of honor.Enhanced by Zemanta

The Buck Stops Somewhere Down There

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the resignations at the State Department after the Benghazi report was released. Four people have resigned. The names of three of them have been released–Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, and Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who had responsibility for North Africa.

The article reports:

Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary for management, apparently will keep his job, even though he has vigorously defended the State Department’s decision-making on Benghazi to Congress. A blogger who monitors goings on at Foggy Bottom suggests that the State Department is erecting a firewall to protect officials at the Undersecretary level and higher.

The ARB report did not criticize Kennedy or other officials at that level. However, it did find that there was a culture of “husbanding resources” at senior levels of the State Department, and that this culture contributed to the security deficiencies in Benghazi. According to the report, the culture at State “had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.”

There are some real questions as to how much responsibility for the death of Ambassador Stevens these people actually bear. Were their superiors aware of the previous attacks? Were their superiors aware of the increase in terrorist activity in the area? Were their superiors aware of the attack after it began?

The article reports:

Congress apparently intends to pursue the question of whether, and to what extent, blame should be assigned higher up the chain. Rep. Ed Royce, the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “the degree that others bear responsibility warrants Congressional review, given the report’s rather sweeping indictment.” And, he added, “the Foreign Affairs Committee must hear from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concerning her role, which this report didn’t address.”

Secretary Clinton needs to appear before Congress and testify about this matter. She is the Secretary of State, and this occurred on her watch. Her appearance will not necessarily make things any clearer–I doubt she would answer any questions directly if she were to appear. My feeling is that her schedule will not allow her to testify in front of the committee before she steps down as Secretary of State, and after she steps down, she will simply say that since she is not longer Secretary of State, there is no reason for her to appear. The Clinton playbook really hasn’t changed much.

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Asking The Foxes To Help Protect The Henhouse

CNS News reported today that the Obama Administration will ask the Global Counterterrorism Forum to consider allowing Israel to contribute to its forum–not become a member–but to contribute. It is interesting to note that more than a third of the forum members are Islamic nations.

The article reports:

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Friday that the administration has “succeeded and agreed with our partners” in the Global Counterterrorism Forum to include the issue (allowing Israel to contribute) as a formal item on the agenda for a GCTF ministerial meeting in the United Arab Emirates.

Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are included as members of the forum.

Please read the article at CNS News for further details. The obvious questions is, “Why are we participating in this forum that excludes Israel when all we really need to do is ask Israel (the most successful country in the world in dealing with terrorism) how to deal with the problem?”

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Don’t Mess With The State Department

The State Department has an interesting history. They selectively leaked information during the Bush Administration to undermine the Bush presidency. From the beginning of the Benghazi attack, Hillary Clinton (and the State Department) took responsibility for not providing accurate security in Benghazi. President Obama has said in multiple news conferences and campaign appearances that his claim that the attack on the Embassy Annex was caused by a video was based on information he received from the State Department. Well, the truth is starting to come out.

This article is based on three sources–an article posted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air today, an ABC News story posted last night and a Fox News story posted today.

Hot Air reports:

If the scoop from Reuters last night surprised Americans with the knowledge that the intel community knew that the Benghazi attack was not a spontaneous demonstration that spun out of control, no one was more surprised than Senate Intelligence Committee vice chair Saxby Chambliss.  His committee has been requesting those e-mails for weeks, and Chambliss to Fox and Friends that the information in them shows why they demanded them in the first place.

…Finally, we have last night’s revelation that the Situation Room got e-mails from the intel community while the attack was underway that clearly gave evidence that this was no spontaneous demonstration gone amok. They had plenty of evidence — “concrete evidence,” to use Jay Carney’s terminology — that the sacking of the consulate and assassination of our Ambassador was a planned terrorist attack.

ABC News reports:

A series of email alerts sent as Obama administration officials monitored the attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi last month are the latest to shine light on the chaotic events that culminated in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The names of the individual recipients of the emails, first reported by CBS News but independently obtained by ABC News Tuesday evening, are redacted. A source who requested anonymity said it appears they are sent by the State Department Operations Center to distribution lists and email accounts for the top national security officials at the State Department, Pentagon, the FBI, the White House Situation Room and the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Fox News reports:

A series of internal State Department emails obtained by Fox News shows that officials reported within hours of last month’s deadly consulate attack in Libya that Al Qaeda-tied group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility.

The emails provide some of the most detailed information yet about what officials knew in the initial hours after the attack. And it again raises questions about why U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, apparently based on intelligence assessments, would claim five days after the attack that it was a “spontaneous” reaction to protests over an anti-Islam film.

First of all, if anyone in the White House was aware of this attack in real time, why didn’t they send help? Second of all, why the rush to blame the video? Third, why is the man responsible for the video being kept in jail until after the election?

The attack in Benghazi was an indication of the fact that the Arab Spring has not brought democracy–it has brought persecution of Christians, Sharia Law, and chaos. These are not the results of a successful foreign policy. We have been lied to from the start of the reporting on this attack, and it is time to vote the liars out of office.

 

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Appearance vs Security

Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com posted an article today about some of the recent comments made about the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi.

The article explains:

Last week during congressional testimony from State Department officials who were on the ground in Libya, we heard over and over again that more security for the consulate in Benghazi was requested but denied. We also heard repeatedly from Democrats, including Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings, claiming a lack of funding was at fault for less security in Benghazi during the time of the attack on 9/11 that left four Americans dead. State Department officials said funding had nothing to do with the situation and now, Chairman Darrell Issa has revealed the State Department is sitting on $2 billion for consulate security, but won’t spend it.

From a common sense perspective, this makes no sense, but the rationale is explained later in the article:

Issa (Rep. Darrell Issa , Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) claims the State Department will not spend the already approved funds because they didn’t want to the appearance of needing increased security.

“The fact is, they [the State Department.] are making the decision not to put the security in because they don’t want the presence of security,” Issa said. “That is not how you do security.”

Four people are dead because the Obama Administration valued appearances more than they valued security.

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Mistaken Priorities

Investors.com posted an article on Friday about some of the money spent on American Embassies overseas.

The lead paragraph of the article points out:

While our consulate in Benghazi was guarded by unarmed Libyan contractors making $4 an hour, our embassy in Vienna received an expensive charging station for its new electric cars to help fight climate change.

The article also states that there were 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012. Forty-eight of those incidents took place in Benghazi. Was anyone paying attention?

The article states:

In a May 3, 2012, email on which Ambassador Stevens was copied, the State Department denied a request by a group of Special Forces assigned to protect the U.S. Embassy in Libya to continue their use of a DC-3 airplane for security operations throughout the country.

Four days after the use of an ancient DC-3, along with other security requests, was being denied, on May 7, 2012, the State Department authorized the U.S. Embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric-vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool’s new Chevrolet Volts.

The article concludes:

Instead of an “Energy Efficiency Sweep Of Europe,” money should have been provided for a terrorist sweep of the Middle East that included protection for our diplomats in places like Benghazi. The $535 million wasted by Obama-Biden on Solyndra would have helped.

It seems that someone’s priorities were misplaced.

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Does This Mean I Can Leave My Shoes On ?

Yesterday the Weekly Standard posted an article about a rather amazing statement made by senior official in the State Department.

The article reports:

The war on terror is over,” a senior official in the State Department official tells the National Journal. “Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.” 

Evidently, the theory behind the statement is the belief that the Arab Spring has changed things. The Obama Administration sees the need to cultivate positive relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood and other ‘moderate’ Muslim groups. That’s a really interesting idea considering that the stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is a worldwide caliphate achieved by overthrowing western governments either by force or subversion. (google: Holy Land Foundation Case documents)

I understand that the State Department wants to make friends with everyone. That is an admirable goal, but how wise is it to attempt to cuddle a rattlesnake? The war on terror is not over. Unfortunately, those who seek to do us harm are still out there planning. Are we planning defense?

The article concludes:

This new outlook is radically different than what was expressed under President George W. Bush immediately after September 11, 2001. “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity,” Bush said on November 6, 2001. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.

For President Barack Obama, it would seem, one can be both with us and against us–or not with us, but not quite against us. 

We shouldn’t forget the need to protect our country. I’m not sure that President Obama understands that concept.

 

 

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