Our Dangerous Historical Moment

Photo via NRO

Photo via NRO

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online, Feb. 19, 2015:

World War II was the most destructive war in history. What caused it?

The panic from the ongoing and worldwide Depression in the 1930s had empowered extremist movements the world over. Like-minded, violent dictators of otherwise quite different Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, and the Communist Soviet Union all wanted to attack their neighbors.

Yet World War II could have been prevented had Western Europe united to deter Germany. Instead, France, Britain, and the smaller European democracies appeased Hitler.

The United States turned isolationist. The Soviet Union collaborated with the Third Reich. And Italy and Japan eventually joined it.

The 1930s saw rampant anti-Semitism. Jews were blamed in fascist countries for the economic downturn. They were scapegoated in democracies for stirring up the fascists. The only safe havens for Jews from Europe were Jewish-settled Palestine and the United States.

Does all this sound depressingly familiar?

The aftershocks of the global financial meltdown of 2008 still paralyze the European Union while prompting all sorts of popular extremist movements and opportunistic terrorists.

After the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, America has turned inward. The Depression and the lingering unhappiness over World War I did the same to Americans in the 1930s.

Premodern monsters are on the move. The Islamic State is carving up Syria and Iraq to fashion a fascist caliphate.

Vladimir Putin gobbles up his neighbors in Ossetia, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine, in crude imitation of the way Germany once swallowed Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

Theocratic Iran is turning Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon into a new Iranian version of Japan’s old Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The Western response to all this? Likewise, similar to the 1930s.

The NATO allies are terrified that Putin will next attack the NATO-member Baltic states — and that their own paralysis will mean the embarrassing end of the once-noble alliance.

The United States has now fled from four Middle Eastern countries. It forfeited its post-surge victory in Iraq. It was chased out of Libya after the killings of Americans in Benghazi. American red lines quickly turned pink in Syria. U.S. Marines just laid down their weapons and flew out of the closed American embassy in Yemen.

America has convinced its European partners to drop tough sanctions against Iran. In the manner of the Allies in 1938 at Munich, they prefer instead to charm Iran, in hopes it will stop making a nuclear bomb.

The Islamic State has used almost a year of unchallenged aggression to remake the map of the Middle East. President Obama had variously dismissed it as a jayvee team or merely akin to the problems that big-city mayors face.

Europeans pay out millions to ransom their citizens from radical Islamic hostage-beheaders. Americans handed over terrorist kingpins to get back a likely Army deserter.

Then we come to the return of the Jewish question. Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust, Jews are once again leaving France. They have learned that weak governments either will not or cannot protect them from Islamic terrorists.

In France, radical Islamists recently targeted a kosher market. In Denmark, they went after a synagogue. In South Africa, students demanded the expulsion of Jewish students from a university. A Jewish prosecutor who was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina was found mysteriously murdered.

Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being blamed for stoking Middle Eastern tensions. Who cares that he resides over the region’s only true democracy, one that is stable and protects human rights? Obama-administration aides have called him a coward and worse. President Obama has dismissed the radical Islamists’ targeting of Jews in France merely as “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli.”

Putin, the Islamic State, and Iran at first glance have as little in common as did Germany, Italy, and Japan. But like the old Axis, they are all authoritarians that share a desire to attack their neighbors. And they all hate the West.

The grandchildren of those who appeased the dictators of the 1930s once again prefer in the short term to turn a blind eye to the current fascists. And the grandchildren of the survivors of the Holocaust once again get blamed.

The 1930s should have taught us that aggressive autocrats do not have to like each other to share hatred of the West.

The 1930s should have demonstrated to us that old-time American isolationism and the same old European appeasement will not prevent but only guarantee a war.

And the 1930s should have reminded us that Jews are usually among the first — but not the last — to be targeted by terrorists, thugs, and autocrats.

Also see:

Egyptian beheadings show ISIS taking ‘global jihad’ to rest of Arab world

Published on Feb 16, 2015 by jim hoft  (who reminds us that Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility for the Benghazi attack and 3 emails were sent to the WH informing them of this on the night of the attack)

Fox News, Feb. 16, 2015:

The Islamic State’s mass execution of Egyptian Christians is the latest sign that ISIS is pointing its sword against not just the West but the rest of the Arab world — drawing the region into a spreading war that leaves the United States in a difficult spot as it tries to marshal a cohesive coalition.

That coalition started last fall as a U.S.-led airstrike campaign involving several Gulf states, and Jordan. Not only have a host of western nations since joined to offer at least financial support, but several other countries in the Middle East and North Africa are now launching their own military campaigns.

On Monday, Egyptian warplanes struck at ISIS militants in Libya, in retaliation for the mass execution of Coptic Christians from Egypt. The airstrikes reportedly were coordinated with the Libyan government.

Meanwhile, Iran is said to be fueling Shiite militias now battling ISIS militants on the ground in Iraq, as Iraq’s military loses strength. Syria’s Assad regime has been fighting ISIS from the start. And Jordan, a U.S. ally, has escalated its role in the coalition after a captured Jordanian pilot was burned alive by the Islamic State.

The distinct campaigns have raised questions about the direction of the anti-ISIS coalition and alliances in the region.

“It’s much more like Game of Thrones, and much less like a seriously thought-through strategy against a regional opponent,” Danielle Pletka, senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told FoxNews.com.

With ISIS-aligned militants battling on so many fronts in the region, analysts say the organization is trying to demonstrate its clout, in turn boosting its already-robust recruitment.

The multiple fronts, though, create challenges for the Obama administration. The Washington Post reported Monday that Iran-backed militias are taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq — which in turn increases Iran’s already growing influence in that country.

The impact of Egypt’s entry into Libya remains to be seen. But retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a former military intelligence officer now with the London Center for Policy Research, said: “Egypt jumping into Libya is not part of the [U.S.] plan.”

Amid the chaos, Shaffer said his group is urging the creation of a single “comprehensive treaty organization” — a standing coalition of countries in the region, which he describes as a sort of “Arab NATO.” Such a group, he said, could organize against ISIS and plan for establishing post-ISIS governance in areas where there is none. This could include Jordan, Egypt and several other governments all fighting a common enemy, which he stressed as critical.

“If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge,” he said, describing the current patchwork of local battles in the region.

Matthew Levitt, counterterrorism analyst with The Washington Institute, described the strikes in Libya as a separate issue from other Islamic State battles, and one fed by the severe instability in that country. “It’s a problem for Egypt, because they’re right next door,” he noted.

But regardless of how connected the Libya fighting is to the broader Islamic State crisis, the entire conflict has had a curious side effect: drawing attention away from what once was the No. 1 enemy in the region, Israel.

Even before the rise of ISIS, analysts say, some Arab states in the region were beginning to — quietly — work with Israel on various challenges including Iran. Now with ISIS the singular force uniting a region notoriously riven by tribal, religious and territorial differences, Israel is on the sidelines.

“This is actually not about Israel, for the first time in a long time,” Levitt said.

He suggested it best for Israel not to play any active role in the current conflict but said the reality is the Gulf states are now realizing “that not every evil in the world … has to do with Israel.”

Pletka said, further, “They and the Israelis see the region through the same prism.”

Whether this results in the long run in Israel being seen as less of an enemy of the Arab world — or simply means Israel becomes the target of fewer United Nations condemnations for a short spell — it represents a significant change, analysts say.

“This is a major, tectonic shift,” Pletka said.

The Islamic State, meanwhile, continues to incite surrounding countries, chiefly through the tactic of horrific executions.

The video released online over the weekend showed 21 Egyptian victims kneeling on a beach, before being beheaded. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi quickly vowed revenge, saying the whole world is in a “fierce battle with extremist groups.”

Both the Egyptian government and Libya’s fragile state are facing internal threats from militants claiming loyalty to ISIS. Egypt already is battling ISIS militants in the Sinai Peninsula, and the airstrikes in neighboring Libya mark an expansion of that fight.

“Clearly, this is a global jihad right before our eyes,” retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News military analyst, said of the ISIS-driven killings.

In a written statement, the White House condemned the “despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.”

The White House noted that the killing “is just the most recent of the many vicious acts perpetrated by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against the people of the region, including the murders of dozens of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai, which only further galvanizes the international community to unite against ISIL.”

The White House urged a “political resolution” to the ongoing conflict in Libya. The White House is hosting a summit later this week on “countering violent extremism.”

FoxNews.com’s Judson Berger contributed to this report.

Also see:

Rep. Gowdy Must Confront Clinton, Valerie Jarrett on Potential Roles in Benghazi

AP Photo/Jacquelyn-Martin

AP Photo/Jacquelyn-Martin

Breitbart, by Charles Ortel, Feb. 11, 2015:

After six years of a foreign policy strategy that observers have assessed as questionable at best, Americans and remaining foreign allies finally deserve an honest explanation of President Obama’s true aims across the Middle East. One person who should explain why the Obama Administration continually asserts the United States is making progress abroad despite so many appalling setbacks is senior aide Valerie Jarrett, whose influence shaping key policies is suggested in second-hand reports, but not yet adequately understood.

With Iran rising, and regimes falling throughout the region, now is the time to subject our President’s singular Senior Advisor to rigorous Congressional oversight, under oath, beginning with an appearance before Congress’s Select Committee on Benghazi.

Expose the real command structure inside the Obama Administration

Numerous accounts by high level U.S. government officials suggest that traditional reporting lines inside the Executive Branch are essentially irrelevant. Using Valerie Jarrett and other reliable associates, President Obama imposes his will everywhere that he can, outside effective scrutiny of political opponents, investigative journalists, and the American public.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, as head of Select Committee investigating the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, has the assignment and the resources he needs to retrieve answers and hold accountable those responsible for the disastrous events that occurred starting September 11, 2012. To do his job properly, he needs to widen his focus beyond Libya, expose how the Obama White House actually makes its decisions, and determine which foreign powers are prime beneficiaries of Executive Branch actions.

It is not enough for the Select Committee simply to identify which officials may have slowed, or even stopped, rescue efforts for beleaguered U.S. government employees and/or contractors mired inside Libya, almost three years ago. Instead, Americans need to understand how deeply involved in Federal government are organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and who has ultimate responsibility for vetting key government appointees and private contractors.

In addition, we deserve to know how deeply ties run between key Administration officials and the government of Iran, which seems to be the only clear beneficiary of Obama foreign policies. Furthermore, the American public should learn how widespread the practice has become wherein foreign interests purchase influence over government officials, theoretically independent scholars, and media watchdogs.

The truth actually matters

So far, Valerie Jarrett’s name does not figure on the published list of witnesses scheduled to appear before the Select Committee on Benghazi. Nor does Huma Abedin’s, a longtime aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both of these individuals likely could help unravel the confusion concerning how America’s relations with Libya and with Egypt disintegrated so profoundly, opening up opportunities for Vladimir Putin to extend Russia’s influence in nations of key strategic significance.

Looking back before September 11, 2012, Congressman Gowdy should uncover who, other than Hillary Clinton (perhaps Ms. Jarrett?), must have approved the deeply troubling decision to let Huma Abedin simultaneously serve multiple masters– including the U.S. taxpayer, Hillary Clinton personally, Teneo Corporation and the Clinton Foundation. Given what happened after Mohamed Morsi took power by June 30, 2012, and given the continuing defiant support of the Obama Administration for the Muslim Brotherhood inside Egypt and the United States, the American public has every right to learn how someone with such suspect foreign connections became so involved in atypical ways influencing sensitive government initiatives.

Hillary Clinton apparently is eager to give her side of the story–though her attitude towards telling the truth is certainly flexible, as any fair-minded re-examination of her Bosnian landing under sniper fire reveals in retrospect.

Congressman Gowdy must summon the courage to examine closely the flows of official and intermediary communications and of money between and among interested parties in Libya and Egypt, not just in 2012, but from January 20, 2009 forward. Substantial U.S. government funds evidently disappeared under Hillary Clinton’s watch over the State Department–during the same period large donations flowed into Clinton Foundation while grants flowed to numerous recipients. Rather than shrugging off the confusing array of information, Congressman Gowdy needs to dive in and ferret out a comprehensible timeline that explains the motives and potential benefits derived by key interested parties.

When it comes to getting Obama Administration officials such as Valerie Jarrett to take Congressional oversight seriously, the record since January 2009 is certainly not encouraging–even now, on a potentially incendiary matter closer to home involving possible targeting of political opponents using the Internal Revenue Service, the Obama White House refuses to supply essential documents. So, teasing out the real timeline with regard to Libya, Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood will likely require aggressive tactics.

The difficult road ahead

Daunting as challenges seem across the Middle East, additional dangers threaten America in the potential splintering of Europe, the unrepentant rise of Putin’s Russia, and from China.

As Congressman Gowdy continues his important work, perhaps the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt, and Israel can use their intelligence resources to help the American public understand exactly what the Obama Administration attempts as it continues redrawing the constellation of western interests across the Middle East.

Time is of the essence. Great nations with far more experienced leaders have floundered following misadventures outside their own borders. In the kind of Congressional oversight that has been sorely lacking until now, perhaps the United States can again find our best feet, and move these forward.

GENERALS CONCLUDE OBAMA BACKED AL-QAIDA

obama-hillary-coffins-benghazi3WND, by Jerome Corsi, Jan. 19, 2015:

NEW YORK – The Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in its interim report.

In WND interviews, several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.

The Obama administration’s gun-running project in Libya, much like the “fast and furious” program under Eric Holder’s Justice Department, operated without seeking or obtaining authorization by Congress.

WND reported Monday that in exclusive interviews conducted with 11 of the 17 members of the commission, it is clear that while the CCB is still enthusiastic to work with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and hopeful that Boehner is serious about the investigation, various members of the CCB, speaking on their own behalf and not as spokesmen for the commission, are expressing concerns, wanting to make sure the Gowdy investigation is not compromised by elements within the GOP.

The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi’s interim report, in a paragraph titled “Changing sides in the War on Terror,” alleges “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion.”

The report asserted the jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.

“The rebels made no secret of their Al Qaeda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports,” the interim report said. “And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress Al Qaeda.”

The report concluded: “The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Christopher Stevens: ’1st U.S. envoy to al-Qaida’

In the WND interviews, several members of the citizens’ commission, speaking for themselves, not for the commission, added important background to the interim report’s conclusion.

“In early 2011, before Gadhafi was deposed, Christopher Stevens came to Benghazi in a cargo ship, and his title at the time was envoy to the Libyan rebels,’ which basically means Christopher Stevens was America’s very first envoy to al-Qaida,” explained Clare Lopez, a member of the commission who served as a career operations officer with the CIA and current is vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

“At that time, Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-related militia in Libya,” Lopez continued. “The weapons were produced at factories in Eastern Europe and shipped to a logistics hub in Qatar. The weapons were financed by the UAE and delivered via Qatar mostly on ships, with some possibly on airplanes, for delivery to Benghazi. The weapons were small arms, including Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and lots of ammunition.”

Lopez further explained that during the period of time when Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya, he was living in the facility that was later designated the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi.

“This was about weapons going into Libya, and Stevens is coordinating with Abdelhakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, other al-Qaida-affiliated militia leaders and leaders of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood that directed the rebellion against Qadhafi as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” Lopez said. “Many of the individual members of the al-Qaida-related militias, including the LIFG, and the groups that would later become Ansar Al-Sharia, were Muslim Brotherhood members first.”

According to the interim report, as detailed by Lopez, a delegation from the UAE traveled to Libya after the fall of Gadhafi to collect payment for the weapons the UAE had financed and that Qatar had delivered to the Transitional National Council in Libya during the war.

“The UAE delegation was seeking $1 billion it claimed was owed,” the interim report noted. “During their visit to Tripoli, the UAE officials discovered that half of the $1 billion worth of weapons it had financed for the rebels had, in fact, been diverted by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Muslim Brotherhood head of the Libyan TNC, and sold to Qaddafi.”

According to information discovered during the UAE visit to Tripoli, when Jalil learned that Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis, Gadhafi’s former minister of the interior before his late February 2011 defection to the rebel forces, had found out about the weapons diversion and the $500 million payment from Gadhafi, Jalil ordered Abu Salim Abu Khattala, leader of the Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade to kill Younis.

“Abu Khattala, later identified as a Ansar al- Shariah commander who participated in the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, accepted the orders and directed the killing of Gen. Younis in July 2011,” the interim report noted.

Abu Khattala is currently in custody in New York awaiting trial under a Department of Justice-sealed indictment, after U.S. Delta Force special operations personnel captured him over the weekend of June 14-15, 2014, in a covert mission in Libya. Abu Khattala’s brigade merged into Ansar al-Shariah in 2012, and he was positively identified to the FBI in a cell phone photo from the scene of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The language of the interim report made clear why the sequence of events is important.

“The key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the Al Qaeda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” the interim Rreport concluded.

“What we have here is the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the revolution giving a kill order to a Muslim militia affiliated with al-Qaida, which then carried it out,” Lopez summarized. “This chain-of-command link is important even though it has not yet received enough attention in the media.

A big ‘oh no’ moment

“After Gadhafi is deposed and Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, the flow of weapons reverses,” Lopez noted. “Now Stevens has the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS.”

Lopez distinguished that “al-Nusra in Syria still claims allegiance to al-Qaida, while ISIS has broken away from al-Qaida, not because ISIS is too violent, but out of insubordination, after Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, wanted to run his own show inside Syria as well as Iraq, thereby disobeying orders from al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.”

She noted that in this period of time, after the fall of Gadhafi and before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the Benghazi compound, Stevens was working with Turkey to ship weapons out of Libya into Syria for the use of the rebels fighting Assad.

According to the authors of the bestselling book “13 Hours,” on Sept. 11, 2012, before the attack on the Benghazi compound started, Stevens had dinner with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Stevens reportedly escorted the Turkish diplomat outside the main gate of the Benghazi compound to say good-bye to Akin at approximately 7:40 p.m. local time, before he returned to Villa C to retire for the evening.

Kevin Shipp, a former CIA counterintelligence expert who worked on the seventh floor at Langley as protective staff to then-CIA Director William Casey, again speaking for himself in his interview with WND, agreed with Lopez that the gun-running operation Stevens managed is a secret the Obama White House and Clinton State Department have sought to suppress from the public.

“The shocking part, maybe even a violation of international law that the Obama administration has been terrified to have fully revealed, is that Stevens as part of his duties as a State Department employee was assisting in the shipment of arms first into Libya for the al-Qaida-affiliated militia, with the weapons shipped subsequently out of Libya into Syria for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated rebels fighting Assad,” Shipp told WND.

“Very possibly, these gun-running activities could be looked at even as treasonable offenses,” he said.

Shipp further noted that in gun-running operations in which the CIA wants deniability, the CIA generally involves a third party.

“The way the CIA works is through a ‘cut-out,’ in that you get Qatar to transport the weapons and you facilitate the transport. So now the third party is to blame,” he explained.

“Qatar probably would have been able to pull this off without any attribution to the CIA if the Benghazi attack had not happened. The attack basically shed the light on this operation the White House, the State Department and the CIA were trying to keep quiet,” he said.

“The attack on Benghazi was a big ‘oh no’ moment.”

SELECT COMMITTEE ON BENGHAZI HEARING #2

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Greg Starr, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, and Steve Linick, inspector general with the State Department, testify before the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.

Brigitte Gabriel facebook post Dec. 9, 2014:

Tomorrow the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Benghazi will hold its second open hearing. The focus will be “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel,” and it will begin at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the proceedings via C-SPAN below. I encourage you to do so – and to continue to let your federal legislators in both the House and Senate know that the ‪#‎Benghazi‬ issue remains a top priority for you.

I’ll be live Tweeting throughout the hearing using #Benghazi, follow me @act4america.

***

 

 

Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey as US Investigates Benghazi Link

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

LWJ, By

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

A Turkish daily, the Milliyet, first reported Azzouz’s capture earlier this month. The Milliyet’s reporting was subsequently picked up by other Turkish press outlets.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda’s efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the “summer resort” area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.

US intelligence officials are investigating Azzouz’s potential ties to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. If he did have a role in the assault, during which four Americans were killed, then his involvement would be yet another strong piece of evidence pointing to the culpability of al Qaeda’s international network.

Fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two formal branches of al Qaeda, are known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. Both AQAP and AQIM are openly loyal to Zawahiri.

Members of the so-called Mohammad Jamal Network (MJN) were present among the attackers. The MJN, as it is known by Western counterterrorism officials, was founded by Mohammad Jamal, an Egyptian who was first trained by al Qaeda in the 1980s. Like the leaders of AQAP and AQIM, Jamal swore a bayat (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri.

Fighters from Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group based in Libya, were also among the jihadists who stormed the embassy. There is abundant evidence tying Ansar al Sharia to al Qaeda’s network and these ties have been formally recognized by the United Nations. [For more on the various al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, see LWJ reports, Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack and UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda.]

Zawahiri’s man in Libya

In September, the State Department added Azzouz to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Azzouz “has had a presence in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Libya.”

State noted that Azzouz “was sent to Libya in 2011 by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to build a fighting force there, and mobilized approximately 200 fighters.” Azzouz “is considered a key operative capable of training al Qaeda recruits in a variety of skills,” such as building improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The designation of Azzouz confirmed some of the details previously reported by CNN, as well as by an analysis shop in the Defense Department.

An unclassified report published in August 2012 highlights al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya, and it identified Azzouz as playing a key role in these plans. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

The report’s authors noted that Azzouz had been sent to Libya by Zawahiri and has been close to the al Qaeda leader “since 1980.” Azzouz “first visited Afghanistan in the 1990s to join the mujahedin fight against the Soviet occupation.” In Libya, according to the CTTSO report, Azzouz “has been operating at least one training center” and has hundreds of men under his command. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report.]

It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture. Turkey is a known crossroads for al Qaeda operatives, including those dispatched by al Qaeda’s senior leadership and fighters seeking to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

The Benghazi Report – An ongoing intelligence failure

WELL.v20-14.2014-12-15.Hayes-Josc.NewscomBY STEPHEN F. HAYES AND THOMAS JOSCELYN:

After a long day on November 13, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner walked down the marble hallways of the Longworth House Office Building to the personal office of Representative Devin Nunes for a drink, a cigarette, and maybe a brief reprieve.

But Boehner’s visit was not a social call. He was there to see three CIA officers who had fought in Benghazi, Libya. Their identities were unknown to all but a small group of U.S. government officials with high-level security clearances, and the details of their harrowing stories were unknown to virtually everyone who was not a colleague or relative.

And the fact that the meeting was taking place at all was unknown to the man who, under different circumstances, might have been expected to host it. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was not invited.

Rogers was sick of Benghazi. Some of his Republican colleagues had spun themselves into a frenzy of conspiracy theorizing, publicly making wild claims that had no basis in fact or hinting at dark conspiracies that had the president of the United States willfully and eagerly arming its enemies. Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, long the Republican face of Benghazi investigations, accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of giving a “stand-down” order to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Representative Louie Gohmert claimed that Senator John McCain deserved some of the blame for Benghazi because McCain, like Barack Obama, had supported opposition forces in Libya. Normally responsible Republicans pretended that Hillary Clinton’s famous “what difference at this point does it make” line was not so much a tone-deaf question about how the attacks happened, which deserved the criticism it earned, but a declaration of indifference that the attacks happened, which was absurd. Rogers complained about these excesses regularly to his staff and colleagues.

This frustration, however, wasn’t the reason Boehner and Nunes cut him out of the meeting with CIA officers. They shared his frustration, as it happened.

Their concern was deeper. Rogers had long been reluctant to commit more time and resources to investigating Benghazi. At a meeting of intelligence committee Republicans in early 2013, just four months after the attacks, Rogers laid out his priorities for the new Congress. Not only was Benghazi not on that list, according to three sources in the meeting, he declared to the members that the issue was in the past and that they wouldn’t be devoting significant time and resources to investigating it. Whatever failures there had been in Benghazi, he explained, they had little to do with the intelligence community, and his intelligence committee would therefore have little to do with investigating them.

In the months that followed, more troubling details about the Benghazi story emerged in the media. Among the most damaging: Internal emails made clear that top Obama administration officials had misled the country about the administration’s role in the flawed “Benghazi talking points” that Susan Rice had used in her Sunday television appearances following the attacks, and that former acting CIA director Michael Morell had misled Congress about the same. Other reports made clear that intelligence officials on the ground in Benghazi had reported almost immediately that the assault was a terrorist attack involving jihadists with links to al Qaeda—information that was removed from the materials used to prepare administration officials for their public discussion of the attacks. A top White House adviser wrote an email suggesting that the administration affix blame for the attacks on a YouTube video.

The revelations even roused the establishment media from their Benghazi torpor and generated extraordinarily hostile questioning of White House press secretary Jay Carney by reporters who had trusted his claims of administration noninvolvement.

None of this convinced Rogers to make Benghazi a priority—a fact that frustrated many of the committee’s members. Boehner received a steady stream of visits and phone calls from House members who complained that Rogers wasn’t doing his job. In all, seven members of the intelligence committee took their concerns directly to the speaker or his top aides. Boehner’s presence at the secret meeting in Nunes’s office demonstrated that he shared those concerns long before he decided to impanel a select committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the Benghazi attacks. And what happened to the CIA officers as they attempted to share their story with congressional oversight committees suggests that those concerns were well founded.

As lawmakers headed home for Thanksgiving two weeks ago, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report concluding that there were no intelligence failures related to the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi and otherwise bolstering claims by the administration and its defenders that the controversy surrounding the attacks and their aftermath was rooted more in the imaginations of critics than in reality.

For many of those who had been following the story closely, the report was bizarre and troubling. Key events were left out. Important figures were never mentioned. Well-known controversies were elided. Congressional testimony on controversial issues was mischaracterized. The authoritative tone of the conclusions was undermined by the notable gaps in evidence presented to support them.

“If this was a high school paper, I would give it an F,” says John Tiegen, a former CIA officer who fought on the ground that night in Benghazi and lived through many of the events the report purports to describe. “There are so many mistakes it’s hard to know where to begin. How can an official government report get so many things wrong?”

Read more at Weekly Standard

Also see:

Gowdy Approaches Benghazi Minefield

gowdy-450x232By Kenneth R. Timmerman:

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood was the commander of the 16-man Special Forces security detail at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, until the State Department ordered him and his men home on August 5, 2012 and never replaced them.

Despite repeated pleas from Ambassador Chris Stevens and his State Department security officers in Tripoli that they remain in Libya, Washington wouldn’t listen.

Colonel Wood remains perplexed at what happened on the night Ambassador Stevens was murdered, and in a recent conversation, recalled a similar event in June 2012 when the British ambassador came under RPG attack while visiting Benghazi.

“When I went to help the British ambassador, we got to the scene faster than the CIA team did on September 11. I went over to the CIA Annex, waited for the 18 Delta medic to grab his kit, then left immediately,” he told me.

“Why would they say ‘get over there as quick as you can’ when the British ambassador gets attacked, and say ‘wait’ when it’s our own ambassador?” he wondered.

And yet, that’s the behavior former deputy CIA Director Mike Morell told the House intelligence committee was “a very prudent decision.”

Their report was welcomed by the national media as the final nail in the coffin of Republican-led Congressional investigations.

Many conservatives have been pushing for Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, SC) to play his cards, even as his investigators continue to conduct their probe far from the media spotlight.

The Washington Post has already proclaimed Gowdy’s investigation “superfluous,” and last week blasted “unfounded conspiracy theories” propounded by Republicans for distracting from the “big mistake in Libya policy… [which] was President Obama’s refusal to support the new government’s attempt to build security after he helped topple the nation’s longtime dictator.”

In Gruberesque fashion, the Post failed to mention that Ambassador Stephens was still talking to Prime Minister candidates for the “new government” on the day he was brutally murdered, as his Diary shows.

But hey, what difference do the facts make when there’s a presidential campaign afoot? The Post and other members of the Hillary Clinton support society (aka the national media) have demonstrated they will spare no ink, tar, or feathers to besmirch anyone who gets close to the truth, and will pass up no opportunity to claim this investigation over before it’s even begun.

That’s why Gowdy must (and is) treading carefully as he navigates the labyrinthine minefield constructed by partisan hacks and entrenched bureaucrats to hide the truth.

One of the first things Gowdy did was to hire a three-star U.S. Army general as his chief counsel. Lieutenant General Dana Chipman had just stepped down as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the United States Army, where in his own words he had led “a legal enterprise consisting of 5,000 personnel in 600 offices in 20 countries.”

Prior to that, General Chipman was the chief lawyer for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, stepping into that hot seat in June 2003 just as U.S. forces switched from liberators to occupiers in Iraq.

The three stars on Chipman’s shoulderboards give him the authority to candidly question anyone in the military chain of command that night without concerns more junior officers might have about disputing the wisdom of an order from on high.

Many in the military have been asking why reinforcements weren’t flown in from Croatia, where a fifty-man U.S. Army counter-terrorism/hostage-rescue unit known as C-110 was on a military training mission.

C-110 was the Commanders In-Extremis Force (CIF) for European Command, a rapid reaction force capable of getting men and equipment into their C-130s to respond to a crisis in somewhere between two to six hours.

Because C-110 was slated to become the Africom CIF on October 1, Africom commanders were intimately aware of its capabilities, and its current position – roughly two hours flight time from Benghazi. But instead of flying directly to Benghazi, C-110 was told to stage en route at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, where it stopped.

The diversion order was given from the Pentagon, not by Africom headquarters in Stuttgart. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has claimed in Congressional testimony that the earliest C-110 could have left Croatia was 6 AM the morning of September 12th – a statement disputed by members of the unit who have spoken anonymously to the media.

Were the commanders of this powerful hostage-rescue unit champing at the bit but told to stand down? If so, by who? And why?

We know the official reasons why C-110 was not sent. Africom commander General Carter Ham and his subordinates have all testified that in the “fog of war” they believed they were facing a situation similar to the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis and needed more time to gather intelligence and plan a hostage rescue operation.

But General Ham also told Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is slated to succeed Rep. Darrell Issa as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, that he never sent boots onto the ground in Benghazi because the State Department “never asked.”

That explanation was buttressed by testimony from Brigadier General Robert Lovell, the Africom deputy director for intelligence (J2), this past May, where he explained that in the spirit of “expeditionary” diplomacy – a favorite Hillary Clinton term – the military was “waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department” before moving reinforcements into Libya.

The answer to this question could help determine who bears the responsibility for leaving brave four men to die that night.

Did the desire to demonstrate that Obama was “not Bush” drive the administration to abandon any recourse to military action? We know that Hillary Clinton was so obsessed by not deploying boots on the ground in Libya that she ordered Colonel Wood and his 16-man Special Forces unit guarding Ambassador Stevens to never appear in public in uniform, not even their boots, until her underlings told them to leave Libya on August 5, 2012 altogether.

We also know that Mrs. Clinton issued two very specific stand-down orders on the night of September 11, 2012:

• She refused to convene the counterterrorism Security Group (CSG), the only structured, experienced interagency reaction team that could have decided which resources of the government were available for immediate deployment, despite pleas from a top counter-terrorism advisor, Mark Thompson.

• She refused to activate the State Department-led Foreign Emergency “Support Team (FEST), an extraordinary operational unit whose sole purpose was to rescue U.S. diplomats under attack.

Her entire effort that night and ever since has been to draw as little attention as possible to U.S. government activities in Benghazi. What was she trying to hide?

Read more at Frontpage

The Benghazi Cover-Up Continues

Benghazi-Gate-450x337Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, November 24, 2014:

A diplomatic mission was slapped down in the middle of a city controlled by terrorists. The diplomatic mission was left mostly undefended, despite multiple requests by everyone in Libya right up to the deceased ambassador, except by a militia gang linked to Al Qaeda which wasn’t getting paid.

At a time when the State Department was spending fortunes on bad art, on Kindles at the bargain price of $6,000 a reader, not to mention renovating the mansion residence of a political donor/ambassador in Europe who would be the subject of yet another cover-up after being accused of pedophilia (but not before causing a public scandal by blaming anti-Semitism on the Jews) there was no money for securing a diplomatic mission that was so far behind enemy lines it might as well have been in the middle of Iran.

And again it was no one’s fault. Despite multiple whistleblowers from the State Department coming forward, most of them left of center types who wouldn’t spit on a Koch Brother, the panels and committees wrote the establishment a blank check.

It was no one’s fault. Anyone who disagreed with the assertion that the murder of four Americans might be someone’s fault was a right-wing conspiracy theorist. Anyone who thought that we should listen to the testimony of Gregory Hicks, the highest ranking diplomat in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed, or to Ambassador Stevens’ own messages asking for more security, was a crazed nutjob.

Only a lunatic would think this might be someone’s fault.

“When I arrived in Tripoli on July 31, we had over 30 security personnel, from the State Department and the U.S. military, assigned to protect the diplomatic mission to Libya. All were under the ambassador’s authority,” Hicks wrote. “On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.”

“For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report,” he added.

Now “for some reason” the testimony and statements of the CIA annex security team, the men on the ground like Mark Geist and Kris Paronto, did not make their way into the House Intel Committee report which once again exonerates everyone under its purview in true Washington fashion.

Was aid denied? Nope. Was there a lack of security? Maybe, but that’s a job for the State Department and State already concluded that it was the fault of three people whom it pretended to fire. The Senate committee concluded it was Ambassador Stevens’ fault despite his multiple requests for security because dead men don’t appear at committee hearings.

Was there a “stand down order”? Geist and Paronto say there was. The Housel Intel Committee however says that there was no stand down order; there were only “mere tactical disagreements about the speed with which the team should depart.”

Those “mere tactical disagreements” according to Paronto merely resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens.

But the report insists there was no stand down order whatsoever, just “some Annex members wanted to urgently depart the Annex for the TMF to save their State Department colleagues.”

Gregory Hicks had stated that a team was prevented from heading to Benghazi. General Dempsey explained in his testimony that it was not told to “stand down”. It was told that it had a new mission of not going to Benghazi.

“They weren’t told to stand down. A `stand down’ means don’t do anything,” the General explained. “They were told that the mission they were asked to perform was not in Benghazi, but was at Tripoli airport.”

Orwell wept.

And so the idea that there was a “stand down order” has been conclusively and thoroughly disproven. Media Matters has splashed the news all over its front page. American lives might have been saved, but weren’t, because of “mere tactical disagreements” between doing something and doing nothing.

But don’t call it a “stand down order”. That might imply that a decision was made and that the giver of the order is responsible. And that someone above him might be responsible for setting a policy.

The House Intel Committee report, like all the reports before it, are full of such brilliant lawyerese, of technical explanations for why black is white, white is black and why none of it is anyone’s fault. The latest report insists that the administration was always aware that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and that Susan Rice was telling the truth when she claimed it wasn’t because she was misled by the CIA.

The administration was always telling the truth even when it wasn’t. Ambassador Stevens was responsible for the lack of security that killed him even while he kept pleading for more security. No personnel were told to stand down. They were just told not to go.

It’s all perfectly airtight by the standards of a political establishment in which one hand covers up for another, in which holding people in government responsible is a bad precedent. If blame has to be distributed, it can be dumped on the vague infrastructure of the CIA, on expendable diplomatic personnel and on a dead guy. And none of them will be held responsible either.

That’s just the magic of government.

We have an $18 trillion national debt which no one is responsible for. We have a fake unemployment rate of 6 percent and a real unemployment rate somewhere between 12 and 18 percent. And no one is responsible for that either. We have a terrorist group in Iraq that morphed into its own country and is executing Americans who could have been saved and no one is responsible for that.

Not anyone in our government.

We can go through numerous panels and committees that will humor us by pretending to care about the latest government scandal we’re outraged by and after going through the motions, they will announce that it’s no one’s fault.

It never is.

The Saudi visa express program that helped cause 9/11 was revived last year by Obama. The consular officer who issued visas to 11 of the hijackers despite numerous problems with their applications was not fired or demoted. Instead she still works for the State Department where she claims that “shopping” is her “great love” because it lets her snap up unique Middle Eastern items at “local prices.”

And the Senate continued to reconfirm her nomination because nothing is anyone’s fault.

There is simply no such thing as accountability in government. The incestuously corrupt culture of government insiders and the smug political reporters who eat out of their hands make that impossible. No matter how many whistleblowers come forward, how many of the men and women on the front lines tell their story, a group of lawyers with red pens will huddle over a report and use technicalities and word games to ignore the whistleblowers and exempt their government superiors from blame.

Washington can never allow any accountability for Benghazi because once we look closely at the murder of four Americans we might just have to start looking at the thousands of soldiers who died or were wounded in Afghanistan for many of the same reasons; including being denied support to avoid offending Muslims.

The media can never allow any accountability for Benghazi because the buck stops with their chosen presidential candidate for 2016.

Benghazi is the tip of a very nasty iceberg. The Libyan War was illegally fought and backed by lies that have never been addressed including false claims of genocide by Obama. That war has now resulted in ISIS in control of at least one Libyan city.

Benghazi is a political firewall. If the political establishment and the media can stop blame from being assigned here, they can permanently shut down these bigger questions. And if we can break their firewall, then the establishment will burn.

Also see:

The Motives Behind The November Rogers/Ruppersberger “House Intelligence Panel” Report On Benghazi…

benghazi4-e1351495805540 (1)By Sundance:

Those of you familiar with the Benghazi Brief will note the alignment and expectation of the Rogers/Ruppersberger report.  Their report is exactly as we anticipated it would be.

With a House Select Committee (Trey Gowdy) already in place, you might rightly ask yourself why did Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger even produce a report?  As you read their House Intelligence Panel Report on Benghazi it is important to note a few key aspects:

• Both Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger are members of the Congressional Gang of Eight.  They are the ONLY authors.

This is not a House Intelligence “Committee” report on Benghazi.  This is only two committee members writing a report based on prior information.

• Both Rogers and Ruppersberger would have been briefed on the CIA operations in Benghazi during 2011/2012 as the covert operation began.

• President Obama signed a finding memo in 2011 permitting Operation Zero Footprint to begin. The congressional “gang of eight” held oversight responsibilities.

• Rogers, Ruppersberger along with Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Saxby Chambliss and Diane Feinstein would have been notified of the presidential authorization. In 2011 they were the congressional Gang of Eight.  Their lack of oversight reflected a willful blindness to the operation.

• In addition to the covert Zero Footprint Operation, the Benghazi CIA annex served as a rendition site. [We find this out in 2013 from Paula Broadwell, who was the pillow-talk recipient of information from 2012 CIA Director General David Petraeus. Broadwell and Petraeus had an extramarital affair.]

The Rogers/Ruppersberger Report is specifically designed, by wording, to provide political cover to both parties – Republicans and Democrats within the Gang of Eight particularly  included, and protected.

It is professional obfuscation in structure, content and wording.

Read more at The Last Refuge

HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE RELEASES BENGHAZI FINDINGS, SOME AT ODDS WITH PRIOR NEWS REPORTS

benghazi-radical-reutersBreitbart, By John Sexton, Nov. 21, 2014:

After a two-year investigation, the bipartisan House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on Benghazi. The report contains a total of 17 findings, most of which focus on the behavior of the intelligence community. Some of the report’s findings are at odds with reporting by major news organizations, including Fox, CNN,and the NY Times.

The following list provides excerpts from all 17 findings. Refer to the full report for the complete text.

  1. There is no evidence of an intelligence failure. Prior to the Benghazi attacks, the CIA provided sufficient strategic warning of the deteriorating threat environment to U.S. decision-makers, including those at the State Department.
  2. CIA provided sufficient security personnel, resources, and equipment to defend against the known terrorist threat and to enable CIA operations in Benghazi.
  3. State Department security personnel, resources, and equipment were unable to counter the terrorist threat that day, and they required CIA assistance.
  4. The CIA was not collecting and shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
  5. A mixed group including members of al-Qa’ida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), the Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN), Ansar Al-Sharia (AAS), and Abu Abaydah Ibn Jarah Battalion (UJB) participated in the attacks, along with Qadafi loyalists.
  6. Appropriate personnel on the ground in Benghazi made the decision to send CIA officers to rescue the State Department officers at the TMF.
  7. Although some security officers voiced a greater urgency to depart for the TMF, no officer at CIA was ever told to stand down.
  8. The decision to send CIA officers from Tripoli to Benghazi to rescue the Ambassador and bolster security of the U.S. personnel in Benghazi was a tactical decision appropriately made by the senior officers on the ground.
  9. The Tripoli team’s decision not to move to the hospital to retrieve Ambassador Stevens was based on the best intelligence at the time.
  10. The CIA received all military support that was available. Neither the CIA nor DOD denied requests for air support. One CIA security officer requested a Spectre gunship that he believed was available, but his commanding officer did not relay the request because he correctly knew the gunship was not available.
  11. Ambassador Rice’s September 16 public statements about the existence of a protest, as well as some of the underlying intelligence reports, turned out to be inaccurate.
  12. Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell made significant changes to the talking points.
  13. CIA’s Office of Public Affairs also made substantive changes to the talking points by removing the reference to “ties to al-Qa’ida” in the second bullet of the original draft.
  14. Overall, the CIA could have placed more weight on eyewitness sources on the ground and should have challenged its initial assessments about the existence of a protest earlier.
  15. CIA did not intimidate or prevent any officer from speaking to Congress or otherwise telling his story.
  16. There is no evidence that the CIA conducted any unusual polygraph exams related to Benghazi.
  17. While at times the agencies were slow to respond, ultimately the CIA, NCTC, FBI and other Executive Branch agencies fully cooperated with the Committee’s investigation.

Like the previous Senate report, the House Intel report does place blame with the State Dept. for not heeding the frequent, albeit non-specific, warnings issued by the CIA about the deteriorating security situation in Libya.

The House report does knock down several claims surrounding the response to the attack, including that the military could have done more to respond (finding #10). But many of the report’s findings are at odds with reports by large, credible news sources, includingFox News, CNN and the NY Times.

The report disputes that there was a delay in responding to the attack beyond what was required for CIA personnel to put on their gear (finding #7). That finding seems to be at odds with the statements of three men directly involved in the response, who told Fox News‘ Bret Baier that they were ready to go in five minutes and were explicitly told, “Stand down, you need to wait” by a supervisor they refer to as “Bob.”

The finding that no undue pressure, polygraphs, or NDA’s were used to silence CIA officers contradicts reporting by CNN. According to a CNN report dated August 1, “Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations.”

With regard to finding #4, multiple reports from the NY Times alleged that the CIA was involved in organizing an arms pipeline to move weapons from Libya to Turkey and Syria. No one claimed the CIA was directly funding this pipeline, only that it was tacitly involved.

As for the talking points, the House report finds they were indeed wrong but faults the CIA for the error, saying they did not place enough value on eyewitness testimony (finding #14) or challenge their early findings soon enough. The report does not mention that a separate set of talking points prepared for Susan Rice by the White House told her to emphasize that the attack was not the result of the President’s foreign policy but of the internet video.

There remains some partisan disagreement confined to the appendices of the report. The majority staff faults the State Department for the security failure and faults the Obama administration for downplaying the apparent al Qaeda connections and emphasizing the spontaneous, video-caused attack to back up their campaign year claim al Qaeda was decimated. The minority disputes these assertions, even once again making the claim that the President called the attack an act of terror the following day.

Leading Republican wants Senate to join House probe of Benghazi attack

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. (Reuters)

Sept. 11, 2012: A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames. (Reuters)

By Catherine Herridge, Pamela Browne:

A leading Republican wants to expand the House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack by adding a Senate probe, as a new House Intelligence Committee report Friday concluded that the initial CIA assessment found no demonstrations prior to the assault and a primary purpose of the CIA operation in eastern Libya was to track the movement of weapons to Syria.

The report described the attack as “complex” with the attackers affiliated with Al Qaeda. It also said the initial CIA assessment concluded there were no demonstrations outside the State Department Consulate in Eastern Libya.

Referring to the House Select committee Chairman, and the Democratic ranking member, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, said the current House investigation should be expanded.

“(Republican) Trey Gowdy and (Democrat) Elijah Cummings have done a good job,” he said. “I can’t imagine the U.S. Senate not wanting to be a part of a joint select committee. We’ll bootstrap to what you’ve done, but we want to be part of discussion,” Graham told Fox News. “What I would suggest to (incoming Senate majority leader) Mitch McConnell is to call up Speaker Boehner and say ‘Listen, we want to be part of this’.”

Graham, along with his two Republican colleagues, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, have been outspoken advocates of a special investigation, because they say then-acting director of the CIA Mike Morell misled them about his role in crafting the so-called media talking points that blamed an opportunistic protest gone awry for the assault.

“Number one, Mike Morrell misled three senators,” Graham said of their November 2012 meeting on Capitol Hill, where Morell accompanied then UN Ambassador Susan Rice to explain her flawed explanation on national television five days after the attack.

“I think it’s important that for future CIA personnel to understand, that if you come to Congress and you’re asked a question and you give a deceptive answer, you tell half the story, not the entire story, you play word games, it will follow you and will be unacceptable,” Graham said.

On Friday, with little fanfare, the House Intelligence Committee released the findings of its two year, bi-partisan investigation into the terrorist attack. The 37 page report found that the first, internal CIA assessment was accurate — that no protests were involved — but then-CIA Director David Petraeus, Morell and the administration latched onto information that supported the flawed demonstration scenario.

Fox News was first to report on September 17, 2012, one day after Rice’s controversial Sunday talk show appearances, that there were no protests when the attack unfolded.

“One day after the assault, on 9/12/12, the first CIA assessment about the attacks, a September 12th Executive update, said ‘the presence of armed assailants from the incident’s outset suggests this was an intentional assault and not the escalation of a peaceful protest,” investigators found.  And while intelligence gaps remain, “No witness has reported believing at any point that the attacks were anything but terrorist acts,” the report added.

On Saturday September 14, 2012, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes wrote in an email titled “PREP CALL with Susan,” that one of the goals for the administration’s public statements should be “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”  The House report says these conclusions were “incorrect.”

Judicial Watch, not Congress, obtained the Rhodes email as the result of a federal lawsuit.

The Obama White House did not move away from the protest explanation for the attack that killed four Americans – Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals and CIA contractors Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty – until September 20, when then White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters ‘It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” and the State Department did the same much later.

The report found the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs made three “substantive” changes to the talking points that included the removal of references to Al Qaeda and swapping the word “attacks” with “demonstrations.”  It is not clear from the publicly available, and heavily redacted emails exactly who made the changes and who directed them, since the CIA public affairs office would be unlikely to make these changes unilaterally.

When Morell retired from the CIA last year, he told The Wall Street Journal he hoped to advise a presidential campaign, with anonymous sources telling the paper Morell was close to HillaryClinton. Morell now works as a counselor at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington D.C. firm closely aligned with the former secretary of State. He is also a national security analyst for CBS News. The President of CBS News is David Rhodes, the brother of Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

An appendix filed by Democrats did not find evidence of “political motivations,” and Morell is praised for testifying “freely and openly” about the process.  Four Republicans, including chairman Mike Rogers, concluded “Mr. Morell operated beyond his role as CIA Deputy Director and inserted himself into a policy making and public affairs role….It is simply unfathomable that the White House’s policy preferences, or the concerns of the State Department senior officials, did not factor into his calculation about what was fair.  For these reasons, we believe that Mr. Morell’s testimony was at time inconsistent and incomplete.”

The House report leaves no doubt that the attack drew heavily on “those affiliated with al-Qai’da,”  including AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb), AAS (Ansar al-sharia), AQAP (Al Qaeda in Yemen), AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) as well as the Egypt based Jamal Network.  As Fox News was first to report, and the committee investigation affirms, at least two long time Al Qaeda operatives, Faraj al-Chalabi, and former Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, were significant players in the assault.

Read more at Fox News

Also see:

New Benghazi Indictment Still Doesn’t Mention Al-Qaeda

20140916__benghazi_caskets_murdered_lby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

On September 10, 2012, al-Qaeda’s emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued a lengthy statement to his fellow jihadists in Libya. He called on them to avenge the American military’s killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the highest ranking al-Qaeda operative in that country. His “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders,” Zawahiri cried.

The diatribe was no surprise, the following day being the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities committed against the United States by the terror network with which we were – and are – still at war. Plus, jihadists in Benghazi, the terror network’s hub in eastern Libya, had repeatedly attacked American and other Western targets during the preceding five months.

The following night, September 11, 2012, jihadists from al-Qaeda’s main Libyan franchise, Ansar al-Sharia, laid siege to a U.S. State Department mission in Benghazi, the very target jihadists had detonated an IED against only three months earlier, on June 6. They torched the facility, murdered the American ambassador to Libya, killed three additional American officials, and wounded several others in an attack that lasted several hours – a terrorist attack by our wartime enemies during which President Obama and the U.S. armed forces took no meaningful action to respond or rescue our personnel.

Now, do you suppose what happened before the Benghazi massacre – the continuing war with al-Qaeda, the serial jihadist attacks, the call by the terror network’s leader right before the 9/11 anniversary to avenge a “martyr” by striking against the United States – just might shed some light on the terrorist attack involving al-Qaeda’s Libyan franchise against the State Department compound that night?

If you do, you clearly do not work for the Obama administration and its brazenly politicized Justice Department.

For them, as a superseding indictment filed on Monday reaffirms, “al-Qaeda” is a term not to be uttered – except at fundraisers, and only for the purpose of absurdly claiming victory over the terrorist group. And Benghazi is just a spontaneous protest that, somehow, came to involve terrorists – impossible to have foreseen and over in the blink of an eye, before any commander-in-chief could have done much about it.

Yes, Attorney General Eric Holder’s minions have finally filed their long-awaited superseding indictment against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a ringleader in the Benghazi attack. It is a gussied up replay of the original indictment returned last summer, the one that was roundly mocked by critics, not least by your humble correspondent. That indictment was more a political than a legal document, hewing to the administration’s fictional account of Benghazi as a sudden uprising, not a coordinated attack within the framework of an ongoing terrorist conspiracy.

The Justice Department hopes you’ll miss the chicanery this time because, ostensibly, they’ve beefed up the charges. Instead of the original indictment’s bare-bones brevity – it was just two pages long (actually, just 15 lines) and alleged just one count against the single defendant – the superseding indictment comes in at about 21 pages and now levels 18 charges against Khatallah. But the additional heft merely comes from a mining of new statutory offenses out of the same version of events. The story has not changed.

That is, the new indictment does not allege an al-Qaeda terrorist conspiracy against the United States. It instead posits a scheme lasting just one day – indeed, perhaps just a few hours – in which Khatallah is accused of agreeing to lend material support, namely, himself, to unidentified terrorists who spontaneously attacked the State Department compound without much planning or warning. It is indictment as agitprop: a charging instrument designed to sit comfortably with the Obama administration’s political claims.

The superseding indictment makes no mention of al-Qaeda, much less of Zawahiri’s baying for American blood. After all, the president had said some three-dozen times during the 2012 campaign that he had already defeated al-Qaeda. In fact, Obama had the temerity to repeat that risible claim at his Vegas fundraiser the day after the massacre (“A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead”).

Read more: Family Security Matters

Why Won’t Republicans Get to the Bottom of Benghazi?

pic_giant_101114_SM_Trey-GowdyBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

Something bothers me about the first and only hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Something I haven’t been able to shake.

It was a desultory hearing. That’s not the main thing that bothers me, but it grates. Many Americans still seek real accountability for the jihadist-empowering policies and recklessly irresponsible security arrangements that preceded the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack — to say nothing of the fraud and stonewalling that followed it. We were thus cheered when the GOP-controlled House finally appointed a select investigative committee . . . although we were equally puzzled why it took so much prodding, why Republican leadership seemed so reluctant. Five months have elapsed since then, and the committee has not exactly been a bundle of energy.

The panel is chaired by Representative Trey Gowdy. We were buoyed by that, too: He is an impressive former prosecutor from South Carolina. To date, though, he has convened just the one, remarkably brief public hearing. It was on September 17, a few days after the second anniversary of the Benghazi massacre, during which terrorists killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans: Sean Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty.

The hearing seemed to be a futile quest for buy-in from committee Democrats, whose mission is to undermine the legitimacy of an investigation their party opposed — one that, if thorough and competent, cannot but damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions. Representative Gowdy agreed to the minority’s request for a session that would explore the recommendations of the Obama State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) and the administration’s diligent implementation thereof.

The ARB probe, conducted by Washington fixtures handpicked by then–Secretary of State Clinton for damage-control purposes, was hopelessly conflicted. It failed to interview key witnesses — including, natch, Mrs. Clinton herself. Its recommendations are thus of dubious value. More to the point, they are far afield from the salient matter: accountability for the disastrous decisions, actions, and omissions before, during, and after the attack.

It was obvious why Democrats wanted a hearing focused on the ARB recommendations. It could nicely frame their contention that Benghazi has already been thoroughly investigated by bipartisan Beltway eminences who found fault (though not much, and not by anyone of significance) and proposed fixes, which fixes the Obama administration anxiously and responsibly adopted. End of story, which after all, dude, was like two years ago.

In spinning this yarn, Democrats could not have chosen a more perfect witness: Gregory Starr, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Mr. Starr is a highly experienced diplomat, articulate with just the right edge of condescension, and, best of all, out of the loop on anything of consequence. He wasn’t at State when Benghazi happened. He was brought back to the Department by Mrs. Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, after a stint at the UN. He was therefore perfectly positioned to give forceful soliloquies about how crucial personnel security is to the State Department and the Obama administration, yet able to dodge any questions about the unconscionable security lapses in Benghazi under Secretary Clinton.

To their credit, committee Republicans did a fine job debunking the Democrats’ narrative. Chairman Gowdy in particular was characteristically effective in showing that the ARB recommendations were essentially the same ones proposed, and quickly forgotten, after every terrorist attack on a government facility over the past three decades. He also pointed out that security for high-threat facilities was supposed to be personally approved by the secretary of state, not a subordinate — a problem given that, under Secretary Clinton, security in Benghazi was decreased despite attacks, threats, and expert assessments that clearly signaled an intensifying threat.

Still, there was no reason for committee Republicans to put themselves in a defensive posture. Chairman Gowdy decides what the hearing topics will be. In the days before the hearing, three security contractors assigned to protect the CIA annex in Benghazi went public with allegations that they’d been obstructed by superiors when they tried to come to the aid of the Americans under attack. The delay may have cost lives. Was that not more to the point of the select committee’s mission — more appropriate fodder for its much-anticipated first hearing — than the ARB recommendations?

Of course, we conservatives are used to GOP accommodations designed to both entice Democrats into good-faith cooperation and impress the media with how bipartisan or, in Gowdy’s framing of it, how non-partisan Republicans can be. The civility and sobriety are always unrequited, yet they keep trying.

But that is not my main problem. What really bothers me is what happened toward the end of the hearing.

It was the day’s most dramatic exchange: Representative Gowdy was questioning Secretary Starr. The chairman had expertly set the stage by adducing Starr’s agreement that diplomatic security in dangerous places is a cost-benefit analysis. That is, the degree of risk tolerated depends on the government’s calculation of the benefit derived from whatever mission requires an American presence. With his witness thus cornered, Gowdy pounced: There being no more perilous place on the planet for Americans than the jihadist hornet’s nest of Benghazi, he asked Starr,

We know the risk of being in Benghazi. Can you tell us what our policy was in Libya that overcame those risks? In other words, why were we there?

Starr tried to dance away, going into a speech about how such questions “have been fundamental to the Department for over thirty years,” and that there have thus been evacuations, removal of family members, reductions of personnel, etc. Gowdy, however, would have none of it — after all, none of the measures Starr listed was taken in Benghazi. So again, the chairman demanded,

We know the risk in Benghazi. My colleagues and you and others have done a wonderful job of highlighting some of the “trip wires” — I think [that] is the diplomatic term. What policy were we pursuing in Libya that was so great that it overcame all of the trip wires?

After some hesitation, Secretary Starr meekly replied: “Not being here at the time, sir, I cannot answer that question for you.”

Really?

Read more at National Review

Also see:

Video: Timmerman’s Benghazi speech at Horowitz’s Wednesday Morning Club

Kenneth R. Timmerman – “Dark Forces” from DHFC on Vimeo.

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