Former CIA Director and Deputy Director Endorse Benghazi Select Committee

 John Hayward:

It might just have become impossible for Democrats to sit out the Benghazi Select Committee, which means the childish temper tantrums from people like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are going to cost the Party dearly.

At a forum held by his Panetta Institute in California on Monday, former CIA director – and major Democrat Party figure – Leon Panetta endorsed the new investigation, as did former Deputy Director Michael Morell, who played a role in preparing at least one set of Benghazi talking points for the Obama Administration.  As related by Politico, one of the reasons Morell favors a definitive Select Committee investigation is that he wants to make it clear the talking points he edited weren’t the same as the hyper-politicized gobbledygook that led the Administration to lie about “spontaneous video protests” for weeks on end:

“A lot of people have looked at this, but the polls show that the American people still have questions. I want to make sure that all of those questions are cleared up. There are still some questions about the role of the agency. And there are still questions about my own personal role and I want to clear that up,” Morell said during a panel discussion at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, Calif. “It might be surprising for you to hear me say this, but  I am a supporter of the creation of this committee because I want all the facts to come together in one place and be presented as one—by one entity as one thing, so the American people can see all of this.

“I am hopeful that at least getting the facts on the table will be helpful.”

[...] During his appearance Monday, Morell sought to make clear that he had no involvement whatsover in drafting Rhodes’s messaging memo and, in fact, didn’t even know about it until recently.

“It’s very important to remember that there’s actually two sets of talking points now. For months, there was only one set of talking points, now there’s two. The only set that I was ever aware of was the set that the CIA produced at the request of  Congress and those we reproduced by my analysts and they were edited by a number of people including me,” the ex-CIA official said. As for the memo Rhodes issued, “Nobody in the intelligence community ever vetted those. Nobody in the intelligence community was aware of those So, I just learned about those a couple of weeks ago, so I really don’t have anything to add on those points. The ones I can talk to are the ones that we produced.”

Morell also said he’s certain that the House panel will reject allegations that the talking points he prepared were intended to provide political solace to either Obama or Clinton.

“There is absolutely no truth to that and I am 100 percent confident that when this committee is done with its work that will be shown to be true,” he said.

The White House repeatedly tried throwing intelligence officials under the bus during its frantic efforts to keep Obama’s re-election campaign alive after the Benghazi attack.  It looks like there might be a few hard feelings about that, now that all the “good soldiers” kept their lips zipped until the elections were over.  The discovery of those White House “smoking gun” emails by Judicial Watch has been a truly seismic event.  The intelligence community wants to create some daylight between itself and the political hacks who cooked up the “video protest” story.

Read more at Human Events

Also see:

 

No, the Benghazi Questions Aren’t All Answered

pic_giant_010614_SM_Down-the-Times-Benghazi-Rabbit-Hole_0By Jim Geraghty:

NBC News’s Chuck Todd, speaking on MSNBC Tuesday morning, contended that the newly formed House select committee investigating Benghazi was likely to rehash familiar arguments and miss broader issues worth discussing:

It certainly looks more partisan than it looks like a serious inquiry. They’ve done a ton of these inquiries already, the House has. There’s been a Senate Intelligence investigation. Forget just the State Department. I think you could argue that yes, Congress should have done what it did, which is go through some of these committees. But as for the need for the select committee — you know, I’ll hear from Republicans that say, ‘But there are unanswered questions!’ Well, no, all the questions have been answered. There’s just some people that don’t like the answers, that wish the answers were somehow more conspiratorial, I guess.

Their focus seems to be off. Have a conversation about the policy. Have a debate, an investigation into whether the policy is working; to whether the response to the Arab Spring, whether we did the right thing with the light footprint in Libya. But to sit here and investigate talking points seems to be totally missing the larger point here. It’s like investigating who cut down one tree in a forest that’s been burned down.”

Todd is half-right that there are broader issues worth examining. But there is good reason for Republicans to believe that full answers have been withheld, and Americans have seen little or no real accountability for a largely preventable outrage.

As Todd notes, several House and Senate committees launched their own inquiries, but the White House withheld certain documents and evidence, which raises serious doubts about how thoroughly and accurately those committees’ questions have been answered. For example, the White House never sent Congress an e-mail from Ben Rhodes instructing then–ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to “underscore these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy,” infuriating lawmakers.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters the White House didn’t include the e-mail in its disclosures to Capitol Hill because it wasn’t about Benghazi, but ABC News’s Jonathan Karl noted that the e-mail in question has an entire section labeled “Benghazi.” How many other documents have been withheld because the administration judged them not relevant, were momentarily struck with inexplicable illiteracy, or simply deemed them too damaging or embarrassing to turn over to Congress?

Earlier, senators had complained about heavily redacted documents:

“It was so redacted that there was no information whatsoever,” said the source, who spoke to Fox on the condition they not be identified. “There were some documents that were 100 pages with every word on the page redacted. They were worthless.”

More than a year after the attack, Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) was informed that he could not interview the survivors of the attack because it would somehow interfere with the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. This decision came as surprising news to FBI director James Comey, whose agency is responsible for that prosecution. Comey said he had no objection to the interviews. After Graham finally did speak with the survivors, he said some told him “they’ve been told to be quiet.”

While it’s entirely possible that Graham is misinterpreting or mischaracterizing the survivors’ comments, it’s impossible to know as long as the survivors’ comments and testimony remain hidden from the public. When the public has gotten to hear from those close to the events on the ground, such as Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya who was in Tripoli at the time of the attack, the testimony has offered a gripping, eye-opening, and disturbing portrait of the U.S. government being caught flat-footed and unable to mobilize in a crisis.

This is a particularly cynical strategy by the administration: They take as long as possible to provide the information and then complain that Congress remains obsessed with long-ago issues. Former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor exemplified the delay-then-demand-others-move-on approach when he recently told Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier, “Dude, this was like two years ago.”

Read more at National Review

O’Reilly to Chaffetz: ‘Get Your Butt In Gear’ and Subpoena Leon Panetta

BY: :

Bill O’Reilly blasted the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) for failing to subpoena former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta over Benghazi Thursday on The O’Reilly Factor.

O’Reilly expressed his frustration that Panetta has yet to be subpoenaed considering he was informed the night of Benghazi that the assault was in fact a terrorist attack. President Obama was careful to avoid the exact verbiage of what Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told him the night of September 11, 2012 in his Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly.

The Fox News host said Chaffetz and the House OGR need to get their “butts in gear” and subpoena Panetta to find out what exactly transpired between the former defense secretary and President Obama the night of the Benghazi attack:

BIll O’REILLY: This is the story. This is it. Panetta is it. And nobody has asked him under oath if he told his boss, the president, the commander in chief, that it was a terror attack. If Panetta says that, all hell breaks loose. And you guys haven’t done it. So, it’s a cheap shotting Obama, all right, to complain about him when you guys haven’t brought in the guy that could break the story wide open. And I tried to get it from President Obama but he wouldn’t answer it. So now I’m asking you, Congressman, to get your butt in gear and get your committee to get Panetta in there. Is that unreasonable?

JASON CHAFFETZ: No, it’s not unreasonable at all. What we did in the Armed Services group brought in General Ham. That’s where these quotes came out.

O’REILLY: That’s right.

CHAFFETZ: Just two weeks ago.

O’REILLY: But you didn’t follow up to the big guy.

CHAFFETZ: I know. That was a couple weeks ago. This investigation is not done. To me it feels like halftime because this administration has been stonewalling us for a long time we have got to hear from for instance I want the public. This is amazing to me. The public has never heard from anybody who was on the ground that night in Benghazi and that is so wrong.

O’REILLY: That doesn’t matter.

CHAFFETZ: It does matter Bill.

O’REILLY: It doesn’t matter because the story is whether the President of the United States, all right, went along with his re-election committee and falsely put out a narrative to protect his re-election chances. That’s the story. And Panetta is the guy.

Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens

345WSJ, By GREGORY N. HICKS:

Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The report concluded that the attack, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, was “preventable.” Some have been suggesting that the blame for this tragedy lies at least partly with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. This is untrue: The blame lies entirely with Washington.

The report states that retired Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, twice offered to “sustain” the special forces security team in Tripoli and that Chris twice “declined.” Since Chris cannot speak, I want to explain the reasons and timing for his responses to Gen. Ham. As the deputy chief of mission, I was kept informed by Chris or was present throughout the process.

On Aug. 1, 2012, the day after I arrived in Tripoli, Chris invited me to a video conference with Africom to discuss changing the mission of the U.S. Special Forces from protecting the U.S. Embassy and its personnel to training Libyan forces. This change in mission would result in the transfer of authority over the unit in Tripoli from Chris to Gen. Ham. In other words, the special forces would report to the Defense Department, not State.

Chris wanted the decision postponed but could not say so directly. Chris had requested on July 9 by cable that Washington provide a minimum of 13 American security professionals for Libya over and above the diplomatic security complement of eight assigned to Tripoli and Benghazi. On July 11, the Defense Department, apparently in response to Chris’s request, offered to extend the special forces mission to protect the U.S. Embassy.

However, on July 13, State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy refused the Defense Department offer and thus Chris’s July 9 request. His rationale was that Libyan guards would be hired to take over this responsibility. Because of Mr. Kennedy’s refusal, Chris had to use diplomatic language at the video conference, such as expressing “reservations” about the transfer of authority.

Chris’s concern was significant. Transferring authority would immediately strip the special forces team of its diplomatic immunity. Moreover, the U.S. had no status of forces agreement with Libya. He explained to Rear Adm. Charles J. Leidig that if a member of the special forces team used weapons to protect U.S. facilities, personnel or themselves, he would be subject to Libyan law. The law would be administered by judges appointed to the bench by Moammar Gadhafi or, worse, tribal judges.

Chris described an incident in Pakistan in 2011 when an American security contractor killed Pakistani citizens in self-defense, precipitating a crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations. He also pointed out that four International Criminal Court staff, who had traveled to Libya in June 2012 to interview Gadhafi’s oldest son, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, were illegally detained by tribal authorities under suspicion of spying. This was another risk U.S. military personnel might face.

During that video conference, Chris stressed that the only way to mitigate the risk was to ensure that U.S. military personnel serving in Libya would have diplomatic immunity, which should be done prior to any change of authority.

Chris understood the importance of the special forces team to the security of our embassy personnel. He believed that by explaining his concerns, the Defense Department would postpone the decision so he could have time to work with the Libyan government and get diplomatic immunity for the special forces.

According to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department needed Chris’s concurrence to change the special forces mission. But soon after the Aug. 1 meeting, and as a complete surprise to us at the embassy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order without Chris’s concurrence.

The SenateIntelligence Committee’s report accurately notes that on Aug. 6, after the transfer of authority, two special forces team members in a diplomatic vehicle were forced off the road in Tripoli and attacked. Only because of their courage, skills and training did they escape unharmed. But the incident highlighted the risks associated with having military personnel in Libya unprotected by diplomatic immunity or a status of forces agreement. As a result of this incident, Chris was forced to agree with Gen. Ham’s withdrawal of most of the special forces team from Tripoli until the Libyan government formally approved their new training mission and granted them diplomatic immunity.

Because Mr. Kennedy had refused to extend the special forces security mission, State Department protocol required Chris to decline Gen. Ham’s two offers to do so, which were made after Aug. 6. I have found the reporting of these so-called offers strange, since my recollection of events is that after the Aug. 6 incident, Gen. Ham wanted to withdraw the entire special forces team from Tripoli until they had Libyan government approval of their new mission and the diplomatic immunity necessary to perform their mission safely. However, Chris convinced Gen. Ham to leave six members of the team in Tripoli.

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. On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.

I was interviewed by the Select Committee and its staff, who were professional and thorough. I explained this sequence of events. For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report.

To sum up: Chris Stevens was not responsible for the reduction in security personnel. His requests for additional security were denied or ignored. Officials at the State and Defense Departments in Washington made the decisions that resulted in reduced security. Sen. Lindsey Graham stated on the Senate floor last week that Chris “was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together.” He added, “Quit blaming the dead guy.”

Mr. Hicks served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from July 31 to Dec. 7, 2012.

Former defense secretaries criticize Obama over Syria

19gates-articleInlineFox News: Former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta criticized President Obama’s strategy regarding the Syrian civil war Tuesday, with both agreeing that Obama should not have sought the approval of Congress for a military strike against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at a forum in Dallas, Gates and Panetta, Obama’s first two defense secretaries,  disagreed on whether the United States should ultimately carry out a military strike in retaliation for a chemical attack that the U.S. says killed 1,400 people. However, both expressed skepticism (and occasionally sarcasm) about ongoing negotiations, led by Russia, for Assad to hand over his stockpile of chemical weapons to the international community.

Panetta said he supported a strike because Obama needed to enforce the “red line” he set over Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

“When the president of the United States draws a red line, the credibility of this country is dependent on him backing up his word,” Panetta said.

But Gates said a strike would be like “throwing gasoline on an extremely complex fire in the Middle East.” He brought up past interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as examples of how American military action can lead to unintended consequences.

He also dismissed attacking Syria to enforce a red line.

“I believe to blow a bunch of stuff up over a couple of days to underscore or validate a point or principle is not a strategy,” he said.

Read more at Fox News

This —-> REPORT: OBAMA CONSULTED NY TIMES EDITORS, COLUMNISTS ON SYRIA STRATEGY (breitbart.com)

Benghazi Investigation Still Very Much Ongoing

5829917074_8c9c57e0e8_zHeritage Foundation, May 29, 2013

By :

Benghazi is back in the headlines with a vengeance as investigations continue on several congressional fronts:

  • Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA) subpoenaed the State Department to deliver more email threads on the Benghazi talking points;
  • The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee threatened to subpoenaAmbassador Thomas Pickering regarding the Accountability Review Board’s inadequate investigation; and
  • The House Armed Services Committee is probing the absent military response on the night of September 11, 2012.

While many aspects of the Benghazi scandal are troubling, the lack of information on the military front is particularly serious. Getting information out of the Pentagon has been like pulling teeth. The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in February revealed that former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey had briefed President Obama at 5:00 p.m. on the day of the Benghazi terrorist attack, and unbelievably had had no communication after that.

Dempsey then informed the committee that there were no assets available that could have reached Benghazi in time to assist the American diplomats and CIA personnel under attack there — a statement that was contradicted directly by Gregory Hicks, second in command at the U.S. embassy in Libya, in highly emotional testimony. As Hicks revealed, a military support team was ready to take off from Tripoli to Benghazi on the night of the attack, but was told to stand down. By whom we don’t yet know.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon (R–CA), has been vigilant in seeking answers and has told Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that he is “deeply concerned” about the lack of answers, reported The Washington Examiner’s Byron York. Last week, McKeon’s committee received a briefing from Pentagon officials, the content of which unfortunately remains largely classified, as does far too much of the information relating to Benghazi. Among McKeon’s questions are:

What aircraft the U.S. had in the region that might have come to the Americans’ aid; where those planes were; whether they were armed or could have been armed; whether they would have needed refueling; the presence of un-manned aircraft, armed and unarmed; the status of various U.S. emergency response teams; and the decisions commanders at all levels made in deciding to deploy or not deploy those assets.

The congressional committees involved in the investigation are doing yeoman’s work. Their stubborn persistence will eventually unearth the truth about Benghazi. The future safety of U.S. diplomatic and military personnel serving overseas depends on it.

Obama: No Shame, No Honor

Dereliction-of-Duty-Fiveby Justin O Smith:

The statements coming out of the Congressional Oversight Committee’s investigation into the events surrounding the attacks on the consulate and the CIA Annex at Benghazi on 9/11/2012 paint a picture of the Obama administration, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta and the “Yes men” of the Accountability Review Board, that illustrates they are more concerned with advancing the agenda of the Progressive Democratic Party than protecting American citizens. Their own words have shown them unwilling to take responsibility for their own failures regarding their duties in each of their respective positions, as they are also exposed as self-serving liars, incompetents and cowards!

On May 12, 2012, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) told David Gregory on Meet the Press that she “saw no malevolence” in the actions of the Obama administration during or after Benghazi. It certainly wasn’t good will that had Obama go to bed without a care in the world and get up the next morning, as if nothing had happened, and go campaign in Nevada. It wasn’t good will that kept Obama, Clinton and Panetta from immediately sending a Special Forces or Quick Response team to rescue survivors, and it wasn’t good will that created twelve different revisions of the CIA’s original Intelligence Report that left no doubt the attack on Benghazi was a terror attack and had nothing to do with an anti-Islamic video or a spontaneous protest!

Whose brainchild was the cover story of the anti-Islamic video? Who gave the order for the Special Forces team in Tripoli to stand down? We do need the answers to these questions and more, but in the end, all culpability and responsibilty for the lies and the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Dogherty rests squarely with Obama and Clinton, along with Panetta and General David Patraeus who toed the line and joined the lie.

Obama and Clinton knew almost immediately that the U.S. “diplomatic facility” (whatever the administration is calling it today) was under a terrorist attack, because Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Missions and assistant to Ambassador Stevens spoke with Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State and his boss, at 2:00am the night of the attack, and he briefed her on the events on the ground. Clinton and Obama have been lying through their teeth the entire time, which explains the reason they have persistently stone-walled the Oversight Committee and obstructed the investigation into Benghazi.

Most Americans knew right away something was wrong with the Obama administration’s account of the attack on Benghazi. Many of us heard foreign news services such as ‘The Independent’ from the U.K. detailing the attack as a terrorist attack; and, one would have thought that the account given by the Libyan President, which clearly stated Ansar al-Sharia was the perpetrator, would have precluded UN Ambassador Susan Rice from advancing Obama’s and Clinton’s lie.

“I was stunned. My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed,” stated Greg Hicks, when asked about his reaction to Susan Rice’s explanation for the Benghazi attacks.

The State Department and spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, in particular, pushed for the removal of all references in the CIA Intelligence Report to Al Qaeda, previous warnings about potential terrorist attacks and Ansar al-Sharia. After meeting with the White House and intelligence agencies, they were worried that the information could be “abused” by members of Congress “to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings”… which was the truth…, as Nuland elaborated, “so why would we want to feed that either?”

Nuland just described the inception of a conspiracy, and one in which then CIA Director David Patraeus enjoined by saying what the administration wanted to hear, and Ambassador Pickering enjoined with a substandard ARB Report that was sorely lacking; Greg Hicks was not allowed to review classified ARB documents, and several individuals with first hand knowledge of the Benghazi attack were never questioned by the ARB, although they were pressing to give their accounts and testimony.

On May 8, 2012, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked,  “Isn’t it true that just hours after the attack, the Libyan President called it a terrorist attack?” Hicks replied, “Yes.” Then Gowdy focused on Ambassador Stevens’ last words to Hicks…”we’re under attack!” Gowdy asked, “If a protest was ongoing during some part of the day, wouldn’t a professional career diplomat mention it?” Hicks answered, “Yes.” Gowdy: “Did Ambassador Stevens mention such a protest?” Hicks: “No.”

Between January and April 2013, some of the typical responses from the Obama administration have ranged from press secretary Jay Carney’s “Benghazi was a long time ago” to John Kerry’s (new Sec of State) “We have more importan things to get on to” and Clinton’s “What difference does it make.” All of these statements show just what little regard they have for the sacrifice made by those four Americans and their deaths in general.

Elija Cummings (D-MD), in condescending fashion, relegated the deaths in Benghazi to insignificance by stating, “death is a part of life.” This is a gross insult. However much death is a part of life, we do not require such an explanation, nor does it mean that we want to rush to greet Death or to be refused help to escape Death, especially when the help we ask for is standing nearby… willing and able!

The officals at Benghazi and Tripoli were desperate for a rescue mission, but as Lt Colonel Gibson’s Special Forces team prepared to answer the call, they were told to “stand down.” And during this same time frame, Gregory Hicks was having an intense conversation with a furious Mark Thompson, as Thompson and his four man Foreign Emergency Support team were being blocked from responding by their so-called “superiors”!… It’s also unfathomable that a fighter jet could not be scrambled “in less than 22 hours”, as the administration alleges!

Secretary of Defense Panetta essentially said, “There’s bullets flying around over there. I’m not going to put my guys in there.” Why do we even have a military or a Special Forces then, if not to walk in harm’s way when American’s come under attack and an imminent threat of death? Panetta, Clinton and Obama took the coward’s way out. “A brave man dies but once…a coward dies a thousand deaths,” except when a man such as Obama is full of hubris and has no sense of shame or honor.

The party agenda is the most important item for today’s Progressive Democrats, even more than America’s national security or American lives, and this is, in large part, the reason that Obama and Hillary Clinton fabricated the anti-Islamic video story, as part of a cover up and a conspiracy to hide the fact that the attack on the U.S. Consulate at Benghazi was in fact a terror attack initiated by Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia. Only days before the Benghazi attacks, Obama had stated that Al Qaeda was on the run and decimated and “Osama’s dead”, so he made a conscious decision to present this lie about an anti-Islamic video; he delivered the lie convincingly and with emotion any actor would envy, as a ploy to prevent any new wrinkles from undermining his presidential campaign and to avoid acknowledging that Islam and the world-wide Muslim community hated his administration, just as much as they had hated President Bush’s administration. But when Obama and Clinton had clear signs and career professionals saying that they needed more security, and Obama and Clinton ignored them out of a misplaced need to make Libya appear to be “normalized”, that in and of itself is criminal when it results in the deaths of four fine Americans… cut down in their prime!

Obama Wants To Disarm Americans But Arm Terrorists

imagesCAOERYUZBy Theodore Shoebat

Obama wants to decree a ban on all assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, which would apply to rifles and pistols.  On this ban, Obama stated clearly:

 

 

I’m going to be putting forward a package and I’m going to be putting my full weight behind it… I’m going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again.

Yet, the Obama administration has been involved in providing weapons to rebels who have committed many atrocities throughout Syria. Why must Americans be disarmed and jihadists be given weapons to? Americans are simply observing a right, while the Islamists want guns to force Syria into becoming a Sharia governed state.

Leon Panetta, who is now retiring, and General Martin Dempsey, the principle military adviser of Obama, have both revealed that they supported a plan last year composed by Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus that would provide weapons to the Syrian rebels, who are all fighting for a jihadist cause.

John Mccain also supported, and still supports, this plan, saying

“I urge the president to heed the advice of his former and current national security leaders and immediately take the necessary steps, along with our friends and allies, that could hasten the end of the conflict in Syria”

Though Obama is said to have turned down this plan, he still has supported the Syrian rebellion in a very covert and elusive manner. The current administration has instead used a middle-man: Saudi Arabia, to receive American weapons and then transfer them to the hands of the jihadists.

Read more at Shoebat.com

 

#BarackBenghaziObama

Barack-Benghazi-Obama-4-FPM-493x1024By Bosch Fawstin:

Since Obama and his media want to wipe the word “Benghazi” out of existence, it’s the one word they need to hear again and again and again. Obama needs to answer for what he didn’t do. Four Americans -J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods- might be alive today if he did his actual job, which is to protect Americans. Instead, he did nothing and has been engaging in a cover up ever since.

We can’t let him get away with it.

We need to make Benghazi stick to him in a way that his media can’t control. I think one way to keep the issue of his dereliction of duty alive is to make Benghazi his middle name. Each of us can help start the ball rolling by simply tweeting #BarackBenghaziObama whenever we tweet about him. From now on, when I write out his full name, I’ll be using “Barack Benghazi Obama.” Consider using it yourselves.

This is the second in a series of my Obama/Benghazi/AWOL cartoons.

Here was the first one.

Joint Chiefs Chairman: ‘Arab Spring’ Brought “New Norm of Instability”

mtp-130130-panetta-dempsey-938a_grid-6x2By Patrick Poole:

A surprising exchange yesterday on Meet the Press yesterday with guests departing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Chuck Todd asked the Joint Chiefs Chairman if there were any lessons learned from the Benghazi debacle, which elicited a shocking admission:

TODD: And is there anything that could have been done better on the intelligence front, you think that could have given you more time to do something or is this something that, you know, this is– this is what happens in a place like Libya that right now is an unstable state?

GEN. DEMPSEY: Well, we– we’ve learned a lot from the Benghazi incident. And we– as the Secretary said, we work with the State Department and, you know, kind of surveying those parts of the world where– where there’s a new norm, if you will, of– of instability in terms of, you know, discussing the intelligence apparatus. It’s pretty easy to talk about the intelligence failures. We don’t talk much about them many times when we have intelligence and we’re able to stop or prevent, disrupt an attack so, of course, we should continue to learn from these events.

A “new norm of instability”? Wait, what? Why didn’t we hear about this during the presidential campaign? Whatever might have prompted this “new norm of instability”?

Read more at PJ Media

Law makers look the wrong way while investigating “Zero Dark Thirty” leaks

imagesCAOOSOE2By Kerry Patton

The historical fiction movie “Zero Dark Thirty” depicts the heroic actions of America’s best and brightest intelligence officers and US Special Operators who not only located but killed Osama Bin Laden. Today, a select group of elected officials are outraged over “Zero Dark Thirty.” They have taken an initiative to destroy the careers of US operatives who may have potentially leaked classified information to the movie’s producers.

They are looking at the wrong people to investigate.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Feinstein (D-CA), and her team of corrupt “feel-gooders” like Senators McCain and Levin are on the warpath. The Intelligence Committee’s panel has begun a review of contacts between the makers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty” and CIA operatives. Nothing like using intelligence officials as the fall guys when things get ugly.

Before getting too far ahead of the “Zero Dark Thirty” investigation, let’s not forget statements made by key US officials that prove how untrustworthy they really are when it comes to handling classified information.

January 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta conducted an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.” It was here the world first learned about the life of a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who once served as a human source to the US intelligence community. Days after the OBL raid, Afridi was tracked down by Pakistani authorities in the Torkham border, apprehended, and approximately four months later in May sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason.

May 2012, the New York Times released an article titled Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will. It quotes White House national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s chief of staff in 2011 William M. Daley, and Obama’s White House counsel Gregory B. Craig. The quotes used by these three men are actual leaks of information linking to classified material.

In June of 2012, Hot Air published an article titled McCain: Top-secret leaks coming from “highest levels” of White House. At the time, McCain and Feinstein were deeply concerned over leaks of information pertaining to US clandestine cyber warfare operations that dealt with Iran’s nuclear developments. He and Feinstein directly attacked the White House for these leaks.

July 2012, Sen. Feinstein was quoted as saying, “The White House has to understand that some of this (classified leakage) is coming from their ranks.” She later added, “There’s one book they can read and they’ll see it very carefully,” alluding to journalist David Sanger’s book that reveals the US and Israel developed a cyber-tool used to interfere with Iran’s nuclear arms program.

Now, let’s go back to the whole” Zero Dark Thirty” controversy.

Hampton Roads had revealed in their September 2012 article titled Feds: Hide Navy SEAL name given to Hollywood that an interview was conducted by Politico staff members. In that interview, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers specifically informed screen writer Boal about the name of someone he could speak with to assist in writing “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Boal was informed by Vickers, “the only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant.” Why make such a request? Why tell Boal to hide a name when Vickers himself failed in hiding it?

Vickers knew the individual he referred Boal to either served in or continues to serve in a classified position. The individual’s name was meant to remain secret. Vickers had absolutely no right to divulge this mysterious individual’s name to Boal in the first place. Vickers is guilty for leaking this information to a non-security clearance holding Hollywood screenwriter.

Leon Panetta is just as guilt as Vickers. Remember, he was the first American elitist who divulged information about a human source for the world to know about. Any decent researcher could have put pieces of the OBL raid together to make a decent movie script just based off his statements in that “60 Minutes” interview.

When it comes to enhanced interrogation techniques, Boal and Bigelow didn’t need a classified source. The technique of waterboarding can be observed on YouTube. A million open sources can be found on the internet that reveals the technique was utilized in the early years of the Afghan War. And even Sen. John McCain along with many other elected officials can be observed discussing the technique through Congressional hearings.

Senators Feinstein, McCain, and Levin are going after the wrong people. They are looking for a mid to low level fall guy. They refuse to do a little research and find links that will prove any leak provided to Baol and Bigelow came directly from the highest levels of our government.

This entire investigation is a huge scam and a waste of US tax payer money. Director Kathryn Bigelow and Screenwriter Mark Boal were provided inside material related to the Bin Laden raid. That is known. It is also known that inside material came and was directed from the highest members of our government—not some mid to low level operator.

But just like Benghazi, elected officials have once again proven to the American people how much they despise our intelligence community. They will do anything to cripple the morale of intelligence officers. Sadly, working as an intelligence officer for the US government comes with serious risks—risks from the enemy and risks from the enemy–the second being the enemy from within.

Kerry Patton is the author of Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors order a copy now.

‘My Son Trained Somebody to Murder Him’

by Richard Sisk (h/t Dave Bailey)

The grief-stricken father of a slain Marine lashed out at the U.S. training policies with the Afghan National Security Forces. His son’s death became one of many recent insider attacks leading to high-level meetings between U.S. and Afghan leader to re-evaluate their training methods.

“At the end of the day, what happened is my son trained somebody to murder him,” Greg Buckley Sr. said at the funeral Saturday for Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, 21, of Oceanside, N.Y., according to a CBS report.

The Afghan recruits “come in, they say, ‘We want to be police officers,’ and we hand them a blue uniform and hand them an AK-47? That’s insane,” the father told CBS as he stood surrounded by family and friends wearing buttons with a picture of his fallen son in uniform.

“If my son died on the battlefield, I would’ve been — maybe been — able to accept that, but instead they killed him inside the gym,” said Buckley Sr., according to CBS.

Buckley; Staff Sgt. Scott E. Dickinson, 29, of San Diego, Calif.; and Cpl. Richard A. Rivera Jr., 20 of Ventura, Calif., were shot to death on Aug. 10 while they worked out at a base gym in the southwestern Helmand province. The assailant allegedly was an unvetted 15-year-old “tea boy” who was the personal aide to the local Afghan district police chief, the Washington Post reported.

The grief and anger of Buckley’s father reflected the opinions of most Americans. Numerous recent polls have shown that a majority believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

While services were held for the young Marine in Long Island, N.Y., Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to curb the growing incidents of “insider attacks” by Afghans wearing uniforms that have killed at least 109 coalition troops since 2007 — 39 since January, including 25 Americans.

Another Afghan dressed in a police uniform shot and killed a NATO soldier Sunday in southern Afghanistan. It wasn’t immediately known what country the NATO soldier was from. And an Afghan police recruit killed two U.S. Special Forces trainers Aug. 17.

Panetta thanked Karzai for “condemning the attacks and the two “expressed shared concern over this issue,” said George Little, the chief Pentagon spokesman.

To counter the insider threat, Panetta and Karzai discussed measures that have already been put in place or are in the planning stage. The two called for “augmented counter-intelligence measures, even more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits, and stepped up engagement with village elders, who often play a key role by vouching for Afghan security personnel,” Little said.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the overall Afghan commander and head of the International Security Assistance Force, has also ordered all U.S. troops in Afghanistan to carry loaded weapons with them at all times.

Buckley and the two other slain Marines were members of Kilo Co., 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which had not taken any casualties before the Aug. 10 incident in the gym. On that same day in Helmand province, three other Special Operations Marines were killed by an Afghan wearing a police uniform in a separate incident.

Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.; and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Calif., were shot to death by an Afghan police officer with whom they had just shared a meal.

In yet another incident, U.S. military officials strongly suspect that the Afghan police recruit who killed two Special Forces trainers with a weapon just handed to him was a Taliban plant and part of a growing threat from enemy infiltrators.

The U.S. and NATO have begun a major review of the vetting process for Afghan recruits for the police and the army to include checking on the identities and loyalties of village elders and Afghan officials who are required to vouch for the trainees, the officials said.

Until recently, Pentagon and NATO officials had routinely dismissed Taliban claims to have infiltrated the ranks of the Afghan National Security Forces as idle boasts, but the recent spike in “green on blue,” or “insider,” attacks has forced commanders to rethink policy.

“We think it’s about 10 percent,” a Pentagon official said of the percentage of deadly insider attacks carried out by Taliban agents or sympathizers since January 2011.

A total of 50 attacks by Afghans in uniform had occurred in 2011 and 2012 through last Friday and killed 74 coalition troops, the vast majority of them Americans.

Read the rest at Military.com

Iran Amps Up Its Genocidal Rhetoric

 

By 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to push his country towards a seemingly inevitable showdown with the West. In a speech posted yesterday on his website, Ahmadinejad contended that the ultimate goal of world forces should be the annihilation of Israel. The speech was aimed at the ambassadors of Islamic countries ahead of “Quds Day,” also known as “Jerusalem Day,” an annual Iranian anti-Zionist event established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini. Quds Day falls on August 17th. The Iranian leader illuminated its significance. “Qods Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems,” he said. “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.”

Expressing many of the all-too-familiar anti-Semitic slanders, he accused ”Zionists” of being “behind the scene of the world’s main powers, media, monetary and banking centers.” With a nod towards the American presidential election, the Iranian leader also labeled Jews as “the decision makers, to the extent that the presidential election hopefuls must go and kiss the feet of the Zionists to ensure their election victory.” He further claimed that a “horrible Zionist current” has been managing world affairs for “about 400 years.”

He lashed out  at Europe as well. “Zionism is the modern times plight of the human society and when we meet the European politicians they say speak transparently about everything, but they refrain from talking about the Zionist regime, which proves that Israel is the axis of unity of the world hegemonic powers,” he said.

The attack comes on the heels of the latest round of sanctions imposed by Western nations attempting to persuade the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear development program. Iran continues to claim it is intended for peaceful purposes, but the West rightly fears it is about making atomic weapons that would inevitably be used against Israel.

The effectiveness of the sanctions remains controversial. There are reports that the sanctions are crippling Iran’s economy in the short term, producing runaway inflation and high unemployment. Yet as recently as Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was forced to admit that Iran hasn’t reined in its  nuclear program, even as he repeated the increasingly tiresome rhetoric about the Islamic Republic’s “willingness” to negotiate–again.

Read more at Front Page

 

UN Spins In Circles While Syria Spins Out of Control

Following yesterday’s attack, the location of Bashar al-Assad remains uncertain. (Ramzi Haidar – AFP/Getty Images)

By Joseph Klein

Since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 16 months ago more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands have been displaced, according to United Nations estimates.  The International Red Cross has now formally declared the conflict a civil war, which may have legal implications under the Geneva Accords for determining whether war crimes might have been committed.  However, the reality is that the conflict has been a civil war for some time between the Assad loyalists and the armed opposition.

To date, the opposition has been outgunned and splintered.  But they have now taken their fight to the heart of the Syrian capital of Damascus, with a devastating blow against the central command of the Assad regime’s repression machine.

An explosion was set off on July 18th in a national security building in Damascus, during a meeting of the government’s top security chiefs to discuss how to crush the uprising. The bombing took the lives of  President Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, and Gen Dawoud Rajha, the defense minister, who was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Hassan Turkmani, a former minister of defense who headed the regime’s crisis management cell, was also killed. Others were wounded.

Liwa al-Islam (translated as “The Brigade of Islam”), a rebel group, has claimed responsibility. Another group called the Free Syrian Army, according to a report in the Washington Post, said that its loyalists had planted bombs inside a room where the top-level meeting was being held. The Free Syrian Army is made up of defected Syrian armed forces personnel, which is an expanding number.

Col. Malik Kurdi, the Free Syrian Army’s deputy commander, explained the reason for the attack:

The Free Syrian Army carried out this attack in retaliation for the massacres committed by the regime and because of the international silence.We promised that we are going to hit the regime in its most sensitive axis. This was necessary for us.

On the very same day of this attack, and shortly before the United Nations observer mandate in Syria is due to expire on July 20th, the feckless United Nations Security Council was preparing to vote on a resolution offered by the United Kingdom that was supposedly designed to up the ante to deal with the Syrian crisis. The vote was postponed for a day at the urging of UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General.

The British resolution – which in its present form is virtually certain to be vetoed by Russia and most likely by China – contains authorization for economic sanctions against the Syrian regime under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Russia has offered its own competing resolution that condemns all sides for the violence, repeats calls for the parties to comply with Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan, including a cease fire and steps towards a transitional government acceptable to the Syrian people, and extends the UN observer mandate in Syria. It pointedly stays clear of any Chapter VII enforcement measures such as sanctions.

The United States, United Kingdom and France all, not surprisingly, rejected the Russian draft as insufficient.  U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went so far as to say that it would be wrong to keep any UN observers in Syria if the Security Council will not have their back by demonstrating a willingness to take more effective action against the Assad regime such as sanctions.

This squabbling among the permanent members of the Security Council all took place before the bombing incident in Damascus that killed Assad’s brother-in-law and Syria’s current and former defense ministers. That incident is now being used as a pretext by different permanent members of the Security Council to advance their respective agendas.

The United Kingdom’s foreign minister William Hague, for example, said: “This incident, which we condemn, confirms the urgent need for a Chapter VII resolution of the UN Security Council on Syria.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared, “Adopting a resolution against this backdrop would amount to a direct support for the revolutionary movement. If we are talking about a revolution then the U.N. Security Council has no place in this.”  He also accused the West of inciting the Syrian opposition, which may well be true.

The Chinese UN Ambassador was quoted as telling the investigative blog Inner City Press that what happened in Damascus was nothing less than a “terrorist” act.

Read more at Front Page

Update: Russia, China Veto Syria Resolution at U.N. (WSJ)

Assad reportedly directs troops from tribal heartland as rebels flood capital (MSNBC)

 

Qur’an Burning and Destructive Double Standards

By Bruce Thornton at Front Page:

The riots and violence in Afghanistan over some accidentally burned Qur’ans are following a script that by now is all too drearily familiar. As we have seen over the years with the riots over the Mohammed cartoons, Pope Benedict’s comments about violence in Islam, or false rumors of Qur’ans flushed down toilets, violent Muslim overreactions to slights are immediately followed by anxious apologies from American leaders. Rather than defusing the anger, however, such groveling merely encourages more contempt and violence.

So too with the current riots, which have killed 30 people, including 4 U.S. soldiers, two of them in the high-security Interior Ministry. Another seven Sunday were wounded in a grenade attack by demonstrators. This violence, moreover, has been encouraged by mullahs in mosques, teachers in madrassas, and members of parliament. Predictably, the Taliban––with whom our government is eager to talk peace––has encouraged people to “turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders.” President Obama has responded to this incitement and violence by offering his personal “sincere apologies,” professing his “deep regret,” and vowing to hold those responsible accountable. Defense Secretary Panetta and NATO commander John Allen also apologized.

But no reciprocal apology has been demanded from President Hamid Karzai for the incitement to violence on the part of government and religious leaders, or for the deaths of two of our troops at the hands of an Afghan soldier we trained and armed, and another two inside a government ministry. Newt Gingrich had the best response to this sorry spectacle: “There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the President of the United States period,” Gingrich said in Washington D.C. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around. This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end.”

The administration and the military, of course, rationalize their indulgence of this double standard as motivated by “the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there,” as Obama spokesman Jay Carney put it. But as one demonstrator in Kabul said, “We don’t care about Obama’s apology. We have to protest to be responsible to our god. They are burning our Qur’an. An apology is not enough.” Most Afghans obviously agree, since rioting and killing have intensified despite apologies from our highest government and military officials. Indeed, over the past few decades, no amount of apologies for alleged “insults” to Muslims has stopped Islamists form attacking us. Nor have the good deeds benefitting Muslims, from rescuing Bosnians from genocide to liberating Libyans from Gaddafi, stopped jihadists from wanting to kill Americans for an endless list of reasons. The past decades of such incidents have shown instead that apologies are useless, and merely confirm the impression among Muslims that we are spiritually inferior, and so endorse the perverse logic that accidentally burning a book is worse than murdering our soldiers and citizens. Why else would we publicly flagellate ourselves over such “insults” even as we say nothing about the Muslim murders of Christians in Egypt and Nigeria, or the Muslim laws prescribing capital punishment for converts to Christianity, or the Muslim vandalizing and destruction of 300 churches in Cyprus, or the Muslim slow-motion extermination of Christians in lands that worshipped Christ for 6 centuries before Islam even existed?

As Gingrich pointed out, these double standards are counterproductive and have been proven over and over to make Muslims despise us rather than like us. What we refuse to accept is the intolerant chauvinism inherent in Islam, the belief that Muslims are the “best of nations” and destined to rule the world. Accepting the double standard merely confirms their superiority and our inferiority. After all, to let someone behave according to one set of principles or standards while demanding that you be subjected to others is to validate a claim of superiority that justifies the disproportionate and unjust behavior. It’s acting like a battered wife, who accepts a beat-down from her husband as justified punishment for burning his dinner. This double standard also reflects incoherent thinking, a failure to apply consistently a principle that presumably has universal validity. Hence we celebrate and practice “tolerance” at the same time we enable, ignore, excuse, and rationalize intolerance. In the West’s struggle with Islamic jihad, our doubts about the superiority of Western beliefs have coupled with this breakdown in ethical reasoning. The result is the appeasement of jihadist aggression and the confirmation of the jihadist estimation of the West’s weakness and corruption.

This record of appeasement, then, has encouraged many Muslims to demand from Westerners a hypersensitivity to Islam, all the while that Christians and Jews in Muslim countries are subjected to harassment, assault, vicious insult, and murder. In the West, respect for Muslim holy books and practices is supposed to be granted as a self-evident right beyond argument or debate. Yet Western ideals and principles, such as tolerance for different creeds, are derided, disrespected, and rejected as self-evident evils. Worse yet, we pretend that our appeasement of jihadist violence is an expression of tolerance, the liberal-democratic virtue that simply has little meaning in Islamic theology. Why would any pious Muslim “tolerate” an infidel culture that jeopardizes the eternal souls of Muslims, and that stands in the way of others’ converting to Islam? As the Ayatollah Khomeini said, “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation.” Such confidence is reinforced when we acquiesce in a standard whereby burning a Qur’an or insulting Mohammed with a cartoon is worse than killing people.

Read the rest…