Multiple Outrages in Clinton-Obama Benghazi Obstruction

obama-hillary-benghazi-casketsNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug. 30, 2016:

As Ian reports, it has now come to light that Hillary Clinton attempted to destroy about 30 emails related to the 2012 Benghazi massacre. They were recovered by the FBI, notwithstanding the use by Mrs. “Like With a Cloth or Something” of an advanced software program – “BleachBit” – in a willful effort to erase the contents of her servers so thoroughly that no one would be able to recover her emails (many of which were government records, which it is a felony to hoard and destroy).

Obviously, these emails were kept from the congressional committees that investigated the Benghazi massacre. Mrs. Clinton was also clearly trying to shield them from discovery by defense lawyers in the prosecution of the lone terrorist the Obama administration has thus far charged (in connection with an attack that involved scores ofjihadists whom Obama promised to “bring to justice”).

The depth of Mrs. Clinton’s misconduct regarding the unlawful e-mail system and the obstruction of investigations into a terrorist attack in which four Americans were killed is breathtaking – as is the media’s indifference to it. As I’ve repeatedly argued, Clinton ought to be impeached. How much more contempt for Congress does she need to exhibit before some dim memory of self-respect moves lawmakers to take some action?

Nearly as reprehensible, however, is the Obama administration at large. Evidently, it has just today gotten around to telling a United States court that these 30 emails have never been disclosed, even though they have been sought for years, the Justice Department has known the FBI had them for months, and the State Department, too, has to have known they were in the possession of the administration as it litigated Freedom of Information Act claims yet said nothing.

Just as astounding: In making their grudging disclosure today, administration lawyers claimed that they needed another month (until the end of September) to review the emails so that classified information could be redacted before they are disclosed.

Mind you: Mrs. Clinton told us there were no government-business related emails on her servers and certainly no classified information. It turned out there were tens of thousands of government-related emails, with thousands containing classified information. Clinton lawlessly withheld these emails for years, and the executive branch has known about them for months. Indeed, the FBI director told Congress and the public that the FBI went through a painstaking process with intelligence agencies to determine which of the recovered emails had classified information in them. And yet, despite all that, the State Department has the audacity to tell a federal judge that it needs another 30 days to review less than three dozen emails?

Seriously?

When I was a federal prosecutor, neither I nor any of the government lawyers I worked with would have had the nerve to look a federal judge in the eye and make such a mind-blowing request. We’d have been too worried about what we’d say when the judge inevitably asked, “Why am I just hearing about this now?” – and ordered us to produce affidavits from every government official potentially involved in the delay while all these investigations and FOIA requests regarding Benghazi were underway.

The judge, in this instance, is Amit P. Mehta. Judge Mehta has stellar academic qualifications. But he is also a 45-year-old Obama appointee who has been on the bench for less than two years. This is a political case, and the most politicized administration in history has just essentially asked a judge to play ball. So far, Mehta is putting up some resistance, telling the administration it has a week to explain why the review and disclosure of so few emails should take so long. But let’s be real: A week is considerably more time than he should have given the administration to produce the long overdue emails, not to rationalize why more time is needed to produce them.

Does anybody care how outrageous this is?

Also see:

More than incompetence in Benghazi

Illustration on the real factors behind the Benghazi facilities attack by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Illustration on the real factors behind the Benghazi facilities attack by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Washington Times, , August 8, 2016:

Trey Gowdy’s recently released Special Committee on Benghazi report, followed by the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi report, provide new insights into the tragedy that cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. This catastrophe goes much deeper than our failure to respond to multiple, well-coordinated attacks on our Benghazi facilities on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. The genesis for the attack was actually the “Outreach to Muslims” speech by President Obama on June 4, 2009, in Cairo with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leadership prominently seated in the front row. When he declared that it was part of his responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam, wherever they appear — that said it all.

Therefore, when al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled militias launched their revolt against the Moammar Gadhafi regime in February 2011, the Obama administration showed where its true sympathies lay. It switched sides in the global war on terror and allied with the Islamic jihadists. This dramatic change in U.S. policy can most likely be attributed to the fact that Mr. Obama made an ideological commitment to support the expansion of Muslim Brotherhood power throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This commitment is substantiated by the 2010 Presidential Study Directive 11, which solicited proposals and instructed key government agencies to collaborate on the formation and execution of a plan for enabling Muslim Brotherhood expansion by way of regime change in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and other Middle East countries.

Based on newly released emails, there is no question that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew they would be supporting Islamic jihadists — our sworn enemy — with funding, training and weapons, as well as facilitating the flow of arms to rebels in Syria, including those that morphed into the Islamic State.

 Mrs. Clinton then ignored all military advice not to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war. The decision turned out to be a catastrophic disaster that transformed Libya into an Islamic jihadi safe haven. When Gadhafi entered into truce negotiations with Gen. Carter Ham of United States Africa Command, and sent signals that he was willing to abdicate, the indications are that it was Mrs. Clinton who terminated those negotiations. Her political aide Jake Sullivan said it all when he wrote in August 2011 that Mrs. Clinton had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of [Libya] policy from start to finish.” This alone should raise serious questions about her judgment and leadership qualifications.

According to the Gowdy Select Committee report and new evidence, there was never a humanitarian crisis in Benghazi, which was the stated reason for the intervention. It appears Mrs. Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and unscrupulous individuals’ real motivation for intervention was money. Incredible.

After the fall of Gadhafi in October 2011, chaos reigned in Benghazi. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government was firmly in control. With the Brotherhood penetration of U.S. government agencies and carte blanche entry into the White House, Egypt enjoyed unprecedented relations with America. Mr. Morsi’s No. 1 objective was to attain the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh).

Repeated requests by Ambassador Stevens for increased security were either denied or unanswered. Security forces that were in country were deliberately withdrawn, e.g., Lt. Col. Andy Woods’ 16-man team stationed in Tripoli was removed. On Aug. 11, Stevens called the security situation unpredictable. On Aug. 16, he sent a cable stating that the Special Mission Compound could not withstand a coordinated attack.

On Aug. 29, the Libyan government placed Benghazi under a “state of maximum alert” due to attacks on foreigners and other acts of violence. According to the CIA annex security team, there were multiple warnings of an impending attack against our facilities in Benghazi. For reasons that remain unanswered, these warnings were ignored.

Read more

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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Parents of 2 Benghazi victims sue Hillary Clinton for wrongful death, defamation

694940094001_5076926488001_72daa2cb-4018-46d3-9bd2-94341d80a146Fox News, Aug. 9, 2016:

The parents of two of the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attack in 2012 filed a lawsuit Monday against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, alleging her “reckless handling” of classified information contributed to their deaths.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch USA on behalf of Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, for allegedly wrongfully causing the death of their sons as well as for defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit suggests that Clinton’s use of a private email server contributed to the deaths of Smith and Woods, adding that terrorists were able to “obtain the whereabouts of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and thus the U.S. State Department and covert and other government operations in Benghazi, Libya and subsequently orchestrate, plan, and execute the now infamous September 11, 2012 attack.”

“Having used a secret private email server that we now know was used to communicate with Ambassador Christopher Stevens with confidential and classified government information, and which we also now know was likely hacked by hostile adversaries such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea aligning with terrorist groups, it is clear that Hillary Clinton allegedly negligently and recklessly gave up the classified location of the plaintiffs’ sons, resulting in a deadly terrorist attack that took their lives,” Klayman said in a statement announcing the suit.

In addition to the wrongful death and negligence charges named in the suit, the parents also claim that Clinton defamed them in statements to the media, according to court documents.

“During her campaign for President, Defendant Clinton has negligently, recklessly, and/or maliciously defamed Plaintiffs by either directly calling them liars, or by strongly implying that they are liars, in order to protect and enhance her public image and intimidate and emotionally harm and silence them to not speak up about the Benghazi attack on at least four separate occasions,” Klayman wrote in his complaint.

Patricia Smith has previously spoken out against Clinton, most recently at the Republican National Convention in July.

Clinton’s campaign pushed back Tuesday on the latest allegations.

“While no one can imagine the pain of the families of the brave Americans we lost at Benghazi, there have been nine different investigations into this attack and none found any evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton,” spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.

In an interview last week on “Fox News Sunday,” Clinton denied telling family members of those killed that the attack was sparked by an anti-Islam video, and was not terrorism.

She instead suggested the family members misunderstood her because they were overwhelmed by grief.

“I understand the grief and the incredible sense of loss that can motivate that,” Clinton said. “As other members of families who’ve lost loved ones have said, that’s not what they heard. I don’t hold any ill feeling for someone who, in that moment, may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said.”

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Also see:

Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Debacle: Arming Jihadists in Libya . . . and Syria

hillary-clinton-benghazi-scandal-arm-syrian-rebels-isis_0National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — August 2, 2016

As U.S. armed forces attack ISIS in Libya, WikiLeaks is poised to remind us that ISIS is in Libya — indeed, that ISIS is ISIS — thanks to disastrous policies championed by Hillary Clinton as President Obama’s secretary of state. Also raised, yet again, is the specter of Mrs. Clinton’s lying to Congress and the American people — this time regarding a matter some of us have been trying for years to get answers about: What mission was so important the United States kept personnel in the jihadist hellhole of Benghazi in 2012?

Specifically, did that mission involve arming the Syrian “rebels” — including al-Qaeda and forces that became ISIS — just as, at Mrs. Clinton’s urging, our government had armed Libyan “rebels” (again, jihadists) to catastrophic effect?

It has been less than two weeks since WikiLeaks rocked the Clinton campaign on the eve of the Democratic convention by leaking hacked e-mails illuminating DNC efforts to rig the nomination chase in Clinton’s favor. Now the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, has announced that WikiLeaks is soon to publish highly sensitive government e-mails that demonstrate Hillary Clinton’s key participation in efforts to arm jihadists in Syria. Just as in Libya, where Mrs. Clinton championed the strategy of arming Islamist “rebels,” the Syrian “rebels” who ultimately received weapons included the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, and ISIS.

The Daily Wire and other outlets are reporting on Assange’s comments, published by Democracy Now. Clearly, we should not take Assange’s word for what is to be gleaned from the hacked records, which he says include some 17,000 e-mails “about Libya alone.” Let’s see if he has what he says he has. But it is worth setting the stage, because what is known is outrageous and has not been given nearly enough attention — largely because Beltway Republicans were complicit in the Obama-Clinton policy of allying with Islamists, and thus have shown no interest in probing the inevitably disastrous fallout.

As I have been pointing out for years, for example, we have never gotten to the bottom of why the State Department, under Mrs. Clinton’s direction, had an installation in Benghazi, one of the world’s most dangerous places for Americans.

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration, had touted Qaddafi as a key counterterrorism ally against rabidly anti-American jihadists in eastern Libya. Nevertheless, Secretary Clinton led the policy shift in which our government changed sides in Libya — shifting support to the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, just as Mrs. Clinton had urged shifting U.S. support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In Libya, this included arming “rebels,” who naturally included a heavy concentration of jihadists.

EDITORIAL: What We Know about the Benghazi Attack Demands a Reckoning 

As I’ve recounted, to topple Qaddafi on behalf of the Islamists, the Obama administration — which did not seek congressional authorization for its offensive war (and preposterously maintained that bombing another country’s government was not really “war” anyway) — had to flout a United Nations resolution. The U.N. had agreed only to military operations for the purpose of protecting civilians, not offensive operations against the regime. Besides arming jihadists, the administration took no meaningful steps to make sure that Qaddafi’s military arsenals did not fall into terrorist hands. The regime was toppled and Qaddafi was brutally murdered — prompting Secretary Clinton’s bizarrely giddy quip, “We came, we saw, he died.” As some of us not-so-giddy types had warned would happen, Libya then became a safe haven for terrorists who turned on the American and Western forces that had cleared the path for them.

In small compass, this is the story of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in the Benghazi massacre. As Business Insider’s Michael B. Kelley recounts, before becoming ambassador, Stevens was the Obama administration’s official liaison to Qaddafi’s Islamist opposition in Libya, including its al-Qaeda-linked groups. The latter included the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). Stevens worked directly with a top LIFG leader, Abdelhakim Belhadj.

When the Qaddafi regime was ousted, Belhadj took control of the Tripoli Military Council. In 2011, Belhadj met with anti-Assad “rebels” in Turkey to plan weapons shipments from Libya to Syria. As Mr. Kelley explains, in September 2012 the Times of London reported that “a Libyan ship ‘carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria . . . has docked in Turkey.’” According to that report:

The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. Those heavy weapons are most likely from Muammar Gaddafi’s stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles — the bulk of them SA-7s — that the Libyan leader obtained from the former Eastern bloc. Reuters reports that Syrian rebels have been using those heavy weapons to shoot down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets. The ship’s captain was “a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support,” which was presumably established by the new government.

Fox News subsequently reported that the ship, a Libyan-flagged vessel, Al-Entisar (The Victory), docked in the Turkish port of Iskenderun, only 35 miles from the Syrian border, on September 6, 2012. That was just five days before jihadists conducted the patently coordinated terrorist attack on the mysterious State Department and CIA compounds in Benghazi, killing four Americans including Stevens — who had been promoted to ambassador in May.

It is incontestable that the Obama administration has worked closely with the Islamist government of Turkey in efforts to arm and train “rebels” in Syria. Stevens’s last meeting on the night of September 11, 2012, right before the State Department’s Benghazi compound was attacked, was with Turkey’s consul general, Ali Sait Akin.

RELATED: Why Doesn’t the Buck Stop with Hillary?

In the months leading up to the attack on the State Department facility, and on the even more shadowy CIA outpost a little over a mile away, jihadists in eastern Libyaconducted a series of attacks against Western targets — including, on June 6, 2012, a bomb detonated just outside the State Department compound. The British government and the International Red Cross pulled their personnel out; yet the Obama administration left U.S. government personnel in, despite grossly inadequate security precautions.

Why? I believe that one significant mission was the coordination of weapons transfers from Libya to Syrian jihadists.

Remember the state of play in mid 2012. Obama was locked in a tight reelection race. He was falsely claiming that he had “decimated” al-Qaeda (which was actually thriving); that he was ending American wars (which were actually intensifying as he drew troops down despite ground conditions); and that his pro-Islamist policies were helping forge democracy in places like Egypt (then under Muslim Brotherhood rule) and Libya (which had disintegrated into a failed state under domination by Islamist militias). Prior to the November election, if Obama had openly announced that his administration was arming Syrian Islamists, it would have been highly controversial. It would have spotlighted how that same policy had failed in Libya, a fact to which neither the media nor Republicans had called public attention. This, no doubt, is why reports that Obama was “launching a covert operation to send weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time” (as the Times of London’s Christina Lamb put it) did not appear untilimmediately after Obama had won a second term.

Were Obama, Clinton, and others in the administration steering arms to Syrian jihadists before that time?

RELATED: The Benghazi Debacle Should Have Ended Hillary Clinton’s Career

Recall that in mid 2012, Obama was also feeling heat — from the Islamist regimes he was appeasing, from Beltway Republicans, and even from some in his own administration, apparently including Secretary Clinton — for not doing enough to help the “rebels” drive Assad from power in Syria. There was a good explanation for this reluctance: Our government knew that the Syrian “rebels,” like the Libyan “rebels,” teemed with jihadists. Not only has this fact long been notorious; Judicial Watch managed to wangle from the government an August 2012 Defense Department memo that flatly states, “The Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e., al-Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The memo elaborates that its reference to AQI incorporates both Jaish al-Nusra (which is al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Syria) and the Islamic State (the breakaway “caliphate” spawned by AQI).

There was no defensible security arrangement or diplomatic need for the State Department facility in Benghazi (U.S. diplomatic functions were handled in Tripoli). Was its real purpose to give diplomatic cover to covert intelligence operations (such as those at the nearby CIA compound)? If so, did those operations include aiding and abetting the arming of the Syrian rebels?

Unnamed U.S. government sources furtively described the CIA facility as, according to Reuters, “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” (my italics). Putting aside the administration’s recklessness in failing to keep Qaddafi’s arsenals out of jihadist hands, what are the “other things” that the State Department and the CIA were up to?

We know, as detailed above, that Ambassador Stevens’s jihadist contact, Belhadj, moved an enormous shipment of weapons from Benghazi to the Syrian “rebels” in Turkey. And we know that, while claiming not to be directly arming those “rebels,” the Obama administration was working with Turkey, the Saudis, and other Islamist governments to determine which Syrian “rebels” should be armed. As the New York Times reported in June 2012, some three months before the Benghazi massacre:

A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers. The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The Times elaborated that “the Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.” To repeat, however: Soon after Obama’s reelection, the Times was explaining that “with help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment.” And by June 2013, the Times reported that the administration had begundirectly supplying the Syrian “rebels” with “small arms and ammunition.”

Right after Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi, the U.K.’s Telegraph reported that the CIA’s facility there was an operation “to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.” Simultaneously, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported that enormous pressure was being brought to bear on CIA operatives not to reveal what the agency had been doing in Benghazi.

When Mrs. Clinton testified about the Benghazi massacre before a Senate committee in early 2013, she claimed to have no knowledge of any transfers of weapons from Libya to Turkey, Syria, or any other countries. As the The Daily Signal report details, Clinton was pointedly asked by Senator Rand Paul (R., Ken.) whether the U.S. had been “involved in any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya.” She initially tried to deflect the question, claiming that “nobody’s ever raised that with me.” But Senator Paul kept pressing:

It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons. And what Id’ like to know is, that [CIA] annex that was close by [the State Department facility], were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries? Any countries, Turkey included?

When Mrs. Clinton again tried to deflect, suggesting that he instead put the question “to the agency that ran the annex” — as if the State Department had had no knowledge of what the CIA was doing next door — Senator Paul countered that he was asking about what Clinton herself knew. Mrs. Clinton answered, “I don’t know. I don’t have any information on that.”

Was she telling the truth? Were U.S. personnel stationed as sitting ducks in Benghazi in order to help supply weapons to Syria, where it was inevitable they would fall into the hands of America’s enemies? Perhaps we’ll soon find out.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

DNC Speech: Hillary Clinton Deletes Foreign Policy Disasters as Secretary of State

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, July 29, 2016:

PHILADELPHIA – Notoriously missing from Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech here at the Democratic National Convention was a list of any significant accomplishments from her time as Secretary of State.

The words “secretary of state” only appeared twice in her speech.

One of those times she stated, “I have to tell you, as your Secretary of State, I went to 112 countries, and when people hear those words – they hear America.”

Here, she seems to be brandishing her foreign travel as a signature achievement while she was one of the nation’s highest serving diplomats.

The second and final direct mention of her former State position came when she exclaimed, “As you know, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York. Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.”

When she did briefly mention her record, Clinton mostly spoke in generalities and she seemed to be combining her time as  a Senator and Secretary of State.

She stated:

Look at my record.  I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people.  And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.

I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.

I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.

I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.

While she didn’t outline her role in the talks with Iran that led to the nuclear agreement with Tehran, Clinton did tangentially mention the Iran deal. “I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.”

Absent from her DNC speech was Clinton’s central role in the U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, a military campaign that directly resulted in the destabilization of that country and its subsequent descent into chaos. Islamic extremists have since taken over large swaths of Libya, and have used the country as a staging ground to attempt to infiltrate Europe.

Islamic terrorists infamously carried out deadly attacks on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Clinton did not bring up her State Department’s role in denying security requests to the woefully unsecure U.S. facility.

Clinton further failed to mention her strong support for the so-called Arab Spring, including the toppling of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s resultant rise to power there until a military coup in 2013.

Clinton referenced the threat of the Islamic State without explaining that the global jihadist group has taken up sanctuary in countries that were destabilized during her tenure as Secretary of State.

She stated:

I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS. We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Hillary’s Libya Debacle

hillary_clinton_testimony_to_house_select_committee_on_benghazi_1

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, July 13, 2016:

Colin Powell’s famous words, “You break it, you own it,” are coming back to haunt Hillary Clinton. Powell said those words in cautioning President George W. Bush about the harsh unintended consequences that could result from the military action to oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which Hillary voted to support while in the Senate. As Secretary of State, Hillary forgot all about Colin Powell’s prescient warning. She became the prime mover within the Obama administration for military action to forcibly remove Libya’s President Muammar Gaddafi. In fact, upon learning of his death at the hands of a mob, Hillary Clinton exulted. Paraphrasing Julius Caesar, Hillary proclaimed on Oct. 20, 2011:  “We came, we saw, he died.”

What followed the toppling of Gaddafi’s regime, however, was utter chaos, not the smooth transition to a pluralistic democracy that Hillary had naively envisioned. Indeed, the anarchy that ensued has created a dire strategic threat to the United States and its Western and Arab allies that had not existed during the last years of Gaddafi’s reign. Especially after Gaddafi announced the end of his nuclear weapons program in December 2003 and followed through with allowing the removal of nuclear materials thereafter, his regime posed no strategic threat to U.S. national security.

No doubt Gaddafi was a brutal dictator, who sought to ruthlessly put down the rebellion that threatened his rule. However, his death and the end of his regime, which Hillary celebrated, fixed nothing.

Robert Gates, Obama’s Defense Secretary at the time, along with other senior leaders in the Obama administration such as Vice President Joseph Biden and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser, foresaw the dangers of an ill-planned U.S. military intervention without a realistic plan for a peaceful transition. They warned against it. But Hillary’s call for intervention won out.  She persuaded a reluctant President Obama to enter the fray in support of our European and Arab allies on humanitarian grounds.

Hillary spent countless hours shuttling among foreign capitals to shore up what became a NATO-led coalition against Gaddafi’s regime.  She engineered the passage of a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force in Libya to protect the vulnerable civilian population, which she apparently interpreted to authorize outright regime change. Hillary had personally met with the chairman of the Libyan Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and other Libyans who might become a part of a successor regime. Her top aide Jake Sullivan explained Hillary’s confidence in these leaders’ ability to bring the various factions in the country together to form a relatively stable, democratic and inclusive post-Gaddafi transitional government. He said Hillary had received written pledges to bring about just such a transition from the Transitional National Council.

In a succession of e-mails, Hillary’s senior aides at the State Department, and her informal outside confidante Sidney Blumenthal, sang her praises for leading the implementation of the Libyan strategy she had pushed Obama to accept.

“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” Blumenthal wrote on Aug. 22, 2011. “When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’”

Hillary chomped at the bit to take credit for what she initially regarded as a great success in Libya when things seemed to be going well. She sent an e-mail to her top aide at the State Department, Jake Sullivan, forwarding Blumenthal’s recommendation. “Pls read below,” Hillary wrote. “Sid makes a good case for what I should say, but it’s premised on being said after Q[addafi] goes, which will make it more dramatic.”

Sycophant Sullivan wrote back, “it might make sense for you to do an op-ed to run right after he falls, making this point. You can reinforce the op-ed in all your appearances, but it makes sense to lay down something definitive, almost like the Clinton Doctrine.”

Sullivan had already written an e-mail to two other high level State Department officials, Cheryl Mills and Victoria Nuland, just a day before the above-mentioned Blumenthal e-mail, effusively praising his boss for her leadership role in steering Obama administration policy on Libya. “HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings — as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”

Sullivan then laid out a detailed chronology of all the actions Hillary had taken to accomplish her mission.

However, Hillary’s mission turned into a strategic disaster.  Weapons in the hands of non-state actors, including jihadists, were spreading from Libya across national borders to help further inflame conflicts in Mali, Syria, and elsewhere. Migrants were using Libya as a disembarkation point to try and reach Europe across the Mediterranean Sea in overwhelming numbers. Armed militias fought each other within Libya, while rival governments were formed. Anti-American jihadists, who benefitted from the outcome of the ‘Clinton Doctrine” in Libya, filled the power vacuum. The tragic result was the terrorist attack in Benghazi that took four Americans’ lives on September 11, 2012, including the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Just as Hillary was, in the words of FBI Director James Comey, “extremely careless” in the handling of classified information on her private e-mail system, she was reckless in ignoring clear warning signals leading up to the deadly September 11th Benghazi terrorist attack. Indeed, in addition to threats, there were previous terrorist attacks, including one in June 2012 against the U.S. consulate compound itself and another the same month hitting a convoy carrying the British ambassador. The British decided to evacuate from Benghazi. Yet Hillary pressed on to establish a permanent U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens took his fateful trip to Benghazi in September 2012 in part to advance Hillary’s plan. “At least one of the reasons he was in Benghazi was to further the secretary’s wish that that post become a permanent constituent post and also there because we understood the secretary intended to visit Tripoli later in the year,” Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks testified to a Congressional committee in 2013.

Multiple requests from people on the ground in Libya for more security, including some from Ambassador Stevens himself, were sent to the State Department prior to the September 11, 2012 attack.  Stevens’ last diary entry was “never ending security threats.”  Somehow the security concerns never reached Hillary’s desk. She told the House Benghazi Committee that “I was not responsible for specific security requests.”  But Hillary’s attempt to wash her hands of any responsibility raises more questions than it answers.

Hillary said that Stevens was a friend. She had, in her words, “hand-picked” Stevens for what she knew was a highly dangerous post even as her so-called Clinton Doctrine unraveled. By her own account, there was “lawlessness” in Benghazi, which she said Stevens had been aware of. Yet she never bothered to reach out to him directly to ask whether there was sufficient security for the mission she had hand-picked her friend to carry out.  She simply said that Stevens knew the risks and “felt comfortable” with conditions on the ground. One phone call or e-mail directly to her personal friend would have informed her of Stevens’ concerns over the “never ending security threats.” Hillary had not even provided Stevens with her cell phone number, fax number or personal e-mail address in case he needed to reach her. Apparently, Hillary had less compunctions about giving out that contact information to Blumenthal.

Through her reckless indifference to the security needs of Stevens and other Americans who became caught in the terrorist attack at the Benghazi facility that she wanted to make permanent, Hillary Clinton for all intents and purposes left them there unprotected to face the deadly consequences. She then lied to the families of the victims of the attack, telling them that an obscure anti-Muslim video was the cause of the attack when she knew at the time that the attack was a coordinated, pre-meditated act of jihadist terrorism. And she doubled down on her reckless indifference – literally – a year later at a Senate hearing with her infamous remark: “What difference at this point does it make?”

As she runs to become the next president and commander-in-chief, Hillary Clinton is trying to disown what she broke in Libya. Her recklessness and indifference to the consequences of her actions, as well as her lies to cover up her mistakes, follow the same pattern as her e-mail debacle and should disqualify her from the presidency.

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Bad Ideas Created Benghazi

witch-of-benghazi

Front Page Magazine, Bruce Thornton, July 5, 2016

The House Select Committee on Benghazi report confirms what we pretty much already knew. The Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton completely politicized this country’s foreign policy in order to ensure the reelection of Obama and to serve the future presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton. Along the way Obama, Clinton et al. made dangerous decisions, such as establishing the consular outpost in Benghazi, and ignoring the consul’s pleas for more security. They also ignored the many warning signs of incipient attacks, bungled the response to the attack on September 11, 2012, and then obfuscated, spun, and outright lied in the aftermath. The House report adds new details that flesh out the story, but enough had already been leaked to confirm Clinton’s despicable sacrifice of American lives on the altar of her obsessive ambition.

Toxic ambition, sheer incompetence, and the self-serving politics of the individuals involved mean they bear the primary responsibility for this disaster. But Benghazi illustrates as well the climate of bad ideas that make such decisions possible. Bad politicians eventually go away, but malignant ideas and received wisdom are deeply rooted in our institutions, transcending individuals. The Benghazi fiasco illustrates two particularly tenacious ones.

The military intervention in Libya, the origin of the Benghazi tragedy, was another act of Western wishful thinking about “democratizing” and “reforming” the Muslim world. Despite the failure of George W. Bush’s efforts to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, the so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions encouraged the Wilsonian “freedom and democracy” promoters in 2011 to make Libya yet another poster-child for this doomed project. Moreover, intervention seemingly could be done on the cheap. No troops need be deployed, since jets and missiles could topple the psychotic Muammar Gaddafi––an autocrat straight out of central casting, whose genocidal bluster gave the West a pretext for intervention.

For Hillary and Obama, this was the perfect opportunity to show those neocon militarists what “smart power” was all about, and strike a contrast with the “cowboy” Bush’s “unilateralist” bumbling in Iraq. A UN resolution was secured, and a NATO-led coalition of 19 states assembled for enforcing a no-fly zone. The mission soon escalated into bringing about regime change and the death of Gaddafi.

For a while, this was a perfect, low-cost, quick little war that would illustrate the various shibboleths of moralizing internationalism: international diplomatic approval for the use of force, multilateral coalition building, a reliance on air power that minimized casualties among participating militaries, and a smaller role for the US, which would be “leading from behind,” as an Obama advisor said. This last idea reflected Obama’s belief that the US needed to diminish its role in world affairs and avoid the arrogant overreach that stained its history abroad, most recently in Iraq. This notion of America’s global sins is another bad idea reflecting ideology, not historical fact.

For Secretary of State Clinton, the Libya intervention would be the showcase of her tenure at State and proof of her superior foreign policy skills and presidential potential. Of course, we all know that the toppling of Gaddafi has been a disastrous mistake. Gaddafi was a brutal creep, but he kept in check the jihadists from Libya eager to kill Americans in Iraq and foment terror throughout the region. His departure created a vacuum that has been filled with legions of jihadist outfits across North Africa, including ISIS franchises. They are armed in part with weapons plundered from Gaddafi’s arsenals such as surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles, machine guns, mines, grenades, antitank missiles, and rocket-propelled grenades. Yet eager to protect her defining foreign policy achievement, Hillary kept open the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi even as other nations pulled out their personnel because of the increasing danger caused by the new Libyan government’s inability to control and secure its territory.

Four dead Americans were the cost of political ambition and adherence to the bankrupt idea that liberal democracy can be created on the cheap in a culture lacking all of the philosophical and institutional infrastructure necessary for its success: inalienable rights, equality under the law, transparent government, accountability to the people, separation of church and state, fair and honest elections, and the freedom of speech and assembly. The folly of expecting democracy in a culture alien to it became clear in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s downfall, when the Libyan National Transitional Council’s Draft Constitutional Charter proclaimed, “Islam is the religion of the state, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).” The idea of exporting democracy, however, still has a tight hold on many in the West both on the left and the right, which means we have not seen the last of its bloody and costly failures.

Equally bipartisan has been the next bad idea: that al Qaeda, ISIS, et al. are fringe “extremists” who have “hijacked” Islam, and that the vast majority of Muslims are “moderates” grieved by this tarnishing of their noble faith. It was George W. Bush who said in his first address after 9/11 that Islam’s “teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah,” establishing the model for his administration’s policy of “outreach” to Muslims. Obama has taken this delusion to surreal extremes, refusing in the face of mountains of evidence to link the numerous ISIS attacks of the last few years to Islam, and proscribing “jihad” and “radical Islamist” from the government’s communications and training manuals.

It was this imperative to sever Islamic terrorism from its roots in traditional Islamic doctrine that in part accounted for the lies that Hillary, Obama, and their minions like National Security Advisor Susan Rice told in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. They peddled the narrative that a spontaneous protest against an obscure Internet video insulting Mohammed had morphed into a violent attack. This lie traded in the delusional belief that despite its 14-century-long record of invasion, murder, slaving, colonization, and occupation­­––all in fulfillment of the divine commands “to slay the idolaters wherever you find them” and “to fight all men until they say there is no god but Allah” –– Islamic doctrine could not possibly justify the actions of modern terrorists. So powerful was the need to protect this belief and, of course, her political future that Clinton lied to the faces of the parents of the four dead Americans, promising to “get” the hapless filmmaker, even as she knew on the very night of the attacks that there was no protest against the video near the consular outpost.

Nor are the various pretexts for this evasion of historical fact convincing. The worst is that making explicit the link between jihadism and Islam will endanger innocent Muslims and stoke “Islamophobia.” There is no evidence that this is the case, and hate crimes against Jews still vastly outnumber those against Muslims. Not much better is the notion that pious Muslims, supposedly offended by “blasphemers” like al Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS, will not cooperate with police and the FBI if we state simple facts about their faith and its history.

This idea is psychologically preposterous. It assumes that Muslim pique at infidel statements about their religion trumps their assumed desire to stop the violent “distorters” of their beloved faith. It also assumes that to Muslims, such insults justify keeping quiet about the planned murders of innocents––a damning indictment of the very people whom the “nothing to do with Islam” crowd are so anxious to mollify. Worse, it confirms the unique triumphalism of Islam, whose adherents expect from non-believers deference to their faith, even as Muslims across the globe are slaughtering and torturing people simply because they are non-believers. Such careful monitoring of our discourse about Islam, at the same time Muslim intellectuals routinely attack the West for its alleged historical sins against Islam, is a sign of weakness and fear that encourages our enemies to hit us again.

We’ve been operating by this double standard for decades, and terrorist groups have expanded across the globe, while jihadist violence has murdered Americans in Boston, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, and Orlando, to name just the deadliest attacks. It’s safe to say that the tactic of flattering Muslims and confirming their sense of superiority to infidels has failed to keep us safe.

But if we really want to be honest, we won’t just rely on the weasel-word “Islamist,” which still suggests that the beliefs of the jihadists are somehow a doctrinal aberration. Those of both parties who continually talk about “moderate Muslims” and use the word “Islamist” to distinguish them from jihadists should heed Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan: “The term ‘Moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive; there is no moderate Islam; Islam is Islam.” Using “Islamic” rather than “Islamist” will recognize the continuity of modern jihadism with traditional Islamic doctrines. Whitewashing that fact has done nothing to stop jihadist violence, and it is an enabler of those ordinary Muslims who refuse to acknowledge Islam’s illiberal and violent doctrines.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton deserve the opprobrium history will inflict on them for sacrificing our security and interests to their personal ambition and ideological obsessions. But bad ideas had a hand in the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, and those bad ideas will continue to cripple us until we discard them and start facing reality.

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RESCUE INTERRUPTED:

What did not happen to save American lives the night of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya? In recent days, the House Benghazi Committee released results of its investigation. Full Measure asks real intelligence officers what should have happened that night.

 

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Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) Press Conference June 29, 2016 – National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
CCB releases new report and comments on release of House Select Committee on Benghazi report.
Participants are as follows:
Roger Aronoff, Clare Lopez, Dennis Haney, Charles Woods, Tom McInerney, Ace Lyons, Chuck Kubic, John Clarke

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