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Saturday, September 29, 2012





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 29 Sep 2012, 3:12 PM PDT 85 POST A COMMENT

"Al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat." -- President Barack Obama: Sept 6th, 2012, at the Democratic Convention.

Late yesterday afternoon, in an obvious attempt to rescue President Obama from what could and should be a brutal round of Sunday shows examining the cover up the White House is currently engaged in with respect to the sacking of our consulate in Libya, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released a statement revising its assessment of the attack. It is now the official position of the American intelligence community that what happened in Benghazi was a pre-planned terrorist attack.
The statement comes from Shawn Turner, director of public affairs for National Intelligence -- the office that speaks for the intelligence community as a whole:
As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.
This is not news. In the last few days, the White House and State Department have both made statements saying exactly that.  
This, however, is news and should be read carefully:
In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.
There's no question that what we have here is the DNI (Obama appointee James Clapper) attempting to fall on his sword and to put an end to the drumbeat of scandal coming mostly from Republicans and right-of-center media. What's been exposed, just weeks before a presidential election, is the fact that in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, the White House and State Department knowingly misled and lied to the American people about what they knew and when they knew it.
But what the DNI statement is really meant to do is muddy the waters.
The statement deliberately omits any information as to exactly when the determination was made that Benghazi was indeed a terrorist attack. Most importantly, nothing in the statement contradicts numerous news reports that U.S. officials were certain within 24 hours that they were dealing with a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous protest gone bad.  
In other words, the DNI statement is so intentionally vague that it could read asconfirmation that our government knew within 24 hours that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and still lied about it for days afterward.
And this, my friends, is how a cover up works.
And so, the only response to this cynical muddying of the waters is a 30,000 foot approach that might help connect some dots.
Standing on the shoulders of those who have done the admirable work of digging into and investigating this story (most notably, Brett Baier of Fox News, Stephen Hayes of theWeekly Standard, Jake Tapper of ABC News, and the Daily Beast's Eli Lake), what I want to do is lay out a timeline of known facts that answer a very simple question:
What did our government know and what were we told when they knew it?  
What you'll see below was inspired by the vitally important video-report Brett Baier closed "Special Report" with last night, but this will hopefully go into even greater detail. We'll also look into three specific areas: 1) Security failures. 2) The lies. 3) The attempted cover up of numbers one and two.
In an attempt to justify that the security at our Libyan consulate in Benghazi was "adequate," the White House laid a narrative along two tracks. The first, obviously, was that there was no way anyone could've predicted that a "spontaneous" protest would go bad. In fact, that defense would be the White House position for a full eight days, until Sept 20th, when White House Spokesman Jay Carney would finally admit it was "self-evident" Benghazi was a terror attack.
The second narrative track, however, is as shaky as the first. Essentially, the Administration's line is that, based on what we knew, security was adequate.
That's a judgment call, I guess, but let's look at what we did know for a fact prior to the sacking of the consulate and determine if having no Marines, no bullet-proof windows, nothreat assessment, and no real security other than locks on the doors was indeed adequate…
1. We'll start with what is the most underreported fact of this entire episode: the fact that this very same consulate had been targeted and attacked just a few months earlier, on June 6, in retaliation for a drone strike on a top al-Qaeda operative:
The United States diplomatic office in the Libyan city of Benghazi was attacked Tuesday night, the embassy in the capital Tripoli said Wednesday.
A Libyan security source told CNN a jihadist group that is suspected of carrying out the strike, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, left leaflets at the scene claiming the attack was in retaliation for the death of Libyan al Qaeda No. 2 Abu Yahya al Libi.
"Fortunately, no one was injured" in the improvised explosive device attack, the embassy said.
2. It was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, a date that should mean heightened security regardless of what our intelligence says.  
3. In the days just prior to the Benghazi attack (September 9 and 10), al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri….
….posted a 42-minute video on Jihadist forums urging Libyans to attack Americans to avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the terror organization’s second-in-command, whom U.S. drones killed in June of 2012 in Pakistan.
In the video, al-Zawahri said al-Libi’s “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders,” leading up to a date heralded and celebrated by radical Islamists.
Another version of the video was actually posted on YouTube on September 9[.]
4. Just a couple of months prior to the Benghazi attack….
…an unclassified report published in August that fingers Qumu as a key al Qaeda operative in Libya. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the research division of the Library of Congress (LOC) under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office.
The report details al Qaeda’s plans for Libya, including the growth of a clandestine terrorist network that has attempted to hide its presence. The U.S military has concluded that al Qaeda is in the final phase of a three-step process for developing a full-blown al Qaeda affiliate.
5. Our assassinated Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, feared al-Qaeda's growing influence in Libya and  believed he was on a hit list.
6. Sean Smith, one of our diplomats killed along with Stevens, also feared for his life prior to the attack:
One of the American diplomats killed Tuesday in a bloody attack on a Libyan Consulate told pals in an online gaming forum hours earlier that he'd seen suspicious people taking pictures outside his compound and wondered if he and his team might "die tonight." …
But hours before the bloody assault, Smith sent a message to Alex Gianturco, the director of "Goonswarm," Smith's online gaming team or "guild."
“Assuming we don’t die tonight,” the message, which was first reported by Wired, read. “We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Within hours of posting that message, Smith, a husband and father of two, was dead. Gianturco, who could not be reached for further comment, got the word out to fellow gamers, according to Wired.
What we have here are six concrete, non-speculative red flags that indicated our consulate and Ambassador were in danger, vulnerable to attack, and targets.
To justify a lack of adequate security, the Obama administration spent a week blaming the attack on a "spontaneous" demonstration they  couldn’t have possibly predicted would occur. We now know that's simply not true. But here are two more justifications we were told:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has "absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis" to suggest that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
The remark came after a source familiar with Stevens' thinking told CNN that in the months leading up to his death, Stevens worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list.
So Clinton is saying that Stevens wasn't on a al-Qaeda hit list. Stevens' diary says he was. Oh. Okay.
2. White House Spokesman Jay Carney on Sept 14: [emphasis added]
ABC NEWS' JAKE TAPPER: One of my colleagues in the Associated Press asked you a direct question, was there any direct intelligence suggesting that there would be an attack on the U.S. consulates. You said that a story — referred to a story being false and said there was no actionable intelligence, but you didn’t answer his question. Was there any intelligence, period — intelligence, period, suggesting that there was going to be an attack on either the –
CARNEY: There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks. It is — I mean, I think the DNI spokesman was very declarative about this, that the report is false. The report suggested that there was intelligence that was available prior to this that led us to believe that this facility would be attacked, and that is false.
Note Carney's careful wording; how determined he is to stay in the arena of "actionable" intelligence and intelligence that "could have been acted on to prevent these attacks." Also note how Carney never answers Tapper's general question about "any intelligence" or intelligence in general.  
Summation: Let's give our government the benefit of the doubt and assume the stories about Stevens' fear of being an al-Qaeda target are incorrect -- or, if true, that for some inexplicable reason he never communicated those fears to his superiors.  Here's what is indisputable…
The Obama administration didn’t act upon the fact that the anniversary of 9/11 is an obvious date to be wary of or the fact that our consulate had already been targeted and attacked just a few months prior. We also didn’t act upon a report that said al-Qaeda's influence was growing in Libya or a video-threat released by an al-Qaeda chief just days prior to the red-flag date of 9/11.
But security was adequate.

Taking the just-released DNI statement at its word, let's argue that for a time our intelligence services believed the fatal Benghazi attack was a "spontaneous" protest gone bad. Then, on a date not specified in the DNI statement, the assessment was updated to a pre-meditated terrorist attack committed by affiliates of al-Qaeda.
None of that contradicts what we already knew.
According to a number of reports based on numerous sources, we can ascertain exactly when our government determined Benghazi was a terrorist attack -- and that was just 24 hours after the attack.
Let's run through the facts:
1. In a Rose Garden statement the morning after the attack, the President himself referred to the attacks as terror:
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.
… in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect. The sources said the intelligence community knew by Sept. 12 that the militant Ansar al-Shariah and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were likely behind the strike.  
…U.S. intelligence agencies monitored communications from jihadists affiliated with the group that led the attack and members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group’s North African affiliate.
In the communications, members of Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) bragged about their successful attack against the American consulate and the U.S. ambassador, according to three U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the press.
U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.
Again, let's be clear: The DNI statement released yesterday does not dispute any of this. And yet….


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