Benghazi report reveals administration obsessed with politics

Clinton after a Benghazi hearing

The administration ignored the danger before, did nothing during, lied about it afterward and refused to co-operate with the investigation.

Republican Benghazi committee members and Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Pompeo released a 48-page summary of the 800-page committee report that bores in an on the gory details and the politics-first-last-and-always stance of the president and would-be president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Actually, Mitt Romney summed it up pretty well on the spot:

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

With 56 days to go until the election in 2012 it was all about avoiding responsibility for the turmoil created by overthrowing Libyan strongman Qhaddafi without a plan for cleaning up the mess and blaming everything on a YouTube video that “justifiably” upset the natives.

The summary includes a telling chronological list of statements made by key figures in the moments and days after the attack contrasting public and private statements.

Clinton’s public remark on Sept. 12: “We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.”

Clinton in private on Sept. 12 to Egyptian prime minister: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. … Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda.”

Beforehand, there was a lack of due diligence as the summary details:

In August 2012, however, it did not take an expert to see that the State Department facility in Benghazi should have been closed if additional security was not to be provided. The location and the risk demanded Secretary Clinton’s attention. The Benghazi facility was wholly unique and there is no evidence that Secretary Clinton asked her experts — let alone Ambassador Stevens who she personally chose for the position — the hard questions. The robust host-nation security forces that the United States takes for granted in other countries did not exist in Libya. Rather, competing militias — some friendly, some not — filled the vacuum left by 40-plus years of Qhaddafi’s rule. And escalating violence against the U.S. compound and others in Libya — 230 incidents since June 2011 alone — made a terrorist attack all but inevitable. These were the facts known in August 2012. And in August 2012 Secretary Clinton had the last, clear chance to provide adequate protection or, failing that, to close the facility and pull our people out. She did neither.

Post-Qhaddafi Benghazi I told him that this was a suicide mission; that there was a very good chance that everybody here was going to die; that there was absolutely no ability here to prevent an attack whatever. *** [H]he said, “everybody back here in D.C. knows that people are going to die in Benghazi, and nobody cares and nobody is going to care until somebody does die.”

— State Diplomatic Security Agent #1077

 

And what happened during the attack?

Those in Washington decided that once the initial attack at the State compound had ended and our men moved to the Annex, the enemy had retreated as well. For those fighting for their lives in Benghazi that night, however, it was one long battle for survival. But the terrorists did not retreat. This view from Washington that the fight had ended is a lapse in judgment that may well haunt our nation for years to come. At the same time Secretary Clinton appears to have concluded that the attack was over, the men on the ground knew better. In the end, two men died from smoke inhalation at the State Department’s compound during an initial attack involving dozens of extremists. Two more died from mortar fire at the end of a continuous, hours-long siege by approximately a hundred heavily armed and highly trained fighters at the CIA Annex.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with Obama at  6 p.m. on Sept. 11 but had no further contact during the attack. Panetta and Clinton did not speak at all. Clinton spoke with CIA Director David Petraeus at about 5:30 p.m. but not again that night.

Four years later only one person is in custody and charged with the attack, but the administration is refusing to seek the death penalty.

Who you gonna call at 3 a.m.?

Clinton response? “Time to move on.”

 

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31 comments on “Benghazi report reveals administration obsessed with politics

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Obama couldn’t be bothered, he was preparing to fly here, Nevada, for a fundraiser. He’s only one man, he can’t worry about matters in Libya when his fans here were looking forward to seeing him and forking over donations.I don’t recall, was Harry Reid here to throw roses at his feet? Clinton was defending Obama as much as she was defending herself. It has been a rogue administration and the Congress, if not complicit has been covering itself by holding these hearings.

  2. nyp says:

    Yawn.

    Why don’t you convene another investigation?

  3. Steve says:

    Oh? CBS carried it today, nyp.
    It was fun watching Charlie Rose report it. He looked a bit more than distressed.

  4. Nyp says:

    Not even Mr. Mitchell can put his heart into this one.

  5. Rincon says:

    1) It’s a Republican investigation. Do you really expect it to be nonbiased? If so, I have a bridge for you real cheap.

    2) Is it true that this is the 8th investigation into this event? http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2014/05/8th_benghazi_investigation_ope.html If so, it does look like a witch hunt.

    2) “Phone calls were made to the embassy in Tripoli, the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade and a U.S. quick reaction force located at the annex compound a little more than a mile away.[72][82] Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli to tell him the consulate was under attack. Hicks did not recognize the phone number so he did not answer it, twice. On the third call Hicks answered the call.[83]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Benghazi_attack

    Although the buck stops at Hillary – or more likely, Obama – it makes one wonder why the Deputy Chief wouldn’t answer the phone just because he didn’t recognize the number. Was he concerned about telemarketers? And why didn’t he recognize a phone used by someone that he is assigned to protect? But of course, Hillary should have trained this guy better. Probably had some lackey train him instead of doing it herself.

    3) Anyone know how many guards the compound had? How does the number compare to those of other administrations and other embassies? There were 125-150 gunmen that attacked the compound. Would a doubling of the guard have made any difference anyway? I am unable to find this important information. Without it, I don’t think any judgement can be realistic.

  6. Steve says:

    “Without it, I don’t think any judgement can be realistic.”

    Bias or not, you have just hit the nail on the head.

    But bias swings both ways, in the face of such a lack of information, why are there no Democrats investigating and seeking the truth?

  7. Rincon says:

    Off topic alert: This is about global warming.

    31 scientific organizations just sent a letter to Congress urging action on climate change. Among other statements: “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” http://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf

    Among these 31 organizations is the American Meteorological Society, 96% of whose members are in agreement. http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2016/03/24/96-of-american-meteorological-society-members-think-climate-change-is-happening-says-new-report/#3aabbd6e3935

    There are over 13,000 members of the AMS: 32% with a BS), 30% with an MS and 33% with a PhD in meteorology/atmospheric sciences. But of course, the conservatives have always said that there’s no consensus among scientists about global warming. I suppose not if you decide that 96% isn’t a consensus.

  8. Rincon says:

    “But bias swings both ways, in the face of such a lack of information, why are there no Democrats investigating and seeking the truth?” Simple. There is no way to completely exonerate Hillary. Just as with global warming, it’s a lot easier to heckle the researchers than to do the research yourself.

  9. Steve says:

    96% of AMS members agree human activity is “the primary driver”
    OK.
    Still they don’t mention any range of percentage or to what degree the “primary driver” is effecting the change in climate. Additionally by saying human activity is the “primary driver” then what are the other driving forces?

    It’s a start, but it’s only one segment of the whole, and it still doesn’t answer my question.
    But it’s a start.

  10. Steve says:

    So “occupy democrats” is simply heckling the researchers.

    OK

  11. Mr. Mitchell’s headline pretty much nails it. With this POS administration it’s ALWAYS about politics. There was no way they were going to allow this foreign policy disaster to become Obama’s October surprise…nor Hillary’s lasting foreign policy legacy, no matter how many of our best and bravest had to pay the ultimate price to keep the lid on it. Hillary’s response to the report is itself…is a bald faced lie. It was THIS report that finally revealed that she knew exactly what this attack WAS all about (a terrorist attack) on the late afternoon and night it occurred (the private story) and then helped to concoct a phony narrative about the spurious video being responsible for a protest that turned into an attack (the public narrative). It is my contention that Sidney Blumenthal is the source for this phony story. And who coached Susan Rice before she appeared on all those Sunday morning news shows to continue this phony narrative? David Plouffe (Obama’s campaign manager) and Ben Rhodes (Obama’s lackluster obfuscator in chief). This REEKS of politics over substance and truth. And let’s not forget…were it NOT for THIS investigation…Hillary’s “private server” would still be private! Again…this is really about the total INCOMPETENCE and ineptness of the federal government bureaucracy to do anything correctly and in a timely manner even at the highest levels…except for CYA, which they always seem to excel at. What’s sad to me…is the lack of journalistic integrity or even curiosity in investigating this…it seems there are no Bob Woodwards nor Carl Bernsteins left. Only a sorry a$$ bunch of leg humping lap dogs intent on electing the Democrat candidate at all costs…. quite sad if you ask me.

  12. Rincon says:

    Just to be sure you see both biased sides, here’s the headline of the Reverb Press version: “GOP Complaining About Benghazi Security Issues Despite Previously Demanding Embassy Security Cuts” http://reverbpress.com/politics/gop-busted-benghazi-voted-massive-embassy-security-cuts-starting-2011/

    It all depends on who you want to believe. There’s propaganda for any cause in this country, including Islamic jihad.

  13. This had absolutely nothing to do with budget cuts…it had to everything to do with the incompetent bureaucrats Charlene Lamb and Patrick Kennedy. When Charlene Lamb removed the 13 man elite security force from the Benghazi outpost just one month before the attack…over the strenuous objections of Ambassador Stevens and Gregory Hicks…the DOD offered to keep the team there at NO COST to the State Department, but of course Ms. Lamb would have none of it.

    “In 2012, Lamb Testified That Budget Cuts Had Nothing To Do With Security Decisions In Benghazi. ROHRABACHER: “It has been suggested the budget cuts are responsible for lack of security in Benghazi, and I’d like to ask Ms. Lamb, you made this decision personally, was there any budget consideration and lack of budget that led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?” LAMB: “No, sir.” (Committee On Oversight And Government Reform, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/10/12)

    And what does the State Department do with incompetent employees who are directly responsible for the deaths of the Ambassador and his aide? “Lamb And The Three Other Individuals Who Were Placed On Leave Were “Returned To Active Duty And [Would] Face No Further Disciplinary Action.” “Four State Department officials who were placed on paid administrative leave after last September’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, have been returned to active duty and will face no further disciplinary action, the State Department said Tuesday.” (8/20/13)

  14. Rincon says:

    May I ask what reason was given for removing the 13 man elite security force from the Benghazi outpost?

  15. “The bipartisan Senate committee found that despite the deteriorating conditions around Benghazi, State Department headquarters decided not to request an extension of service by the Defense Department’s Site Security Team, which was scheduled to be redeployed in August 2012, about one month before the attacks.”

    “The 16-member team was based in Tripoli, but spent some time in Benghazi and had provided security resources that the State Department could utilize. The State Department opted not to request an extension of the team, the Senate committee found, because it believed that many of the duties could be provided by State Department security staff and local Libyan security personnel.” That decision was made by Charlene Lamb…thousands of miles away, safely at her desk in the State Department in Washington DC. You should take the time to view her sworn testimony before the Select Committee…it’s an eye opener. (I was in error about the size of the security team…it was 16, not 13).

  16. “local Libyan security personnel” were basically militia and warlords. According to the report, time was wasted talking about whether they needed to get Libyan approval for a rescue mission and whether they need to wear civilian clothes and drive unmarked vehicles.

    They dithered.

  17. Rincon says:

    Perhaps I’m missing something, so please inform me if that’s the case. I see nothing in her testimony saying that she refused extra security so, naturally, she wouldn’t say why. What I did find was indeed an eye opener. Selected snippets:

    “The private section was a residential area that included a safe haven.”

    “The fourth building on the compound served as barracks for the Libyan 17th February Brigade members.”

    “Among other steps, we extended the height of the outer wall to 12 feet, with masonry concrete, barbed wire, and concertina razor wire. We increased the external lighting and erected Jersey barriers outside the perimeter. We also added equipment to detect
    explosives, as well as an imminent danger notification system. We
    installed security grills on windows accessible from the ground, and included escape windows with emergency releases. There were five diplomatic security agents on the compound Sep-
    tember 11th. There were also three members of the Libyan 17th
    February Brigade. In addition, a well trained U.S. quick reaction
    security team was stationed nearby at the embassy annex.”

    “The agent began leading the Ambassador and Sean Smith toward the emergency escape window. Nearing unconsciousness himself, the agent opened the emergency es-
    cape grill window and crawled out. He then realized they had be-
    come separated in the smoke, so he reentered and searched the
    building multiple times. Finally, the agent, suffering from severe
    smoke inhalation, barely able to breathe or speak, exited to the
    roof. Other agents retrieved their M4 submachine guns from Build-
    ing B. When they attempted to return to the main building, they
    encountered armed attackers and doubled back. They regrouped,
    made their way to a nearby armored vehicle, and then drove over
    to assist the agent on the roof in search for the Ambassador and
    Mr. Smith. After numerous attempts, they found Mr. Smith. Unfor-
    tunately, he was already deceased. They still could not find the
    Ambassador.
    The quick reaction security team arrived with 40 members of the
    Libyan 17th February Brigade. They all continued the search for
    the Ambassador. Then, at approximately 11 p.m., the Libyans in-
    sisted for everyone’s safety they needed to evacuate the site. The
    combined security team made a final search for the Ambassador
    before leaving the annex in an armored vehicle.
    They took heavy fire as they pulled away from the
    main building and on the street outside the compound but were
    able to make their way to the annex.”

    So you’re saying the compound was guarded by militia and warlords. If you say so. She says 5 security agents and 3 members of the Libyan 17th February Brigade (sounds much better than warlords, don’t you agree?) were guarding the complex that day. They were armed with submachine guns. From her description only, they all appeared to perform their duties well. Perhaps you argue that it wasn’t enough. That might be. How does it compare to other diplomatic outposts in troubled areas?

    The agent became separated from the Ambassador and Sean Smith while trying to access an emergency escape window. Hillary is to blame for this? Anyone know how it might have gone down had they made it through this window? Gotten to the safe haven perhaps? Keep in mind that the 40 member quick reaction force was about a mile away, I believe, but some Dingledorf wouldn’t answer his phone on the first 2 calls. Also Hillary’s fault?

    One last question: Why were the 40 or more troops a mile away and not at the compound? If there were more than 40 plus the eight on site, would 13 more have been necessary? Maybe we shouldn’t stop there. If the compound had been overrun with the 48 plus 13 security personnel, then Hillary would have been blamed for not having more than 62. If they had 63, then she would be blamed for not having 64, and so on. Perhaps a force of 10,000 or more would have been most appropriate. What if they had been attacked by several thousand fighters? What is the correct number?

  18. The extra security…the 16 man Site Security Team from the DOD…had to be approved by her Charlene Lamb to be redeployed. She refused to do so, even after numerous requests from Gregory Hicks and others. The compound was supposed to be guarded that night by the so-called militia, they never showed up! So basically there were the five security agents left there to guard the entire compound. They were overwhelmed by the attacking forces and scrambled messages to the Annex and Tripoli for help. The security force at the Annex were the private contractor ex-military operators…former US special forces (Navy Seals, Army Rangers). They got together and started to prepare to head to the outpost…they were TOLD TO STAND DOWN by the CIA officer in charge…twice! They finally told him to FO…and went there on their own initiative. You want to really get a feel for what happened that night…view the movie 13 Hours – The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. It’s now out on DVD, available on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Redbox, etc.

  19. This is the story…by the men who lived it…in their own words.

  20. nyp says:

    I think Congress should establish a new committee to look into all of this.

  21. Rincon says:

    In addition to the 5 security agents, there were 3 members of the Libyan 17th February Brigade according to Charlene Lamb, but hey, who’s counting?

    Some basic questions remain unanswered. The so called militia never showed up. Why?

    Who is this CIA officer who told the security force at the annex to stand down? Did he testify? What’s his explanation?

    On the face of it, it seems unlikely that the security force disobeyed a direct order knowing that the penalty may be a dishonorable discharge or worse? Did any of them testify? There is some doubt, since, “a controversial congressional inquiry later concluded that no stand-down order was ever issued, despite the men who were there stating otherwise.” http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/13-hours/

    So the Congressional inquiry decided that no stand down order was issued, but we choose to believe a movie made by…who? Did any members of this security force come out from behind the cloak of anonymity?

  22. Yes…they’re all in the interview video posted above, they were also consultants on the movie. It was the so called Accountability Review Board that “determined no stand down order was issued,” and they never interviewed any of the operators, they never talked to Hillary Clinton, and they never talked to Barack Obama. The ARB was a review of a State Department screw up…by a committee selected by the State Department with Hillary Clinton’s personal assistant Cheryl Mills (also an attorney) communicating with members of the committee on a regular basis.

  23. Nyp says:

    What about Solyndra?

  24. Rincon says:

    Do these witnesses give their names? If these guys are reliable witnesses, are they found in the Republican report? I would think they would be anxious to tell their story. Do we know anything about the cinematographer? Sorry, but I’m not willing to listen for an hour to find this out. Perhaps you will understand my skepticism if you examine your own beliefs about global warming. You don’t trust a large majority of the world’s atmospheric scientists, but you think I might believe some movie produced by someone I may or may not know with witnesses whose names so far elude me instead of the 8 other inquiries? Unless of course, these guys were interviewed for a few of these 8 inquiries. Were they?

  25. Waste of my time noted…moving on to real issues…soft seven iron, or a hard eight.

  26. Rincon says:

    8 inquiries and a movie. You choose to believe the movie. Some things just can’t be explained.

  27. Especially for the folks on the left…”there are none so blind as those who will not see.”

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