From around the blogroll, Benghazi edition . . .

. . . plus one bit of Sunday morning stupidity. Fox & Friends this morning showed people actually camping out in front of stores for the “Black Friday” sales. Now, think about that: if you are actually camped out in front of a store like this, the thing you are going to miss in your wait for the post-Thanksgiving sales is your Thanksgiving dinner!

But it gets even dumber. F&F showed one unhireable-looking man camped out, with a screen legend, “Family of Five, Limited Income,” and a decent-looking tent and equipment, including a portable heater so he can keep warm at night during his wait. This rocket scientist is trying to save a few dollars on Christmas presents by living off more expensive pre-packaged ready-to-eat food (perhaps he scarfed up on the last of the Twinkies and HoHos?), and buying fuel to run his heater. And, with all of that effort to buy things a bit cheaper for Christmas for his family, he’s going to miss Thanksgiving dinner with that family.

Oh, well, on to the blogroll stuff! From the esteemed Robert Stacy McCain:

Harry Reid’s Benghazi Cover-Up

Posted on November 17, 2012

Now that we know for a fact that President Obama deliberately deceived Americans about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — remember, the president promised to “get to the bottom of it” — now the Senate Majority Leader does his part to suppress the ugly truth:

If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t make it clear enough to Republicans that he opposes a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, he said it again Friday: No way.

In letters to key Republican senators, Reid put his foot down — again — on the idea of a special panel to dig into the Sept. 11 assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three diplomatic aides in Libya. A select committee would need a floor vote to be created, and Reid said he wouldn’t permit it.
“I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks,” Reid wrote in the three-page letter, released Friday evening.

And, of course, by “baseless partisan attacks,” what Harry Reid actually means is, the truth.

Not to worry: if the Majority Leader will not allow the Senate to investigate the Bengazi cover-up, and the Democratic committee chairmen wouldn’t authorize their standing committees to do it anyway, he still cannot stop the House, run by the Republicans, from investigating.

But it doesn’t mean one damned thing, does it? The political situation is known, even to the Democrats (though they’ll never admit it). The White House sent out Ambassador Susan Rice, who was not directly involved at the time of the incident, to tell the Administration’s story. Dr Rice, not having been involved, could only state what she had been told had happened by the people who were involved, and had no direct knowledge which would have informed her that people she trusted were lying to her. And so she went out and dutifully spouted the Administration line, which was truthful as far as she knew. The goal was simple: delay news of as much of the Administration’s ineptness as possible until after the election, and that goal was achieved.

Sister Toldjah added:

Surprise: NYTimes tries to cover for Obama, Rice on #Benghazi using #Petraeus

Posted by: ST on November 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

Their headline, and the first two paragraphs, say it all (hat tip):

Petraeus Says U.S. Tried to Avoid Tipping Off Terrorists After Libya Attack

WASHINGTON — David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups.

Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.

But guess what? Read on down into the article and you’ll note that the “lawmakers” who characterized Petraeus testimony as such were Democrats, and to back that up, the NYT enlists anonymous “officials” who wouldn’t go on record as saying the line about AQ was removed to keep the terrorist perps from knowing we were on to them.

Right.

Even though we don’t have a transcript of his testimony, let’s assume for discussion purposes this is an accurate accounting of Petraeus’ remarks on Friday. So they didn’t want to tip off AQ. Fine, but that doesn’t explain why they KNOWINGLY falsely blamed a so-called “filmmaker” and his “anti-Islam” video FOR WEEKS for the “spontaneous” protests that in reality were not so spontaneous. For whatever this man’s sins were, did he deserve the harsh global scrutiny and condemnation he received as a result of the (what I believe to be a) coordinated efforts from high-ranking people in this administration — including President Obama himself — to blame what happened on 9/11/12 on him? Did he deserve the LIFETIME of fear he’ll feel from Islamofascistic threats as a result of them WILLINGLY using him as a scapegoat? This man will be in hiding and on the run for the rest of his life as a DIRECT result of this administration’s words and actions in the aftermath of the Benghazi terror attacks.

More at the link. Sis might have added that Mark Basseley Youssef, one of the people behind the film “Innocence of Muslims,” was sentenced (the day after the election) to a year in prison for probation violations, those violations having occurred due to his sponsorship of the film. In the linked CBS News story, CBS parrots the Administration line, “The movie sparked violence in the Middle East, killing dozens.” It also noted:

Enraged Muslims had demanded severe punishment for Youssef, with a Pakistani cabinet minister even offering $100,000 to anyone who kills him.

Mr Youssef’s attorneys requested that he serve his sentence under house arrest, but U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder refused, and Mr Youssef will be confined in a prison in southern California, with other prisoners, some of whom are, you guessed it, Muslims.

The 21st century pirate, William Teach, sticks to the topic:

Petraeus Testimony: Someone Changed CIA Talking Points Memo

November 17, 2012 – 8:12 am

Surprise!

(Fox News) Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.

“To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. … I’d say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out,” King told Fox News. “That, to me, has to be pursued.”

The NY Times attempts to find a position to protect the Obama administration

David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups.

Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.

The Times finally gets around to mentioning that it wasn’t the CIA who removed references to Islamic terrorists in the circulated talking points memo.

More at the link. Does it even matter who did it? After all, President Obama bravely claimed responsibility, saying that Senators shouldn’t block Ambassador Rice’s possible nomination as Secretary of State, but that, if they were angry, they should “come after (him)” . . . now that he has been safely re-elected, and cannot be held responsible for one damned thing by any means short of impeachment:

Obama Tells Republicans ‘Go After Me’ Instead of Rice on Libya

Margaret Talev and Laura Litvan, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Published 7:18 p.m., Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama chastised two Republican senators for threatening to block UN Ambassador Susan Rice as a potential nominee for secretary of state, saying she had “nothing to do” with circumstances involving the death of four Americans in an attack in Libya in September.

If the senators want to go after someone in this administration, “they should go after me,” Obama said today at a White House news conference. He said “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

While declining to say who he’s considering for Cabinet posts in his second term, Obama said that if he decides Rice is the best candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “then I will nominate her.”

Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said today that they would seek to block a Rice nomination, citing her comments days after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Rice, 47, said on Sunday television talk shows on Sept. 16 that the assault began as a spontaneous protest that was “hijacked” by militants. Republicans have questioned whether Rice was trying to conceal that terrorists were behind the assault.

“She gave her best understanding” of the intelligence that had been provided to her, Obama said today.

“If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” Obama said.

Unfortunately, the only way Senators McCain and Graham can go after President Obama is to go after his minions: the President himself is now beyond any political threats.

Karen wrote about the subject as well:

Who Edited Susan Rice’s Talking Points, And Where’s Hillary Clinton?

November 17, 2012 | By 

Yesterday’s testimony of General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA, pretty much settles the dispute over what the administration knew about the 9/11 terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. They knew it was a terrorist attack but continued to tell the public it was a spontaneous uprising brought about by some obscure film. So someone in the administration edited the talking points given to UN Ambassador Susan Rice before she went out repeating the false claims on national television.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been flying under the radar in the investigation.

But Mr. Petraeus wasn’t responsible for lax consulate security or the U.S. policy that led to the Libya debacle. That’s Mrs. Clinton’s bailiwick. Last month in interviews from deepest Peru, the Secretary of State said “I take responsibility” for Benghazi.

Except she hasn’t. She was conveniently out of the country for this week’s House Foreign Affairs hearing, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry refuses to hold any hearings on Benghazi. His loyalty may get him a cabinet job, while Carl Levin’s Armed Services Committee also pretends nothing much happened in Libya.

The targets of the attacks and its first victims were diplomats. Chris Stevens died of smoke inhalation in the blaze, becoming the first American ambassador killed in the line of duty in over 30 years. A junior colleague also died. These men were Mrs. Clinton’s “responsibility.” Several hours after the assault on the consulate, members of the jihadist militia Ansar al-Shariah turned on the CIA compound about a mile away, killing two of Mr. Petraeus’s men.

In Congressional hearings last month, career State officials admitted that threat warnings from Benghazi were overlooked and requests for better security turned down. They said Foggy Bottom misjudged the ability of a weak Libyan state to protect them. It’s not clear how high up the chain these concerns went, but over to you, Mrs. Clinton. (Read More)

Clinton may have been staying out of the public eye, but she still assured the father of Tyrone Woods that the maker of the video would be punished for killing Woods, even though the video maker had nothing to do with Woods’s death. Neither Clinton, nor President Obama, have had to answer for the failed policies that led up to the Benghazi attack, or the mess that’s happening in Syria and across the middle east.

Oh well, when the truth does come out the administration can count on news outlets like The New York Times to provide them with cover and spin.

Kate of Victory Girls added:

And here is Barack Hussein Obama’s snarky push back:

“As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

Really? Then why did you choose someone who had “nothing to do with Benghazi” to present your case about Benghazi on no less than 5 Sunday talk shows? Why did you make certain it was someone insulated from actual knowledge? …because the truth would be too implicating? And who provided Ambassador Rice with the “intelligence that she received” and spouted ad nauseum? Note to Obama: When you avoid naming names, you have something to hide.

To answer Kate’s rhetorical question, the President picked someone who had nothing to do with Benghazi because she had nothing to do with Benghazi, she had no direct knowledge with which she might either question the “intelligence that she had received,” and she had no personal knowledge which would lead her to stray from the specified meme. She was, in effect, a higher-ranking version of Jay Carney, someone who is told only what he needs to know to spout the Administration line, and is shameless enough to go along with it, knowing all along that he’s just a dupe.

Mr Teach pointed out that knowing who changed the talking points isn’t the most important thing to know; why earlier requests for increased security were dismissed, what Ambassador Chris Stevens was doing in the area at the time and what the Administration’s responses were in real time are more important. But those, too, leave no one accountable. The Secretary of State has said that she was responsible for the security at Benghazi, but Hillary Clinton is retiring; no accountability. The Secretary of Defense was supposed to be monitoring the situation in real time, but Leon Panetta won’t be back for the second term; he’s off the hook. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency knew virtually immediately that al Qaeda was behind the attacks, but David Petraeus has already resigned, albeit for different reasons; he can’t be fired. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was allegedly involved, being in the room with the Secretary of Defense, but the Chairman of the JCS does not have operational command authority over either the armed forces as a whole or any individual branch of the military; he is the principle military advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense. The Chairman serves for a two-year term, and while he is normally re-appointed for a second term, this is not automatic;1 General Dempsey will not be re-appointed in 2013, to avoid Republican questioning during his confirmation hearings.

General Carter F Ham, Commander of the US Africa Command, was supposedly part of the decision-taking process. Secretary Panetta said:

(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.

In an unusual move, Secretary Panetta announced, on October 18th, that General David M. Rodriguez, USA, would replace General Ham as commander of AFRICOM, only 1½ years into the normal three-year rotation. General Ham had simply stated that he was never ordered to mount a rescue. Now, via John Griffing, we learn that General Ham has decided to retire. General Ham, who is 60 years old, was commissioned in 1976. That 36½ years of service does not put General Ham at mandatory retirement age; however, he served as an enlisted man with the 82nd Airborne Division prior to enrolling in John Carroll University, from which he was graduated and commissioned through the ROTC program. His biography does not state when he enlisted, but his age suggests that he would have enlisted following graduation from high school, which should have been in 1070. His mandatory retirement date would be February 28, 2014.

In the United States, all military ranks above Major General/Rear Admiral (upper Half) are considered temporary,2 and the three-and-four star ranks are assigned due to the billet held. Due to the statutory restrictions on the number of four-star officers, holders of O-10 assignments must be appointed to another assignment which requires O-10 rank within sixty days, or retire. With General Ham being replaced in a four-star billet, and not subsequently appointed to another such position, he has no choice but to retire. Having held four-star rank for more than three years, he may retire as a full General if the Secretary of Defense certifies that he has performed his duties satisfactorily.3 General Ham is certainly expected to keep his mouth closed concerning these events.

In short, no one with any real responsibility during the Benghazi incident will long remain in office, other than the President himself, and the President can no longer be held accountable by anyone other than himself.
________________________________

  1. General Peter Pace, USMC, was not re-appointed in 2007, supposedly to avoid a “contentious” Senate confirmation hearing, but General Pace had publicly differed with Secretaries of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates during his single two-year term.
  2. With the exception of the five-star grades General of the Army/General of the Air Force/Fleet Admiral, which are permanent appointments, and the holders of such ranks are on active duty for life. Those ranks are only appointed during wartime, and there are no living holders of five-star rank.
  3. General Stanley McChrystal, USA, was retired at O-10 rank despite not having three years in grade, at the discretion of the President, who has the sole authority to waive the statutory requirement. (10 U.S.C. § 1370: (a)(2)(D)) Your Editor believes that this was a condition, either stated or understood, that General McChrystal keep his opinions to himself following retirement.