Truth is an absolute defense, and the truth of the situation in that occurred two years ago on Sept 11th in Benghazi, Libya - will set the Democratic Party Free. The Democrats have all the advantages here because the Republicans are full of nothing but full-on World Net Daily Crazy when it comes to this subject.
The nation does need to understand what really happened, but it's not that complicated. Our guys got blind-sided and overwhelmed by a massively armed mob. It wasn't planned, it wasn't premeditated - some individual terrorists and/or extremists may have been among the mob, but no terrorists organizations have been directly linked to it and none have taken credit for it.
The one mistake made by the Obama Administration was believing that there was also a demonstration against the infamous anti-Muslim Youtube Video at Benghazi at the same time that there were 7 other demonstrations and various Embassy Breaches around the world. CIA didn't confirm this was incorrect until 2 days after Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, et al.
Just as their recent attempts to make hay out of ObamaCares enrollment numbers fell flat on it's face when confronted with people who actually knew the facts and the numbers, and to have that deflation turn into a their tepid - even glowing - response during the confirmation hearing for HHS Secretary Nominee Burwell.
Just like the Wicked Witch, the GOP could use a few more Cold, Wet Bucketfuls of Reality tossed in their face whenever possible.
The more the merrier, I say.
Let me, if you may, provide some boiler-plate Talking Points for any and all Democrats who choose to join this Committee and show how the Republican House of Wet Cards that is their "theory of Benghazi" can easily be torn down.
Because this has been investigated to near complete dessication, there is a long and detailed record of what we already know did happen, enough so that even Charles Krauthhammer is worried these hearings might backfire.
“If this is 2014, the winds are right behind the Republicans approaching the election on all the major issues: ObamaCare, the economy, chronic unemployment, setbacks abroad. All of this – the issues are on the Republican side," he explained to Kelly."If they can discover new facts?" - the committee will provide a bountiful political jubilee for the Republicans, but if they don't, if we already basically know all of the critical parts of what happened in Benghazi, the White House, the State Dept. and the Pentagon - then the GOP momentum is sunk just when they're at their most vulnerable.
"Benghazi hearings can only distract from this at best and really wreck it at worst if they turn into a partisan circus. So far from being a political advantage for Republicans, this is a very high-risk operation and requires someone like Gowdy, who apparently from the answer you just played seems to understand it’s not just the spectacle that matters or the speeches made by the members of the committee, it's simply getting the facts. And if this committee can uncover new facts, then it will have succeeded and the politics will take care of themselves.
Let's toss them a few Anvils then, ok?
1) The White House did not manipulate the Talking Points for Political Reasons.
Timeline Breakdowns of Emails to and from the White House in Constructing the Talking Points used by then-Ambassador Rice have been provided to Congress and the Media.
Although the initial draft talking points do include references to Ansar Al-Sharia and Al Qeada as possible suspects this information was NOT definitive and was consequently removed on recommendations by CIA Counsel in concurrence with the State Dept and FBI to prevent prejudicing future prosecutions once the perpetrators had been confirmed. The White House did not initiate this change, CIA did.
Sept. 14, 4:42 p.m.2) Ben Rhodes did not massively manipulate the CIA provided Talking Points before sending them to Susan Rice.
CIA officials circulate a revised copy of the talking points for review before sending to the White House. This draft cuts an explicit mention of “ties to al Qa’ida” in the second bullet point due to concerns from the general counsel about potential criminal prosecution. The draft also adds language about CIA warnings to the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the State Department about threats to diplomatic facilities, including from extremist groups tied to al-Qaeda.
In several instances from the initial draft to the final revised version of the talking points the "explosive" revelations of the more recent Ben Rhodes emails do not display anything different from what CIA had already provided to the White House.
Rhodes stated this in his Email to Rice.
"the currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently its annex."This is taken word-for-word from the text of the State Department vetted and CIA Director Petreaus approved talking points, shown here (which notes one change actually made by Rhodes who - as shown and in concurrence with State - only replaced the word "Consulate" with "Diplomatic Post")
3) The New Rhodes Email DOES talk about more than just Benghazi.
To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policyThere is and was a clear distinction between the protests in Cairo, Pakistan, Yemen, Indonesia and other locations - and the Benghazi attack. When Rhodes said "These Protests" he was clearly talking about more than one protest and the undisputed fact that they were in direct response to the internet video.
And David Gregory on Meet the Press did ask Amb. Rice about "these protest" outside of the context of the Benghazi attack.
Gregory: the images, as you well know is jarring to americans watching this play out this week, and we'll share the map of this turmoil with our viewers to show the scale of it across not just the arab world but the entire islamic world and flashpoints as well. in egypt, of course, the protests outside the u.s. embassy there that egyptian officials were slow to put down. this weekend in pakistan, protests as well there. more anti-american rage. also protests against the drone strike. in yemen, you had arrests and some deaths outside of our u.s. embassy there. how much longer can americans expect to see these troubling images and these protests go forward?So this clearly was about more than just Benghazi, and Amb Rice answered appropriately - in direct line with what both CIA and Rhodes had said about it.
Rice: well, david, we can't predict with any certainty. but let's remember what has transpired over the last several days. this is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the arab and muslim world. obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence, and that what has happened is condemnable. but this is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it's not dissimilar but perhaps on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with "the satanic verses" and cartoons of the prophet muhammad. the president has been clear that our top priority is protection of american personnel in our facilities and bringing to justice those who attacked our facilities.This question and answer in relation to the video was not about Benghazi. That wasn't addressed until the next question.
4) Yes, the Internet Video DID inspire the many anti-US Protests around the World at various Embassies - there is NO DISPUTE on that - but CIA and Rice never said The Video Inspired Benghazi.
Again, the first bullet item in the CIA provided Talking points states "demonstration in Benghazi were spontaneous inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo". That is not saying they were inspired by the video, rather the CIA thinking at the time was that the video inspired a set of protests that in turn provided a chain of events and circumstances which led to a spontaneous attack.
Ambassador Rice said exactly this on Meet the Press
Rice: what we think then transpired in benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. they came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately, and it escalated into a much more violent episode. obviously, that's our best judgment now. we'll await the results of the investigation, and the president has been very clear we'll work with the libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.As Rice states there was "No Actionable Intelligence" at that time to proof this was a premeditated and planned act of terrorism. There still isn't.
Gregory: was there a failure here that this administration is responsible for, whether it's an intelligence failure, a failure to see this coming, or a failure adequately protect u.s. embassies and installations from a spontaneous reaction like this?
Rice : david, i don't think so. first of all, we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that any attack on our facility in benghazi was imminent. in cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some protests, and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the egyptian authorities to reinforce our facility. what we have seen with respect to the security response, obviously, we had security personnel in benghazi, a significant number, and tragically, among those four that were killed were two of our security personnel. but what happened, obviously, overwhelmed the security we had in place, which is why the president ordered additional reinforcements to tripoli and why elsewhere in the world we have been working with governments to ensure they take up their obligations to protect us and we reinforce where necessary..
5) The CIA didn't have proof there was "No Demonstration" in Benghazi until after Rice's appearances
CIA made a mistake. It wasn't premeditated, it's was duplicitous, it was just a mistake. They had thought based on some media reports, that there had been a demonstration at the Benghazi Compound up until September 18th when they finally received and reviewed copies of the video footage of what was happening before the attack from the Libyan Government.
To draw up those talking points, the CIA relied on at least six early press reports that said the Benghazi attacks grew out of protests against an anti-Muslim film that had appeared on the Internet, according to the SSCI report. The source of the mistake looks clear in retrospect. For starters, violence targeting U.S. diplomatic facilities did take place in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia in reaction to the video. Protests against the film occurred in over 40 countries around the world.And again, this was under oath, that the CIA - as shown by samples of the Talking Points they sent the White House believed that the Benghazi attack was inspired by the Cairo and other protests after their own demonstration got out of hand as extremists arrived. It wasn't until September 18th - 2 Days After Rice was on Meet the Press and Face the Nation - that the CIA even realized that their previous presumption was wrong. So how could Rice have known this for certain? How could the President?
Last month the CIA’s former deputy director, Michael Morrell, testified in front of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that it was only after the Libyan government said on Sept. 18 that video footage showed no protests that the CIA concluded they had got it wrong.
By comparison it took a lot longer than just three days for CIA to realize it was completely, totally wrong about Iraq WMD, Nuclear Ambitions, ties to Al Qaeda and the NY & Washington 9/11 attacks.
6) Neither Ansar Al-Sharia nor Al Qeada sponsored or called for this Attack.
Benghazi was not a safe place following the death of Gaddafi. Various factions of heavily armed militants roamed the streets, with memberships that were very fluid and shifting including Ansar Al-Sharia - which is affiliated by not structurally linked to al Qaeda - had attacked British forces in the city and did call for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, but did not call for an attack in Benghazi which is over 600 miles away.
Their official position is that the attack was not planned, by them, but that it was a spontaneous event.
Ansar al-Shariah Brigade didn't participate in this popular uprising as a separate entity, but it was carrying out its duties in al-Jala'a hospital and other places where it was entrusted with some duties. The Brigade didn't participate as a sole entity; rather, it was a spontaneous popular uprising in response to what happened by the West.Al Qaeda in Yemen has made similar claims, although they celebrated the attack as retaliation for the drone strike that killed their then 2nd in Command, they did not plan or direct it - they too say it was spontaneous.
“The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet,” Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement, quoted by the US-based monitoring group.As a side note: al Qaeda had called for attacks in retaliation for the killing of Abu Yahya, but why exactly would the White House want to cover that up? If this had been an al Qeada sponsored attack, it would have been in response to one of our successful attack on them, which doesn't exactly equate to being "Weak On Terror".
Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based offshoot did not claim direct responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans.
But it stressed that “the uprising of our people in Libya, Egypt and Yemen against America and its embassies is a sign to notify the United States that its war is not directed against groups and organizations … but against the Islamic nation that has rebelled against injustice.”
That isn't to say that some members of Ansar Al-Sharia or other friendly to al Qaeda were not involved in the attack as it unfolded. Ahmed Abu Khattala who was a known Ansar Al-Sharia Commander in Libya has been identified as one of the attackers and has been charged as such.
As of 6 August 2013, U.S. officials confirmed that Ahmed Abu Khattala (Khattalah), Libyan leader of Ansar al-Sharia, has been charged with playing a significant role in last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. According to NBC, the charges were filed under seal in Washington, D.C. in late July. Authorities have not said whether he has been arrested in Libya.Ansar members being among those in the attack does not mean that Ansar al-Sharia planned or executed this attack, particularly when al-Sharia and al Qeada are both unwilling to make such a claim. Nor does it mean we have no idea who attacked us, we do know and have identified some of them if not all. The thing is they weren't all part of a single easily identified group, it was a Militant Mob of various people from various factions.
7) Military Forces WERE Deployed to the region to respond. There was no "Stand Down" order given.
In addressing this issue you have to also address some basic realities. We didn't already have boots on the ground in Libya because the President Had Promised We Wouldn't previously. In fact, Fox News actually complained when just a few U.S. Military Personnel were sent of Libya almost exactly 1 Year before the attack.
Despite repeated assurances from President Obama and military leaders that the U.S. would not send uniformed military personnel into Libya, four U.S. service members arrived on the ground in Tripoli over the weekend.So again, Obama promised we wouldn't have "boots on the ground" and except for these four and few others connected specifically to embassy security - we didn't. And we don't have any local basis in the region because - we Don't. We've been treating Libya and Gaddafi as a Terrorist State for decades now, so it's not like they were about to invite U.S. Forces in for some tea and scones.
According to Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby, the four unidentified troops are there working under the State Department's chief of mission to assist in rebuilding the U.S. Embassy.
Kirby noted the embassy in Tripoli was badly damaged during the conflict between Muammar Qaddafi's forces and the rebels.
Two of the military personnel are explosive-ordnance experts who will be used to disable any explosives traps left in the embassy. The other two are "general security," according to Kirby.
Our base in Spain is one of the closest and was tapped for deployment.
Another reality that has to be addressed is the fact that Libya is Twice the Size of Texas and that the Capitol of Tripoli where our Embassy is located is over 630 Miles from Benghazi where the Consulate was attacked.
The First Responders were actually the CIA Team which was located at the nearby Annex and an unarmed Drone to aid them which was dispatched within 20 minutes. If there had been a "Stand Down" order given, this wouldn't have happened.
The attack began at about 9:40 p.m. local time in Benghazi. Less than 20 minutes later, the U.S. military began moving an unarmed drone to a position over Benghazi, so it could provide real time intelligence to the CIA team on the ground. The CIA team went to aid the Americans at the consulate. The drone arrived shortly after 11 p.m. By 11:30 p.m., a CIA team was able to get all the Americans out of the compound.So the fact is that the CIA Team [including 6 Security Officers and 60 Libyan Militia Men] and Drones got surviving Americans Out of the Compound within 2 hours of the attack and moved them to the CIA Complex a milea away, but by that time Sean Smith was already dead and Ambassador Stevens had been taken to the Hospital (where he be pronounced dead of asphyxiation from the Fire).
Simultaneous to the mobilization of the Annex Team, an additional Team from Tripoli Chartered a Flight to support the Benghazi compound. This team included 4 GRS Security Officers (one of whom was Glen Doherty), a CIA Case officers and 2 Military Officers. After being temporarily held up at the airport by Libyan officials this second team ultimately joined the first team at the annex at about 5:00 am, Glen Doherty took a position on the roof with one of the annex security officers.
During this time as CIA were getting the surviving Americans out of the compound with the help of Libyan Security Forces, the President and Defense Secretary Panetta discussed options with the Joint Chiefs, and soon, went into action.
As that was happening, Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left the Oval Office and went into a series of meetings in the Pentagon with senior leaders to discuss how to respond to the Benghazi attack and assess the potential for other outbreaks of violence in the region.CIA Forces acted within 2 hours and rescued survivors while the Pentagon drew up more extensive scenarios and implemented them to Deploy Four Separate Special Forces Teams to Libya within another 30-90 minutes. Those forces were already on their way, when the Americans from the Consulate were attacked again at the CIA Annex.
Between midnight and 2 a.m., Panetta began to issue verbal orders, telling two Marine anti-terrorism teams based in Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Libya, and he ordered a team of special operations forces in Central Europe and another team of special operations forces in the U.S. to prepare to deploy to a staging base in Europe.
As the military units begin moving, just before dawn, the Americans in Benghazi, who were now at the CIA base less than a mile away from the consulate, again came under attack around 5:15 a.m. when five mortars were fired at the building. Two missed, but three hit, killing two CIA security officers who were on the roof.Eventually U.S. along with Libyan Forces fought back the attack and took back control of both the Annex and the Consulate.
The Americans fired back and soon afterward fled the CIA base for the airport. By 10 a.m., they had flown out, heading to Tripoli. Shortly after 7 p.m., the Americans, including the bodies of the four dead, were flown out of Tripoli on a military aircraft.
All in all, it took about 22 Hours for Americans who had been attacked to finally leave
the city Tripoli on their way to Germany - about another hour later additional U.S. Force arrived in Country.
Not until just before 8 p.m., however, did the first U.S. military unit arrive in the region, as the special operations team landed at Cigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. An hour later, the Marine team landed in Tripoli. The defense official noted that even if the military had been able to get units there a bit faster, there was no way they could have gotten there in time to make any difference in the deaths of the four Americans.So the idea that the President or Secratary Panetta ordered there to be "no response" to the attack is simply false on it's face. Again, our position in Libya was to have "as light a footprint as possible" and that's a position that even the GOP supported - until the attack, and it wasn't like that was the only security threat we faced at the time. We very likely wouldn't have had any survivors if the CIA Security persons hadn't responded in such a heroic, and ultimately costly, fashion. Even if addtional forces had been able to deploy more rapidly we still wouldn't have saved the lives of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods or Glen Doherty.
"The U.S. Armed Forces did everything they were in position to do to respond to the attack in Benghazi," Panetta said in the letter, obtained by The Associated Press. "The department's senior leaders and I spared no effort to save the lives of our American colleagues, as we worked to bolster security in response to a series of other threats in the region occurring at the same time."
There simply is no more "There" there to be had with Benghazi. This continued investigation into what has been very fully and thoroughly explained is a farce. And the best way for Democrats to show it to be the farce that it is - is to SHOW UP AND PROVE IT.