Benghazi: Obama's Cover-Up

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The Analysis:

The citizens of the United States have been lied to by their president at least twice before.  Richard Nixon lied about his cover-up of the Watergate break-in, leading to his decision to resign before he was impeached.  William Clinton lied about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and was ultimately impeached.  While the conduct of both of these presidents was despicable, their conduct pales by comparison to that of Pres. Barrack Obama.

As the records and testimony have been coming forth over the last few weeks, it is now well-established that efforts to protect Ambassador  J. Christopher Stevens and the Benghazi compound on September 11, 2012, were grossly lacking and bordering on no-existent. Obama  was well aware within an hours after it began that the Benghazi compound was being attacked by a well-organized militia group.  At least two requests were made by those at the Benghazi annex for help because the consul was under attack.  After being told to stand down, the two former Navy Seals killed and others left the annex and headed for the compound to help the Ambassador.  By the time they arrived, the compound was in flames and the communications officer was found dead.  The Ambassador could not be located and the men were forced to return to the annex.  The firefight continued at the annex, resulting with the deaths of the two former Navy Seals.  

Obama was present in the Situation Room of the White House observing these events in real time at least through emails from Benghazi and an overhead drone.  Other resources were likely involved, including satellite communications.  All requests for help were refused by the White House.

After Ambassador Stevens and three other highly-respected Americans were killed, Obama chose to distract Americans from determining his malfeasance in the deaths of these Americans.  He did not want Americans to learn of his negligence in securing the compound and protecting American lives despite several requests for additional security or his cowardice in failing to protect the Americans under attack and allowing them to be murdered.  Rather than being honest, he chose to deflect what really happened and direct attention to an anti-Islamic video which had absolutely nothing to do with the attack and to falsely claim that the attack was due to a mob reacting to that video that got out of hand.  In order to protect Obama’s re-election bid, the liberal media is ignoring coverage of these crucial facts.

Ambassador Stevens and the Benghazi Compound Were Not Secured

During a Congressional investigation, Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, informed Congressional investigators that the security in Benghazi was not up to the minimum standards he deemed appropriate and that the State Department had rejected a number of his requests, along with requests made by the commander of the Security Support Team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, to beef the detail up to an acceptable level.  (Forbes, 10/10/12.)  Jake Tapper of ABC News added that Nordstrom told Congressional investigators, “‘I do recall one conversation with her where she (Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security) said that since we now had a residential safe haven in Benghazi that she didn’t seem to have a problem with having no agents on the compound because if something happened then personnel could simply go to that residential safe haven.’”  It was in that “safe haven” where Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith died of smoke inhalation.  (Forbes, 10/10/12.)

One of the grounds believed to explain the Obama administration’s decision not to provide sufficient security was to maintain an image of “normalization” in the country, allowing Obama to point to Lybia as an example of his foreign affairs policy.  Accordingly, the House Oversight committee sent Obama a letter, backed up by 166 pages of documentation, with some questions about its program of “normalization” in Libya.  “That’s a shorthand term for ‘stripping protection from the consulate and entrusting security to local boobs, because it’s important for Libya to be seen as a smashing success by American voters.’”  (Human Events, 10/19/12.)

“Information supplied to the committee by senior officials demonstrates that not only did the administration repeatedly reject requests for increased security despite escalating violence, but it also systematically decreased existing security to dangerous and ineffective levels,” wrote House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and National Security Subcommittee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).  “We have been told repeatedly that the administration did this to effectuate a policy of ‘normalization’ in Libya after the conclusion of its civil war.  These actions not only resulted in extreme vulnerability, but also undermined Ambassador Stevens and the diplomatic mission.”  (Human Events, 10/19/12.)
                    
“Multiple warnings about security threats were contained in Ambassador Stevens’ own words in multiple cables sent to Washington, D.C., and were manifested by two prior bombings of the Benghazi compound and an assassination attempt on the British ambassador,” the letter continues.  “For this administration to assume that terrorists were not involved in the 9/11 anniversary attack would have required a willing suspension of disbelief.”  (Human Events, 10/19/12.)
        
The House Oversight chairmen don’t accept the White House fiction of a “firewall” that kept the fabled buck of responsibility from reaching the President’s desk, noting that such critical foreign policy decisions “are not made by low or mid-level career officials – they are typically made through a structured and well-reasoned process that includes the National Security Council at the White House.”  (Human Events, 10/19/12.)

Other issues were raised the day before that Benghazi attack which may also have been a further rationale for Obama’s failure to adequately protect the ambassador.  The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time.  During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent.  By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.   When National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor was asked about the findings, and whether there were any instances where the president attended the intelligence meeting that were not on his public schedule, Vietor did not dispute the numbers, but said the fact that the president, during a time of war, does not attend his daily intelligence meeting on a daily basis is “not particularly interesting or useful.”  (Washington Post, 9/10/12.)

Obama and the State Department Were Aware of the Benghazi Attack in Real Time, But Refused Help

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.  (CBS News, 10/20/12.)  However, Obama did nothing to protect the ambassador.

“Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

On 10/27/12, retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox News that according to his sources, President Obama watched the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, from the White House as it took place.  “This was in the middle of the business day in Washington, so everybody at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, everybody was watching this go down,” he said on Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine.”  “According to my sources, yes, [President Obama] was one of those in the White House Situation Room in real-time watching this,” he added.  Col. David Hunt, a Fox News military analyst, said the "entire U.S. government was paying attention," since this was the fourth embassy to have been attacked in a 24-hour period.  (Examiner.com, 10/28/12.)

Wall Street Journal foreign affairs opinion writer Brett Stephens referred to the Benghazi attack as Obama’s “3 am phone call,” a reference to the foreign crisis call then-candidate Hillary Clinton predicted Obama would get as president and be unprepared to respond to.  Except it occurred at 5 p.m. E.T., Stephens noted.  That’s when the White House was made aware of an attack on the consulate and decided not too send in reinforcements for fear of upsetting the Libyans.  He quoted the Wall Street Journal reporting: “There was no serious consideration at that hour of intervention with military force, officials said.  Doing so without Libya’s permission could represent a violation of sovereignty and inflame the situation, they said.  Instead, the State Department reached out to the Libyan government to get reinforcements to the scene.”  (White House Dossier, 10/2/12.)

“Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.” (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to ‘stand down,’ according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to ‘stand down.’” (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they were never told to deploy. In fact, a Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Spectre gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.” (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

“Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began -- a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.”  (FoxNews.com, 10/26/12.)

President Obama said on 10/26/12 that he was "not personally aware" of any requests for additional security.  "Ultimately, though, any time there is a death of an American overseas, I want to find out what happened because my most important job as president is keeping the American people safe, and we will get to the bottom of what happened," he said during an interview on "The Michael Smerconish Show."  Both military analysts said that only President Obama could have given the order to send military assets into Libya.  “He, only he, could issue a directive to Secretary of Defense Panetta to do something. That’s the only place it could be done,” Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said.  (Examiner.com, 10/28/12.)

According to Col. Hunt, the military could have had jets on the scene within 20 minutes and special forces on the ground, including a contingent of Delta Force, within two hours.  (Examiner.com, 10/28/12.)

Despite Knowing the Attack Was a Pre-planned, Organized Terrorist Attack and Had Nothing to Do with an Anti-Islamic Video, Obama Attempted to Cover-up the Truth by Claiming the Video Was Responsible

Senior State Department officials were in contact with security agents on the ground in Benghazi, in real time, as the attacks unfolded.  In conversations that evening and the next day U.S. officials in Libya gave no indication that there had been any protest of any kind.  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

Real-time email alerts were sent to national security officials during the assault, including the Executive Office of the President.  A 4:04 p.m. email alert tilted “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi under Attack” stated that the “diplomatic mission is under attack.  Embassy Tripoili reports approximately 20 armed people fire shots, explosions have been heard as well.  Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Banghazi, and four COM personnel are in the compound safe haven.”  “An initial e-mail was sent while the attack was still underway, and another that arrived two hours later -- sent from a State Department address to various government agencies including the executive office of the president -- identified Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attack.”  (CNN.com, 10/24/12;  MSNBC, “White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack, emails show,” 10/23/11.)

At 4:54 p.m., another email reported “firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared.” It said a search was underway for consulate personnel.  The third email sent at 6:07 pm. Stated that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack.  (CNN, 10/24/12.)  Considering that Ansar al-Sharia announced its responsibility in real time and it is doubtful that others would have even known about, it’s implausible that Obama and security experts would not have taken this email seriously.

In light of the emails, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire wrote a letter to question Obama why his administration “consistently described the attack for days afterward as a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam video.” The letter also stated, “These emails make clear that your administration knew within two hours of the attack that it was a terrorist act and that Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan militant group with links to al Qaeda, had claimed responsibility for it.”  Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the email alerts "undermine any administration claim to have ever believed in good faith that our ambassador and three other American officials were murdered in a 'spontaneous reaction' to a film trailer posted on the Internet.  (ABCNews.com, 10/24/12.)
                    
This information established that Obama knew the attack was a pre-planned, organized terrorist attack and had nothing to do with a video.  Yet, for three weeks, Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and UN Ambassador Rice insisted the attack was a protest over a video that went bad and got out of hand.  In addition, intelligence products published on September 12, sources told the Weekly Standard, included detailed evidence that al Qaeda-linked jihadists were involved in the Benghazi attacks.  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)  As first reported by Newsweek’s Eli Lake, within hours of the attack, “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.”  Lake reported that the intelligence was so detailed, U.S. officials “had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

On 9/12/12, U.S. intelligence agencies concluded internally that the incident was a planned terror attack likely by al-Qaeda affiliates on the embassy in order to release resources to respond, according to reports from several news media outlets.  (USA Today, 10/11/12.)  On September 12, the New York Times reported: “American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

That same day, Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he had no doubt the attacks were planned. “It was a coordinated, military-style, commando-type raid.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12; USA Today, 10/11/12.)

“On September 13 -- two days after the attack -- a senior U.S. official told CNN that the violence in Libya was not the work of ‘an innocent mob.’  ‘The video or 9/11 made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective, but this was a clearly planned military-type attack,’ the official said.”  (CNN, 10/24/12.)

Despite all of this evidence, and more sure to come forward, Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jay Carney, and Susan Rice maintained the attack was not a pre-planned, predetermined terrorist attack, but a mob reaction to a video that got out of hand.  (USA Today, 10/11/12.)

On September 14, a U.S. official told Reuters that while the question of planning was an open one, “Everything I have seen says this was a highly armed, organized attack. Not a mob reacting to a movie.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)  The officials who gave these assessments—elected and unelected, Democrat and Republican—were in a position to do so for one reason: the intelligence. Most important: There is no intelligence whatsoever linking the Benghazi attack to the anti-Muslim video.  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

Notice that all of those assessments came before U.N. ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five political talk shows September 16 and linked the Libya attack to the video. And they came well before Obama appeared on David Letterman on September 18 and did the same.  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

Representative Adam Smith, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said: “This was not just a mob that got out of hand. Mobs don’t come in and attack, guns blazing. I think that there is a growing consensus it was preplanned.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)  Senator Carl Levin, leaving a briefing with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, was asked if the attack was planned: “There’s been evidence of that. .  .  . The attack looked like it was planned and premeditated, sure.”  (The Weekly Standard, The Benghazi Scandal, 10/22/12.)

Finally, on 9/20/12, Jay Carney stated it was a terrorist attack.  However, Obama repeated the anti-Islamic video lie during a Univision Town Hall meeting later that day.  The following day Clinton admitted it was a terrorist attack.  On 9/25/12, Obama admitted it wasn’t just a mob action, but continued to blame the attack on the video, stating it was the “natural protest” that arose because of the video.  Later that day, Obama spoke at the U.N., falsely blaming the video several times in his speech.  Several sources establishing the video had nothing to do with the attack continued to surface.  The State Department finally came clean on 10/10/12.  (USA Today, 10/11/12.)

The State Department report makes it clear that there were American agents who fought their way out of the compound and made it to safety. These agents certainly would have been available to provide a first hand account of the events well before Ambassador Rice issued here wildly inaccurate remarks.  (Forbes, 10/10/12.)

Obama attempted to rewrite history during his second presidential debate on 10/16/12, claiming he called the Benghazi attack an “act of terrorism.”  However, this phrase was not used in describing the Benghazi attack.  If he was attempting to describe that attack, then it’s strange he would switch the following day to claiming a mob got out of hand because of a video, stick with that story for weeks, and then go back to his “initial” claim that it was a terrorist attack.  This is particularly true in light of the overwhelming evidence that the White House and the State Department knew it was a terrorist attack and that a video had nothing to do with it the day of the attack.  Quite simply, Obama orchestrated a lie and conspired with his press secretary, Secretary of State, and U.N. Ambassador to perpetuate that lie to those who he hoped would re-elected him.

Obama asserts there will be a full investigation, but that the results will not come out until after the election.  We must ensure he’s not still orchestrating the cover-up from the Oval Office.