Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Transcripts show that top U.S. military officials briefed Obama on Benghazi terrorist attack

Investors Business Daily reports.

Excerpt:

Newly declassified transcripts show top defense officials who briefed Obama on the day of the Benghazi attack described it as a terrorist attack and told the president so, yet he pushed a false narrative about a video.

Just as the new book by former Defense Secretary Bob Gates confirmed what many believed, that President Obama was a politically motivated commander-in-chief who had no faith in an Afghan surge he put 30,000 Americans in harm’s way to execute, transcripts of congressional testimony by military leaders confirm that President Obama knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack before he went to bed to rest for a Las Vegas fundraising trip.

Fox News reporter James Rosen examined 450 pages of declassified testimony given by senior Pentagon officials in closed-door hearings held last year by Congress. In those hearings, Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time headed Africom, the Defense Department combat command with jurisdiction over Libya, testified that he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its start, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, from the Africom Command Center.

Ham said he immediately contacted Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey to say he was coming down the hall at the Pentagon to meet with him.

“I told him what I knew. We immediately walked upstairs to meet with Secretary Panetta,” Ham testified, adding “they had the basic information as they headed across for the meeting at the White House.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, asked 29-year Army veteran Ham what he told Panetta and Dempsey. “As a military person, I am concerned that someone in the military would be advising that this was a demonstration. I would hope that our military leadership would be advising that this was a terrorist attack,” Wenstrup said.

Ham responded that “there was some preliminary discussion about, you know, maybe there was a demonstration. But I think at the command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the point that this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack” and that was the “nature of the conversation” Ham had with Panetta and Dempsey moments before their 30-minute meeting with President Obama.

This confirms Panetta’s testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of last year that it was he who told the president “there was an apparent attack going on in Benghazi.”

“Secretary Panetta, do you believe that unequivocally at that time we knew that this was a terrorist attack?” asked Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

“There was no question in my mind that this was a terrorist attack,” Panetta replied.

Despite a briefing by Dempsey and Panetta that it was a terrorist attack, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would trumpet the false narrative that four Americans were murdered due to an inflammatory video — something Obama would repeat six times before the U.N. General Assembly and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice would say on five Sunday talk shows five days after the terrorist attack.

It is a disgrace that the only person ever jailed for the Benghazi attack was the maker of that irrelevant video. The terrorists got away with it.

The terrorists got away with it, because the Obama administration didn’t bother to conduct an investigation, or hold anyone accountable. And now we know why – because the person who should have been fired was Barack Obama. He should have been fired in the 2012 election. This whole Benghazi cover-up was just another case of “if you like your doctor, you can keep him” and “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it”. The wonder was that the American people were stupid enough to believe that someone with no experience of any kind at running anything could do a good job as President.

And don’t count on the mainstream media to investigate these stories. They are Democrats. This was their Watergate, and they covered it up.

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Benghazi liar Susan Rice to be appointed National Security Adviser by grateful Obama

Katie Pavlich of Townhall explains how Obama rewards those who lie to the American people on his behalf, just before an election.

Excerpt:

President Obama won’t condemn Attorney General Eric Holder for spying on reporters and now, he’s tapped Benghazi YouTube video liar Susan Rice to serve as a top security adviser.

President Barack Obama plans to appoint Susan Rice as his national security adviser, replacing Tom Donilon, who is resigning, in a major shift to the White House’s foreign policy team.

Obama plans to make the appointment, first reported by the New York Times, later on Wednesday. He will also fill Rice’s current position, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

It’s no surprise Rice is getting a promotion. After all, she served as a good foot soldier for the Obama administration when she went in five Sunday talk shows five days after the attack and lied about a YouTube video.

We know a YouTube video was never part of the equation the night of the attack. Acting Libyan Ambassador and whistleblower Greg Hicks called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. from Libya and said, “We were under attack.” Hicks told Congress under oath that a YouTube video was a “non-event” in Libya. A lack of security was one of the main reasons why the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked on 9/11. Many security requests were sent to the State Department and Clinton but were repeatedly denied.

I noticed that the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol did a podcast on the pick, and he was very concerned.

Description:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on Susan Rice’s promotion, the nomination of Samantha Power to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, and Congress’s investigation into the Internal Revenue Service scandal.

Here is the MP3 file of the podcast.

How serious could this administration be about national security when appointments like this are made?

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Released e-mails show that State Department edited terrorism out of talking points

Fox News reports on the newly released e-mails.

Excerpt:

State Department officials repeatedly objected to — and tried to water down — references to Islamic extremist groups and prior security warnings in the administration’s initial internal story-line on the Benghazi attack, according to dozens of emails and notes released by the White House late Wednesday.

[...]Individual emails leading up to that assessment show State officials repeatedly objecting to the intelligence community’s early version of events. 

The early versions stated that “Islamic extremists with ties to Al Qaeda” participated in the assault and discussed links to militant group Ansar al Sharia — and referenced prior attacks against western targets in Benghazi, as well as intelligence warnings. 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland complained that she had “serious concerns” about “arming members of Congress” to make assertions the administration was not making. “In same vein, why do we want Hill to be fingering Ansar al Sharia, when we aren’t doing that ourselves until we have investigation results … and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned …” 

She also wrote that the line saying the administration knows there were extremists among the demonstrators “will come back to us at podium,” voicing concern that some would question how the administration knows that. She said she would “need answers” if that line is used.

In response to her concerns, Assistant Secretary of State David S. Adams voiced agreement. He said the line about prior incidents “will read to members like we had been repeatedly warned.”

The emails show Petraeus’ deputy Mike Morell involved in circulating revised points. In one email, he too noted the State Department had “deep concerns” about referencing prior “warnings.”

A page of hand-written notes showed Morell scratching out mentions of Al Qaeda, the experience of fighters in Libya, Islamic extremists and a warning to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on the eve of the attacks of calls for a demonstration. Ultimately, all of that was scrubbed from the talking points. The final version said “extremists” participated, without mentioning prior attacks and warnings in the region.

This editing of the talking points is what Barack Obama called “a sideshow”. Not worth talking about.

The motivation behind the State Department’s editing was pretty clearly to avoid identifying the attackers as Muslim terrorists. The timing of the election was undoubtedly a factor in the decision making. They edited the talking points in order to create the impression for voters that Obama had been effective at reining in terrorism with his weak foreign policy and appeasement. Democrats are weak on foreign policy. They do ignore warnings. They do prefer to blame America for the bad actions of Muslim extremists. This approach does not deter aggression. Rather than admit their mistake and toughen up, the Democrats preferred to cover up the facts. And they won the election.

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Obama: editing of talking points to cover-up of Benghazi terrorist attack is a “sideshow”

From Townhall.

Excerpt:

Speaking to reporters during a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron Monday, President Obama called the controversy surrounding the editing of Benghazi talking points a “sideshow.”

“The whole issue of talking points, frankly throughout this process has been a sideshow,” Obama said. “There’s no there, there.”

Despite openly blaming a YouTube video in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack, Obama said Monday at the time of the attack his administration wasn’t sure who was responsible for the deaths of four Americans, including U.S Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“Immediately after this event happened we were not clear who exactly carried it out, how it occured or what the motivations were,” Obama said. “Nobody understood exactly what was taking place during the course of those first few days.”

Last Wednesday, Whistleblower and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya Gregory Hicks said in sworn testimony that he spoke to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. on the night of the attack and told her, “We are under attack.” He didn’t mention a protest because there wasn’t one. Hicks also said he was shocked when he heard UN Ambassador Susan Rice blame a YouTube video and a spontaneous protest on Sunday talk shows five days after the attack occurred.

ABC News reported late last week that the Benghazi talking points were edited 12 times and that all references to terrorism and al Qaeda were scrubbed. The initial version of unedited talking points were from the CIA and included warnings about terrorism, al Qaeda and a lack of security at the consulate in Benghazi. The best assessment sent from the intelligence community included multiple warnings about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi. The final talking points with scrubbed references to terrorism and al Qaeda were edited by the State Department after communication and a meeting in the White House.

Just a quick refresher from Mark Steyn about what Benghazi means:

The L.A. Times, a dying newspaper, had a lame headline, even by its own pathetic and abysmal standards, playing up the partisan element. There isn’t actually a partisan element here. All the players involved in this are Democrats. Chris Stevens is in fact the poster boy for the Obama-Clinton view of the Arab Spring. He’s one of their guys. I mean, as chaps like me look on it, he was in large part deluded about the nature of the Arab Spring, that he was a personally courageous and brave man who was on the front line of the Obama-Clinton narrative about the Arab Spring. And they let him die, and then told lies over his coffin. And Democrats, liberals should ask themselves about that, if they are willing to, that’s, no right wingers, no Republicans, no conservatives are involved in this. They did that to one of their own.

[...]…it is now clear that the local militia on who the security of these guys, to whom the security of these guys was entrusted, were actually complicit in the attacks. Elements of the militia participated in the attacks. His body, the dying ambassador was taken to a hospital in the control of one of the radical Islamic groups. He was there in Benghazi on a symbolic day at the personal request of Senator Clinton. In a sense, he not only died for the Obama-Clinton fiction, he was sacrificed to the Obama-Clinton fiction of the Arab Spring. This is absolutely disgraceful. I cannot conceive of how empty and dead you have to be inside to put Ambassador Stevens through that, then leave him to die, and all the nonsense we heard about oh, they couldn’t have got there in time? Oh, really? You had, it’s like a football match, is it? It’s like a football game, you’ve got an end time, you know they’re all going to pack up and go home at 5:00 in the morning or whatever? They didn’t know how long it was going to last. They left him to die. They decided to let their guy die in the confusion of the stuff happening in Egypt and Tunisia over the stupid no-account video.

Stuart Schneiderman has an idea about what is motivating the Democrats with their “protesting a video” cover-up.

He writes:

It might not seem obvious, but the Obama terrorism policy has been run by an idea.

The idea tells us that the fault for Islam terrorism does not lie with the terrorists. It lies with the racism and Islamophobia of the victims. As Jeremiah Wright famously suggested, America was responsible for the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It got what was coming to it. Some would call it justice.

To the Obama administration Muslims are rightly outraged at being disrespected by many people in the world. Their outrage is so righteous that they must try to restore their honor by committing terrorist acts.

In order to put an end to terrorism, the administration has chosen to remove all references to Muslim terrorism, whether it involves the massacre perpetrated by Major Nidal Hasan or the attack on the Benghazi consulate. Associating Islam with terrorism is offensive, and, since offensive language is the root of the terrorism problem, eliminating it will eventually eliminate terrorism.

No one should have been surprised when Jonathan Karl of ABC News reported on the extensive bowdlerization of administration talking points about Benghazi.

Unfortunately, the government does not exercise absolute control over the marketplace of ideas. So, despite the best efforts of the Obama administration, a random Islamophobe might well do or say something that offends Muslims to the point that they feel obliged to defend the honor of their religion by killing a few Americans.

In that case, the fault lies with the instigator, not with the perpetrator. As Hillary Clinton famously said to the mother of one of the murdered Navy SEALs, the administration would stop at nothing to punish the person responsible: the filmmaker.

Peggy Noonan described what happens when this theory was put into practice in Benghazi:

Because of that, it [The White House] could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.

Because the White House could not tolerate the idea of Benghazi as a planned and deliberate terrorist assault, it had to be made into something else. So they said it was a spontaneous street demonstration over an anti-Muhammad YouTube video made by a nutty California con man. After all, that had happened earlier in the day, in Cairo. It sounded plausible. And maybe they believed it at first. Maybe they wanted to believe it. But the message was out: Provocative video plus primitive street Arabs equals sparky explosion. Not our fault. Blame the producer! Who was promptly jailed.

If what happened in Benghazi was not a planned and prolonged terrorist assault, if it was merely a street demonstration gone bad, the administration could not take military action to protect Americans there. You take military action in response to a planned and coordinated attack by armed combatants. You don’t if it’s an essentially meaningless street demonstration that came and went.

By Noonan’s analysis, the Obama administration was conducting policy in a fictional world. In its alternative world, what happened in Benghazi was a spontaneous protest provoked by an offensive video. You do not send in commandos to gun down righteous protesters.

[...]If the world does not correspond to your vision, you act as though it does. Your job, if you work for the Obama administration is to change the world by changing the fictional lens through which we see it.

Of course, this looks suspiciously like government by propaganda. Naturally, sophisticated academic thought has offered a theoretical rationalization for it.

Many of the smartest academics in the best universities have convinced themselves that reality is just another fictional world, one that has been constructed by the powerful to exploit the weak.

When put upon to explain why so many people accept that reality is real, they explain that all of these people have been brainwashed by the ruling powers.

When lots of people say it’s real, more and more people act as though it’s real. Then, it becomes real.

By this theory, what we inaccurately call Islamic terrorism is really just a spontaneous and understandable expression of Muslim outrage. It represents a moral reckoning for insults, injuries and slights dating back to the Crusades. It might be a crime, but it does not reflect on individual Muslims.

It’s government by postmodernism. There is no reality independent of our ideology. If you just believe our propaganda about America being to blame for everything that evil people freely do, then there will be world peace. Islamic terrorists just want us to blame ourselves for their killing of us, then they’ll stop killing us.

The main goal of the Obama administration is to make sure that the Islamic world is not judged by the actions of Islamic terrorists. That’s why terrorist attacks can never be the fault of Islam. It must always be America’s fault. We caused the protest with our YouTube videos. Major Nidal Hasan’s shooting up Fort Hood was not terrorism… it was “workplace violence”. The terrorists are always the victims. This is what you get when you put leftists in charge of national security. There will be more violence against us in the future, because the truth is that weakness emboldens aggressors to attack more. That’s not what Obama and his leftist ilk learned in university, but that’s what history teaches.

UPDATE: Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard has a podcast up on Obama’s dismissal of the evolving talking points scandal.

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BBC News covers whistle-blower testimony: “After Benghazi revelations, heads will roll”

And now the radically secular and leftist BBC News is on board, because of the ABC News story.

Excerpt:

There’s new evidence, obtained by ABC, that the Obama administration did deliberately purge references to “terrorism” from accounts of the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic mission, which killed four people including the US ambassador to Libya.

Conservatives have long maintained that the administration deliberately suppressed the truth about the attacks.

This is the first hard evidence that the state department did ask for changes to the CIA’s original assessment.

Specifically, they wanted references to previous warnings deleted and this sentence removed: “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”

There’s little doubt in my mind that this will haunt Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president, unless she executes some pretty fancy footwork.

State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland is directly implicated, and the fingerprints of senior White House aides Ben Rhodes and Jay Carney are there as well.

And look at this closely:

In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little.

I remember listening to reports from the BBC and others at the time that did suggest the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a rather puerile anti-Islamic video.

I understand President Barack Obama’s careful use of the word “terrorism” when it actually means something, rather than as a knee-jerk description of any violence by foreigners against Americans, often in order to justify a “war on terror”.

But the evidence is there in black and white, unless we doubt the documents obtained by ABC, which I don’t.

Mr Obama’s critics are often not very clear what is behind their allegations. I presume they think that the White House wanted to avoid claims the murders were the result of terrorism because this would undermine his claim that al-Qaeda was seriously “degraded”. There’s also a vague sense he’s “soft on terror”.

The purpose of this deception was to make the American people re-elect Democrats who are soft on terrorism, by hiding the fact that Democrats are soft on terrorism. Democrats prefer to think that Tea Party, low-tax, small government, pro-life conservatives are terrorists. Not the radical Muslims who actually do terrorist attacks in the real world. Democrats think they need to be affirmed and defended from criticism.

Frankly, I think that Obama should feel obligated to resign over this self-serving deception. If the media had done their jobs before the election, we wouldn’t have this man as President. As it stands, we’ll just have to vote his America-blaming, terrorist-sympathizing Democrat Party out in 2016.

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