Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Benghazi hearings: CIA director altered talking points from “attack” to “demonstration”

From the Wall Street Journal, a summary on the Benghazi congressional hearings.

Excerpt:

Last week’s encounter between former acting CIA Director Michael Morell and the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence may have brought us a bit closer to the truth of how four Americans came to be killed at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, and how their countrymen came to be lied to about it. But the progress toward truth was probably not made in a way that Mr. Morell intended. The encounter on Capitol Hill also made clear that the forum that will take us all the way to the truth must be something other than a congressional hearing.

[...]Critics of the government’s performance on Benghazi have charged that Mr. Morell’s revisions principally although not exclusively involved changing the description of the violence and its perpetrators, and removing the suggestion that they might have had ties to a terrorist organization. These changes, it is argued, enabled Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the time, to promote the discredited and since abandoned narrative that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video produced by a probationer in Los Angeles.

The acting CIA director’s changes to the talking points did indeed enable the blame-it-on-the-video fiction, which served the interest of a president seeking re-election based in part on having put al Qaeda on the run, although in fairness it is not clear that was Mr. Morell’s motive. Thus he edited out a description of the warnings that the CIA had provided to the State Department of earlier terrorist attacks on the British embassy and on the Red Cross that caused them to withdraw their personnel, and a description of an attack that blew a hole in the U.S.’s own installation—events that might have suggested that Sept. 11, 2012, was not an isolated event.

Morell believed “analysts” who are desk employees, and disregarded statements of the station chief, who was on the scene, and in contact with the eyewitnesses:

He substituted “demonstration” for “attack” despite the direct statement by the CIA’s Libya station chief in Tripoli that there was no demonstration; Mr. Morell changed “terrorist” to “extremist.” His explanation is that he relied on the CIA’s analysts, who he said had comprehensive information available to them, rather than on the CIA’s station chief, who relied on the testimony of eyewitnesses who arrived soon after the attack started. 

The directorate of intelligence functions according to a protocol whose rigidity we more often associate with the military. So analysts whose deductions put them at odds with those on the scene wouldn’t have considered, and apparently didn’t consider, simply ringing up those on the scene and getting their input. To the contrary, analysts deal only with information that comes in the prescribed way. The CIA station chief’s communication to headquarters came in an email and did not get circulated within the intelligence community as it would have if it had been contained in a cable.

There was plenty of information disconfirming his “demonstration” lie:

There was, as it happens, other information available. A private company, Agincourt Solutions, had followed the Twitter, Facebook and other social media in the vicinity of the U.S. installation attacked in Benghazi. The company found no evidence of a “demonstration.” There were video cameras trained on the front gate of the consulate that showed no demonstration. Days before the attack, al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri had been calling for an attack to avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior al Qaeda member who was, as his name suggests, a Libyan. And Sept. 11 is a date of highly symbolic value to people who set great store by symbols.

The last two data points were certainly available to the CIA analysts, and the camera feed should have been. But all this was discounted, apparently in favor of their consensus view that the attack at Benghazi had started with a demonstration that drew inspiration from violence inflicted on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo—allegedly as part of a protest against the video.

Both Obama and Clinton blamed the Youtube video for a “demonstration”, and denied that there was a terrorist attack:

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton told the grieving families that the producer of the video would feel the weight of the law. It was one promise they kept: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested in the middle of the night in the glare of TV lights for a probation violation—the only arrest thus far growing out of the Benghazi attack, even though the identity and whereabouts of the principal suspects, one of whom is an alumnus of Guantanamo Bay, have long been known.

The Obama administration blamed the Youtube video in order to win the 2012 election. They were afraid if the real story came out, people would know that they had screwed by underestimating the threat and ignoring the warning signs and the requests for additional security. Democrats can’t do national security – they just give speeches about spending taxpayer money.

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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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Mainstream media silent as Muslim Brotherhood targets Christians in Egypt

Investors Business Daily reports.

Excerpt:

Christians in Egypt are again the target of Islamist Muslim Brotherhood supporters using the new violence as a cover for ongoing persecution. If Christians were burning mosques, the world would be outraged.

Amid the raging violence in Egypt, a less-publicized war is being waged against Egypt’s long-persecuted Coptic Christians, this time using the excuse that they were somehow involved in the military’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi from power.

Coptic Christians comprise up to 10% of Egypt’s 84 million people.

Ishaq Ibrahim from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights group has documented as many as 39 incidents of violence against churches, monasteries, Coptic schools and shops in different parts of the country within the past few days. They include Thursday’s torching of the Prince Tadros Church in the province of Fayoum, where three similar attacks occurred on other churches the day before.

Islamists firebombed the Mar Gergiss Church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians, burning it to the ground. Islamists previously raised an al-Qaida flag over the church.

Another two places of worship, the Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary, were attacked in El-Menia province, leaving them partially damaged by fire. St. Theresa Church in Assiut in Upper Egypt was also burned.

[...]In a terrorist attack one minute after midnight on Jan. 1, 2011, 21 Christians attending a New Year’s mass were killed, and 97 people, mostly Christians, were injured as worshipers were leaving a New Year’s mass at the Saints Church in Alexandria.

On April 7, two Copts were killed and 84 injured by a mob using guns, wielding machetes, throwing stones and possibly hurling Molotov cocktails at mourners exiting St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. The worshippers were mourning the deaths of four Copts in an April 4 attack in Khossus in which a nursery and church were burned.

An investigation into the October 2011 attack on Coptic Christians in Cairo’s Maspero district, leaving 30 dead and more than 500 wounded, was shut down by the Morsi regime. In the Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood, Christian lives mean little.

As the administration quibbles over the definition of a “coup” regarding Egypt’s military aid, we are reminded the U.S. and NATO went to war over the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in Bosnia. What will be our response to the ethnic cleansing of 10% of Egypt’s population?

One of the troubling things that I’ve noticed with younger evangelicals and libertarians is that they don’t understand that wars start when bad people believe that they can behave aggressively and no one will stop them. Being nice doesn’t work on bad people, it just makes them act that more more aggressively.

Here’s an article from Townhall by famous economist Thomas Sowell, in which he explains how tyrants respond to weak foreign policy.

Excerpt:

On the international scene, trying to assuage aggressors’ feelings and look at the world from their point of view has had an even more catastrophic track record. A typical sample of this kind of thinking can be found in a speech to the British Parliament by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938: “It has always seemed to me that in dealing with foreign countries we do not give ourselves a chance of success unless we try to understand their mentality, which is not always the same as our own, and it really is astonishing to contemplate how the identically same facts are regarded from two different angles.”

Like our former ambassador from the Carter era, Chamberlain sought to “remove the causes of strife or war.” He wanted “a general settlement of the grievances of the world without war.” In other words, the British prime minister approached Hitler with the attitude of someone negotiating a labor contract, where each side gives a little and everything gets worked out in the end. What Chamberlain did not understand was that all his concessions simply led to new demands from Hitler — and contempt for him by Hitler.

What Winston Churchill understood at the time, and Chamberlain did not, was that Hitler was driven by what Churchill called “currents of hatred so intense as to sear the souls of those who swim upon them.” That was also what drove the men who drove the planes into the World Trade Center.

Pacifists of the 20th century had a lot of blood on their hands for weakening the Western democracies in the face of rising belligerence and military might in aggressor nations like Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. In Britain during the 1930s, Labor Party members of Parliament voted repeatedly against military spending, while Hitler built up the most powerful military machine in Europe. Students at leading British universities signed pledges to refuse to fight in the event of war.

All of this encouraged the Nazis and the Japanese toward war against countries that they knew had greater military potential than their own. Military potential only counts when there is the will to develop it and use it, and the fortitude to continue with a bloody war when it comes. This is what they did not believe the West had. And it was Western pacifists who led them to that belief.

Then as now, pacifism was a “statement” about one’s ideals that paid little attention to actual consequences. At a Labor Party rally where Britain was being urged to disarm “as an example to others,” economist Roy Harrod asked one of the pacifists: “You think our example will cause Hitler and Mussolini to disarm?”

The reply was: “Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?” In other words, the issue was about making a “statement” — that is, posturing on the edge of a volcano, with World War II threatening to erupt at any time. When disarmament advocate George Bernard Shaw was asked what Britons should do if the Nazis crossed the channel into Britain, the playwright replied, “Welcome them as tourists.”

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher called this view “peace through strength”. There is only one reason why evil people do not attack – because they think that good people have the firepower tomake them pay dearly for their aggression, and – and this is very important – the will to use it.

The important thing to realize is that without a powerful military, there is nothing that we can do when the Muslim Brotherhood goes after Coptic Christians in Egypt. Happy talk isn’t going to solve anything. To deter aggression, you need to have a credible threat of military force deployed in the region. Even if you don’t go to war, the other guy has to believe that you can and that you will. That’s what stops bad people from being aggressive. What Benghzi showed the Islamists is that they could do anything they wanted, and no one is going to stop them. That’s why Christians are dying by the bushel in Egypt today.

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Which culture condones killing young girls or throwing acid in their faces?

Here’s a story from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Excerpt:

A 10-year-old schoolgirl died after being shot as she was walking home from a bible study class in Egypt.

Jessi Boulus died from the single shot to the chest as she made her way through the streets of Cairo on Tuesday.

Her death is yet another example of rising tensions against Christians in the country after supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood started to target Egypt’s Christian minority, holding them partly responsible for his removal.

Jessi’s mother told the BBC News she believes her daughter was targeted due to her religion.

‘She was my best friend, my everything. Jessi was just becoming a young woman,’ she said.

‘Every woman dreams of becoming a mother, and for 10 years I was lucky enough to be a mum. I’ll miss Jessi calling me mum – I know I won’t ever hear it again.’

Jessi’s father told the website: ‘Jessi was everything to us. Her killers didn’t know that Jessi was my life – my future. They killed our future. I lived for her. We both did.’

Her parents said that they had noticed rising tensions in recent months and had discussed emigrating but had decided to stay in Egypt as it was their home.

In April, a Muslim mob attacked the main cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Church as Christians held a funeral and protested there over four Christians killed in sectarian violence the day before.

Pope Tawadros II publicly blamed Morsi for failing to protect the building.

Egyptian security forces stood by during a brutal attack on Coptic Christians in Luxor days after Mohamed Morsi’s removal, according to Amnesty International.

During the 18-hour-long attack on 5 July, the security forces left six besieged Coptic Christian men – four of whom were then killed and one hospitalised – to the mercy of an angry crowd.

An angry mob armed with metal bars, knives, tree branches and hammers attacked Christian homes and businesses in Nagah Hassan, 11 miles west of Luxor, after the dead body of a Muslim man was discovered near the homes of Christian families.

Despite local residents’ and religious leaders’ repeated calls for help, security forces on the scene made only half-hearted attempts to end the violence and sufficient reinforcements failed to arrive.

And another story from the leftist BBC.

Excerpt:

The Zanzibar government has offered a reward of 10m Tanzanian shillings (£3,970; $6,170) for information leading to the capture of attackers who threw acid at two UK women, police say.

Kirstie Trup and Katie Gee, both 18 and from London, had acid thrown on their faces, chests and hands.

The island’s Police Commissioner Musa Ali Musa told the BBC that there was “no prime suspect” for the attack.

He said that a lot of people had been questioned and information gathered.

However no-one has been arrested or charged and investigations are continuing, Mr Musa said.

[...]The two young Britons, who were volunteering for the charity Art in Tanzania, have been flown back to the UK.

Previously I wrote about Islamic child sex-trafficking and Islamic gang rape.

I post these stories because it’s become fashionable in certain circles to condemn “judging”. Everybody wants to be liked these days, and that means being “tolerant” and seeing all views and cultures as equally valid. Even Christains are taken in by it, extolling the virtues of not judging anyone, and judging people who do think that evil really is evil.

When you meet someone who says that it is wrong to judge, show them these news stories.

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Left-wing media turning on Obama over his foreign policy failures

Dr. Stuart Schneiderman has read all the left-wing news sources and found some surprising views.

Excerpt:

The news hasn’t really reached the public, but Obama-supporting media outlets are starting to see the mess that the Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy has produced.

It is so bad that columnists are not even trying to moderate their negative judgments.

From Frida Ghitis on the CNN site:

America’s foreign policy has gone into a tailspin. Almost every major initiative from the Obama administration has run into sharp, sometimes embarrassing, reverses. The U.S. looks weak and confused on the global stage.

This might come as happy news to some opponents of the administration who enjoy seeing Barack Obama fail, but it shouldn’t.

America’s failure in international strategy is a disaster-in-the-making for its allies and for the people who see the U.S. model of liberal democracy as one worth emulating in their own nations.

On Russia, she continues, the verdict is clear:

Relations with Russia have fallen off a cliff, making the theatrical “reset” of 2009 look, frankly, cringe-worthy.

Syria, of course, is even worse:

Obama dramatically warned Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as he slaughtered his people by the thousands, that if he used chemical or biological weapons, he would cross a “red line.” The line was crossed and not much happened. Syria is crumbling, self-destructing in a civil war that I, for one, believe could have turned out quite differently if Washington had offered material and diplomatic support for moderates in the opposition. Fears that the opposition would be dominated by extremists became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The centerpiece of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy initiative was Egypt. You know how that has worked out:

But it is Egypt where America’s foreign policy fiasco is most visible.

It was in Cairo in 2009, where the newly elected Obama, still reflecting the glow of sky-high expectations, launched his campaign to repair relations with the so-called “Muslim World.”…

Nobody knew what would happen in Cairo’s Tahrir Square a few years later. But today, the same people who yearned for democracy despise Washington. When Egyptians elected a Muslim Brotherhood president, Washington tried to act respectfully, but it showed a degree of deference to the Muslim Brotherhood that ignored the ways in which the group violated not only Egyptians’ but America’s own standards of decency and rule of law.

As tensions in Egypt grow between Islamists on one side and the military and anti-Islamists on the other, there is one sentiment shared by all: Both sides feel betrayed by Washington.

Egypt’s most powerful man, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, said, “You [the U.S.] left the Egyptians; you turned your back on the Egyptians, and they won’t forget that.”

It’s not just CNN, though. He has quotations from articles in the radically, radically leftist New York Times and the left-wing extremist New Yorker, too. The New Yorker is disgusted with the way that Obama has handled Libya. It’s getting so bad that not even Obama’s biggest cheerleaders can ignore it.

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