In the Arena

Benghazi Baloney

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Scott Shane has a fine piece of analysis today about the real issues involved in the Benghazi imbroglio–which is to say, the issues not being raised by the vindictive John McCain.

A word first about McCain: It has emerged in recent days that Susan Rice had a lot to say about McCain when she was working for Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. She called him “reckless” and “confused” and mocked the market stroll he took in Baghdad, wearing body armor. I would suppose that these things hurt. And so did the fact that Obama wiped the floor with McCain during the foreign policy presidential debate that autumn, since McCain fancied foreign policy as his greatest strength–actually, it’s his greatest weakness. Certainly he’s making a fool of himself now.

Now, about the real issues:

1. diplomatic security: Republicans have routinely voted to cut funds for the State Department in general, and for State Department security in particular. In this particular case, as I’ve noted before, security was determined by the Ambassador, Chris Stevens, who was opposed to fortress America-style embassies and consulates. As Shane notes, this is a conversation worth having: how do our diplomats go about collecting information–an essential part of their role–in countries in turmoil?

2. Al Qaeda: Was Benghazi an Al Qaeda  attack? Were the simultaneous riots in Cairo an Al Qaeda attack? In both cases, the demonstrators were predominantly salafist extremists, who are contesting the less extreme Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region. The bright line here is between those who believe in democracy and those who believe in theocracy. We’re hoping the Muslim Brotherhood turns out to be the former–the jury’s still out–but we know that the salafists are the latter.

Is it fair to say that salafists are Al Qaeda? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There is certainly ideological overlap. But was there actual coordination between the Benghazi street gang (which is what a “militia” often is in that part of the world)  that launched the attack on the consulate and the Al Qaeda hierarchy? And so, another bright line: we probably should only call attacks that are planned and organized by the various branches of Al Qaeda–central (Pakistan), Yemen, Maghreb–“Al Qaeda” attacks. In this case, a local salafist militia made a spontaneous decision to use the demonstrations elsewhere in the region to move against the local U.S. consulate–a heinous act, but not quite an Al Qaeda attack.

321 comments
MrObvious
MrObvious

Righties thinking seems to be 'screw everything that REALLY concerns most citizens and bank everything on this Benghazi thingy'.

It didn't work in the second debate, it didn't work with the electorate and and didn't even get much mention in the third debate.

But somehow righties think it's extra important.

If this was the game CLUE they sure missed the 800 pound gorilla that flat-handed them and now is about to throw them across 2014.

ahandout
ahandout

The Cairo attack was not simultaneous.  And, anything else you said is also erroneous as usual.  Why bother reading your blather when cannot even get simple facts right.

abefrommangb
abefrommangb

John McCain is fast becoming a national joke.  His idea of forign policy is to bomb first, think later.  He got CRUSHED by Obama in 2008.  Since then his only goal is to become President of 'the green room' of every network that has a Sunday news show.

I could point out his rank hypocracy with Condelisa Rice and Colin Powell, but he isn't worth the keystrokes.

DavidBell
DavidBell

This is a very shallow analysis by a partisan hack that ignores the number of other political officials who feel that the Administration has been covering up the events in Benghazi since Sept 12.  Sens. Graham, Ayotte and Collins have all expressed misgivings about the story told by Amb. Rice, and her subsequent attempts to "clarify", which have created more mud in the water.    There are 90+ in the House who feel the same.  The criticism by the Republicans, from the beginning has been about the cover up that occurred after the attack, not the attack itself.  The failure to adequately protect the consulate, or whatever it was, could be chalked up to simple government incompetence - an everyday occurrence.  The attempts to hide what really happened, and blame the entire incident on a amateurish video, would be laughable, if not for the fact that four people died.

rogerwabbit
rogerwabbit

Long story short: McCain's feelings were hurt by Susan Rice 4 years ago, now he's trying to get payback. He's making himself look like an idiot. I always admired McCain for his courage during the Vietnam war, now he's looking more like buffoon hell bent on revenge.

drudown
drudown

Taken to its illogical conclusion, the republicans' argument may be aptly summarized as follows: as Commander in Chief, the United States President is directly responsible for the deaths of other Americans serving our country in Islamic states that vehemently oppose the United States' presence to begin with in the Middle East on the same grounds that we resisted Colonial England, i.e., basic precepts of self-determination. Instead of addressing the roots of the animus towards the US, republicans want to engage in some illusory post hoc witch hunt that mischaracterizes simple violence as some historic affront to US policy or its sphere of influence. Please. Just as the 9/11 attacks were, in the end, simple criminal acts of felony murder (i.e., scienter to kill people via kidnapping), so too were the Benghazi murders simply murder. Away with this new "language" of terrorist crimes. What, whether or not someone wants to kill Americans for their wallet or the Bush doctrine should weigh on us, the President or the Media? Enough of the Al Qaeda boogeyman already. If you want to have a meaningful debate on who is actually behind the movement (e.g., Saudi Arabia), or which security breaches involving innocent lives could and should have been prevented (e.g., 9/11), then do so. But this Benghazi red herring is just that, a red herring. 

dmb
dmb

This article is baloney.  I'll fill you in what happened in Benghazi, and if you think I'm a conspiracy nut, what I am telling you is common knowledge in the rest of the world where they actually practice journalism.  There was no "consulate" in Benghazi.  There was a series of of rented villas that made up one the largest CIA bases in the Middle East and was headquarters for the administrations arms smuggling operation shipping the former Lybian regimes weapons to the Syrian rebels via Turkey.  Why do you think the admin did not send help, and why do you think they put out this idiotic and totally incredible tale about a protest and a video?  They did not want there gunrunning operation exposed.  Have you wondered why we haven't heard from the 20-30 "diplomats" who witnessed and endured this attack?  Because they were CIA agents.  There was no demonstration.  There were coordinated attack teams with truck mounted 50 cal machine guns and mortar teams that began setting up roadblocks around the consulate 3 hours before the attack.  No one in the Admin thought for a second this was a protest.  Joe klein asks "was Al Quaeda involved?"  Ansar Al Sharia and Al Quaeda in the Islamic Magreb have claimed responsibility and bragged about the attack, so yes Joe, I'd say they were involved.  Have you wondered why the administration was so quick to help the Lybian rebels but apparently is not helping the Syrian rebels.  Because the Russians have a strategic Naval Base at Tartus in Syria.  If Assad falls they lose this strategic base, so Russian military aid is pouring into Syria(common knowledge).  This is why the administration is so hell bent on covering up the  arms operation, they have been playing a high stakes covert game, which is in danger of being exposed.  The four who died were sacrificed to try and shield the truth about their "consulate" in Benghazi.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Hey Kevin, here's some warnings leading up to 9/11 Bush ignored, since you seem to believe in revisionist history.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Can we all agree how much LiveFyre sucks?  Comments are disappearing and reappearing all over the place.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

For left wing trolls, ankle biters and carpet chewers:No one died at Watergate or Iran/Contra.

Just to be clear here, Paul seems to be suggesting that political scandals are OK as long as people don't directly die (even though they did in Iran/Contra to the death squads).

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@MrObvious 

I wonder what makes them more upset; that the whole "Benghazigate" thing isn't going anywhere or that the American public largely isn't buying their nonsense and fake concern.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@ahandout 

Once again you offer no evidence or substance for your claims.  Just petty insults and hysteria.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@abefrommangb 

He became a joke in 2008 when he put a fork in his moderateness and embraced torture as a valid option for USA. After being a avid voice against it (since he was tortured himself). After the choice of Sarah Palin he pretty much cemented just how irrelevant he is.

abefrommangb
abefrommangb

DavidBellRepeating false statements does not make them true. There is no cover up. Just because Republicans only goal as a party, other than tax cuts for rick people, is to find a scandal. The investigated Bill Clinton for his entire presidency for NOTHING.Now you clowns despondently search for the next one. Grabbing at any shadow or shredded document. By all means continue. Each day you guys become more irrelevant The GOP is proving unable to govern.

drbillykidd
drbillykidd

Actually, McCain has a vested interest in blocking Susan Rice from becoming Secretary of State. With her out, Obama might put Massachusettes Senator John Kerry in that spot. That would allow Republican Scott Brown to run in a sure-bet race to replace Kerry. That ups the Republican numbers in the Senate.

McCain was one of only three Senators who campaigned for Brown against Elizabeth Warren. Warren won in the most costly race in Senate history. McCain wants vengence, and that's why he talks so angrily. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@dmb You are half correct. This was most certainly a CIA base and I have stated so on here for weeks. But there was no gun running. They were attempting to regain control of the surface to air missiles looted from Libya's arsenal during the revolt. There are plenty of weapons floating around in Syria from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  These are all easier to acquire and closer to the points of need than the ones in Libya.

ahandout
ahandout

@DonQuixotic   DQ, you are right.  Bush should have shut down the country right then and there.  He should have gone on TV and told you to go into your home, lock the doors, and watch "An Inconvenient Truth" until the government knew that there was no more danger for you in the world...maybe FEMA would eventually find you in a few years.

3kmilesfromhome
3kmilesfromhome

@DonQuixotic The difference between what happened in the summer of 2001 and what happened on 9/11/2012 is 9/11/2001. 

When, in early August, President Bush received that daily briefing regarding Al Qaeda, we had not yet been the victims of the largest and most deadly terrorist attack in our nations history. There was no context, in which, the Bush administration could place those threats.

That was not the case for President Obama. Not only did this administration have the lessons of the last decade, but more importantly they had information this diplomatic mission had previously been victim to numerous terrorist attacks. They knew full well the dangers of posting an understaffed and under-defended mission in Benghazi. The reasons for placing these men in danger are the same for the cover-up. 

We were, and are, engaged in the illegal movement of arms through Libya into Syria. 

That is why security forces were reduced over the last year. This administration wanted as little attention brought to bear, as possible. Their hope (and it shows just how inexperienced this administration is) was to have this mission move under the radar. Of course, their hope backfired. As soon as we started drawing down our security forces, Al Qaeda and its affiliates began testing the waters. Strikes were made against our properties in Benghazi with the sole intent of gauging our response. These strikes culminated in a car bomb being detonated outside the gate of our Benghazi compound. It blew a hole in the wall large enough to drive a car through. And yet, America did not respond.

The lack of response on our part, only served to embolden the terrorists and on the Anniversary of 9/11 they struck again. This time the attack was far worse and the administration knew it could not keep the lid on it. So, in an attempt to divert attention, the President and his minions created the video story. Then, even as proof to the contrary was being disseminated, President Obama sent people like Rice out to ensure the media remained focused on the video. This is so the hard questions weren't asked. Questions like, what was Stevens doing in Benghazi in the first place?

This complete fabrication served one purpose. Keep the movement of arms through Libya into Syria a secret.

If you think this information is false, ask yourself this one simple question; How is it that Syrian rebels are now in possession of surface-to-air missiles?

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic You morons still pushed the August 6 PDB lie. Read that actual PDB for once and then come back here and tell us where it contained specific information on an imminent al Qaeda attack. That PDB largely contained information from a 12/4/98 PDB concerning an uncorroborated report that al Qaeda planned to hijack a plane to win the release of the Blind Sheik. All action on that PDB was concluded by February 1999.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic 

Just ignore him Don - the loser shouldn't even be here. 

He lost the bet, remember? He's a tool 

no wait, even tools have uses. 

He's just Groeny. 

EyeneverSayno
EyeneverSayno

@DonQuixotic 

The thing that set Watergate apart as the mother of all scandals is that it was an attempt by an administration in power to interfere with a fair election that would determine whether or not a sitting president would be re-elected. Sound familiar?

paulejb
paulejb

@DonQuixotic ,

Don seems to believe that lying is just peachy keen as long as the lies are uttered by left wingers like himself. He should hand his head in shame.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic 

Another point - the killings by Contra was justified since they fought against 'commies'. Never mind the many innocent killed. Which is ironic consider how hard he clutches the 4 dead but doesn't care about anyone else dead anywhere else.

Like with his Contra comment and about Benghazi it's all politically motivated. The dead are just props.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic @MrObvious 

They'll blame the rest of us for being hypnotized by the 'free stuff'. Fringe nuts always confuse importance with irrelevance and always elevate their paranoid irrelevance as sky is falling level 8 terror alert.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@DonQuixotic @ahandout 

Remember not long ago the full day of nonsense when the all cap screaming was 8 HOUR FIREFIGHT

When it turned out to be 2 separate attacks, about 11 minutes worth. Then of course there was the sodomizing of the corpses.

The dramatic hysteria is only beaten by the nonsense. And at this point it's comical.

DavidBell
DavidBell

@abefrommangb - Time will tell, because the truth will come out.  Nixon, Reagan and Clinton all learned that cover ups never work.  Clinton, by the way, was impeached, although not found guilty.  He was also disbarred because he committed perjury.  The Dems are in control of the Presidency and the Senate, but can't get anything done.  Who is it that can't govern?

MaryPlante
MaryPlante

A second Brown race is Massachusetts would be anything but a sure bet. His star was tarnished by his negative campaign. Markey would almost certainly enter the race and he would be a 3-5 point favorite from the start.

dmb
dmb

@mantisdragon91 @dmb The surface to air missiles have been arriving by ship via Turkey to Syrian rebels from Libya.  Who do you think facilitates this?  The rebels have shot down two Syrian military aircraft in the last two days with surface to air missiles.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@ahandout @DonQuixotic 

You seem to expect the same for Obama.  Here's an alternative; Bush could have ordered the CIA and the FBI to move on the intelligence and maybe prevent the attack, rather than sitting on it and doing nothing?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@3kmilesfromhome @DonQuixotic How is it that the Hamas are in possession of Libyan weapons as well? Here is a clue they are for sale on the black market and the Syrian rebels have a very rich sugar daddy in the form of Saudi Arabia with a vested interest in bringing down Assad.

abefrommangb
abefrommangb

@3kmilesfromhome @DonQuixotic 

Wait, so the African Embassy bombings in 1998 by Al Qaeda didn't happen?

McCain is senile, that is a fact.  He wanted to sell Libya weapons before the revolution.  Then demanded we bomb Libya months later.  He is a bitter has been who seemingly only exists to go on Sunday News shows.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Looks like it was Number 3 on my list.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

Can you read Gomer?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic 

He'll do one of three things:

1) He won't respond.

2) He'll call the source biased (never mind that it's based off the 9/11 commission report)

3) He'll call me a moron or something and start making things up.

Calling it now.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@EyeneverSayno @DonQuixotic 

Are you suggesting that a revelation right before the election that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack would have swayed the election?  That it would have changed 4.45 million voted towards Romney's favor?  That all the GOP screeching UP UNTIL THE ELECTION didn't do enough?  Wow, you go with that dude.

jsfox
jsfox

@paulejb @DonQuixotic who is lying? I mean actually lying not the ones dreamed up in your paranoid delusional fevered brain.

drbillykidd
drbillykidd

MaryPlante, thanks for bringing up Rep. Ed Markey. I didn't think he'd be in contention because he chose not to enter the 2010 race to replace Ed Kennedy. I'm not in Massachusetts, so I'm not fully aware of how negative Brown was in the race against Warren. I do know that he sounded crazy, trying to hammer her for mentioning she was part Indian. You are right. If anyone could be Brown in a special election it would be Markey.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@dmb @mantisdragon91 Assuming that these missiles are of Libyan origin they could have just as easily been purchased by the Saudis who want to bring down Assad for his ties to Iran. Libyan weapons have been turning up in Gaza as well. Does that mean the CIA is smuggling them to Hamas?

ahandout
ahandout

@DonQuixotic @ahandout Oh, that would have meant that the FBI would have to do profiling.  Can't do that.  Americans must die before profiling.  Profiling baaaad, dead Americans good.  Search granny first, she must be a bomber.

drbillykidd
drbillykidd

13 intelligence agencies from Mossad to Interpol warned the Bush administration of an imminent hijacking. Bush responded by ordering the military to keep high-ranking officers off commercial airlines. The Administration failed to warn the airlines or the people responsible for security checks at airports. In the footnotes on the 9/11 report, it says that Bush;s lack of action allowed the hijackings to happen. This is why the full report remains classified.

I know some folks are trying to rewrite history. But let's be clear, 9/11 was allowed to happen so that the U.S. could invade Iraq and get the oil. People don't even question this in Europe because they have had access to the real news, not Bush/Fox propaganda

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen I've read Homer, but I have never read Gomer. I'm not familiar with Gomer, so I'm not sure if I can read Gomer or not. 

I have read the August 6 PDB many times. Why don't you read it for the first time and then come back here and tell us what specific information it contained about an imminent al Qaeda attack.

outsider
outsider

and who doesnt have enough self worth to honor his word.

outsider
outsider

@paulejb @jsfox @DonQuixotic 

DOES IT MAKE STEVENS ANY LESS DEAD THAT THE PROCEDURES AND INVESTIGATION GOING ON WASN'T REVEALED TO THE PUBLIC????

Seriously, you're an idiot. 

Every other investigation after every other incident adhered to the same procedures. The republicans used to support not revealing and burning intelligence procedures and information. 

And you're stupid harping does nothing to bring any of the 4 back to life. 

It makes you feel better to blame the administration? Great, do it. 

But you're as pathetic as the party's talking points you're harping on. 

Honestly - since the election you've just become more and more pathetic. 

Start complaining about the 5000 who died due to Condi's lie, then maybe your comments will have some gravity to them. 

Otherwise you're just a parrot.