UPDATED: Catherine Herridge’s Benghazi Smoking Gun Cable
From Greta Van Susteren’s show last night, three weeks before he was killed by jihadists Christopher Stevens sent a cable to the State Department in Washington warning that there were 10 Al Qaeda militia groups roaming around Benghazi waiting to strike Americans.
And that the Libyan militia (the 17th February Brigade) tasked with providing the security the Obama administration wouldn’t use Americans for was ceasing its cooperation with our diplomatic mission and had been compromised by the enemy.
Catherine Herridge says this is the smoking gun on the Benghazi massacre. It proves that the administration knew without any doubt that they were hanging Stevens and his people out to dry and did nothing to either protect him or pull him out of Benghazi.
Nobody in the mainstream media outside of Fox News has much interest in this story, which is obviously at this point the most comprehensive scandal in the history of American government. There is proof – Herridge’s cable provides it – that Obama knew or at least had to know beyond a shadow of a doubt the threat staring us in the face in Benghazi and did nothing. We know that when the inevitable attack came there were resources available to combat the threat and perhaps save the lives of Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty – if not Stevens – but those resources were not provided because Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta says there was insufficient intelligence from which to stage a mission, a statement most in the military community have treated with derision and disbelief.
And we know the administration has engaged in a robust campaign of lies, disinformation and stonewalling in an effort to keep Benghazi from being an issue in next week’s election.
What we don’t know, of course, is specifically who made the decision to ignore the threat in advance of the inevitable attack on our Benghazi mission, who specifically ordered our military and CIA personnel to “stand down” rather than surge into the fight on the night of September 11, and who made the decision to blame the Benghazi massacre on an irrelevant YouTube video, the maker of which will be jailed by our government as what can only be described as a political prisoner until after the election.
Those are only some of the questions. They might not even be relevant; the fact is the fish rots from the head down, and Obama bears responsibility for the failure to respond to the threat before and during the attack plus the cover-up after the fact.
Herridge’s smoking gun points at Obama’s head. This is his failure, his mendacity and his dishonor. Without his removal as president by the voters next week (or perhaps Congress in an impeachment after the fact once this scandal is fully investigated under oath), we are at risk of other Benghazis.
And yet our president acts as though there is no culpability in Benghazi. Amazingly, yesterday, he made the statement to victims of Hurricane Sandy that “we look out for one another and we don’t leave anyone behind.”
How hollow that rings.
UPDATE: And then there was this today…
Today, the White House press secretary let it slip during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One that President Obama’s inaction on the Benghazi situation now extends to inaction on the supposed investigation taking place. The administration has still not made clear what exactly is being investigated, or the extent of the investigation. And President Obama doesn’t much care. Said Carney:
He has not participated in the investigation. He is anticipating results that show us exactly what happened and who is responsible and what lessons we can learn from it and ensure it never happens again. He expects the investigation to be rigorous.
The idea that the president is going to commission an investigation is, of course, absurd. There is a paper trail a mile wide on the events before, during and after Benghazi; if Obama was interested in anything other than obfuscating the public’s understanding of what happened there on September 11 he would just release the documents associated with the affair – including the drone and static surveillance video from the date and time of the attack.
But he won’t do that. Congress will have to drag those out of him. Or the Romney administration will have to release them following the inauguration.
UPDATE #2: Rep. Jason Chaffetz repeats a story he heard about Chris Stevens’ final communication with the outside world before he was killed that night…
But while Stevens was dying, it seems our government didn’t think the situation was serious enough to do what we’ve been doing for well over a decade when terrorists attack us – namely, call the Counterterrorism Security Group into session and use them to deploy a response…
“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”
Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
The circumstances of the attack, including the intelligence and security situation there, will be the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Nov. 15, with additional hearings to follow.
Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack.
The administration’s response to this news?
As to why the Counterterrorism Security Group was not convened, National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told CBS News “From the moment the President was briefed on the Benghazi attack, the response effort was handled by the most senior national security officials in governments. Members of the CSG were of course involved in these meetings and discussions to support their bosses.”
And that was such a terrific decision that absolutely nothing was done in response to the attack and Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty, and the 30-odd other Americans huddled in the line of fire at the CIA annex in Benghazi that night, were left essentially to die by our government until the Libyan militia which abandoned the consulate to Al Qaeda in the first place could show up to escort them out of town.
The statements by the administration made in defense of their process are infuriating, aren’t they? Vietor and the rest of these people don’t seem to think anything is particularly wrong with a decision-making process which allows our people to die while begging for help. It’s almost like they think what happened was unavoidable or even proper.
Not everybody does, though.
Absent coordination from Counterterrorism Security Group, a senior US counterterrorism official says the response to the crisis became more confused. The official says the FBI received a call during the attack representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues agreed the agents “would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success.”
Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.
It’s fairly obvious that a level of unspeakable incompetence, coupled with a political determination that terrorism in Libya wasn’t an acceptable possibility, created this disaster – and after the fact the principals involved knew they had made a mess which couldn’t be excused or explained away, which meant a campaign of stonewalling and cover-up were all they had left.