May 8, 2013
Benghazi “whistleblowers” head to House committee
Hoping to funnel into one chronological timeline the rampantly varying accounts of how President Obama’s administration responded last Sept. 11 in the wake of an attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday will hear from three “whistleblowers” expected to offer testimony enormously at odds with the administration’s characterization of a strike that killed four Americans.
Testifying are Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant Secretary of State for counterterrorism; Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya. Excerpts of an interview Hicks did with investigators that were released to CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday boomeranged the Benghazi politics back into the spotlight four months after hearings on the issue in the House and Senate.
According to Hicks, “everybody in the mission” believed it was an act of terror “from the get-go.” But on Sept. 16 – five days after the attack – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice hit the Sunday show circuit, peddling the theory that the strike began “spontaneously” out of protests in Egypt and was not a premeditated terrorist act. Rice’s spot on “Face the Nation” that day was preceded by the new president of Libya, Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had “no doubt that this was pre-planned, predetermined.”
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) May 8, 2013
Dem. Congressman: We Have To Protect ‘Your Fellow Employees’
Elijah Cummings, the Democratic ranking member at the Benghazi hearing, told a State Department whistleblower that he has to “protect your fellow employees” at today’s hearing.
FLASHBACK: Arms Flow to Syria May Be Behind Benghazi Cover-Up
The day after the big Obama-Romney debate, as media and politicians were engaging in the usual after-action assessment frenzy, some of the most important issues surrounding the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, remain unaddressed.
While it clearly matters (a lot) if and when the President told the truth to the American public about the terrorist nature of that attack and why the Department of State refused repeated pleas from its own diplomats in Libya for more and better security, the deeper, unaddressed issue is about the relationship of the U.S. government, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya with Al Qaeda.
During the 2011 Libyan revolt against Muammar Qaddafi, reckless U.S. policy flung American forces and money into the conflict on the side of the rebels, who were known at the time to include Al Qaeda elements. Previously the number two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Christopher Stevens was named as the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition in March, 2011.
FLASHBACK: “Webster Tarpley: CIA Has Fingerprints All Over Benghazi Assault”
Oct 20, 2012
The prime suspect in the death of Ambassador Stevens and his three colleagues is Sufyan Bin Qumu, an obvious US double agent who spent several years in Guantanamo and who doubtless swore eternal obedience to the CIA to get released.
The CIA’s Benghazi Role
The various accounts of the Sept. 11 Benghazi incident in which four Americans died demonstrate that there is a profound misunderstanding of what the Central Intelligence Agency does and how it interacts with the State Department overseas. The U.S. ambassador in any country is the personal representative of the president of the United States, and he is nominally in charge of all the American officials posted to the country. But the key word is “nominally.”
The Chief of Station is the senior CIA representative, and he directs the activities of the intelligence personnel. His direct line of command is to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia—not to the State Department—and that is the relationship that provides him with his authority. Normally, the ambassador has little desire to learn what the CIA is doing because he has no real need to know about the details of operations and is only interested in oversight relating to situations that might cause serious damage to Washington’s relationship with the local authorities. Apart from that, the CIA operates independently and only shares partial information on what it is doing if the ambassador seems interested and there is a good reason to do so.
To cite one example from my own experience, the agency had a hidden microphone in the office of a top Italian Communist official in the 1970s, which enabled Washington to know exactly what the Partito Communista Italiano was planning. The information obtained was shared through an unsourced “eyes only” memo to the ambassador, who assumed the source was a CIA agent present at the Communist meeting and asked how accurate the person’s recollection was. The Chief of Station answered that the information was completely reliable but there was no one else in the room—avoiding having to say that it was a highly sensitive technical intrusion and letting the ambassador work out the meaning of the reply.
Benghazi has been described as a U.S. consulate, but it was not. It was an information office that had no diplomatic status. There was a small staff of actual State Department information officers plus local translators. The much larger CIA base was located in a separate building a mile away. It was protected by a not completely reliable local militia. Base management would have no say in the movement of the ambassador and would not be party to his plans, nor would it clear its own operations with the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. In Benghazi, the CIA’s operating directive would have been focused on two objectives: monitoring the local al-Qaeda affiliate group, Ansar al-Sharia, and tracking down weapons liberated from Colonel Gaddafi’s arsenal. Staff consisted of CIA paramilitaries who were working in cooperation with the local militia. The ambassador would not be privy to operational details and would only know in general what the agency was up to. When the ambassador’s party was attacked, the paramilitaries at the CIA base came to the rescue before being driven back into their own compound, where two officers were subsequently killed in a mortar attack.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.
Oath Keepers Founder Attending Benghazi Hearing in DC Today and at Boston Bombing Hearing Tomorrow
Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes is in DC and is attending the House Benghazi Hearings today, where three key witnesses will testify. Also attending are Richard Frye and Jeff Lewis of Patriot Coalition.
NOTE FROM STEWART:
As the founder and President of Oath Keepers, a national organization of current serving military, police, and first responders, as well as veterans, all dedicated to defending our Constitution, I felt compelled to be here in support of those who kept their oaths and to demand accountability from those who failed to support them.
It is now looking like they (including Obama himself) intentionally and callously withheld crucial military support, watched good men die on their screens, and then punished and purged those who tried to help them.
Fourth Benghazi witness gagged by red tape
Obama administration officials are finally letting the attorney for a Benghazi whistle-blower get a security clearance — but the clearance is at such a low level that it will probably slow the congressional probe of how the administration handled last year’s terrorist attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Victoria Toensing represents an unnamed government official who can help explain the reaction of top government officials to the jihadi attack on the U.S diplomatic site in Benghazi and killed four Americans last Sept. 11.
The official may also be able to explain if officials rewrote intelligence reports and took other actions to minimize media coverage of the administration’s errors and the perceived role of Al Qaeda jihadis.
The Benghazi Scandal Is Not Like Watergate–It’s Worse
It’s clear that the Benghazi scandal is not like Watergate. It’s worse. While there are many similarities in process, e.g. possible cover-up, stonewalling, etc., as far as we know no one died in the Watergate scandal. So as I await the hearing in about one hour from now, my interest is in process. And it takes the form in the following questions—I believe—need answers:
Benghazi victim’s mother tells CNN she blames Hillary Clinton for her son’s death
The mother of one of the four Americans killed in the September 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she blames former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her son’s death.
Pat Smith’s son, State Department Information Officer Sean Smith, was one of the four Americans who perished when Islamic terrorists destroyed the consulate compound on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Northern Virginia.
‘You blame Secretary of State Clinton?’ Tapper asked Smith? ‘Yes,’ she replied.
House Benghazi hearing gets going, with fireworks expected
A House hearing exploring the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans got under way Wednesday.
The session is focused on the Obama administration’s handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi terror attack, which has long sparked outrage from Republicans on Capitol Hill and fueled conspiracy theories on talk shows and across the blogosphere.
Three current State Department employees are expected to contradict their leadership, stances expected to touch off fireworks and sharp disagreement between Republicans and Democrats.
Whistle-blowers testify on Benghazi attacks, Issa says families of victims ‘deserve answers’
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said Wednesday, as the oversight committee he chairs launched into a high-profile hearing on the Benghazi attacks, that lawmakers continue to probe the strike because the families of the victims “deserve answers.”
He spoke at the start of a major hearing where three whistle-blowers are testifying and expected to shed new light on that deadly assault. Issa called them “actual experts on what really happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks,” who “deserve to be heard.”
The three witnesses are Greg Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Libya who became top U.S. diplomat in the country after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in the terror attack; Mark Thompson, an official with the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was formerly the regional security officer in Libya.