By: Col. Tom Snodgrass
Right Side News
State Department’s Accountability Review Board Report Leaves It To Obama Explain His And His Minions’ Explanations
Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News
Excerpts from the Accountability Review Board (ARB) Report Findings beg further explanation:
1. “The attacks were security related, involving arson, small arms and machine gun fire, and the use of RPGs, grenades, and mortars against U.S. personnel at two separate facilities – the SMC (Special Mission Benghazi, which is the official designation of the U.S. diplomatic facility) and the Annex (the CIA operations center in Eastern Libya) – and en route between them. Responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks. The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
2. “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
3. “The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”
4. “The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection. However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.”
The insufficient ARB Discussion of these findings that demand elaboration:
1. “Identification of the perpetrators and their motivations are the subject of an ongoing FBI criminal investigation. The Board concluded that no protest took place before the Special Mission and Annex attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”
2. “Through the course of its inquiry, the Board interviewed over 100 individuals, reviewed thousands of pages of documents, and viewed hours of video footage. On the basis of its comprehensive review of this information, the Board remains fully convinced that responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attack.”
3. “The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time given the speed of the attacks for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference. Senior-level interagency discussions were underway soon after Washington received initial word of the attacks and continued through the night. The Board found no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders. Quite the contrary: the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans. In addition, at the State Department’s request, the Department of Defense also provided a Marine FAST (Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team) as additional security support for Embassy Tripoli on September 12.”
4. “The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection. However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty so as to be the subject of a recommendation for disciplinary action.”
Analysis of ARB Findings and the insufficient Discussion
First, is should be noted that ARB purports to “discuss” their findings by just repeating the substance of their findings! However, what follows here is a closer examination the findings and the ARB’s inadequate discussion of those findings. The explanations of the findings actually raise more questions than are answered.
Regarding issue #1. and according to President Barack Obama, the alleged protest before the attack on the Special Mission Benghazi was purportedly caused by spontaneous mob’s emotional reaction to an anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S. However, the ARB’s conclusion, “there was no protest prior to the attacks,” directly contradicts the president’s, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s, and White House Spokesman Jay Carney’s repeated false statements to the nation blaming the video as the motivation for the attack and the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. What follows are some of the more egregious falsehoods perpetrated by the president and his subordinates.
09/12/2012 – President Obama’s White House Rose Garden Speech to the nation:
“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
09/12/2012 – President Obama’s CBS 60 Minutes Interview:
“KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?
OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans.”
09/20/12 – President Obama’s response to a question in a Univision town-hall meeting:
“I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”
09/25/2012 – President Obama’s Address to United Nations:
“That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.”
09/12/12 – Secretary Clinton’s address to the nation:
“We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior along with the protests that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.
America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear, there is no justification for this. None.”
09/16/12 – One of UN Ambassador Rice’s five TV talk show appearances:
“Joining us now our ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Ambassador, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.
AMB. SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thank you.
WALLACE: This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world. The White House says it has nothing to do with the president’s policies.
Let’s watch. Direct Link is HERE.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You don’t really believe that?
RICE: Chris, absolutely I believe that. In fact, it is the case. We had the evolution of the Arab spring over the last many months. But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.”
09/14/12 – White House Spokesman Carney’s response to media question:
“We don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this was not in reaction to the film.”
So, the ARB Report definitively states that the attack did not grow out of a flash mob protest and, furthermore, the report makes absolutely no mention of any anti-Islamic video! Well then, where did this lie come from and when did it materialize? Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports:
“The first reference to the anti-Islam film, initially blamed by the Obama administration for provoking the violent attack in Benghazi, appears to be a retweet of a Russia Today story that was not posted until Sept. 12 at 09:12 a.m. local time. The translation reads, “U.S. ambassador killed in Libya during his country’s consulate in Benghazi – Russia today http://t.co/SvAV0o7T response to the film abuser.”
However, juxtaposed with this anonymous “retweet” from Russia is this USA Today report:
“The White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 that an Islamic terrorist group had claimed credit for the attack, official e-mails show.
“The e-mails, obtained first by Reuters and later by USA TODAY, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks .The brief e-mails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to the Obama administration.”
As amazing as it seems, Secretary Clinton rejected the al-Qaeda-affiliated social media claim of attack responsibility and the simultaneous, real-time reporting of U.S. diplomats in Libya, that verified the jihadists’ declaration of attack responsibility, in favor of the day-later video-causation assertion from an unidentified Russian social media source! Here is the report of what Clinton said on video:
“Hillary Clinton dismissed the information in the newly released emails which show that the State Department and the NSC were aware that Ansar Al-Sharia was behind the Benghazi consulate attack.
“Clinton sneeringly dismisses it as ‘Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence.’”
The report goes on to observe regarding Clinton’s dismissal of this evidence:
“That might be true for the average person, but when an Islamist terrorist militia linked to Al Qaeda that plays a major role in Benghazi posts something on Facebook while an attack is taking place and appears to know more about it than the State Department does, that is evidence.”
Clearly, Obama owes the American people an explanation why he and his regime personnel lied to them about the circumstances of the attack and the motivation of the jihadist attackers.
Regarding issues #2. and #4., the ARB Report finds that there were “systemic failures,” but that “the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty so as to be the subject of a recommendation for disciplinary action.”
In the report there is no explanation of the role played by the president or the secretary of state. Did the president and secretary have no part to play in the unfolding of the Benghazi fiasco? Was only the system to blame, but no individuals? Well, while it is apparent that the ARB could find no high ranking individuals to blame, that does not mean that Obama and Clinton would not find lower ranking “fall guys” to blame. Third-level State Department personnel, Eric Boswell, Charlene Lamb, and Raymond Maxwell, have been pressured to resign in an attempt to appease the American public and deceive them into believing that the “wrong-doers” have been punished. Undoubtedly these bureaucrats were instrumentally involved in the systemic failures, and probably do deserve dismissal; but were they the highest ranking individuals culpable? The report certainly does not answer that question. Only testimony by Clinton before the Congress and an explanatory speech by Obama, followed by open, intense press questioning, can convincingly resolve that issue for the American people.
Regarding issue #3., “there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference” – this is without a doubt the most contentious concern for Americans. Could these Americans in peril have been saved? Obama claimed in a local Denver TV interview he tried:
>Question: “Were they [the Americans in Benghazi] denied requests for help during the attack?”
Answer: “Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives.
“Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the State Department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that [our] people were safe.”
The ARB Report’s flat assertion, “not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference,” is a totally unsatisfactory explanation!
The ARB Report admits that “mistakes were made,” but discloses that essentially no one made them. The effort is merely a very poor attempt to disguise a cover-up. D-
Col. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired), was stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan, working daily with Pakistani military personnel for more than a year; additionally, he was an Intelligence Officer and an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving in six more foreign countries during a thirty-year military career.