CCB Press Conference on Benghazi Largely Ignored by Mainstream Media
By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media
On June 29, the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss the release of its new report on the events surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex, resulting in the deaths of four Americans. As usual, the liberal media largely stayed away. Apparently, if The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press and NBC don’t cover a story, no matter how important, it isn’t really news. So instead, the only representative from the mainstream media was The Washington Post’s designated hit man, Dana Milbank, who regularly trolls conservative gatherings to heap scorn, sarcasm and peddle misinformation to his waiting readers. That is the sad state of journalism in this country today.
Mr. Milbank’s penchant for playing fast and loose with the details has gotten him in trouble before, when he claimed that conservative speakers had “taunted” a young Muslim girl. These speakers had, in fact, thanked her for her presence. In the latest case, Milbank wrote an opinion piece, not a news story, with the online headline, “Benghazi Conspiracy Theorists Turn on Trey Gowdy.” The headline in the print edition of the paper was “Appeasing the far right? You’ll always end up wrong.”
During the course of Milbank’s article, he called the members of the CCB “a coalition of far-right foreign-policy types,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “agitators.” This is all part of the attempt to discredit the messenger, because Milbank can’t really dispute the message—although he has certainly tried. But at least he was there, and spelled the names correctly, though he was wrong about the number of members on the commission (it’s 14, plus two advisory, not 11). Apparently the Post’s Fact-Checker was busy on other stories that day. Maybe they should hire more.
Milbank found our report to be what he called “full of inventive accusations.”
“They found ‘troubling evidence that Obama and Clinton were deeply and knowingly involved in running guns to al-Qaeda in Libya,’” writes Milbank, “as well as ‘a clear case of official U.S. government submission to the Islamic Law on slander.’”
“They determined that the Obama administration ‘switched sides in what was then called the Global War on Terror’ and ‘benefited this country’s worst enemies,’” he continues. “They wrote that Clinton herself blocked U.S. military forces from attempting a rescue mission, and they attributed the decision to oust Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi in part to financial interests of the Clinton Foundation.”
When Milbank quotes from the CCB’s findings, the obvious inference is that he finds these points to be baseless—and believes they could only originate from the minds of right-wing conspiracy theorists. The findings in the CCB’s latest report are, indeed, very damning accusations. But we back them up in every case, and encourage people to read the report and judge for themselves. Our military and intelligence experts—former admirals, generals, colonels, congressmen and CIA officers—are people with vast service to this country and outstanding reputations.
In particular, we have repeatedly demonstrated that the Obama administration decided to send arms to the Libyan rebels, who themselves were affiliated with al Qaeda and other jihadists. This ultimately contributed to the death of our Ambassador at the hands of Islamic jihadists, and Libya’s transformation into a terror safe haven.
It is Milbank who is being played for the fool by not looking at the evidence.
Apparently he doesn’t believe that Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, for that matter, “blocked U.S. military forces from attempting a rescue mission.” Yet American military assets were not sent to aid those in Benghazi. The Americans in Benghazi were left to withstand multiple terror attacks on their own, lasting approximately 13 hours from start to finish .
That is why the testimony from Gen. Tom McInerney is so compelling. He led the air attacks into Libya in 1986. Admiral Ace Lyons, another member of the CCB, commanded more than 250,000 troops at one time as commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy—while Dana Milbank was giving secret handshakes and who knows what else at Skull and Bones meetings at Yale.
If Milbank had wanted to actually read our report and challenge it on a factual basis, I could respect that. But all he wanted to do is make disrespectful, cutting comments that cast a slur on others while having no basis in fact. When it comes to knowing whether military assets could have been brought to Benghazi that night to attempt to save lives, whom are you going to trust—Milbank or McInerney? Does anyone really believe they couldn’t have gotten there if ordered to do so? And why, with multiple warnings of a terrorist attack in Benghazi in the weeks leading up to September 11, 2012, weren’t military assets on high alert, prepared for such an attack?
Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily did read the report, and he wrote a different sort of articleilluminating the dereliction of duty by the Obama administration.
“[Clare] Lopez charged Clinton’s role in the Benghazi debacle was ‘pivotal,’” writes Corsi. “She said that under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department ‘changed sides’ in the war on terrorism in Libya.”
Far from a baseless accusation, Clinton’s pivotal role can be seen in her aide, Jake Sullivan’s email that Clinton had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.” Yet somehow we are supposed to believe that Mrs. Clinton ignored Libya after Qaddafi’s death, and missed 600 requests for additional security. That’s what she told the House Select Committee on Benghazi when she testified last October.
The military dereliction of duty in Benghazi is shocking, as well. “So we had no pre-planning of the possibility of a terrorist attack in the region on that day and while the attack was underway no U.S. military assets were moved into action,” said McInerney. “At least a fly-by over Benghazi could have been arranged, with F-16s using full after-burners that could have dispersed the terrorists and ended the attack.”
Corsi recounts how Charles Woods, the father of Ty Woods, spoke at the June 29 press conference, and asked to know who is “responsible” for his son’s death. Ty was a former Navy SEAL who was part of the CIA Annex Security Team. In fact, I hope every American will get the chance to watch the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” It is available on demand on most cable TV services. I attended the premiere last January in Dallas.
Jennifer Harper of The Washington Times also highlighted the new report from the CCB.
Regrettably, without even attending the event, MSNBC repeated some of the lies perpetuated by Milbank. “This is what it’s come to: Benghazi conspiracy theorists are so creative, and so unmoved by evidence or reason, that they can convince themselves that congressional Republicans are in on the conspiracy,” writes Steve Benen for MSNBC (emphasis in original).
As my colleagues and I explained at the press conference, Select Committee on Benghazi Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had an unparalleled opportunity to explain the attacks, connect the dots and hold people accountable. Instead, he and the remainder of the GOP members largely acted as stenographers rather than investigators. Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mike Pompeo (R-KS) provided a supplemental report more willing to place blame, and at the press conference on June 28 when their report was released, Pompeo called Mrs. Clinton’s actions “morally reprehensible.” But when it came to passing judgment, Gowdy took a pass.
This has allowed the mainstream media to claim that despite an exhaustive investigation, no new revelations have been found that implicate Hillary Clinton. For Benen, his headline reads that Clinton has been “exonerated.” But no new revelations were necessary to demonstrate the ongoing Benghazi cover-up.
You can read our new report or watch our entire June 29 press conference here:
#SCPrimary: Trey Gowdy misleads in anti-Cruz robo-call
By: Renee Nal | New Zeal
Since when do allegations count as fact? Yet that is exactly what is happening in the mainstream media with the relentless attacks on Ted Cruz.
The latest is concerning a “push poll” that allegedly came from the Cruz camp, as reported at the Washington Post. The charge is that Remington Research, a consulting firm started by Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, is behind telephone polls that bash Trump and Rubio.
But Chris Wilson, Cruz’s director of research denied that the campaign is engaged in any robo-polls in South Carolina. And after the story broke, resulting in Trump freaking out on Twitter, Politico reported that Ted Cruz told reporters, “[W]e had nothing to do with them….” and additionally, Brian Phillips, the Cruz team’s rapid-response director tweeted:
The push polls are not coming from Cruz. Period. https://t.co/zrtoSnthTO
— Brian Phillips (@RealBPhil) February 11, 2016
Crazy Town: More silly accusations aimed at Ted Cruz reported as fact
By: Renee Nal | New Zeal
Lies are regularly being attributed to Ted Cruz for the flimsiest of reasons, without evidence. Some ill-informed people shockingly accept these accusations as fact, nodding and cheering along the most baseless of charges with enthusiasm.
The most recent example of this can be found at the Wall Street Journal. Using an all-too-common tactic of subtle language manipulation, an outrageous charge becomes a news story in a once-respectable publication. The title alone, “Rubio Camp Accuses Cruz Backers of Dirty Facebook Tricks,” is an indicator that evidence of anti-Cruz allegations will be sorely lacking.
The latest fake accusation is so mind-numbingly stupid that this author is at a loss how few are calling out the Wall Street Journal. In a nutshell, someone claiming to be Trey Gowdy on a Facebook page said he switched his allegiance from Marco Rubio to Ted Cruz. It was not Trey Gowdy.
Getting Around Protected Rights
This past week many sites, to include The Federalist Papers Project, linked to a video of Congressman Trey Gowdy’s public hearings. Acting on behalf of the American public he carefully and methodically destroyed Deputy Assistant Secretary Ms. Burriesci, representing the Department of Homeland Security, as government officials attempted to explain the ‘process’ by which American citizens could petition the government to restore rights which had been removed, those who’d been denied their right to own and purchase firearms, these same individuals who’d been placed on the Do Not Fly List.
Congressman Gowdy wanted to know more about the ‘process’; but what he really wanted was to remind Ms. Burriesci about a different ‘process’, one which was being ignored completely…
Congressman Gowdy thoughtfully explained his use of the word ‘process’ as he originally referred to it, to be more specific, the term is Due Process. He reminded the witness that our constitution limits government’s ability to infringe on any individual’s God given inalienable rights without Due Process.
For clarification purposes, Ryan Williams’s entry to the 2010 Yale Law Journal defined this term and concept more precisely:
“In United States constitutional law, substantive due processis a principle which allows courts to protect certain rights deemed fundamental from government interference under the authority of the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit the federal and state governments, respectively, from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” That is, substantive due process demarcates the line between acts by persons that courts hold are subject to government regulation or legislation and those acts that courts place beyond the reach of governmental interference. Whether the Fifth and/or Fourteenth Amendments were intended to serve this function continues to be a matter of scholarly as well as judicial discussion and dissent.”
Timothy Sandefur recorded in, The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law, as published via the Cato Institute in 2010:
“In contrast, substantive due process aims to protect individuals against majoritarian policy enactments that exceed the limits of governmental authority—that is, courts may find that a majority’s enactment is not law, and cannot be enforced as such, regardless of how fair the processes of enactment and enforcement actually are.”
In short, there are laws being enforced (far too many) which are outside of restrictions placed on government, restrictions intended to safeguard individual God given rights (or Natural rights) and it is important to remind those in government that they are not above the Constitution and have no such powers. We are, after all, a nation dependent on the Rule of Law.
Let me insert a partial transcription of Congressman Gowdy’s efforts…
“What process is afforded a United States citizen before that person’s Constitutional right is infringed. That [The President] is fine with doing it with the Second Amendment.
My question is, how about the First? How about we not let them set up a website, or a Google account?
How about we not let them join a church until they petition Government to get off the list? How about not get a lawyer? How about the 6th amendment?
How about you can’t get a lawyer until you petition the government to get off the list? Or my favorite, how about the 8th amendment?
We’re going to subject you to cruel and unusual punishment until you petition the government to get off the list?
Is there another Constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens than we do the Second Amendment? Can you think of one?”
“The No-Fly List itself is a violation of Constitutional rights all by itself, but to use that illegal list as a way to snatch other rights away from the people is abhorrent and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.”
When our government tries to get around the Rule of Law as if it were outside of restrictions placed on it by the Constitution, at that time we can say without equivocation that tyranny has replaced our representative form of government.
Dan Riehl wrote an article the day after the San Bernardino premeditated attack in which Muslim Terrorists proudly admitted their association with ISIS and then murdered 14 Americans. Riehl pointed out that Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, on behalf of the Department of Justice was more concerned about anti-Muslim rhetoric’s effect on those of that faith than the threat posed to the American public.
“Loretta Lynch, at a press conference yesterday, termed the San Bernardino shootings a “wonderful opportunity” to change the nature of police work: “We’re at the point where these issues have come together really like never before in law enforcement thought and in our nation’s history and it gives us a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful moment to really make significant change.”
The Obama administration continues to use any gun related tragedy as a means to launch additional gun control measures. They went to extreme measures to cover this event, as with other shootings as if guns walked in and shot all those folks without a Muslim Terrorist holding those guns.
Obama has threatened to implement extreme gun control actions via Executive Order, effectively bypassing Congress. If you put these two thoughts together we have a totalitarian effort (tyranny) to eradicate the 2nd Amendment; but also destroy freedom of speech as protected by the 1st Amendment.
So, back to Congressman Gowdy’s questions regarding our government’s attempts to get around the constitution, to get around inalienable God given rights and deny any American their right to own and bear arms, to express their thoughts without fear of government interference or imprisonment… to get around Due Process…
What part of Due Process, more specifically, what part of substantive due process do these department heads not understand? (Really, you actually consider that a possibility?) No, under the Obama administration there is a willful and calculated effort to get around the constitution.
David A. Patten, along with almost every other political correspondent, recordedBarrack Hussein Obama’s comments regarding the Constitution back when he was running for the presidency.
“Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama described the U.S. Constitution as having “deep flaws” during a September 2001 Chicago public radio program, adding that the country’s Founding Fathers had “an enormous blind spot” when they wrote it.
Obama also remarked that the Constitution “reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”
Obama’s promise to America has been, and continues to be a great Transformation, to make it what (he thinks) it should be. His actions support his promise.
America will no longer be a land of liberty; but instead will become a totalitarian communist state where your constitutional republic, your God given inalienable rights as set down by the Founding Fathers, and without question, Due Process and the Rule of Law will become a faded memory.
The Moral Liberal’s Senior Editor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.
Questions to Watch for at Thursday’s Benghazi Hearing
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to testify on Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Despite her new attitude of defiance—acting as if recent statements by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) have somehow proven that this has been a political witch-hunt all along—they prove nothing of the sort. I spoke about this last night on The Blaze, with Dana Loesch.
Last Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the committee, made clear that the committee will be looking at several aspects of the Benghazi scandals:
“Thursday is about the three tranches of Benghazi: what happened before, during and after. And, frankly, in Secretary Clinton’s defense, she’s going to have lot more information about the before than she is the during and the after.”
While the failure to either provide sufficient security for Ambassador Chris Stevens, or to remove him before the attacks occurred on September 11, 2012, is an important issue, it is certainly not the only one that Mrs. Clinton must answer for. So it’s important that Gowdy is planning to focus on all three periods.
Two new articles out in the last day present powerful arguments and lines of questioning that should be pursued. One is from The Washington Times, whichlays out new evidence showing how the U.S. facilitated the flow of arms to militia groups in Libya, many of which went to al-Qaeda linked groups. This violated both American law and a U.N. resolution.
The other article is by Nancy Youssef in The Daily Beast, where she questions the wisdom, motives and strategy that led the U.S. and NATO into the war in Libya in the first place. She points out that while President Obama may have been reluctant at first, with no stated plans to remove Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, that is exactly what happened, with no plans in place for what would come after Qaddafi. And what has followed is a failed state.
Both of these points were made in the Interim Report by our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) a year and a half ago, and received little attention at the time. But we are glad to see that even the liberal Daily Beast makes the case that this war was waged under false pretenses, with disastrous results, including the death of four Americans in Benghazi.
Many in the media keep asking, what more is there to learn. We at the CCB have compiled a list of questions that we hope are asked during Thursday’s High Noon showdown between Mrs. Clinton and the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Using Rep. Gowdy’s breakdown of the three tranches, this is a good start:
When, how and why did the Obama administration and the State Department decide to back the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime?
Why did you refuse Saif Qaddafi’s phone call about the willingness of his father to negotiate a truce rather than subject his country and himself to the impending attack by NATO forces?
When and how was the decision made that the administration officially would facilitate the delivery of weapons to known Libyan al-Qaeda militias like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)?
Did you and the Obama administration believe that the Presidential Intelligence Finding of March 2011 was legally sufficient to overcome the otherwise felonious provision by the U.S. government of material support to terrorism? Which legal authorities by name provided this advice to you?
Exactly when and specifically which Congressional members were briefed on the administration’s decision to overthrow Qaddafi, back the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood-led rebels, and facilitate the delivery of weapons to Libyan al-Qaeda-linked militias?
Why did approximately half of your emails on Libya, that the committee has only recently received, come from Sidney Blumenthal, who President Obama had forbidden you to hire at the State Department?
Why did we maintain the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi when others, such as the British and the Red Cross had pulled out because of the security situation?
Why did you ignore an internal State Department audit on the compound when it first opened which concluded that they should either beef up the security or close it?
Please name and identify by affiliation the top Libyan rebel commanders with whom Christopher Stevens, the official U.S. government envoy to those rebels, collaborated during the 2011 Libyan revolution and explain how these commanders were selected.
Please describe in detail the weapons procurement and delivery process by which arms were acquired, funded, transported and distributed to the Libyan rebels in 2011.
Please describe in detail the weapons buy-back and collection program in Libya in 2012, including which U.S. agency had the lead for that program, how funds were disbursed for such weapons, where and how they were stored, their transport on exactly which/whose ships, and where those ships and their weapons cargo went after they departed from Libya.
By allowing the flow of arms to groups in Libya that we knew were affiliated with al Qaeda, weren’t we in effect switching sides in the War on Terror?
Were you personally aware of multiple warnings that indicated an Islamic terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was likely or in potential planning stages?
Why were all of Stevens’ requests for increased security turned down and in-country security forces drawn down?
Did you see, or were you made aware of the Ayman al-Zawahiri video-taped warning, issued on jihadi websites on 10 September 2012, that apparently gave the green light for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi? If so, when? If not, why not?
What action did you take when you received word of a 10 day advanced notice that an attack on our facilities in Benghazi was going to take place?
What additional security measures did you as Secretary of State order for missions across North Africa and/or elsewhere once the American Embassy in Cairo warned that Muslim anger was building over the airing on Egyptian TV on 9 September 2012 of a clip from the YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims?”
Why was an order given to Ambassador Stevens’ Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) personnel to store their weapons in a separate location in the compound?
What about your 10 p.m. phone call with President Obama on the night of the attack? Why did the State Department proceed to issue a statement shortly thereafter citing the video as the likely cause of the attack?
Who was responsible for making sure the car was parked outside the safe room window as a key part of the escape plan for the ambassador?
Why were the Marine Fast teams at Rota held up and made to put on civilian clothes?
What classified equipment and material were taken from the compound?
Please describe in chronological detail where you were, Secretary Clinton, throughout the night of 11-12 September 2012.
Exactly when and by what process did you, Secretary Clinton, receive command authority over U.S. military units that might have responded to the Benghazi mission attack during the night of 11-12 September 2012?
Who made the decision that no U.S. government military response would be ordered to come to the rescue of the Americans under terrorist assault the night of 11-12 September 2012 in Benghazi?
Were any military assets ordered to turn back or stand down the night of 11-12 September 2012 rather than continue to the rescue of Americans in Benghazi?
If so, which were they, by whom and for what reason?
Was there a plan for Ambassador Stevens to be kidnapped and later exchanged for the Blind Sheik, who is in prison in the U.S. for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing?
Please describe the consultative process by which you, Secretary Clinton, the President, and anyone else involved decided to blame the Benghazi terror attacks on the YouTube video, “Innocence of Muslims?” Please describe those orders in detail.
Why did you choose this narrative to disseminate to the American public—and the world—when you knew within 15 minutes of the beginning of the Benghazi attack that the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists?
Why did you send then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice out that weekend to talk about Benghazi on the Sunday talk shows, when it should have been you?
Who gave the orders to Rashad Hussain, envoy to the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), and to Huma Abedin, to coordinate (respectively) with international and domestic Muslims the narrative about the YouTube video being the cause of the Benghazi terror attacks?
Why did you tell the parents of the dead in Benghazi that you would get the man who made the video, as if you believed that was the cause of the attack on the compound?
How was it determined that you wouldn’t testify to the State Department appointed Accountability Review Board?
Why did your aide Cheryl Mills tell Deputy Ambassador to Libya Greg Hicks not to talk to Republican congressmen who came to Libya to investigate what had happened?
Rep. Gowdy Questions DHS Sec. Johnson about Sanctuary Cities
Jeh Johnson in his appearance before the House was asked about Kate Steinle and he did NOT know who she was!
Email Dumps Continue to Undermine Clinton Candidacy
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Hillary Clinton’s reputation is taking repeated blows as the drip, drip, drip of email productions from her private email server draw attention to her many lies. The Obama administration has admitted that she did not, in fact, turn over all the necessary emails from her private mail server to the government. It also has released nearly 3,000 pages of emails implicating members of the Obama administration in their own lies.
As Vice President Joe Biden appears to be preparing to jump in the race for the Democratic nomination later this summer, questions are also emerging as to whether or not the Obama administration is throwing Hillary under the bus through these emails.
Each new batch of these emails expose additional lies made by the Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton, despite MSNBC, Newsweek, and other news organizations maintaining that there is little to be found. This is the same treatment that the Benghazi scandal has regularly received.
“…I hear it all the time from your previous guest and others, is that seven or eight previous congressional committees looked into Benghazi,” said chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on CBS’ Face the Nation on June 28. “Well, none of those other committees looked at a single one of her e-mails… So our committee has done things that none of those seven other committees were able to do.”
The Committee has also gained access to the documents from the Accountability Review Board investigation which failed to interview Secretary of State Clinton—documents which were not turned over to other members of Congress. It also recently received information related to Clinton aides Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills, as well as former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice.
As Accuracy in Media (AIM) asked when the Clinton email scandal initially broke, the key question is what did President Obama and Secretary Clinton “know, and when did they know it?” A recent set of emails obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that the White House coordinated with the State Department on the night of the attack to make Mrs. Clinton’s statement blaming it on a YouTube video the official U.S. government line.
But for the media, it’s old news and hardly worth a mention. Their tactic is, whenever possible, to repeat assertions by various administration supporters that the Benghazi investigation is a partisan witch hunt.
When the first set of emails was produced, the media dismissed those emails as revealing no relationship between Mrs. Clinton and the security situation in Libya or an order to stand down. That’s not surprising, since reporters made similar claims before they actually saw the emails.
The excuses offered by the media are further attempts to throw sand in the eyes of the public. These emails were first stored on a private email server under Mrs. Clinton’s control, then vetted by her advisors, and then partially redacted by a State Department with a vested interest in ensuring that Mrs. Clinton’s reputation, and its own, are preserved.
In other words, the State Department emails were Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama administration’s attempt at self-exoneration.
The media now complain that the mission of the Select Committee on Benghazi has become overbroad, wasteful, and doesn’t focus on the attack. Yet many in the media focused on the cost of this investigation, and Democrat accusations that it is wasteful and duplicative, even when the Committee was narrowly focusing on the attack.
“She said that the public record was complete,” noted Rep. Gowdy on CBS. “You will remember in her single press conference she said that she had turned over everything related to work to the Department of State. We know that that is false.”
As for the emails from Sidney Blumenthal being unsolicited, “We know that that was false,” he said. “So, so far, she also said that she had a single device for convenience,” he continued.
“So every explanation she’s offered so far is demonstrably false.”
It’s even worse than that. As Kimberly Strassel reported for The Wall Street Journal, we now “know that the State Department has now upgraded at least 25 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails to ‘classified’ status. State is suggesting this is no big deal, noting that it is ‘routine’ to upgrade material during the public-disclosure process. But that’s beside the point. This isn’t about after-the-fact disclosure. It’s about security at the time—whether Mrs. Clinton was sending and storing sensitive government information on a hackable private email system. Turns out, she was. For the record, it is a federal crime to ‘knowingly’ house classified information at an ‘unauthorized location.’”
In addition, Strassel stated that “The real bombshell news was the State Department’s admission that, in at least six instances, the Clinton team altered the emails before handing them over. Sentences or entire paragraphs—which, by the way, were work-related—were removed. State was able to confirm this because it could double-check against Mr. Blumenthal’s documents.” Strassel wonders, “But how many more of the 30,000 emails Mrs. Clinton provided have also been edited?”
Apparently Blumenthal, long time hatchet man for the Clintons, was not prepared to withhold documents from the Select Committee, and risk a contempt citation. Instead he chose, in effect, to throw Mrs. Clinton under the bus.
The Obama administration has now asserted executive privilege to withhold a “small number” of documents from the Select Committee, reports Byron York. The plot thickens.
“He sent me unsolicited emails, which I passed on in some instances, and I see that that’s just part of the give-and-take,” Mrs. Clinton told the press in May.
“I’m going to Paris tomorrow night and will meet w TNC [Transitional National Council] leaders so this additional info useful,” wrote Clinton to Blumenthal on August 30, 2011. “Let me know if you receive this,” she writes.
“This strains credulity based on what I know,” writes Clinton in another email. “Any other info about it?”
That particular April 2012 email exchange, in which Blumenthal says he will “seek more intel,” does not appear in the State Department’s documents. But an exchange between close Clinton aide Jacob Sullivan and Christopher Stevens using that same Blumenthal information does. Sullivan forwarded Stevens’ response to Hillary Clinton within 15 minutes.
Stevens was appointed Ambassador to Libya in late May of 2012. On July 6, 2012 the State Department’s Charlene Lamb told Regional Security Officer at Embassy Tripoli Eric Nordstrom “NO, I do not [I repeat] not want them to ask for the MSD [security] team to stay!”
That same day, Blumenthal sent Clinton another memo regarding the Libyan election. “Greetings from Kabul! And thanks for keeping this stuff coming!” she replied the next morning, on July 7. Within a couple of hours her aide, Sullivan, had again sent the memo to Ambassador Stevens, and Stevens provided his impressions of Blumenthal’s information promptly. Sullivan again sent Stevens’ communication on to Mrs. Clinton in under 20 minutes.
If these lines of communication were open through her aides, how much did Mrs. Clinton actually know about the security situation in Libya, and when did she know it?
Blumenthal received $10,000 a month from the Clinton Foundation at the same time that he provided his assistance to the Secretary of State, also serving as “an on-and-off paid consultant for Media Matters.”
One of his 2011 emails released by the State Department warns that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb might be inspired by the death of Osama bin Laden to conduct attacks on American and western targets using weapons they had diverted from the Libyan rebels.
Clinton forwarded the May 2, 2011 email from Blumenthal regarding al Qaeda to Sullivan with the words, “disturbing, if true.”
AQIM participated in the Benghazi attacks, according to the Senate. A Defense Intelligence Agency message dated September 12, 2012 indicates that the Benghazi attacks were planned ten or more days in advance by al Qaeda elements partially in revenge for a U.S. killing in Pakistan. As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton received that message, yet continued to blame the YouTube video, as did others in the Obama administration.
As we have repeatedly argued, America already knows enough to demonstrate that there is, and continues to be, a widespread cover-up of the many aspects of the Benghazi scandal.
“The public record has already established that President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, AFRICOM’s Carter Ham, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey were all told that the assault in Benghazi was a terrorist attack almost immediately after they began,” we reported in May. “Yet the President and his administration still continued to blame a YouTube video titled ‘The Innocence of Muslims.’”
Also, we reported, “the former Secretary of State’s aides became aware that this was a terrorist attack about a half an hour after the initial attack began on the Special Mission Compound…”
Any additional information the Select Committee finds on Benghazi, Blumenthal, or Clinton’s role in the scandal can only confirm the breadth and depth of the dereliction of duty that took place. Yet the media argue that this has somehow become a political circus because the Committee is exploring the background of someone informing Clinton’s Libya policy.
AIM’s articles, along with the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, have exposed how the administration blindly pushed for an intervention in Libya, switched sides in the War on Terror, and passed over an opportunity for a truce with Muammar Qaddafi. It defies reason to continue to report that broader administration actions had little to no influence on creating the climate and circumstances which led to the death of four Americans in Benghazi.
The Clinton Record on Libya
By: Kenneth Timmerman
Accuracy in Media
Exclusive to Accuracy in Media
The emails show more than you might think
On August 21, 2011, a top aide to Hillary Clinton penned a memo lauding his boss for steering U.S. policy in Libya, aimed at convincing the media of her accomplishments as Secretary of State.
“HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings—as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime,” Clinton aide Jake Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan’s memo to Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle is, of course, embarrassing today, which is one reason you are not reading about it on the front pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post.
But that’s not the only reason.
The memo, as well as other critical State Department correspondence, was withheld from multiple committees in Congress that have been investigating the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department communications officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy Seals then working on contract to the CIA, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
It finally surfaced on May 22, 2015, in response to a subpoena from the Select Committee on Benghazi chaired by South Carolina Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy. That was six months after Gowdy’s initial request to the State Department for all documents relating to Benghazi, and more than two-and-a-half years after a similar request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which initiated its investigation into Benghazi just days after the attacks.
In Sullivan’s memo, Mrs. Clinton was the driving force in getting the Russians to drop opposition to a UN-imposed no fly zone on Qadhafi’s Libya. She alone got Turkey, Qatar and Jordan to join the coalition military operations and to provide critical support to the anti-Qadhafi forces.
To convince skeptical allies to embrace her policies, Sullivan noted that Mrs. Clinton had traveled to Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa and Istanbul. She visited with “House Democrats and Senate Republicans to persuade them not to de-fund the Libya operation.”
Sullivan’s memo provided background for media appearances by Secretary Clinton in the ensuing months, including a famous encounter with a TV news reporter in Afghanistan, just three days after Mrs. Clinton’s October 2011 visit to Libya to proclaim victory against the then-still-missing Libyan dictator.
In video outtakes, Clinton aide Huma Abedin hands the Secretary a Blackberry, with information that Colonel Qadhafi has been killed, apparently just hours after Mrs. Clinton’s brief visit to the country.
“We came, we saw, he died,” Mrs. Clinton joked.
In short, without Mrs. Clinton’s vigorous intervention, Qadhafi would still be in power, Libya would still be a country, and the jihadis who now own the place would be toast. And, of course, Chris Stevens, Smith, Doherty and Woods would still be alive.
After the attacks, Mrs. Clinton quickly forgot her leading role on Libya, sending a clueless Susan Rice to the Sunday talk shows to be the “public face” of the Obama administration’s Libya policy.
In her only public appearances to address what happened in Benghazi, she portrayed herself as a disengaged onlooker, called upon to pick up the pieces when the hired help failed to get things right. “[It] was very disappointing to me that the [Accountability Review Board (ARB)] concluded there were inadequacies and problems in the responsiveness of our team here in Washington to the security requests that were made by our team in Libya. And I was not aware of that going on. It was not brought to my attention,” she told the House Foreign Affairs committee in January 2013.
She reminded House and Senate panels in January 2013 that the State Department’s ARB, which she appointed, had determined that the failures in Benghazi were entirely the responsibility of lower level officials, even though Libya was among the top ten most dangerous postings in the world at the time of the attacks. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler busily helped to reinforce that fiction in a “fact-checking” blog aimed to show that there were simply too many cables going in and out of the State Department for a busy Secretary to see all of them.
Interestingly, in the approximately 300 Clinton emails the State Department has released so far, there is no record of Mrs. Clinton’s original request to her staff to draft a memo lauding her achievements in Libya. Did Sullivan simply dream up the idea and forward it up the chain of command to see if it would please his boss? Or was Mrs. Clinton’s request for these talking points one of the 30,000 “personal” emails the former Secretary of State deleted as irrelevant to her official duties?
Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwarded Sullivan’s August 2011 memo to a second private Hillary email address. Remember how she insisted that she had just one private email account? The memo included a note that said, “Here’s the memo.” That sounds an awful lot like, “Here’s the memo you requested.”
Hillary sent it on to her personal assistant with the instruction, “Pls print for me.”
This type of exchange gets repeated many times in the Clinton emails released so far, suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was not given to making substantive comments via email, or that she deleted material that is relevant to the House Select Committee on Benghazi and is therefore guilty of obstructing justice. The other possibility is that the State Department Freedom of Information office is inexplicably dragging its feet in clearing Mrs. Clinton’s correspondence, even though the delay casts Mrs. Clinton in an embarrassing light.
Judicial Watch and other watchdog organizations—including this author—had been trying to get Mrs. Clinton’s emails and other U.S. government documents relevant to the Benghazi attacks for the past two-and-a-half years without success until the subpoena from the Select Committee on Benghazi compelled a response.
Now, thanks to a federal court order in Washington, DC, compelling the State Department to produce additional documents it previously had said did not exist or were properly categorized as classified, we can now put Mrs. Clinton’s emails into a broader context.
As the first reports of the attacks on Benghazi were whizzing through the State Department Operations Center, bouncing off the computers of lower level employees, one is impressed by their professionalism.
For example, the British security firm that had the contract to guard the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi sent several ungrammatical missives through a State Department contact to update him on what was happening during the attacks.
Dylan Davies, one of the contractors working for the security firm, was apparently holed up in his hotel room (not at the scene of the Compound leading a daring rescue attempt, as he told CBS’ 60 Minutes), with no information at 11:55 p.m. local time—by which time, Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were dead, the CIA contractors led by Ty Woods had driven the attackers away from the burning diplomatic compound, and evacuated back to the CIA Annex.
A half hour later, Davies sent a second report, claiming there had been “no casualties,” and relaying a hearsay report from his “Benghazi facilitator,” who claimed that sources on the street were telling him the attack was either a September 11th anniversary attack, or caused by an Internet movie “disrespecting Mohammed.”
In relaying those reports, the State Department’s Command Center cautioned that they should be “taken with a grain of salt as the Employee may not be aware of the extent of the situation.”
And yet, less than four hours later—with no other independent reporting that had been released—Hillary Clinton issued her statement blaming the attacks on an Internet video.
What happened in the meantime? Who pushed the idea of the Internet video?
The short answer is that:we still don’t know. Either Mrs. Clinton destroyed the emails and other documents showing how she latched onto a report her own specialists had rejected as hearsay, or perhaps the Archangel Gabriel whispered in her ear while she had her head in a closet in her 7th floor office suite.
Several emails released to Judicial Watch show the intense involvement of the Bureau of Public Affairs in scouring the Internet for information on the attacks, but nothing to suggest the Secretary of State was asking the intelligence community what they knew.
At 9:30 p.m,—just 40 minutes before Mrs. Clinton issued her official statement blaming the attacks on a YouTube video—Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Dana Shell Smith sent out a request to her reporting officers to find information “in the aftermath of today’s demonstrations at Embassy Cairo.” For whatever reason, her request failed to mention Benghazi.
Rebecca Brown Thompson, head of a State Department media office called the “Rapid Response Unit” (reminiscent of the Clinton campaign “war room”), responded by sending snippets from Facebook postings gleaned by Arabic language media analysts.
“I see a variety of responses spanning from conspiracy theories (that is what the Americans and Israelis are doing on purpose to hurt Arabs and Muslims, they financed the offensive movie), to those who condemn the attacks as ‘UnIslamic and barbaric,’” one analyst reported.
Two hours after Mrs. Clinton issued the statement blaming the attacks on the “inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” a second Arabic media analyst tasked with justifying that statement found a lone tweet about the film, but also reported that “some Twitter users in Libya and Egypt are spreading reports that the attacks in Libya may not be related to the infamous film but to the killing of Al Qaeda’s second in command, who is Libyan.”
The “infamous” film, which was much less well known in Libya than in Egypt, became the subject of a scurrilous account appearing the very next morning that was penned by Max Blumenthal, son of the infamous Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal who was advising Mrs. Clinton. It was picked up and amplified in a second attack blog posted at 6:56 a.m. the same morning, suggesting that the real blame for the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi fell on Mitt Romney and his “extremist” backers who produced this YouTube video in the first place.
Once information from the professionals rose to the level of Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills in Clinton’s office, it just seemed to disappear, replaced with a weird concoction of politics, public relations and outright fantasy, such as the YouTube video concoction or the Sid Blumenthal “intelligence” reports. (When Mrs. Clinton sent those around to the professional diplomats, the comments she received in response were rarely complimentary.)
The 300 recently released Clinton emails give the impression that the 7th floor of the State Department was inhabited by a bunch of grad students, pretending to be government officials.
The most tragic example of the apparent ignorance of how the State Department and the federal government actually worked appeared in Mrs. Clinton’s order to not engage the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an interagency team on 24/7 stand-by alert, that had been created to respond to just such an emergency as the Benghazi attacks.
Counterterrorism Bureau official Mark Thompson, who helped to establish the FEST after the 1998 Africa embassy attacks, testified at length before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about this on May 8, 2013.
The Judicial Watch emails include a frustrated note he sent to the State Department Operations Center at 9:01 p.m. on the night of the attacks, complaining that Secretary Clinton was trying to get the FBI to send an evidence response team to Libya, when “the State (CT) led Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) would include those folks, along with experts from other agencies. We should avoid multiple requests for assistance and rely on the comprehensive FEST approach.”
In his Congressional testimony, Thompson said he had tried to get Mrs. Clinton’s office and the White House to approve activating the FEST as soon as he first learned about the attacks from the State Operations Center, but was told “it was not the right time and it was not the team that needed to go right then.”
The redacted portions of Thompson’s email undoubtedly included a reference to the heavily-armed special operations component of the FEST whose job would be to secure the facility under attack. Had Secretary Clinton not told the FEST to stand down early on, there’s a chance they might have arrived in Benghazi before Woods and Doherty were killed in the 5 a.m. mortar attack the next morning.
At the very least, they would have been able to secure the compounds and gather evidence on the spot, instead of waiting three weeks as the FBI was ultimately forced to do.
Mrs. Clinton’s aversion to any overt U.S. military presence in Libya was well-known at U.S. Africa Command, which had been supplying the ambassador’s security detail up until just weeks before the attacks. “We were not allowed to wear uniforms outside the embassy compound, not even our boots,” the head of Stevens’ U.S. Special Forces security detail told me. “People high up at State resented like Hell us being there and doing what we did.”
And in the end, those same people ordered the Ambassador’s Special Forces security detail to leave Libya—with disastrous consequences.