01/16/16

Benghazi Movie Premiere Was a Memorable and Moving Event

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

This week I had the great honor and opportunity to attend the world premiere screening of the new Michael Bay movie, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” It is the true story of a group of men—heroes—who risked their lives to attempt to save Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and their colleagues at the Special Mission Compound, and then continued fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists, saving the lives of dozens of people working at the nearby CIA Annex. Among the questions surrounding the film is whether it is meant to be political in any way, and if it is, in fact, political.

The premiere took place at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys football team, and was shown on a screen that was two-and-a-half times larger than the largest IMAX screen. The audience, depending on the source, was in the range of 30,000 to 40,000 people. Tickets were complimentary, and the event was set up as a benefit for military veterans. I was there along with other members of theCitizens’ Commission on Benghazi, which Accuracy in Media established back in the summer of 2013.

We met the three named co-authors of the book on which the film was based, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi—John “Tig” Tiegen, Mark “Oz” Geist, and Kris “Tanto” Paronto—early on, and were well aware of their story. The book and the audio CDs were dramatic and exciting, but nothing prepared us for this movie, which opens this weekend nationwide, and is receiving mixed reviews.

The premiere was quite an event, with two hours of festivities prior to the start of the film. The festivities included interviews with the three afore-mentioned men who were part of the Global Response Staff (GRS) at the CIA Annex; with the director, Michael Bay, who also directed the “Transformer” movies, along with “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon;” and with some of the actors, including John Krasinski of “The Office” fame. “Entertainment Tonight (ET),” the syndicated nightly show about the entertainment business, which, like the movie itself, is produced by Paramount, hosted the red carpet event on a stage on the floor of the stadium. You can see the ET report here:

The job of the GRS was to protect CIA personnel who were stationed at the Annex, which was approximately one mile away from the Special Mission Compound, often referred to as the consulate—although it wasn’t actually a consulate. Two of the three, Oz and Tig, were former Marines, and Tanto was a former Army Ranger.

I wrote about this when the book, 13 Hours, came out in 2014, and Fox News did a one-hour special on it. Fox News was punished for it by the Obama administration, according to Greta Van Susteren, who said that Fox was excluded from State Department and Central Intelligence Agency media background meetings. “Well, I think Fox News is being punished for aggressively asking questions, doing our jobs,” said Greta.  That wasn’t all. “A few weeks later, when reporter Jennifer Griffin said she was told that there was a stand down order at Benghazi, I got a weird call from the Obama administration trying to pressure me to get Jennifer to back down on her report. I thought the call from the Obama administration was dirty,” contended Susteren.

The film touches on the personal lives of the men, just enough to help understand their motivations.

I have written extensively about the series of scandals that comprise Benghazi, including this article from last month. And while the movie presents enough background information to touch on all of them—the focus of the film was on the failure to provide adequate security to the ambassador and others at the Special Mission Compound, and the dereliction of duty, in failing to bring military assets to at least attempt to help the security team hold off and kill the terrorists.

Just last month, Judicial Watch, which has unearthed many explosive documents over the last 20 years through Freedom of Information requests, and specifically on Benghazi, received an email pursuant to a 2014 FOIA lawsuit against the State Department. The email was from military chief of staff Jeremy Bash, who wrote to the State Department approximately three-and-a-half hours into the eight-hour attack—well before the terrorists killed CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods—that “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a SOF [special operations forces] element that was in Croatia…”

Sharyl Attkisson, on her weekend Sinclair Broadcasting show “Full Measure,” did an outstanding investigative piece showing that military assets were in place and ready to come to the aid of the CIA Annex, but the request to cross the border into Libya was never made, and the forces that were “spinning” and ready to go were obviously told to stand down, whether by omission or commission. Attkisson’s investigation is divided into two segments of about six-and-a-half minutes each, and I highly recommend watching both segments. Segment one is here:

and segment two is here:

This is the sort of investigative reporting that Attkisson was prevented from doing at CBS News, where she worked for more than 20 years. It just so happens that the president of CBS News, David Rhodes, is the brother of President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, and this report on Benghazi serves as a devastating indictment of the Obama administration. David Rhodes was named to that position in 2011.

The reasons given by the Obama administration for not sending in Special Forces or military aircraft was that they didn’t have enough time and that the intelligence wasn’t good enough. As then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said during Senate testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “…time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”

But we know that they had advance warning, both tactical and strategic, of a potential attack in Benghazi. And considering that it was the anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks, there was no excuse for not being on high alert anyway. Attkisson’s reporting makes the dereliction of duty very clear.

As much as the movie stays away from politics, and never once mentions Hillary Clinton or President Obama by name, it’s hard to imagine people watching this movie and not being outraged by the failures of this administration to protect these people who put their lives at risk for this country.

Variety magazine headlined its article, “‘13 Hours’ Is Light on Politics, But Sure to Stir Benghazi Controversy.” But not everyone agreed that it was so light on politics.

Many on the left are apoplectic about this film, fearing that it could tarnish even further the legacy of President Obama, and prove to be a serious problem for Mrs. Clinton’s bid for the White House. Here, for example, is an excerpt from a reviewin the left-wing British Guardian:

Don’t tell me this movie isn’t political. Michael Bay’s Benghazi bonanza is timed for release just before the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. It’ll hit DVD in time for the general election. There are approximately 400,000 instances in this not-very-subtle screenplay where Fox News viewers are cued to hiss at a phantom Hillary Rodham Clinton, the right wing’s scapegoat for the missteps that kept the Benghazi outpost fighting so long without backup. As these brave men take fire, their inquiries about air support become a clear indictment against a perceived US policy of pussification. While the boondoggle portrayed in 13 Hours may be based on fact, this is movie is fueled by paranoia and hate. Paranoia about a culture too foreign to grasp except as a bunch of mindless monsters, and hate against a government that won’t let us destroy them. Abhorrent politics aside, it’s also a terrible movie. The dialogue is atrocious, the performances rote.

I personally thought the film was brilliant, powerful and emotional. It felt like you were watching this horrible nightmare unfold before your eyes. I strongly urge everyone to go see this film. You won’t wonder any more what all the fuss is about Benghazi. And I certainly hope that the members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi all see the film before issuing their final report.

01/10/16

Benghazi Cover-up Challenged by New Film, More Hearings

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

One major aspect of the Benghazi cover-up has been to denounce the words of witnesses in favor of higher officials’ assertions. This is true not only for those CIA contractors who responded to the attacks, but also for the families of the victims.

In a recent interview with The Conway Daily Sun of New Hampshire, journalist Tom McLaughlin asked Hillary Clinton who, from among the attendees at the Andrews Air Force Base “transfer of remains ceremony,” was lying. He was referring to the family members of the four Americans killed during the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11 and 12, 2012. Mrs. Clinton responded, “Not me, that’s all I can tell you.”

“Not, ‘no one is lying,’” criticized Megyn Kelley of Fox News in a segment with members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, the quick-reaction force whose story is the basis of the book that inspired this month’s forthcoming film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. “Not, ‘let’s not impugn anyone’s motives here,’” added Kelly. “Not, ‘I reject the premise of your question.’”

Given that she has lied about virtually every aspect of Benghazi and her private email server, reporters ought to approach Mrs. Clinton’s claims with skepticism. Instead, The Washington Post continues to avoid calling Hillary Clinton on her lies even within its own Fact-Checker columns.

In October, Post Fact-Checker Glenn Kessler assigned two Pinocchios to presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) for calling Mrs. Clinton a liar for blaming the attacks on a YouTube video while simultaneously telling her daughter, Chelsea, the Egyptian prime minister, and Libya’s president that it was a terrorist attack.

“She certainly spoke about the video, but always in the context of the protests that were occurring across the Middle East,” wrote Kessler in October. In his latest fact check on January 4th, Kessler refused to assign blame to any party at all. The truth, he argues, cannot be found in the dispute between the families of the deceased and Mrs. Clinton.

“Perhaps it all started with a comment made by Rice (who two days later would famously go on national television and make a direct link between the video and the attack, thus spoiling her chance to become secretary of state),” writes Kessler. “Perhaps the question of who said what at what moment got jumbled over time. Or perhaps Clinton mentioned the video privately to just two people—and not to others.”

“Clearly we cannot come to a resolution that would be beyond dispute,” Kessler writes. Kessler is trying to insinuate that the family members of the victims have faulty memories of what happened when they met Mrs. Clinton. True, memories do shift over the years. That is why Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, has perhaps the most convincing story.

Woods provided Kessler with photographic evidence of his September 15, 2012 calendar entry about Mrs. Clinton’s statements. Woods also called in to the Lars Larson show just over a month after the attacks, on October 23, 2012, and told the radio host: “And she did not appear to be one bit sincere at all, and, you know, she mentioned that thing about, ‘We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.’” Shortly thereafter, he appeared on The Blaze making similar comments.

Woods also went on the One America News Network this week and challengedMrs. Clinton to take a lie detector test, along with him, to determine which one is telling the truth.

Townhall cites not two, but four, family members claiming that Mrs. Clinton is an outright liar. But, according to Kessler’s account, the family members claiming she told them about the video are only two: Patricia Smith, the mother of information officer Sean Smith—who died along with Ambassador Chris Stevens at the Special Mission Compound—and Woods.

The other family members—Barbara Doherty, Cheryl Croft Bennett, and Jan Stevens—Kessler writes, told him that Mrs. Clinton did not mention the video.

Kessler does admit that he did not speak to all of the family members. However, his treatment of Kate Quigley raises suspicions as to his overall method.

To add to the appearance of ambiguity, Kessler’s January 4th article casts Quigley, sister of the other deceased security contractor, Glenn Doherty, as having told him that Mrs. Clinton “made no mention of a video, but did refer to a ‘spontaneous protest.’”

In the previous month, according to Mediaite’s Alex Griswold, Quigley directly accused Mrs. Clinton of lying about blaming the attack on the video during the funeral.

“I know what she said to me and she can say all day long that she didn’t say it. That’s her cross to bear,” Quigley told Boston Herald Radio, according to Griswold. Patricia Smith also told the House Government Affairs Committee that a number of administration officials, from President Obama to Susan Rice to Hillary Clinton, all told her that the video was to blame.

What Kessler casts as anecdotal conjecture amounts to far more substance: it is congressional testimony, photographic evidence, and contemporaneous accounts. Yet Mrs. Clinton emerges unscathed from the Post not because she has admitted the truth, but because the liberal media remain loath to challenge her.

Instead, news organizations such as The Hill continue to claim that pursuing the truth behind the Benghazi attacks is a wasteful partisan anti-Hillary vendetta.

“Committee Republicans have long denied allegations that they are bent on a purely political mission to smear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, rather than being motivated by a desire for the facts surrounding the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya,” reported The Hill’s Julian Hattem in his January 4th article covering the Select Committee on Benghazi’s latest round of closed door hearings. The Select Committee interviewed former CIA Director David Petraeus for the second time on Wednesday, and will interview former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday.

“Democrats have opposed the existence of the special committee since it was created in 2014,” Hattem reports. “Two GOP lawmakers and one former Republican committee staffer added fuel to the fire last year, by claiming that a core goal of the committee was to tear down Clinton’s presidential ambitions.” Wechallenged that claim at the time. Hattem also claimed that there was no “damning evidence” against Mrs. Clinton’s job performance and integrity from the October hearing.

No further evidence is necessary to implicate Mrs. Clinton in the Benghazi cover-up. She has deleted half of her emails, provided the State Department with altered messages, lied about having classified information on her private email server, and worked with the White House to blame an attack on a YouTube video while fully aware that this video had nothing to do with the Benghazi terror attacks. But the mainstream media are more concerned with ensuring that Hillary Clinton attains the presidency than vetting her as a candidate.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, appeared on Fox News on January 7th talking about the status of the hearings, the work of the Select Committee, and when he expects the committee to complete their work. Gowdy said that he is eager to wrap it up, having already interviewed 65 witnesses and received about 100,000 documents. He said, “I am waiting on documents from the White House, the CIA and the State Department.” He said that he believes he’s getting close, that he has about a dozen more witnesses to interview, and that he wants to wait for the remaining documents. In the end, Gowdy said that “I trust my fellow citizens to judge the full body of our work.”

I can assure Chairman Gowdy that we at the Citizens’ Commission on Benghaziwill be judging the full body of their work. But if they are waiting until all relevant documents are handed over, the Obama administration will surely run out the clock on them. As we have repeatedly documented, the key aspects of this multi-layered scandal are already well established and on the record. The challenge for the Select Committee is to effectively explain the Benghazi narrative in an environment where a hostile and corrupt news media will be attempting to dismiss and discredit their final report in an effort to protect and defend President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

12/5/15

Putin’s “War on Terror” Could Backfire

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

There can be no doubt that the Russians are winning the Middle East propaganda war. But it’s not just the Marxist far-left that is willing to believe whatever Vladimir Putin and his mouthpiece Russia Today (RT) are saying. Some conservatives and self-described Tea Party leaders have also accepted the disinformation the Russians are putting out, even to the extent of affirming the Russian president as a Christian statesman leading the global war on terror.

Consider Chuck Baldwin’s piece, “Rootin’ for Putin,” which insists that “Russia’s Vladimir Putin is the only one fighting a Just War in the Middle East right now.” Baldwin, a Christian pastor “dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded,” was the presidential candidate in 2008 of the Constitution Party, a group associated with the late conservative icon Howard Phillips.

It is simply amazing that any conservative would insist that Putin, who, despite dropping the communist label is still allied with Iran, Communist China, North Korea and Cuba, is somehow doing the right thing in Syria, a long-time Soviet/Russian client state. What Putin is doing is entirely consistent with what the Soviets always did. They are trying to save a client state from what started out as a popular rebellion.

In his column, Baldwin went on to label Barack Obama, David Cameron of Britain, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as “international gangsters.”

It is true that Obama, through a few of America’s Arab “allies,” has been supporting the cause of some jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been implicated in these dangerous schemes, one of which culminated in the Benghazi massacre of four Americans in Libya. That was a treasonous action that should sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and could have justified impeachment charges against Obama himself. Mrs. Clinton was Obama’s Secretary of State at the time.

These operations in the Middle East have been characterized by former CIA officer Clare Lopez of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi as “switching sides in the War on Terror.”

But the idea that Putin has clean hands in the Middle East is absolutely ridiculous. Considering that he was a Soviet KGB spy and actually headed one of the KGB’s successor agencies, the idea that Putin has suddenly had a Damascus Road conversion to Christianity is simply ludicrous. His foreign policy is very similar to that of the old Soviet Union.

Since the foreign policy has mostly remained the same, Soviet financing and sponsorship of international terrorist networks, many of them linked to Arab and Muslim groups, also have to be taken into consideration here. It is reasonable to assume that the Russians have maintained at least parts of these networks for a purpose that we see in the backing of Bashar Assad in Syria. Indeed, writer and researcher Christian Gomez has traced the roots of ISIS to the Islamic Revival Party, created by the KGB, during the final days of the old Soviet Union. U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, has noted that the Russians are doing little in Syria to fight ISIS terrorists and that “Everything they [the Russians] are doing is to support Assad, to keep Assad in power.” In other words, Putin is continuing a clever Soviet-style strategy that seeks to maintain Assad in power while using ISIS for his own purposes. One of those purposes, as reflected in RT propaganda, is to make Putin look like a terrorist fighter.

Baldwin isn’t the only personality on the right duped by Putin and his propaganda machine. The CEO of a group calling itself simply the Tea Party has distributed an article claiming that Russia has produced “stunning photographic evidence” that ISIS oil was being smuggled into Turkey on an industrial scale.

The “stunning photographic evidence” shows nothing of the sort. Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider examined the Russian maps and found that the three main routes the Russians claim ISIS had allegedly been using to transport illicit oil into Turkey are not primarily controlled by the Islamic State. Turkish President Erdogan has countered: “Who is buying oil (from ISIS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business.” He noted that the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an EU sanctions list, “for serving as middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the ISIS group.”

If you haven’t heard about the sanctions on the individuals and networks providing support to Syria and facilitating Syrian oil purchases from ISIS, you are a victim of the slick propaganda that is being spread around the world by such outlets as RT. It is a fact that the Russian claims against Turkey are taking precedence, even in the Western media, over the facts on the ground, as determined not only by the U.S. Treasury but the U.S. Army. Colonel Warren said, “We flatly reject any notion that the Turks are somehow working with ISIL,” he said. “That is preposterous.”

The “Tea Party” article about the Russian claims was lifted directly from the Infowars.com site of Russian apologist Alex Jones, who just scored a major interview with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. No respectable Tea Party group should have anything to do with Alex Jones, who defended the Russian invasion of its former republic Georgia in 2008. Trump’s decision toappear on his show was extremely foolish. He apparently was not aware that Jones promotes claims that actual terrorist attacks, such as the Boston Marathon bombings carried out by two Muslims from Russia, were “false flags” perpetrated by U.S. police and law enforcement agencies. His website ran a “Voice of Russia”story claiming the dead and wounded were actors plastered with fake blood.

Rather than treat Putin as a good guy or ally, GOP presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (FL) argues that Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally that “deserves the full backing of the United States.” He noted that the Russians were “targeting Turkmen-populated pockets of northern Syria rather than territory controlled by ISIS” and that “Most Russian military strikes since the end of September have been non-ISIS targets, including many civilian areas, revealing that Russia does not share our interest in confronting and defeating ISIS but instead is intent on propping up the Assad regime.”

Before he assumed the role as a leader of the Sunnis in the Middle East, mobilizing forces against Shite Iran and Syria, Erdogan was known for his anti-Soviet views. Indeed, he was an anti-communist in his youth. As a result of Russia’s increased military involvement in Syria, he seems to have awakened to the fact that Putin has returned to his Soviet roots and that Turkey’s future lies with NATO and the West. Turkey joined NATO, originally conceived as an anti-Soviet military alliance, in 1952.

Assuming Erdogan is an Islamist of some kind, as some conservatives contend, it might make strategic sense for the West to back him for that reason alone in his battle with Russia. After all, most of Russia’s 14 million Muslims are Sunnis. RT itself recently highlighted how thousands of Muslims had gathered in central Moscow “to witness the opening of one of the biggest mosques in Europe.” The ceremony was attended by Putin and Erdogan, who had been considered to be on friendly terms.

Their relationship turned sour after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane, and it seems to be deteriorating further.

As noted by Ilya Arkhipov of Bloomberg Business, Putin used his annual state-of-the-nation address to attack Turkey and Erdogan in very personal and religious terms. Putin said, “Only Allah knows why they did this. And it seems that Allah decided to punish the ruling gang in Turkey by stripping it of common sense and reason.” Analyst Timothy Ash told Bloomberg that “The religious angle being used by Putin is unlikely to go down well in the region, where Erdogan is still seen as a defender of the Sunni faith.”

One observer has noted, in regard to Russian involvement in Arab/Muslim terrorism and now ISIS, that the monster that the USSR created may have grown too big, and that it may eventually attack its creator.  In the case of Turkey, Putin is facing a Muslim problem of his own making.

12/1/15

Fresh Perspectives on Benghazi Keep the Scandals Alive

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

While much of the focus of attention on the Benghazi scandal has been about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s actions, and inaction, which may have led to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans, there are other aspects of the story that have gotten far less attention, but are, in fact, more revealing and more damning about the foreign policy of the Obama administration.

The failure of the State Department to respond to more than 600 requests for increased security in Libya, and specifically Benghazi, and Mrs. Clinton’s claim that she was unaware of those requests, as she stated at the October 22nd hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, were damning enough.

When Accuracy in Media decided two-and-a-half years ago to form the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), it was because it had become clear that Congress was doing an inadequate job of getting to the truth, and that the media were doing their best to pretend that this was a phony scandal that didn’t reflect badly on either President Obama or then-Secretary of State Clinton.

Among the key findings of the Commission was the fact that the war in Libya, initially described as a an effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis, but which later became a mission to take out the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, could very possibly have been avoided through negotiations—an offer the Obama administration turned down. Then there was the dereliction of duty, namely the failure to bring available military forces to bear in an effort to save at least some of the Americans under attack during the night of September 11 and into the early morning of September 12, 2012.

There were the lies about the cause of the attack. We learned with greater specificity at the October hearing that Mrs. Clinton knew the first night, and the following day, that this was a planned, organized terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda related group. She said so in no uncertain terms to her daughter, to the president of Libya and to the Egyptian prime minister. Yet the story she conspired to tell the world, and the family members of the victims of the attack, was that the attack was the result of a YouTube video that was viewed as an insult to Islam.

But with all that, which is well documented and laid out in the CCB’s interim report released in April of 2014, the bigger story remains, “How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror.” This was the result of the fact that the Obama administration “facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya,” as we stated in the report.

Much more information has come out proving that to be the case. Breitbart News’ national security correspondent Edwin Mora has taken a detailed look at this part of the story, interviewing a couple of members of the CCB, and has done an excellent job of laying out the facts. It couldn’t be more timely, as the world is coming to grips with how to deal with the cancer of ISIS—one of the chief beneficiaries of this disastrous U.S. policy—and other jihadist groups that are causing so much death and destruction throughout the world today. But have no fear. According to President Obama, the gathering of more than 150 nations in Paris to posture about global warming serves as “a powerful rebuke to the terrorists.” He has said more than 20 times that climate change is a greater threat to future generations than terrorism, and during his first day in Paris for the conference he said that holding the conference there at this time is “an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us.”

In Mora’s article for Breitbart, “Benghazi Commission: Obama Admin Gun-Running Scheme Armed Islamic State,” he cites Clare Lopez of the CCB, saying, “The Obama administration pursued a policy in Libya back in 2011 that ultimately allowed guns to walk into the hands of jihadists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda (AQ) in Syria.”

Lopez, the primary author of the CCB report, said, “The ripple effects of the illegal policy to arm America’s enemies continue to be felt as the U.S. military is currently leading a war against ISIS and AQ terrorists in Iraq and Syria.”

“‘The Obama administration effectively switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror [GWOT] when it decided to overthrow the sovereign government of our Libyan ally, Muammar Qaddafi, who’d been helping in the fight against al-Qaeda, by actually teaming up with and facilitating gun-running to Libyan al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood [MB] elements there in 2011,’ explained Lopez. ‘This U.S. gun-running policy in 2011 during the Libyan revolution was directed by [then] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and [the late Libya Ambassador] Christopher Stevens, who was her official envoy to the Libyan AQ rebels.’”

“‘To avoid having the funds tracked back to the Obama administration, the arms flow to Libya was financed through the United Arab Emirates, while Qatar served as the logistical and shipping hub,’ she noted.”

I urge you to read the entire Breitbart article, and also this Washington Times article, “Clinton State Department approved U.S. weapons shipment to Libya despite ban,” based on documents recovered from the compound in Benghazi. The article gives names and details of how the weapons were transferred, and confirmation that Hillary Clinton’s State Department knew all about it.

There is also a movie coming out in January entitled “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” that we’re hoping is as powerful as the book and the story from the men who wrote it. In the trailer, it shows the authors of the book, members of the CIA Annex Security Team, being told to “stand down.” That phrase is highly charged, because it is something that the Obama administration has claimed never happened. But it did, according to these heroes, who risked their lives to travel the one mile from the CIA Annex to the Special Mission Compound where Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith were killed. They were already dead by the time the men arrived. The movie, from the very successful action-adventure director Michael Bay (“Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon”), promises to put Benghazi back in the headlines, at least for a little while.

10/22/15

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:

Before

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?

During

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?

After

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?

10/18/15

Hillary Clinton and the “Dark Forces” in Benghazi

By: Cliff Kincaid
America’s Survival

Kenneth Timmerman

Kenneth Timmerman, author of Dark forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi, looks at Hillary Clinton’s next scheduled appearance before the Benghazi special committee and the Iranian nuclear deal. He cites evidence that the Iranians were behind the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012. In addition, Timmerman says Iran was involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Timmerman also discusses Russian backing for Iran and the Russian role in attacking the opponents of Assad in Syria. Timmerman also looks at: Will Russia attack the Kurds? And who are the Kurds? Is Obama a Muslim? Will Israel strike Iran?

10/3/15

Kevin McCarthy’s Comments on Benghazi are Wrong and Damaging

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

House Majority Leader, and odds on favorite to become the next Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), has made such a foolish and incorrect statement about the House Select Committee on Benghazi, that the fallout could keep him from ascending to that position, and do great damage to the investigation.

It occurred on Hannity on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday night. “How am I going to be different (than current Speaker John Boehner)? said McCarthy. “What you’re going to see is a conservative Speaker that takes a conservative Congress that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A Select Committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought to make that happen.”

Needless to say, the liberal media and the Democrats have had a field day. This, they say, provides absolute confirmation that the whole Benghazi investigation has been a partisan effort, a “witch hunt,” as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called it, to keep Mrs. Clinton from becoming president.

McCarthy attempted to walk it back, but it was too little and too late. The damage was done. The next day, his office issued the following statement: “The Select Committee on Benghazi has always been focused on getting the facts about the attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Libya that led to the death of four Americans. This was the right thing to do and the Committee has worked judiciously and honestly. As a result of that work, there are now numerous investigations being conducted—including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These inquiries have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the consequences of what the former Secretary has done and her confusing, conflicting, and demonstrably false responses.”

McCarthy had another chance to walk it back on Fox News’ Special Report on Thursday, but basically stuck to the script, showed no contrition, and acted as if he had not said what he had in fact said. Later in the program, panelist Stephen Hayes said to host Bret Baier, “I think the original statement was stupid, and I think in his attempt to clean it up, he made the matter worse. He didn’t have anything to say to you. He couldn’t defend what he had said. Trey Gowdy has gone out of his way to keep the Benghazi committee from being political, and I think it’s done a darn good job about it. And with that one soundbite Kevin McCarthy stepped on it in a big way that I think will cause other Republicans to take a second look at him.”

Charles Krauthammer weighed in: “Gowdy has spent two years as a prosecutor. Skilled, and very honest, being absolutely scrupulous in the way he’s conducted this hearing. And McCarthy demolished that in 30 seconds. I’m not sure he’s undone the damage.”

The Washington Post published an article online shortly thereafter, which appears on the front page of the Friday edition of the paper, titled McCarthy’s comments on Benghazi probe may be a political gift to Clinton. The article, by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, argues, probably correctly, that this has completely changed the dynamics of the scheduled appearance on October 22 by Hillary Clinton before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Now she can play the role of victim of a supposed political witch-hunt.

But the article also claimed that in that interview with Bret Baier, McCarthy had said “that he had apologized to Gowdy and regrets his comments.” However, he never said either of those things.

When asked by Bret Baier if he had apologized to Gowdy, McCarthy said, “I talked to Trey and I told him I regret that this has ever taken place.” Given chance after chance, he never said he regretted his comments. He said he never meant to imply what he actually, clearly implied, which was that this was part of a “strategy” to get her “numbers” to drop.

Following a series of rather uneventful hearings on Benghazi, other than Hillary’s line, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” plus the stacked-deck hearing by the “independent” Accountability Review Board, we at Accuracy in Media (AIM) decided to do something about it. In July of 2013, we formed the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), with a group of top retired military leaders, former CIA officers, and congressmen, including the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, with the purpose of doing our own independent investigation in an attempt to reveal the truth about what happened—before, during and after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11 and 12, 2012—and hold people accountable. We have made much progress, and are still at it.

We started off with an all-day conference in September 2013, which can be viewedhere. Leading off the conference was Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who already had a House bill with approximately 185 Republican House members as co-sponsors, calling for a Select Committee on Benghazi. The advantage of a Select Committee is that it brings all facets of the investigation under one roof, rather than being divided up between various committees, each with a limited scope and purview. Plus, a Select Committee isn’t limited by the normal rules, in which each questioner has only five minutes, which can easily be eaten up by a single answer. Wolf was the real driving force in Congress behind the formation of a Select Committee. You can watch or read his comments here. It had nothing to do with driving down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers.

As a matter of fact, the GOP House leadership resisted the formation of such a committee. Speaker Boehner (R-OH) wouldn’t budge, until May 2, 2014, eight months later. The timing was interesting. It was about a week after we issued ourInterim Report, but the final straw came from Judicial Watch, which had led the way on extracting documents through Freedom of Information, about Benghazi. They obtained and revealed a document—an email—that showed how the information about the known nature of the attack was politicized so the Obama administration could send then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice out on five Sunday talk shows to mislead the public about the circumstances surrounding the attack. The Washington Post reported that the email “clearly showed a White House top priority was to shield Obama from criticism less than two months before voters decided whether to give him a second term.” Speaker Boehner then caved, and agreed to appoint a Select Committee. To our delight, he named Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) as chairman of the committee.

This was no “strategy” concocted by Speaker Boehner and the GOP House leadership, which included McCarthy, to knock down Hillary Clinton. It was instead a very reluctant concession that could no longer be denied.

My belief is that McCarthy didn’t mean to suggest that this was a strategy, but rather that it was merely a result of the investigation. But the fact that he so misrepresented what happened and why, and in such an ineloquent way, in my view should disqualify him from being the next Speaker.

Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton in an interview taped for his new show, which will air this Sunday, that she is “deeply distressed,” by McCarthy’s comments, and that it “demonstrates unequivocally that this was always meant to be a partisan political exercise.” But in reality she is joyful. Finally she has all of her media pals able to change the narrative from her email scandals—which we’ve written extensively about—which is in fact a national security scandal. It involves the mishandling of classified information, and exposing our secrets to amateur and professional hackers throughout the world, making her subject to blackmail, were she ever to accede to the White House.

Bloomberg Politics reporter John Heilemann was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, and was laughing at Hillary’s claim to being “distressed,” saying, “To be clear, the reason that I laughed was not, was because she’s saying she’s deeply dismayed when that’s, she’s, this is like the best possible news, like a birthday present and a Christmas present all wrapped up in one and dropped in her lap. So when she’s saying. ‘I’m deeply distressed and dismayed,’ in fact she’s skipping through the park, inside. That’s what I found funny.” In other words, more disingenuousness from Mrs. Clinton. But who can blame her?

Chris Matthews had a panel discussion about it on his MSNBC Hardball show that same day in which they referred to McCarthy’s statement as a gaffe, meaning that he inadvertently told the truth, and they all had a big laugh. Rachel Maddow and Salon had a great time with McCarthy’s comment, also claiming that it proved what the Republicans were up to all along. Joy Reid, on Matthews’ panel, said that none of the investigations “have found any wrongdoing.” As we’ve argued for a long time, there are plenty of smoking guns, and loads of wrongdoing already on the record, even if nothing else turns up.

Clearly the media double standard is at work here. WMAL radio host Chris Plante, who earlier this year received the Reed Irvine Award for Excellence in Journalism from AIM, reminded us during a two-hour discussion on McCarthy’s comments, of the time that Senator Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate during the 2012 presidential race that he had heard that Republican candidate Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years. He said that Romney should prove otherwise if it wasn’t true. Well, it wasn’t true, and when confronted about that by CNN’s Dana Bash, who asked Reid if he regretted that statement, he replied, no, adding that “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

Now that was a strategy to change an election.