Friday, May 17, 2013

A Side Show Mea Culpa

Sharyl Attkisson's CBS report on the administration's new line on Benghazi, "we were idiots but not on purpose" is not making the headlines it should, considering the administration tactics to date.  Maybe they figure a semi-apology coupled with canceling the Jay Carney show two days in a row will finally cure the disease (so they can concentrate on blaming the IRS scandal on the GOP). Who knows, it might. Fox News has been very quiet of late.

Attkisson's report is very interesting and worthy of an examination.  Here's a comment regarding Hillary and her non-appearance on the Sunday shows on September 16th:
The day before, on Sept. 13, the White House had asked the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she would appear on the upcoming Sunday morning political talk shows. "She'd rather chew tin foil," said someone who's close to Mrs. Clinton. Instead, it was decided U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice would make the appearances. Ultimately, the talking points would serve two purposes: provide guidance as to what Congress could tell the public, and guide Rice for the talk shows.
That's real 3 am leadership!  Hey, sometimes the leader has to chew the tin foil. If she wants to be president she better get used to the taste. But there may be no better quip to illustrate what the cover-up was really all about--the State Department didn't want Hillary damaged and she didn't want to expose herself directly on the record.  So Rice took the bullet (her payoff is coming).  Attkisson later mentions a possible rift between Langley and the White House:
On Sept. 14, the CIA's early version of the talking points credited the CIA with providing warnings on Sept. 10, 2012, that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, could come under attack and that Benghazi was in a precarious state. Others in the Obama administration saw this talking point comment as an instinctive, "knee-jerk cover your ass moment" on the CIA's part and some officials remain bitter today.
One of them said, "We thought, 'why are you guys throwing us under the bus?' ...They [CIA] made it seem like the State Department was given a warning they ignored. No specific warning was given." Petraeus, who resigned amid a sex scandal days after Mr. Obama's re-election, declined comment.
Amazing hubris.  Sure, it's likely the CIA inserted the prior warnings as a gentle reminder that hey--do not throw us under the bus on this. But State and the White House then proceeded to strip everything out of the talking points to render them, as Petraeus would allude, useless.

Attkisson should be up for a Pulitzer for her work on this story.  Here she mentions the survivors:
The FBI had interviewed the survivors previously in Germany, but a source says the FBI agents didn't type up or share their notes at the time because there was no "imminent danger" raised in the interviews. The Obama administration has resisted Congress' demands to turn over FBI transcripts of the survivor interviews.
Why would Congress or anyone else, like those crafting the talking points, need the survivors' interviews anyway?  One has to wonder if their interviews were known to the unknown people present that Saturday morning who whittled down the talking points.  More:
On Sept. 20, a team of Obama administration officials with fresh information agreed to brief the House and Senate in closed sessions. There, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper revealed that Benghazi "had all the earmarks of a premeditated attack." "It was a turning point," said the Obama administration official. "It was just a stark shift from Sunday with no groundwork laid. [Senators] just snapped... Susan was done."
Regards Clapper's revelation in closed session on September 20th keep in mind this was Thursday, a day after Matthew Olsen from the National Counterterrorism Center said it was a "terrorist attack" and the very same day that Anderson Cooper came out and announced that CNN had found Ambassador Stevens' diary talking about "AQ hit lists" and such, something Hillary had just dissembled on the day before in an interview.

It appears Clapper's mea culpa wasn't publicly announced until September 28th, eight days after his closed session revelation and three days after Obama's UN presentation where he once again blamed the video and urged everyone not to slander the Prophet.  One thing from that announcement is worth remembering:
“In the immediate aftermath (of the assault), there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo,” spokesman Shawn Turner said in the statement. “We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly.”
That certainly sounds like they are saying that Clapper's personnel were in attendance at the Saturday meeting and actually had the final word over the CIA.  Where did that information came from?  Did the victims/witnesses in Germany tell them that?  We already know Hicks and Thompson testified they never saw it that way.  It might be helpful to allow Congress to see the transcripts of the FBI interviews with the witnesses. 

As to the recent talking point email release:
An Obama administration source familiar with the process now says the talking points should have been handed over much sooner. "We should have released them six months ago,"
Six months ago? That would be November 17 or so. Did he really mean a few weeks after the election? Finally:
Several Obama administration officials said not using the word "terrorism" early on was not part of a conspiracy, but an "abundance of caution." They reiterate that any misjudgments or mistakes in the Benghazi response and aftermath would not have changed the outcome.
The outcome of what, the terrorist attack or the election? And by the way, where is this abundance of caution when a lone nut killer shoots people in a mall or school? They seem to have no problem blaming guns or hateful political rhetoric.

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