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The Benghazi probe didn't have to come to this


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The Benghazi probe didn't have to come to this

By Byron York | MAY 8, 2014 AT 7:04 PM

Many Democrats have a hard time understanding why Republicans want to keep investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Some see the GOP trying to score partisan points for this November's midterms. Others see a plot to undermine Hillary Clinton's 2016 prospects. Still others see Republican psychosis, the Benghazi variant of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

In fact, the Benghazi controversy, rather than being an all-out political war, is a limited conflict in which some parts of the administration have cooperated with Congress while others haven't.

Republican sources on Capitol Hill say that in general, the Pentagon's cooperation has been a model of how to deal with such an investigation, while the State Department and White House have been models of what not to do.

If the rest of the administration had followed the military's example, the Benghazi controversy would likely be over by now.

The probe started with three questions. One, was the U.S. adequately prepared for possible trouble abroad on the anniversary of Sept. 11?

Two, did the government do everything it could to try to rescue the Americans who were under attack for seven and a half hours?

And three, did the Obama administration tell the straight story about what happened?

Responsibility for answering the first and third questions fell heavily on the State Department and the White House.

In general, their response has been incomplete, unreliable, confrontational, and deeply frustrating for investigators trying to piece together the Benghazi puzzle.

But responsibility for answering the second question, about the immediate response to the attack, fell mostly to the Pentagon. And that has been an entirely different story.

The military side of the investigation was done mostly by the House Armed Services Committee. The interim report from majority Republicans on the committee, released in February, found that the military response to Benghazi was severely hampered because every significant U.S. military asset was out of position to respond on Sept. 11.

Nevertheless, the committee concluded the Pentagon did everything it could with what it had on that ugly night.

"The regional and global force posture assumed by the military on Sept. 11, 2012, limited the response," committee Republicans wrote.

Given that, the investigators said, "members have not yet discerned any response alternatives that could have likely changed the outcome of the Benghazi attack."

Interviewing sources up and down the chain of command, Republicans went over all the military options that were activated or considered to aid the Americans under attack: two FAST platoons of Marines in Spain; a group called the Commander's In-Extremis Force, in Croatia; a special operations unit based in the U.S.; a fighter jet flyover; an armed drone; and more.

The GOP lawmakers came away satisfied that they saw everything; for example, when they asked whether AC-130 gunships could have been used, the Pentagon provided the location of every single AC-130 in the U.S. fleet at that time.

Another example was the possibility of a flyover. Even with other U.S. forces out of place, many lawmakers wondered whether American fighter jets could have buzzed the scene at Benghazi, possibly distracting and scattering the terrorists.

Air Force officials carefully walked the committee through every option that was available, and the factors -- capacity for refueling, overflight permissions, nighttime guidance, the prevalence of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles in Libya, and more -- that went into the decision not to scramble the jets.

After much thought and investigation, committee Republicans concluded a flyover "would probably have been ineffective" and that the Pentagon's decision "makes sense."

In the end, Republicans had few, if any, complaints about the military's cooperation. "They were very responsive," says a GOP committee aide.

"There wasn't a witness we weren't allowed to talk to. There was never an inappropriate delay in providing the documents we wanted to see. Their response was, as far as we're concerned, timely and complete."

What a contrast to the rest of the Obama administration. First, there was the attempt to blame the attack on outrage over an anti-Muslim Internet video -- a claim that was quickly discounted by everyone who has investigated the matter.

Then the State Department conducted an internal review that seemed designed, in part, to build a firewall around then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Then the administration failed to make available a single witness who was actually on the ground in Benghazi the night of the attack.

And recently, of course, Republican complaints that the administration has withheld documents were dramatically confirmed by revelations of emails the administration failed to produce to Congress.

The administration's stance long ago exhausted whatever patience existed among Hill Republicans. Members are "really tired of getting jerked around," another aide said recently. That's a succinct explanation for the creation of the new select committee.

But it didn't have to be that way. The rest of the administration could have cooperated like the Defense Department. If it had, Washington would be talking about something else now. Instead, the fight goes on.

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Nope! We don't believe in fairness according to you. :)

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The Democrats have become Benghazi deniers

By Rich Lowry

May 10, 2014 | 5:47am

At last, we have a Benghazi scandal that Democrats are willing to acknowledge — House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to form a select committee to investigate the administration’s handling of the 2012 terror attack in Libya.

This has been the occasion for outrage that Democrats haven’t been able to summon for any aspect of Benghazi to this point, including the lax security at the compound.

The Democrats and their allies are in denial. They think the Republican notion of a scandal is a complete hoax. Yes, a mistake was made here or there, but otherwise, nothing to see here.

The deniers evidently believe:

•  An administration should be able to make erroneous statements about a terror attack that killed a US ambassador in the weeks before a presidential election and expect everyone to accept its good intentions afterward.

• An administration should be able to withhold a bombshell White House e-mail from congressional investigators and expect everyone to greet its long-delayed release with a yawn.

• An administration should be able to send out its press secretary to abase himself with absurd denials of the obvious and expect everyone to consider its credibility solidly intact.

No opposition party would ever accept these propositions, and of course Republicans (and a few intrepid reporters and organizations) haven’t. We presumably would never have learned of the e-mail from White House national-security official Ben Rhodes to then-ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice prior to her notorious Sunday-show appearances if Benghazi “obsessives” at Judicial Watch hadn’t zealously pursued records through a lawsuit.

It has long been the contention of Rice’s defenders that she was merely tripped up by bad intelligence. It is true that the Central Intelligence Agency wrongly maintained initially that the Ben­ghazi attack grew out of a protest. Yet, there wasn’t any doubt from the outset that it was a terrorist attack.

In his April testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell emphasized, “The critically important point is that the analysts considered this a terrorist attack from the very beginning. They were not slow coming to this judgment.”

But Rice took her cue from Rhodes, who didn’t mention terrorism. It was all about the video, and “people who harm Americans” and “challenges,” including “difficult challenges.”

The administration’s apologists claim that President Obama immediately called Benghazi a terror attack in a statement in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, the day after the assault. He did indeed refer to “acts of terror,” although vaguely. In an interview the same day with CBS, though, he was asked: Was Ben­ghazi the result of a “mob action,” or was it something more serious? “I don’t want to jump the gun on this,” the president said.

Blaming the video allowed the administration to put the most anodyne possible interpretation on Benghazi, while staying in its ideological comfort zone. If the video had incited the attack, it meant that extremists both at home and overseas were to blame and that the administration could adopt a defensive posture about our country’s alleged Islamophobia.

Clearly, the White House considered the Rhodes e-mail damaging, or it would have released it long ago. It then would have spared Jay Carney the exertions involved in maintaining that the e-mail isn’t rightly considered a Benghazi e-mail, even though it was part of Rice’s preparation to go on shows where she would be asked repeatedly about . . . Benghazi.

Not every scandal is Watergate, and it’s foolish for Republicans to invoke it here. The party also shouldn’t be fund-raising over the deaths of four Americans. But the unearthing of the Rhodes e-mail discredits the argument that everything to do with Benghazi is “old news.”

If there’s nothing left to learn, then the White House and Democrats can cooperate with the select committee without fear and watch it hang itself. Instead, every indication is that they will stall, mock and disrupt. Because there’s nothing to see here.

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HMMMM! I wonder what the White House and State Department are afraid of? If there is nothing there, why hide from the truth and answer the simple questions and provide the documents requested.

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Nope! We don't believe in fairness according to you. :)/>

Just as I suspected. :big:/>

According to you.....lol

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HMMMM! I wonder what the White House and State Department are afraid of? If there is nothing there, why hide from the truth and answer the simple questions and provide the documents requested.

That is the $1M Question.

Why indeed would the "Most Open Administration Ever" (lololol) have to resort to subterfuge in this scandal and keep dragging it out longer and longer and longer?

Maybe to tire the public out about it?

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Most of the thousands of documents provided look like this, so the probe will go on:

brentwood_2413518b.jpg

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Most of the thousands of documents provided look like this, so the probe will go on:

brentwood_2413518b.jpg

Transparency? I think not.
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A little historical perspective for your consideration. (Emphasis mine.)

Benghazi v. Beirut

My uncle, President John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize winning best-seller Profiles in Courage recounted the stories of courageous U.S. Senators -- Republicans and Democrats -- who chose patriotism over partisanship and sacrificed personal ambition to national welfare. The GOP's recent efforts to gin up presidential scandals in punitive hearings, media lynchings, and weekly calls for impeachment, evince a party-wide pathology that puts partisanship over patriotism. For Republicans who believe that patriotism ends with lapel pins and cowboy costumes, it might be useful to consider some historical examples of true patriotism by a political party.

At 6:22 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drove a six-ton truckload of high explosives through a lightly fortified plywood fence, past two marine guards with no bullets in their rifles, and detonated his payload at the Beirut airport. The largest non-nuclear explosion ever recorded toppled the four story U.S. marine barracks from its foundation and killed 241 sleeping soldiers. It was the deadliest day for the Marine Corps since Iwo Jima.

Ignoring protests by Congressional Democrats and his own Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, President Reagan had sent the marines to protect Beirut's airport during the bloody civil war that followed Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon to expel the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Citing the April 1983 U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut, where 63 people died including 17 Americans, Weinberger and Congressional Democrats had argued that Reagan's plans for deploying additional marines to Beirut would make the American soldiers "sitting ducks." Worse yet, because Reagan had labeled the marines "peacekeepers," he ordered them not to appear "warlike." Their orders forbade them from erecting fortifications or perimeter fences or loading their weapons. Weinberger had entreated Reagan to station the soldiers in a less vulnerable redoubt, instead of the highly exposed and indefensible airport barracks building. Weinberger later lamented.

I was not persuasive enough to persuade the president that the marines were there on an impossible mission. They had no mission but to sit at the airport which is just like sitting in a bull's-eye. I begged the President to put them back on their transports as a more defensible position.

The American press pilloried President Reagan for putting the marines and servicemen in harm's way without ammunition or any clear mission during a violent civil war in a country rife with sophisticated suicide bombers and a history of successful attacks against Americans. CBS Evening News reported,

the marines rely on the inexperienced Lebanese army to check vehicles. Today, all kinds of vehicles were being waved right through without the slightest verification... the question remains what are the marines doing in Beirut? They are here to prop up a government that still controls only a part of Beirut and none of the rest of the country, and are being told to sit at the Beirut airport where they became prime targets.

Richard Threlkead of ABC's World News Tonight invoked the bitter refrain from Alfred Lloyd Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade, the poet's rant against idiotic commanders and chicken-hawk politicians; "Tennyson would have understood it," he said angrily. "'Theirs is not to reason why, theirs but to do or die.'"

Reagan's response to press badgering about the absence of ammunition and protective barriers only stirred public anger about the president's lack of concern for troop safety. Reagan's explanation for the blunder seemed flippant, "Anyone who ever had a kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would be."

(This reminds me of Rumsfield explaining why our military wasn't properly equipped with body armor and armored vehicles in the Iraq war - "one goes to war with the army you have, not the army you want.")

Late on the evening of the deadly attack, top Congressional leaders including House Speaker, Tip O'Neill became even more unsettled while attending a secret meeting with the president, his cabinet and Joint Chiefs of Staff in the White House residence where they had been spirited in separated cars and through secret corridors from the Old Executive Building.

Reagan began with a story of the Filipino people who supposedly greeted American marines with flowers and flags as they landed on Philippine beaches during World War II. A flummoxed Tip O'Neill considered that story to be apocryphal -- perhaps, a scene from an old movie. Reagan next pledged to the stunned Congressional leaders that he would never allow the terrorists to drive the marines from Beirut and promised that the U.S. would only abandon its watch when peace was assured. He predicted, "I can see the day, not too many weeks from now when the Lebanese people will be standing at the shore, waving and cheering our marines when they depart."

Impatient, O'Neill pounded the table, interrupting Reagan's sentimental flight of fancy. O'Neill demanded loudly, "Mr. President, you are going to have to tell Americans why Americans are in Lebanon?" O'Neill's forceful response shocked Reagan speechless. Majority Senate Leader Howard Baker, soothed Reagan gently, "Mr. President, he's not being critical. He's one of your strongest supporters... he's trying to give you the facts of life." As the meeting ended, O'Neill in a gesture of warmth and support, reached out and touched Reagan's sleeve, "Good luck." O'Neill had considered Reagan's Lebanon enterprise a fool's errand from the outset, and had predicted it would end tragically. But the following day, he made what Congressional Democrats called the most passionate appeal of his tenure as speaker. He told the closed Democratic caucus that "it was their duty, now, not to criticize but to support their President and to do nothing to undermine him no matter what the political advantage." O'Neill told them that it was time for "patriotism over partisanship."

The subsequent Defense Department investigation placed blame directly on the White House for the tragedy. Following the bombing, a bitter Weinberger refused a direct presidential order to launch retaliatory strikes against Shiite encampments in Beirut and summarily withdrew the remaining 1,600 marines from Lebanon.

Four years later, Reagan was caught illegally selling 2,000 missiles to the Iranian terror state in violation of American law and a U.S.-led international arms embargo. Reagan had used the proceeds of that criminal enterprise to illegally fund Nicaraguan terrorists in violation of American laws forbidding the president from financially supporting the Contras. Secretary of State George Shultz and Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger had opposed the Iran/Contra deal from the outset. Shultz warned the president during its planning stages that funding the Contras was "an impeachable offense." The fact that the White House traded some missiles for hostages, set off a brisk bout of new hostage taking across the Mid-East. Looking directly into the television camera Reagan publicly told the American people that he had known nothing about the caper. A week later, the press uncovered documents authorizing the arms for hostages deal -- signed and approved by Reagan in his own handwriting. Reagan was forced to publicly acknowledge his deceit. Instead of politically exploiting this impeccably documented spree of high crimes and felonies by the president and his henchmen, the Democratically controlled Congress instead pursued a deliberate path to avoid impeachment proceedings that might distract the country from urgent economic and foreign policy concerns. Tip O'Neill working side by side with Senate Republicans took impeachment off the table and then hammered out a quiet deal under which Reagan fired his high level staff and brought Senator Howard Baker in to supervise a house cleaning and allow Reagan to serve out his term in dignity.

That was an era when patriotic politicians put their country's interest above their narrow political agendas, a time when politics was an honorable profession and the men who wielded gavels loved their country more than they loved power.

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"My uncle, President John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize winning best-seller Profiles in Courage recounted the stories of courageous U.S. Senators -- Republicans and Democrats -- who chose patriotism over partisanship and sacrificed personal ambition to national welfare. The GOP's recent efforts to gin up presidential scandals in punitive hearings, media lynchings, and weekly calls for impeachment, evince a party-wide pathology that puts partisanship over patriotism. For Republicans who believe that patriotism ends with lapel pins and cowboy costumes, it might be useful to consider some historical examples of true patriotism by a political party

This premise is so flawed it isn't worth rebutting. Neither democrats nor republicans of late have been particularly exemplary lately in their service but sadly, the democrats have sold you and many like on the idea that everything the right does is just ginned up partisanship. Of course it may look like that especially when the majority party operates almost exclusively on race and class warfare and those on the right are totally against going along with an agenda that is basically destroying the american dream.

Steve Israel today says that the best way for democrats to run is to focus on hispanic and black populations and tell them republicans only care about the rich. This is typical of the thought process of the left. Create more divisiveness with class and race warfare. So, yeah, I can understand being against that kind of rhetoric and that kind of phony political pandering. I hope republicans turn up the partisan heat another notch or two myself. The left has NOT one answer..NOT one that doesn't include raising taxes then spending double or triple the additional revenue.

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