Just when you thought the Benghazi massacre story couldn't get any worse, it does. Read this entire post -- the appalling hits just keep on coming. Let's start here:
House investigators warned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expect a hearing into their finding that American staff at the U.S. Embassy in Libya had their request for additional security denied by Washington officials. “Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012,”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and subcommittee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote Clinton today. They dismissed out-of-hand the suggestion that the attack ever could have been regarded as a spontaneous protest gone awry. “In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi,” Issa and Chaffetz added (my emphasis). “The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.” The committee noted 13 “security threats” in Benghazi, including an attempt to assassinate the British ambassador to Libya.
Those 13 threats weren't just chatter; the US consulate was targeted by two actual bombing attempts leading up to the 9/11 raid. Eli Lake -- who scooped everyone with the "day one" revelation that explodes the administration's excuses about their "spontaneous attack" lies -- reports:
In the five months leading up to this year’s 9/11 anniversary, there were two bombings on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and increasing threats to and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi. Details on these alleged incidents stem in part from the testimony of a handful of whistleblowers who approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the days and weeks following the attack on the Benghazi consulate. The incidents are disclosed in a letter to be sent Tuesday to Hillary Clinton from Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the oversight committee’s subcommittee that deals with national security. The State Department did not offer comment on the record last night. The new information disclosed in the letter obtained by The Daily Beast strongly suggests the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the late Ambassador Chris Stevens were known by U.S. security personnel to be targets for terrorists.
Ambassador Stevens' own journal reportedly confirms this assertion. CNN says Stevens wrote about his fears of constant threats -- threats, incidentally, that the Obama administration has downplayed or flat-out denied. A crew from the cable news channel discovered the diary lying on the floor of the Benghazi diplomatic outpost, which has still not been secured, and still has not been picked-over by FBI investigators (see UPDATE II, below). But why would Washington deny "repeated requests" for beefed up security in Benghazi, even when it was so obviously required? That's what investigations are for, but here's a common-sense working theory: This president has demonstrated many times over that the one area of government he's willing to cut -- as in real, net cuts -- is the military. Obama's regime-change war in Libya was managed in such a way as to minimize even the appearance of US involvement, to the point of "leading from behind." Boots on the ground were never an option because Obama wanted this to be a clean, casualty-free effort, unlike the terribly hard and costly work in Iraq and Afghanistan. More security for US interests would have meant more US forces in Libya -- which could be perceived as escalating a new war of Obama's doing. Couldn't have that politically, so we proceeded with an exceedingly "light footprint," to a lethal fault. Meanwhile, guess who helped orchestrate this terrorist attack, according to intelligence sources?
The revolutions that swept the Middle East and North Africa also emptied prisons of militants, a problem now emerging as a potential new terrorist threat. Fighters linked to one freed militant, Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, took part in the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, U.S. officials believe based on initial reports. Intelligence reports suggest that some of the attackers trained at camps he established in the Libyan Desert, a former U.S. official said.
Ahmad, who is associated with Al Qaeda, was released from an Egyptian prison following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, a key US ally. The Obama administration strongly supported the deposing of Mubarak, even though it chose to remain silent in Iran, where a clearly hostile, anti-American regime was slaughtering its own people during an uprising over a stolen election. Now that Egypt's power vacuum has been filled by Islamists, monsters like Ahmad are on the street, free to coordinate the assassination of US Ambassadors. This president's naive foreign policy vision is unraveling before our eyes, and even some mainstream media outlets are connecting the dots. Here's CNN explicitly accusing the White House of a "cover-up:"
USA Today decries the administration's actions and faulty explanations:
Three weeks after an attack in Libya killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, we now know that it did not spring from a spontaneous protest, spurred by an anti-Muslim video, as the Obama administration originally described it. In fact, every aspect of the early account — peddled most prominently by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice — has unraveled. Spontaneous? Hardly. The administration acknowledges that Ambassador Chris Stevens died in an organized terrorist attack, likely mounted by an Islamic extremist group and an al-Qaeda affiliate.
Without warning? Not exactly. Violence against Westerners had been escalating for months in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. In June, an improvised explosive device damaged a perimeter wall at the Benghazi compound. On Aug. 27, the State Department issued a travel warning, citing the threat of assassinations and bombings in both Benghazi and Tripoli. According to a journal found and described by CNN, Stevens himself was worried about safety. Despite all those signals, the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi relied for protection on the young Libyan government and a small band of mostly private contract guards, according to news accounts. Fewer than 10 armed men, both Americans and Libyans, were in the compound when the attack began with gunfire and grenades on the 9/11 anniversary.
I'll leave you with two thoughts. First, a quote from The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg:
"There's a widespread perception in the region that Obama is a weak, somewhat feckless president," (Shadi) Hamid... told me. "Bush may have been hated, but he was also feared, and what we've learned in the Middle East is that fear, sometimes at least, can be a good thing. Obama's aggressive hedging has alienated both sides of the Arab divide. Autocrats, particularly in the Gulf, think Obama naively supports Arab revolutionaries, while Arab protesters and revolutionaries seem to think the opposite." Leaders across the Middle East don't take Obama's threats seriously. Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the Arab leaders of the Gulf countries believe he'll act militarily against Iran's nuclear program in his second term..."
That says it all, doesn't it? Which brings us to the second point. The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens calls Libya Obama's "3 am phone call" moment. To extend the metaphor, Obama bungled the lead-up to the call, slept through it, then jetted to Vegas for politics as usual -- even after receiving the horrifying voicemail message the next day. No regrets, says the Obama campaign.
UPDATE - In the wake of our precipitous and political withdrawal, experts are warning that Iraq is on the brink of becoming a massive strategic loss for the United States.
*UPDATE II* - Investigation over? What?
The State Department has officially removed all government personnel from the Libyan city of Benghazi, closing the consulate building and possibly ending any chance of an on-site investigation of the attack there. Although it has been three weeks since the assault there that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy employees, the FBI has still not been able to visit the compound, set up any operations in the city, or even interview any witnesses who were present during the terrorist attack.
I'm absolutely flabbergasted. This is a failure of epic proportions, from start to finish.
UPDATE III - "No comment" from the White House -- which, they'll remind you -- is "committed" to transparency:
White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to comment on an assertion by the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that requests from diplomats in Libya for added security prior to the September 11, 2012 attack on the diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, were denied. “I’m not going to get into a situation under review by the State Department and the FBI,” Carney said.
Ah yes, "under review" until at least November 7th, I'd imagine. And how are these entities investigating anything? We just learned today that we're abandoning Benghazi (see previous update), having never secured or examined the "crime" scene.