Thursday, January 23, 2014


Benghazigate - End Coverup
Discover The Networks has an excellent summary of Benghazigate to the point which leaves little doubt that the neglect requires at the least some blame of top Obama officials and at worst the impeachment of President Barack Hussein Obama.

This is a bit lengthier than I thought for a blog post. Due to the length I am going to divide DTN’s original into two separate posts. I suggest you either bookmark my two part delivery or DTN’s original. This is valuable information for voters to stay informed to cast their next vote.

JRH 1/22/14

* September 17, 2012: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refuses to characterize the Benghazi attacks as terrorism. During the daily briefing at the State Department, Nuland also defends Susan Rice’s televised performances of the previous day. Says Nuland: “... Ambassador Rice, in her comments on every network over the weekend, was very clear, very precise, about what our initial assessment of what happened is. And this was not just her assessment, it was also an assessment you’ve heard in comments coming from the intelligence community, in comments coming from the White House.”

* September 18, 2012: White House press secretary Jay Carney is asked about Libyan President Magariaf’s assertion that the YouTube video had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi. Replying that President Obama “would rather wait” for the investigation to be completed before issuing an opinion on the matter, Carney

“But at this time, as Ambassador Rice said and as I said, our understanding and our belief based on the information we have is it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped—that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other factors were involved is a matter of investigation.”

* September 18, 2012: Reporters ask Hillary Clinton if Libyan President Magariaf is “wrong” in saying that “this attack was planned for months.” Mrs. Clinton replies:

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent.” She does not say whether she thinks Magariaf is right or wrong.

* September 18, 2012: President Obama appears on television with late-night comedian David Letterman. He tells Letterman that “Extremists and terrorists used this [anti-Muslim video] as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the consulate in Libya.”

* September 19, 2012: President Obama
appears at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan, where entertainers Jay Z and Beyoncé host a $40,000-per-person fundraiser for him.

* September 19, 2012: Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center,
tells a Congressional Committee that the Obama administration is continuing to view the Benghazi incident as an “opportunistic” assault rather than a planned one, though he acknowledges that it could rightfully be classified as terrorism. This marks the first time that anyone in the Obama administration has used the term “terrorism” specifically in connection with the Benghazi attack.

* September 19, 2012: At a press briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney

“Based on the information we had at the time—we have now, we do not yet have indication that it was preplanned or premeditated. There’s an active investigation. If that active investigation produces facts that lead to a different conclusion, we will make clear that that’s where the investigation has led.”

* September 19, 2012: Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Andrew McCarthy, who led the investigations into both attacks on the World Trade Center (1993 and 2001), says the Obama administration’s account of the Libyan attacks on the U.S. consulate is “flat-out fantasy.”

* September 19, 2012: Jim Carafano, the Heritage Foundation's deputy director and a leading expert on defense and homeland security,
says the Obama administration’s contention that the attack on Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya was not premeditated cannot be reconciled with reports from the State Department and the Libyan government.

* September 20, 2012: White House press secretary Jay Carney completely reverses his earlier position, now calling it “
self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” Carney continues to maintain, however, that the administration received no early warnings about it.

* September 20, 2012: President Obama, citing
insufficient information, still refuses to characterize the Benghazi attack as terrorism. He also makes reference
, yet again, to the purported role of the YouTube video:

“Well, we’re still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

* September 20, 2012: The State Department spends $70,000 in taxpayer funds to purchase public-relations advertisements on seven different Pakistani television stations. The ads, intended to underscore the fact that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the YouTube video's content or production, show film clips of speeches where Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama have previously disavowed the film Innocence of Muslims.

* September 21, 2012: Secretary of State Clinton says, “What happened in Benghazi was a
terrorist attack.”

* September 22, 2012: Fawzi Bukatef,
leader of the February 17 Martyrs Brigades, says that the Obama administration took no action during the attacks on the mission in Benghazi, and that “We [the Brigade] had to coordinate everything.” Bukatef's account is entirely consistent with Libyan Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif's earlier assertion that Libyan security forces had essentially handed the U.S. mission personnel over to the attackers.

* September 24, 2012: Taping an appearance on ABC television's The View (which would air the folowing [sic] day), Obama says it is still impossible to determine whether the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism: “[W]e
don’t have all of the information yet, so we are still gathering.”

* September 25, 2012: In a speech to the UN Assembly, Obama, continuing to emphasize the notion that the YouTube video triggered the violence in Benghazi,
states that “a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.” He goes on to say
, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”

Scholar Barry Rubin offers an assessment of why Obama was reluctant to classify the Benghazi attacks as terrorism (Source: "As Benghazi Scandal Builds, Libya Falls Apart," by Barry Rubin, May 13, 2013):

"Suppose that from the beginning on September 11, 2012, the U.S. government announced that the U.S. facility was under attack by a militia group linked to al-Qaeda: it would have had to explain why it had hired members of that militia group to guard the facility, a scandal in itself. We know, 100 percent, that this is true ...
"Next, there might have been a rescue attempt and a firefight between American forces and that militia group in which casualties would have occurred on both sides. … the United States would then have been in a military conflict with that militia. It would have to demand that the Libyan government take action and cooperate with U.S. efforts to punish it."

* September 26, 2012: Libyan president Mohamed al-Magariaf reiterates that the September 11 attack in Benghazi “was a preplanned act of terrorism directed against American citizens.” He states unequivocally that the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims “had nothing to do with this attack.”

* September 26, 2012: At a UN Security Council meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, completely reversing her original story,
concedes that there was an explicit link between al Qaeda's North African network and the deadly attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi 15 days earlier.

* September 27, 2012, filmmaker Mark Basseley Youseff (a.k.a. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula), who produced Innocence of Muslims, is
arrested for “probation violation” and is denied bail.

September 28, 2012
: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which is controlled by the President of the United States, issues a statement that seems designed to quell the growing controversy over the administration’s obviously false assertions that the attacks of 9/11 grew out of spontaneous demonstrations:

“In the immediate aftermath [of the attack], there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al Qaeda.”

Journalist Stephen Hayes writes: “The statement [above] strongly implies that the information about al Qaeda-linked terrorists was new, a revision of the initial assessment. But it wasn’t. Indeed, the original assessment stated, without qualification, 'we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.'”

Hayes also
that ODNI tried to give political cover to its director, James Clapper, by not having him personally issue the statement above. Writes Hayes: "The statement from the ODNI came not from James Clapper ... but from his spokesman, Shawn Turner. When the statement was released, current and former intelligence officials [said] that they found the statement itself odd and the fact that it didn’t come from Clapper stranger still. Clapper was traveling when he was first shown a draft of the statement to go out under his name. It is not an accident that it didn’t."

* October 2, 2012: White House press secretary Jay Carney declines to comment on reports claiming that U.S. diplomats in Libya asked for additional security during the weeks preceding September 11, 2012.

* October 3, 2012: It is
revealed that sensitive documents remain only loosely secured in the wreckage of the U.S. mission, meaning that vital information about American operations in Libya is accessible to looters and curiosity-seekers. Among the items scattered throughout the looted compound are documents detailing America's weapons-collection efforts and emergency-evacuation protocols, Ambassador Stevens' travel itinerary, and the personnel records of Libyans who were contracted to secure the mission.

* October 4, 2012: Longtime U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering is appointed chairman of a federal investigation into the Benghazi massacre. Pickering
has ties to the pro-Iran Islamist front group known as the National Iranian American Council, which has ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He is also co-chairman of the board of the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group.

* October 4, 2012: After weeks of waiting for
security concerns to be addressed, an FBI team finally gains access to the ransacked U.S. mission compound in Benghazi. The team leaves the site after just 12 hours. According to a New York Times report

“Already looters, curiosity seekers and reporters have been through the site, which is only protected by two private security guards hired by the compound’s Libyan owner … It appears that the FBI spent little or no time interviewing residents in Benghazi. Typically they would spend weeks, rather than hours, at a crime scene as important to national security as this site.”

U.S. officials say the hunt for those possibly connected to the September 11 attack has narrowed to just one or two people in an extremist group.

Early October 2012 (Information from an exchange between Gregory Hicks and Rep. Jim Jordan, regarding Congressman Jason Chaffetz's October 6, 2013 visit to Libya):

JORDAN: … [A]s I read the transcript, it seems to me that it [tension between Hicks and his superiors in the Obama administration] came to a head in phone calls you were on with lawyers from the Department of State prior to Congressman [Jason] Chaffetz [a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee] coming to visit in Libya [on October 6, to get an on-the-ground assessment of the attack]. Is that accurate?

HICKS: Yes sir.
JORDAN: And tell me about those conversations, what those lawyers instructed you to do on Mr. Chaffetz's visit to Libya.

HICKS: I was instructed not to allow the RSO, the acting deputy chief of mission, and myself to be personally interviewed by Congressman Chaffetz.

JORDAN: So the people at State told you, don't talk to the guy who's coming to investigate?

HICKS: Yes sir.

JORDAN: … You’ve had [dozens and dozens of] congressional delegations come to various places you’ve been around the world. Has that ever happened … Have you ever had anyone tell you don’t talk with the people from Congress coming to find out what took place?

HICKS: Never.

JORDAN: … And isn't it true that one of those lawyers on the phone call accompanied the folks in the delegation and tried to be in every single meeting you had with Mr. Chaffetz and the delegation from this committee?

HICKS: Yes sir, that's true.

JORDAN: Tell me what happened when you got a classified briefing with Mr. Chaffetz. What happened in the phone call that happened after that?

HICKS: The lawyer was excluded from the meeting because his clearance was not high enough, and the delegation had insisted that the briefing not be limited by –

JORDAN: Did the lawyer try and get into that briefing?

HICKS: He tried, yes, but the annex chief would not allow it, because the briefing needed to be at the appropriate level of clearance.

JORDAN: You had a subsequent conversation after this classified briefing that the lawyer was not allowed to be in, with you and Mr. Chaffetz and others in that delegation, and you had another conversation on the phone with Cheryl Mills [counselor for the Department of State and chief of staff to Secretary Clinton].... She is as close as you can get to Secretary Clinton. Is that accurate?

HICKS: Yes sir.

JORDAN: And tell me about that phone call you had with Cheryl Mills....

HICKS: She demanded a report on the visit –

JORDAN: Was she upset by the fact that tis lawyer, this babysitter, this spy, whatever you want to call him, was not allowed to be in that [classified briefing]?

HICKS: She was very upset.

JORDAN: So this goes right to the person next to Secretary Clinton. Is that accurate?

HICKS: Yes sir. (Source: May 8, 2013 testimony of Gregory Hicks before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform)

* Early October 2012 (Information from an exchange between Gregory Hicks and Rep. Scott Desjarlais, offering additional insight into how Hicks was mistreated by the Obama administration after he questioned Susan Rice's false account of the September 11th attacks):

DESJARLAIS: After Congressman Chaffetz's visit, did you feel any kind of shift in the way you were treated?

HICKS: Yes, again, I did.... Prior to [Chaffetz's] visit, Assistant Secretary Jones had visited, and she pulled me aside and, again, said I needed to improve my management style and indicated that people were upset. I had had no indication that my staff was upset at all, other than with the conditions that we were facing. Following my return to the United States, I attended Chris's [Stevens'] funeral in San Francisco and then I came back to Washington. Assistant Secretary Jones summoned me to her office and she delivered a blistering critique of my management style. And she even exclaimed, “I don't know why Larry Pope would want you to come back.” And she said she didn't even understand why anyone in Tripoli would want me to come back. (Source: May 8, 2013 testimony of Gregory Hicks before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform)

* October 9, 2012: The State Department acknowledges that, contrary to the Obama administration's initial reports, the attack on the mission in Benghazi did not begin as a low-level protest that suddenly and unexpectedly spiraled out of control. The State Department now concedes that there were no protests at all in Benghazi before the deadly assault.

October 10, 2012
: In a heated congressional hearing, Eric Nordstrom recalls talking to a regional director and asking for twelve security agents:

“His response to that was, ‘You are asking for the sun, moon and the stars.’ And my response to him – his name was Jim – ‘Jim, you know what makes most frustrating about this assignment? It is not the hardships, it is not the gunfire, it is not the threats. It is dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me. And I added (sic) it by saying, ‘For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building.’”

* October 10, 2012: In the same congressional hearing, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, the commander of a Security Support Team (SST) that was sent home in August 2012 (against his wishes and those of Ambassador Stevens), says: “We were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had.” Nordstrom agrees, saying: “[I]t was abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. And the question that we would ask is again, ‘How thin does the ice need to get until someone falls through?’” Nordstrom states that on one occasion, he was “specifically told, 'You can’t request an SST extension.'” “How I interpreted that,” says Nordstrom, “was there was going to be too much political cost.”

* October 10, 2012: The State Department
claims that it has never believed, even for a moment, that the attack in Benghazi was carried out in reaction to a YouTube video. The Associated Press reports

“Department officials were asked about the administration’s initial—and since retracted—explanation linking the violence to protests over an American-made anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet. One official responded, ‘That was not our conclusion.’ He called it a question for ‘others’ to answer, without specifying.”

* October 11, 2012: When the subject of the Benghazi attacks is raised during his vice-presidential debate against Paul Ryan, Vice President Joe Biden says, “We weren’t told they wanted more security there.” In light of the obvious falsity of that statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney subsequently explains that Biden's “We” referred only to Biden himself, President Obama, and the White House.

* October 14, 2012: Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith (the foreign service information-management officer who was killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack), tells CNN that the Obama administration told her that the incident was caused entirely by the YouTube video:

"... [The] things that they've told me are just outright lies. That Susan Rice, what—she talked to me personally and she said, she said, this is the way it was. It was—it was because of this film that came out.... Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact all of them did. All of them did. Leon Panetta actually took my face in his hands like this and he says, trust me. I will tell you what happened. And so far, he’s told me nothing. Nothing at all. And I want to know.

"I told them, if it’s such a secret thing, fine, take me in another room, whisper in my ear what happened so that I know, and we’ll go from there. But no. No, they—you know, they treat me like—at first I was so proud because they were treating me so nice when I went to that reception. They all came up to me and talked to me and everything. I cried on Obama’s shoulder. And he — then he’d kind of looked off into the distance. So that was worthless to me. I want to know, for God’s sakes."

* October 15, 2012: In a CNN interview, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes the blame for what happened in Benghazi. “I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.” “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she adds, noting that “we're very close to an election.”

October 16, 2012: During the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, President Obama says that he immediately told the American people that the September 11th killing of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi “was an act of terror.” Seven months later, on May 13, 2013, the Washington Post published its own in-depth analysis of how Obama characterized the events of 9/11/12 in the days and weeks that followed. Said The Post:
Immediately after the attack, the president three times used the phrase “act of terror” in public statements:

(1) “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” — Obama, Rose Garden, Sept. 12

(2) “We want to send a message all around the world — anybody who would do us harm: No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.” — Obama, campaign event in Las Vegas, Sept. 13

(3) “I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.” — Obama, campaign event in Golden, Colo., Sept. 13

... Note that in all three cases, the language is not as strong as Obama asserted in the debate. Obama declared that he said “that this was an act of terror.” But actually the president spoke in vague terms, usually wrapped in a patriotic fervor. One could presume he was speaking of the incident in Libya, but he did not affirmatively state that the American ambassador died because of an “act of terror.” … [S]uch nuances of phrasing are often very important. A president does not simply utter virtually the same phrase three times in two days about a major international incident without careful thought about the implications of each word. [...]

Whatever the reason, when given repeated opportunities to forthrightly declare this was an “act of terrorism,” the president ducked the question. For instance, on Sept. 12, immediately after the Rose Garden statement the day after the attack, Obama sat down with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes and acknowledged he purposely avoided the using the word “terrorism:”

KROFT: “Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word ‘terrorism’ in connection with the Libya attack.”

OBAMA: “Right.”

KROFT: “Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?”

OBAMA: “Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.” (For unknown reasons, CBS did not release this clip until just two days before the elections, and it attracted little notice at the time because Superstorm Sandy dominated the news.)

Eight days later, on Sept. 20, Obama was asked at a Univision town hall whether Benghazi was a terrorist attack related to al-Qaeda, after White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “it is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”

QUESTION: “We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you have information indicating that it was Iran, or al-Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?”

OBAMA: “Well, we’re still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

Finally, during an interview on ABC’s The View on Sept. 25, Obama appeared to refuse to say it was a terrorist attack:

QUESTION: “It was reported that people just went crazy and wild because of this anti-Muslim movie -- or anti-Muhammad, I guess, movie. But then I heard Hillary Clinton say that it was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?”

OBAMA: “We are still doing an investigation. There is no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. Now, we don’t have all the information yet so we are still gathering.”

So, given three opportunities to affirmatively agree that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack, the president obfuscated or ducked the question. In fact, as far as we can tell from combing through databases, [May 13, 2013] was the first time the president himself referred to Benghazi as an “act of terrorism.”

Administration officials repeatedly have insisted that this is a distinction without much difference. “There was an issue about the definition of terrorism,” Carney
said on October 10. “This is by definition an act of terror, as the President made clear.”

During the campaign, the president could just get away with claiming he said “act of terror,” since he did use those words — though not in the way he often claimed. It seemed like a bit of after-the-fact spin, but those were his actual words — to the surprise of Mitt Romney in the debate. But the president’s claim [in May 2013] that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.

Indeed, the
initial unedited talking points
did not call it an act of terrorism. Instead of pretending the right words were uttered, it would be far better to acknowledge that he was echoing what the intelligence community believed at the time--and that the administration’s phrasing could have been clearer and more forthright from the start.

Four Pinocchios. [This was the Washington Post's rating of Obama's lack of honesty vis a vis whether he had referred to the Benghazi attacks as "terrorism" in their immediate aftermath. This rating signifies that Obama was wholly dishonest about the matter.]  

* October 18, 2012: On Comedy Central's The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart asks Obama: “Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within. Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.” To this, Obama responds: “Here's what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”

* October 19, 2012: House Government Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa writes a letter to President Obama, questioning why he has “not been straightforward with the American people in the aftermath of the attack.”

* October 25, 2012: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
says the U.S. military did not intervene when the mission in Benghazi was under assault because military leaders had no “real-time information” about what was happening on the ground.

* October 26, 2012: CIA director David Petraeus
emphatically denies that he or anyone else at the CIA refused assistance to the former Navy SEALs who requested help while under assault on the night of September 11, 2012. According to The Weekly Standard and ABC News, Petraeus's denial strongly suggests that the refusal to assist was a presidential decision made by Obama himself.

* October 26, 2012: A CIA spokesman issues
this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need [at the Benghazi mission]; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

* October 26, 2012: At a press briefing in Washington, the State Department
shuts down
reporters' questions about Benghazi. The administration appears determined to say as little as possible about the September 11 attack until after the November 6 elections.

* October 26, 2012: President Obama says: “What happened in Benghazi is a tragedy.... [M]y biggest priority now is bringing those folks [the perpetrators] to justice, and I think the American people have seen that’s a commitment I'll always keep.”

October 26, 2012
: President Obama discusses the situation in Libya during a satellite interview with local Denver, Colorado TV reporter Kyle Clark. The following key exchange occurs:

CLARK: "Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?"

OBAMA: "Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we're going to bring those folks to justice. So, we're going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again but we're also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks."

CLARK: "Were they denied requests for help during the attack?"

OBAMA: "Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I've said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we're going to find out exactly what happened, but what we're also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks."

* October 30, 2012: Senator John McCain characterizes the Benghazi affair as either a “massive cover up” or “massive incompetence.”

* October 31, 2012: Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s Osama bin Laden tracking unit in the late 1990s and has worked for the Agency for more than 20 years,
that what occurred in Benghazi was not incompetence but rather a “callous political decision to let Americans die”:

“It’s hard to claim incompetence when you have the information in a real-time manner as the White House did. They were watching or listening to the attack on our people there in Benghazi for about seven hours. This, clearly, is a case of deciding not to help those people and now trying, in the waning days of the election campaign, to prevent Americans from learning what a cowardly and arrogant policy Obama picked in order to protect his election chances. Had we sent people to try to help the people who were being attacked, we may have been too late, it may have taken too long to get there, we may have run into a bigger battle and lost more people but the key element here is there is no evidence, from day one until today, that the Obama administration did anything at all to help those people. Nothing was put in train. Nothing was tried. At the end of the day, we abandoned those four people on the orders of the president.”

* November 1, 2012: Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith (the foreign service information-management officer who was killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack), complains that the Obama administration has provided no substantive information about how her son died. Said Mrs. Smith, “Until I find out anything, Obama killed my son, my only child, the one who was going to take care of me when I’m old.”
November 4, 2012: A car bomb explodes in front of a Benghazi police station and injures three officers.

November 8, 2012: Mark Basseley Youseff, the filmmaker who produced the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims, is sentenced to a year in jail for an “unrelated” offense.

November 9, 2012: CIA director David Petraeus admits to having had an extramarital affair and resigns from his post at the CIA.

November 16, 2012: In testimony before the House and Senate intelligence panels, General Petraeus states that the CIA sought to make clear from the outset that an al Qaeda affiliate was involved in the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Petraeus also says that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency's original talking points, but he does not know by whom. Following Petraeus's testimony, Republican Representative Peter King confirms that according to Petraeus, “the original [CIA] talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said [there were] indications of extremists.”

November 16, 2012: Twelve Democratic congresswomen accuse Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham of “clear sexism and racism” because, in condemning Ambassador Susan Rice for her misleading narrative about the root causes of the Benghazi attack, they have described Rice as “unqualified” and “not very bright.”

November 17, 2012: Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, makes reference
to the Obama administration's alleged funneling of weapons, by way of Libya, to Syrian rebels and jihadists seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

“If it is the case that the Obama administration, was in fact, in the person of Christopher Stevens and the CIA operation in Benghazi, taking arms that had been bought from people who had liberated them from Gaddafi’s weapons caches and sending some of those to people [in Syria] who we know include Islamists of the most radical stripe, which include al-Qaida, that is a scandal that will make Iran-Contra look like a day at the beach…”

* December 8, 2012: Mohammed Abu Jamal Ahmed, a suspect in the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, is arrested in Cairo, Egypt.

* December 13, 2012: After months of criticism over her blatant misrepresentations of the September 11 events in Benghazi, Ambassador Susan Rice
withdraws her name from consideration as a candidate for Secretary of State (succeeding the outgoing Hillary Clinton). President Obama accepts Rice's decision, saying: “While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first…. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”

* December 15, 2012: State Department officials
notify the press that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “while suffering from a stomach virus ... became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion.” Clinton’s office states that she will be unable to participate in the House Foreign Affairs Committee's hearing on Benghazi scheduled for December 20 on Capitol Hill.

* December 18, 2012: An independent
report issued by the Accountability Review Board (ARB) led by Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen, blames State Department leadership for “systemic failures” leading up to the Benghazi attack, and asserts that U.S. officials relied too heavily on Libyan guards at the mission, where security was “grossly inadequate.” The report does not blame Secretary Clinton personally, however. Rather, it singles out the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for a “lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns.” But despite the failures of those two Bureaus, the ARB states that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties, and thus it recommends no disciplinary action.

December 19, 2012: In response to the ARB report, Bureau of Diplomatic Security chief Eric Boswell and his deputy Charlene Lamb both resign, along with an unidentified official in the Bureau of Near East Affairs. It is soon learned, however, that these resignees are merely on administrative leave; they remain on the State Department payroll and will all be back to work soon.

* December 20, 2012: William J. Burns (deputy secretary of state) and Thomas R. Nides (deputy secretary of state for management and resources) both
testify in place of Hillary Clinton in the House Foreign Affairs Committee's hearing on Benghazi.

* December 20, 2012: The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, headed by Senator
John Kerry, issues a report entitled, “Benghazi: The Attack and the Lessons Learned.”

* December 22, 2012: After months of trying to get access, FBI agents
question the only known suspect in the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. He is Ali al-Harzi, a 26-year-old Tunisian who was detained in Turkey and extradited to Tunisia in October 2012.

* December 30, 2012: Senators Joe Leiberman (I/D-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) release a
report entitled Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, which states that on September 11, the terrorists essentially walked into the Benghazi mission compound unimpeded and set it ablaze, while State Department personnel in Washington ignored or responded inadequately to repeated pleas for more security from those on the ground in Libya.

* December 30, 2012: In an interview with NBC’s David Gregory, President Obama
says: “Some individuals have been held accountable inside of the State Department and what I’ve said is that we are going to fix this to make sure that this does not happen again, because these are folks that I send into the field. We understand that there are dangers involved but, you know, when you read the report and it confirms what we had already seen, you know, based on some of our internal reviews; there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies.”

* Late December 2012 to early January 2013:
Although Ahmed Boukhtala, a member of an Islamic terrorist group, is the main suspect in the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, he continues to live freely in that city. Libyan authorities are reluctant to become entangled in cases like his, which involve terror-group affiliations. In an interview with a Libyan newspaper, Boukhtala neither admits nor denies his role in the September 11 attack. In response to a direct question regarding the incident, he says

“Let’s first ask about the reason for their presence in Benghazi in this suspicious and secret way. The other thing is: what is the nature of work they were doing in Benghazi? What was the role that the consulate was playing, and who gave it permission to violate Libya’s sovereignty and intervene in Libyan politics?”

* January 3, 2013: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is released from the hospital following a bout with the flu, a concussion, and a blood clot. It is reported that she will soon testify in front of a Congressional committee about the terrorist attack on the American mission in Benghazi.

January 6, 2013: Reports say that Libya's investigation into the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi has been hampered by widespread fear that Islamic extremists will retaliate with violence against witnesses who testify.

* January 9, 2013: Tunisian authorities
release Ali al-Harzi, the only man held so far in connection with the September 11 attacks in Benghazi—an indication that the Libyan-led investigation into those attacks is foundering. According to the Benghazi-based analyst and political science professor Khaled al-Marmimi: “Investigators are afraid to keep probing the case because they are concerned extremists will kidnap them at any moment.”

* January 10, 2013: Despite President Obama's September 12, 2012 vow to “work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” Libyan authorities now
say the investigation is stalled, if not entirely dead, with witnesses too fearful to talk and key police officers targeted for violent retribution. According to Mohamed Buisier, a political activist in Benghazi: “There is no Libyan investigation. No, no, no. There is not even a will to investigate anything. Even for us civilians, it is very dangerous if you talk about this subject.”

* January 17, 2013: FBI director Robert Mueller
to Libya to meet with senior officials, including the prime minister, justice minister, and intelligence chief, to discuss what occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Hillary Clinton's Testimony
* January 23, 2013: Fully 134 days after the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress.

During the course of her testimony, Clinton states that she was
unaware of Ambassador Stevens' August 15, 2012 cable saying that "we can't defend this place."

Clinton also
: "I want to make clear that no one in the State Department, the intelligence community, any other agency, ever recommended that we close Benghazi. We were clear-eyed about the threats and the dangers as they were developing in eastern Libya and in Benghazi."

  • (This testimony was later contradicted, however, by Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who headed the U.S. military’s efforts to improve diplomatic security in Libya. Wood testified that he personally had recommended that the Benghazi mission be closed, in light of the fact that more than 200 attacks -- including approximately 50 in Benghazi -- had been carried out against American interests in Libya.)

The most dramatic moment in the proceedings occurs when Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson asks Mrs. Clinton to explain why the State Department spent so long characterizing the attack as an unplanned, unforseeable (sic) escalation of an impromptu protest over an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video, rather than a pre-planned, carefully orchestrated act of terrorism led by an al Qaeda-affiliated group. Clinton yells back: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

Also during the question-and-answer session, Clinton
: “I did not say ... that it was about the video for Libya.” This was a lie, as evidenced by the following facts:

o   On September 12, 2012, Clinton released a public statement linking the attack against the U.S. mission in Benghazi to the YouTube video, which she described as “inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” said Clinton, adding: “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

o   On September 13, 2012, Clinton delivered a televised statement denouncing not only the violence in Benghazi but also the “disgusting and reprehensible” video allegedly responsible for it, and stating “very clearly” that “the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video.” “We absolutely reject its content and message,” said Clinton, emphasizing America’s great “respect for people of faith.”

o   At the September 14 receiving ceremony where the bodies of the four dead Americans were returned to the United States, Clinton spoke to the grieving families of the deceased. In the course of her remarks, she referenced an “awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Afterward, she told the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who had been killed in the attack, “We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.”

o   Also at the September 14 receiving ceremony, Clinton told Pat Smith -- the mother of slain Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith -- that the cause of the violence that had killed her son was the YouTube video. (Source: The O'Reilly Factor: Interview with Pat Smith on May 9, 2013).

Another important moment in the January 23 proceedings occurs when Republican Senator Rand Paul directs the following pointed remarks at Mrs. Clinton:

"One of the things about the original 9/11 is that no one was fired. We spent trillions of dollars, but there were a lot of human errors, judgement (sic) errors and the people who make judgement (sic) errors need to be replaced, fired and no longer in a position to make these judgement (sic) calls.

"So we have a Review Board. The Review Board finds 64 different things we can change. A lot of them are common sense and can be done, but the question is, it’s a failure of leadership that they weren’t done in advance and 4 American lives were lost because of this. I’m glad that you are accepting responsibility. I think that ultimately with you leaving, you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and I really mean that. Had I been President at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it is inexcusable.

"The thing is, that we can understand you are not reading every cable. I can understand that maybe you are not aware of the cable from the Ambassador in Vienna that asks for $100,000 for an electrical charging station. I can understand that maybe you are not aware that your Department spent $100,000 on 3 comedians who went to India on a promotional tour called Make Chi, Not War, but I think you might be able to understand that you should be aware of the $80 million spent on a consulate in Mahshahr al-Sharif that will never be built.

"I think it’s inexcusable that you did not know about this [the growing danger in Benghazi] and that you did not read these cables. I think by anybody’s estimation, Libya has to be one of the hottest of hot spots around the world. Not to know of the requests for securities, really I think cost these people their lives. Their lives could have been saved had someone been more available, had someone been aware of these things, more on top of the job, and the thing is, I don’t suspect you of bad motives. The Review Board said, well these people weren’t willfully negligent. I don’t think you were willfully…I don’t suspect your motives for wanting to serve your country, but it was a failure of leadership not to be involved. It was a failure of leadership not to know these things, and so I think it is good that you are accepting responsibility, because no one else is. There is a certain amount of culpability to the worst tragedy since 9/11, and I’m glad you are accepting this."

Senator Paul then has the following exchange with Mrs. Clinton:

PAUL: "Is the United States involved with an procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?"

CLINTON: "To Turkey? I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody’s ever raised that with me."

PAUL: "It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons, and what I would like to know is, the annex that was close by—were they involved with procuring, buying, selling weapons, and are these weapons being transfered (sic) to other countries? Any countries, Turkey included?"

CLINTON: "Well, Senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the Annex. I will see what information is available…"

PAUL: "You’re saying you don’t know?"

CLINTON: "I do not know. I have no information on that."

Responses to Hillary Clinton's Testimony

* Information from an exchange between Eric Nordstrom, Gregory Hicks, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, regarding Hillary Clinton's testimony about who made security decisions in Benghazi:

CHAFFETZ: When I saw Secretary Clinton four and a half months after the attack in Benghazi, testify before the United States Congress that she didn't make the security decisions, [that] you made the security decisions, Mr. Nordstrom. You're the regional security officer on the ground. You were the chief security person. You're the ones that made the security decisions. True of (sic) false?

NORDSTROM: The response I got from the regional director, when I raised the issue that we were short of our standards for physical security was that my quote, “tone,” was not helpful.

CHAFFETZ: Is it true or false: The security decisions on the ground in Libya were made by you.

NORDSTROM: I would have liked to have thought, but apparently no.

CHAFFETZ: Mr. Hicks, when you heard and saw that, did you have a reaction to it? What's your personal opinion?

HICKS: When I was there, I was very frustrated by the situation – at times, even frightened by the threat scenario that we were looking at, relative to the resources that we had to try to mitigate that threat scenario. (Source: May 8, 2013 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform)

* Mrs. Clinton's testimony was also later contradicted by Eric Nordstrom's testimony before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, when he had the following exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan:

JORDAN: Mr. Nordstrom you testified in October [2012] there were 200 and some security incidents in Libya [during] the 13 months prior to the attack. Is that correct?

NORDSTROM: That's correct.

JORDAN: Repeated attempts to breach the facility there. You repeatedly asked for additional security personnel and it was denied. Correct?

NORDSTROM: That's correct.

JORDAN: Not only denied, but it was reduced. Correct?

NORDSTROM: That's correct.

JORDAN: And then four and a half months after it all happens, the Secretary of State says you were responsible for the security situation in Libya. (Source: May 8, 2013 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform)

Testimony of Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey
* February 7, 2013: Leon Panetta (Defense Secretary) and General Martin Dempsey (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee as to what they know about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.

February 7, 2013: Key testimony by Panetta:

o   Senator Kelly Ayotte asks Panetta if President Obama ever contacted him subsequent to their 5 p.m. pre-scheduled meeting on September 11 (at which time they were already aware of the attack in Benghazi), and he replies, “No.”

o   Ayotte asks Panetta if anyone else from the White House called him after 5 p.m. on September 11, or if he contacted the White House after 5pm, and he replies “No” to both questions.

o   Ayotte asks Panetta if the President ever asked him, “Why weren’t we able to, in light of the second attack that occurred seven hours later, [send] armed assets there in order to help those who were left and attacked in the Annex?” Panetta replies, “The President has made very clear to both myself and General Dempsey that with regards to future threats, we have got to be able to deploy forces in a position where we can more rapidly respond.”

o   Ayotte asks Panetta: “Did he [Obama] ask you how long it would take to deploy assets, including armed aviation, to the area?” He replies, “No.”

o   Ayotte asks Panetta: “He [Obama] didn’t ask you what ability you had in the area and what we could do?” Panetta again replies, “No. I mean, he relied on both myself and Gen. Dempsey’s capabilities. He knows generally what we have deployed to the region; we’ve presented that to him in other briefings.”

o   Ayotte asks Panetta, “But just to be clear, that night he [Obama] didn’t ask you what assets we had available and how quickly they could respond and what we could do to help those individuals?” Panetta replies, “I think the biggest problem that night, Senator, was that nobody knew really what was going on there.”

o   Ayotte's final question is, “And there was no follow up in the night, at least from the White House directly?” Panetta replies, “No. No there wasn’t.”

* February 7, 2013: Key testimony by General Dempsey (exchange with Senator John McCain):

MCCAIN: “Did you ever get the [August 15, 2012] message that said they could not withstand a sustained on the Consulate?”
DEMPSEY: “I was tracking that intelligence. I was tracking through General Ham…”
MCCAIN: “Did you receive that information?”

DEMPSEY: “I did and I saw it…”

MCCAIN: “So it didn’t bother you?”

DEMPSEY: “It bothered me a great deal.”

MCCAIN: “Then why didn’t you put forces in place to be ready to respond?”

DEMPSEY: “We never received the request to do so, number one and number two, we—”

MCCAIN: “You never heard of the Ambassador Steven’s repeated warnings about the last [inaudible because of cross talk]”

DEMPSEY: “I had, through General Ham. But we never received a request for support from the State Department which would have allowed us to put forces ... [inaudible b/c of cross talk]”

* February 7, 2013: Key testimony by Panetta and Dempsey together (exchange with Senator Ted Cruz):

CRUZ: “In between 9:42 pm Benghazi time, when the first attacks started, and 5:15 am, when Mr. Doherty and Mr. Woods lost their lives, what conversations did either of you have with Secretary Clinton?”

PANETTA: “We did… We did not have any conversations with Secretary Clinton.”

CRUZ: “So, and General Dempsey, the same is true, true for you?”

DEMPSEY: [He nods his head in the affirmative.]

* February 7, 2013: Key testimony by Panetta:
  • Panetta says that President Obama told him and General Dempsey to “do whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people there,” though when it came to specifics the president “left it up to us.”

This is highly significant, because, as radio host Mark Levin explains, only the President of the United States is authorized to order American troops to take any action requiring them to cross the border of a sovereign nation where they are not already stationed. In other words, the only assets that Panetta and Dempsey had at their disposal—absent such an order—were those few that were already stationed in Libya. Other U.S. assets in the region, such as a carrier group and fast-reaction forces based in the region (but outside Libya's borders). Says Levin:

"Only the President of the United States can authorize a cross-border operation, the sending of military forces into another nation. Bin Laden is a case in point. So only the President had the authority to order a military operation in Libya, in Benghazi. He didn't do it.

"A U.S. Navy carrier group was 300 miles off Libya's shore. Three hundred miles, that's all. Fast-moving jets could have easily been there in a little over an hour. They weren't sent.

"Livorno, Italy—where fast-reaction forces were located and alerted—is the same distance from Benghazi as Tripoli. They could have been there in less than two hours, from alert to boots-on-the-ground. Less than two hours. But they weren't ordered by the President of the United States.

"It's obvious from today's testimony by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta ... that Obama did not authorize the cross-border military operation, meaning Obama lied to that local reporter [Kyle Clark, in Denver, on October 26, 2012]. The only asset Panetta and Dempsey had left to send was the seven-man Reaction Force from Tripoli."

After the Panetta/Dempsey Testimony

February 14, 2013: In a letter to Congress, the White House acknowledges that President Obama made no phone calls on the night of the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

February 20, 2013: Contradicting the February 14th White House letter, White House press secretary Jay Carney says, “At about 10 pm [on 9/11/12], the President called Secretary Clinton to get an update on the situation.”

March 25, 2013
: The New York Times -- citing air traffic data, interviews with officials in a number of countries, and the accounts of rebel commanders -- reports that, contrary to previous denials by the Obama administration, the CIA in recent months has been working with Arab governments and Turkey to sharply increase the supply of arms shipments to Syrian rebels. Says the Times:

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries, and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the shipments or its role in them....

Most of the cargo flights have occurred since November, after the presidential election in the United States and as the Turkish and Arab governments grew more frustrated by the rebels’ slow progress against Mr. Assad’s well-equipped military. The flights also became more frequent as the humanitarian crisis inside Syria deepened in the winter and cascades of refugees crossed into neighboring countries.

The Turkish government has had oversight over much of the program, down to affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey so it might monitor shipments as they move by land into Syria, officials said. The scale of shipments was very large, according to officials familiar with the pipeline and to an arms-trafficking investigator who assembled data on the cargo planes involved.

“A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.

“The intensity and frequency of these flights,” he added, are “suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation.”

Although rebel commanders and the data indicate that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey to the opposition since early and late 2012, respectively, a major hurdle was removed late last fall after the Turkish government agreed to allow the pace of air shipments to accelerate, officials said....

The airlift to Syrian rebels began slowly. On Jan. 3, 2012, months after the crackdown by the Alawite-led government against antigovernment demonstrators had morphed into a military campaign, a pair of Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130 transport aircraft touched down in Istanbul, according to air traffic data.

They were a vanguard.

Weeks later, the Syrian Army besieged Homs, Syria’s third largest city. Artillery and tanks pounded neighborhoods. Ground forces moved in.

Across the country, the army and loyalist militias were trying to stamp out the rebellion with force — further infuriating Syria’s Sunni Arab majority, which was severely outgunned. The rebels called for international help, and more weapons.

By late midspring the first stream of cargo flights from an Arab state began, according to air traffic data and information from plane spotters.

On a string of nights from April 26 through May 4, a Qatari Air Force C-17 — a huge American-made cargo plane — made six landings in Turkey, at Esenboga Airport. By Aug. 8 the Qataris had made 14 more cargo flights. All came from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for American military logistics in the Middle East....

The former American official said David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director until November, had been instrumental in helping to get this aviation network moving and had prodded various countries to work together on it....

The American government became involved, the former American official said, in part because there was a sense that other states would arm the rebels anyhow. The C.I.A. role in facilitating the shipments, he said, gave the United States a degree of influence over the process, including trying to steer weapons away from Islamist groups and persuading donors to withhold portable antiaircraft missiles that might be used in future terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft.

* April 2013: Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith (the foreign service information-management officer who was killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack), reveals more about the Obama administration's failure to provide her with any substantive information about how and why her son died:

"My son himself told me that he warned them…. He said: ‘I told them, I sent messages’…. He was on the tele-type of whatever it is… he was on there telling them, just before it happened, and that the guy out there was taking pictures of the place. He was telling them that. He was a communications guy and he was communicating that.

"They [the Obama administration] don’t tell me much. They want me to shut up…. I was told, and I really would rather not say by who, [though] I can if you need it, but I was told that I’m causing a lot of problems and to shut up…. I told them ‘I will not! I will not shut up until I find out what really happened!’

"The President? I cried on his shoulder. And I was crying there and he’s patting me on the back and looking around to who he’s gonna talk to next. So I didn’t feel any comfort there. Hillary? I cried on her shoulder also, but she paid a little attention to me then walked off.

"That’s the reason I keep opening my mouth about it. I want someone to admit it so that it won’t happen again. So that there’s safety there."

* April 9, 2013: WorldNetDaily (WND) reports that more than 700 special operations veterans (belonging to a group called Special Operations Speaks) "are demanding that the House of Representatives convene a special committee to uncover the answers to lingering questions about the Benghazi terrorist attacks." “I don’t anything significant has been learned except that what is to be learned is of sufficient importance that the administration is pulling out all the stops to hide it,” says retired U.S. Navy captain and SEAL Larry Bailey, co-founder of Special Operations Speaks. Adds Bailey: 

“The greatest indicator of culpability is the fact that the commander in chief, after having seen his troops under fire from a drone-mounted camera, after 30 minutes of being in the White House Situation Room, he excused himself and was never heard from since. He went to bed that night and got up the next morning and flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser and never once – and this is according to [former Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta and Hillary Clinton – never once called back to check and see how things were going. The guilt issue comes when the culpability is covered up, and that’s where we’re coming from. We know the culpability is there, but we have not begun to get our claws into the guilt issue, but we will....

“It was so easy to get people to sign the petition [for a special committee]. We got 700 names right away, all the way from four-star generals down to guys who were privates in the Army and didn’t do a career in the Army, but they were special operations and they’re part of our brotherhood. It just breaks your heart to hear about those two guys living for seven hours and fighting for seven hours and knowing they could have been rescued at any time during that time. Knowing that there were aircraft somewhere in the area, and knowing that there were ships not too far away and knowing that there were rescue teams within a reasonable distance, they could have been rescued. They went to the sound of the guns. They were saving people, but they couldn’t be saved themselves because of the ineptitude or the political chicanery of an administration that doesn’t even care about the military.”

Bailey also complains that the survivors of the 9/11/12 attack have been forced to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Benghazigate Congressional Report: Obama Administration Lied About Video; Hillary Clinton Knew About Inadequate Security

April 23, 2013: A Congressional Interim Progress Report on the events surroundng (sic) the 9/11/12 attacks in Benghazi is released. Among the report's highlights:

• "Reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton. This fact contradicts her [Mrs. Clinton's] testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23, 2013."

• "In the days following the attacks, White House and senior State Department officials altered accurate talking points drafted by the Intelligence Community in order to protect the State Department."

• "Contrary to Administration rhetoric, the talking points were not edited to protect classified information. Concern for classified information is never mentioned in email traffic among senior Administration officials."

The report makes a clear case that Hillary Clinton knew the situation in Benghazi and chose to weaken security while far larger sums of money were being spent elsewhere by the State Department:

• "Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department. For example, an April 2012 State Department cable bearing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned."

• "The attacks were not the result of a failure by the Intelligence Community (IC) to recognize or communicate the threat. The IC collected considerable information about the threats in the region, and disseminated regular assessments to senior U.S. officials warning of the deteriorating security environment in Benghazi, which included threats to American interests, facilities, and personnel."

• "In addition, the April 2012 cable from Secretary Clinton recommended that the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the U.S. Mission in Libya conduct a 'joint reassessment of the number of DS agents requested for Benghazi.' This prompted one frustrated Embassy Tripoli employee to remark to her colleagues that it 'looks like no movement on the full complement of [five DS] personnel for Benghazi, but rather a reassessment to bring the numbers lower.'"

Furthermore, the report points to a lack of preparation by the White House and its centralized national security framework:

• "The President, as Commander-in-Chief, failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense. Defense Department assets were correctly positioned for the general threat across the region, but the assets were not authorized at an alert posture to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense, and were provided no notice to defend diplomatic facilities."

The report addresses the fumbled cover-up and incompetent response in the aftermath of the attacks:

• "The Administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video. U.S. officials on the ground reported – and video evidence confirms – that demonstrations outside the Benghazi Mission did not occur and that the incident began with an armed attack on the facility. Senior Administration officials knowingly minimized the role played by al-Qa’ida-affiliated entities and other associated groups in the attacks, and decided to exclude from the discussion the previous attempts by extremists to attack U.S. persons or facilities in Libya."

• "Administration officials crafted and continued to rely on incomplete and misleading talking points. Specifically, after a White House Deputies Meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Administration altered the talking points to remove references to the likely participation of Islamic extremists in the attacks. The Administration also removed references to the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya, including information about at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi."

• "Senior State Department officials requested – and the White House approved – that the details of the threats, specifics of the previous attacks, and previous warnings be removed to insulate the Department from criticism that it ignored the threat environment in Benghazi."

• "Evidence rebuts Administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Email exchanges during the interagency process do not reveal any concern with protecting classified information. Additionally, the Bureau itself approved a version of the talking points with significantly more information about the attacks and previous threats than the version that the State Department requested. Thus, the claim that the State Department’s edits were made solely to protect that investigation is not credible."

• "The Administration’s decision to respond to the Benghazi attacks with an FBI investigation, rather than military or other intelligence resources, contributed to the government’s lack of candor about the nature of the attack."

• "Responding to the attacks with an FBI investigation significantly delayed U.S. access to key witnesses and evidence and undermined the government’s ability to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice in a timely manner."
The report includes a timeline of events and of the administration’s narrative and slams Obama’s determination to treat the attacks as criminal attacks, rather than acts of war:

• "Without significant progress in finding and questioning suspects, it appears that the decision to proceed with an FBI investigation – presumably with the intention of obtaining a criminal indictment in U.S. courts – was ill-advised. For instance, the United States responded to the attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa in the 1990s and against the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 with criminal investigations. On their own, those investigations failed to bring many of those responsible to justice and likely encouraged further terrorist activity. This approach is not the most effective method of responding to terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in foreign countries."

• "It was only after the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the United States responded to terrorism with military force, that the government successfully brought some of the perpetrators of those attacks and the previous attacks to justice. The Department of Defense offered to provide a U.S. military security team to accompany the FBI team. This option was not pursued. Terrorists are not deterred by criminal investigations. Because members of terrorist organizations that attack U.S. interests around the world are conducting more than a crime, they must be responded to accordingly to be thwarted."

After the Benghazigate Congressional Report

May 4, 2013: Three career State Department officials—describing themselves as Benghazi "whistleblowers"—say they will testify the following week in a congressional hearing (conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by California Republican Darrell Issa) examining the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks. Those who will testify include:

o   Gregory N. Hicks, a foreign service officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargĂ© d’Affairs in Libya

o   Former Marine Mark I. Thompson, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism for the State Department

o   Diplomatic security officer Eric Nordstrom, former Regional Security Officer in Libya.

Hicks and Thompson have not yet spoken publicly about the Benghazi attacks. Nordstrom previously testified before the committee in October 2012, when he spoke about the series of requests that he, along with Ambassador Stevens and others, had made seeking enhanced security at the Benghazi mission. Noting that the State Department had refused most of their requests, Nordstrom said, angrily: "[F]or me, the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building."

Early May 2013: Former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing (a former chief counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee) announce that they are representing, pro bono, two career State Department "whistleblowers" who claim that their accounts about the Benghazi attacks were disregarded by the Accountability Review board convened by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Moreover, DiGenova and Toensing claim that their clients have faced threats from superior officers. “I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi — that people have been threatened,” Toensing said. “And not just the State Department; people have been threatened at the CIA…. It's frightening…. They're taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over.”

Testimony at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing

May 8, 2013: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the events of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. The witnesses are: (a) Gregory Hicks, foreign service officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, who was stationed at the State Department residential compound in Tripoli on 9/11/12; he is also a Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary, and then for Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general elections; (b) Mark Thompson, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Counter-terrorism; and (c) Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer.

To read key excerpts of the testimony that was presented during the May 8, 2013 hearing,
click here. (NOTE: These excerpts have also been inserted in the various places where they belong in the timeline above, on this page.)

Benghazi Survivors Forced to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements

May 21, 2013: At a CIA ceremony honoring the Agency officials killed in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, several CIA officers who survived those attacks are asked to sign non-disclosure agreements
(NDAs)—despite the fact that they are: (a) leaving government service, and (b) still bound by previous NDAs which they signed. Both before and after the May 21st NDAs, intelligence officials adamantly deny that anyone affiliated with the CIA has been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements regarding the events in Benghazi.

* July 18, 2013 (Thursday): Congressman Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, speaks on the House floor and reports that survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements:

"On Tuesday I raised the question of why none of the Benghazi survivors, whether State Department, CIA, or private security contract employees have testified publicly before Congress.

"According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks. Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer.

"It is worth noting that the Marine Corps Times yesterday reported that the Marine colonel whose task force was responsible for special operations in northern and western Africa at the time of the attack is still on active duty despite claims that he retired. And therefore could not be forced to testify before Congress.

"If these reports are accurate, this would be a stunning revelation to any member of Congress, any member of Congress that finds this out and also more importantly to the American people. It also raises serious concerns about the priority of the administration's efforts to silence those with knowledge of the Benghazi attack in response.

"So today I ask, how many federal employees, military personnel, or contractors have been asked to sign additional non-disclosure agreements by each agency? And do these non-disclosure agreements apply to those undercover or have non-covert State Department and Defense Department employees?

"I do not expect the Obama administration to be forthcoming with answers, but if this Congress, if this Congress does not ask for the information and compel its delivery, the American people will never learn the truth. Any federal employer employee or contractor who has been coerced and is silenced through a non-disclosure agreement should expect that Congress [will] ask to speak out on their behalf and compel their voice to be heard. That's why I, along with 159 of my colleagues, support a Select Committee to hold public hearings to learn the truth about what happened that night in Benghazi."

Selective Release of Photos of the Attack Scene
* June 2013: In response to two Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, the State Department releases seven photos that were taken of the besieged diplomatic mission in Benghazi shortly after the attacks of 9/11/12. (In December 2012, and again in February 2013, Judicial Watch requested that the State Department turn over all the photos and videos it possessed of the besieged diplomatic mission.) It would later be discovered, in November 2013, that the State Department actually had many additional photos of the attack scene in its possession, but failed to make them available to Judicial Watch.)

Report: Dozens of CIA Operatives Were on the Ground in Benghazi on 9/11/12, and Seven Were Badly Wounded

August 1, 2013
: CNN's Jake Tapper issues an explosive report indicating that approximately 35 CIA operatives were on the ground in Benghazi when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate on September 11, 2012. Some excerpts:

... Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret. CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings. The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.

It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career....

"Agency employees typically are polygraphed every three to four years. Never more than that," said former CIA operative and CNN analyst Robert Baer.... "If somebody is being polygraphed every month, or every two months it's called an issue polygraph, and that means that the polygraph division suspects something, or they're looking for something, or they're on a fishing expedition. But it's absolutely not routine at all to be polygraphed monthly, or bi-monthly," said Baer....

Among the many secrets still yet to be told about the Benghazi mission, is just how many Americans were there the night of the attack. A source now tells CNN that number was 35, with as many as seven wounded, some seriously. While it is still not known how many of them were CIA, a source tells CNN that 21 Americans were working in the building known as the annex, believed to be run by the agency....

Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.

Fox News reports that seven of the CIA operatives who survived the Benghazi attacks were injured badly enough to warrant hospitalization; that one of them reportedly underwent a partial leg amputation; and that another suffered smoke inhalation and a possible brain injury. 

* August 1, 2013: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) states that the Obama Administration has been: (a) "not letting us talk with people who have the most amount of information" about the Benghazi attacks, and (b) "dispersing them around the country and changing their names."

Summer 2013
: Florida Rep. Bill Young speaks for 90 minutes with David Ubben, a U.S. diplomatic security agent who was severely injured in the Benghazi attack of 9/11/12. Ubben tells Young that the attackers were very well organized and obviously had inside information about the U.S. compound, as they were thoroughly familiar with its physical layout. Says Young:

"He [Ubben] confirmed this -- that it was a very well orchestrated, and well organized, almost a military operation, using military weapons and using military signals.... He emphasized the fact that it was a very, very military type of operation, they had knowledge of almost everything in the compound. They knew where the gasoline was, they knew where the generators were, they knew where the safe room was, they knew more than they should have about that compound....

"It was pretty well figured out, where everything was, where the doors were located, where the safe room was -- the whole thing.... He [Ubben] said that when the attack started, the Libyan security folks who were supposed to secure the compound, they ran. So, they were at the mercy of their own capabilities."

CIA Director John Brennan Deceives Congress Regarding Benghazi Survivors and the Non-Disclosure Letters

September 3, 2013: In a letter to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, CIA director John Brennan responds to several specific questions that Rogers previously posed (in a letter dated August 2, 2013) regarding whether or not the CIA officers who survived the Benghazi attacks were subsequently subjected to polygraphs or required to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). Posing and answering several questions as a means of responding to Rogers' queries, Brennan writes

1. Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been forced to undergo any polygraph because of their presence or their participation in any activity related to Benghazi attacks?

Response: No.

2. Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been required to sign any non-disclosure agreement because of their presence at Benghazi or their participation in any activity related to the Benghazi attacks?

Response: No

Brennan's assertions are deceptive and untrue.

The Government's Betrayal of the Families of Those Killed in Benghazi

* September 15, 2013: Charles Woods -- the father of Tyrone Woods, one of the Navy SEALS who disobeyed orders and heroically rushed to the rescue of the Benghazi mission personnel and was abandoned without support on September 11, 2012 -- is asked by an interviewer to speak about President Obama's handling of the crisis. He replied:

"It’s a little late for that. I wish he [Obama] had taken the time the night of September 11, not to go to bed, not to go prepare to collect money in Las Vegas, but I wish he had taken time then to watch more of the video of the live time ambush attack and that I wish that he had sent the troops that everybody knows were available to rescue those people…

"In this case, there was no rescue attempt, no planes sent. In fact, Ty’s body was left on the tarmac for three hours and there wasn’t even an American plane sent to rescue or even take his body home. They had to commandeer a Libyan plane and didn’t even know where they would be taken in order to remove his body from the tarmac. Is that the way to treat an American hero?"

September 19, 2013: Parents of two of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi on 9/11/12 testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Patricia Smith, mother of slain U.S. Foreign Service information officer Sean Smith, testifies that she met with President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the day the four Americans’ bodies were returned to the U.S.  She also says that all three (Obama, Biden, and Clinton) -- as well as other senior administration officials -- lied to her about the cause of the attack:

“I was told a few things, and they were all lies. Obama, and Hillary, and Panetta, and Biden, and Susan [Rice] all came up to me at the casket ceremony. Every one of them came up to, gave me a big hug. And I asked them ‘What happened? Please tell me.’ And every one of them says, ‘It was the video.’ And we all know that it wasn’t the video. Even at time they knew it wasn’t the video. So they all lied to me.”

Smith also says that all of the officials promised that they would “check up” on what happened and get back in touch with her. But that has not happened. “I don’t count,” Smith says, “the people of America don’t count. The only thing that counts is their own selves, and their own jobs.”

Charles Woods, father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, also testifies. Among his remarks are the following:

“It’s been over a year since four brave Americans were tragically killed in Benghazi. And after one year we know very few answers. We’ve been asking for the last year. We don’t know much more than we did a year ago. Two of my heroes while growing up were John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Reverend King made the statement, that ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ It’s been over a year. We have no justice. We have very few truthful answers that have been provided.”
* November 18-20, 2013: The State Department belatedly releases dozens of never-before-published photographs of the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack, after weeks of inquiries by The Washington Times about the authenticity of photographs it received from a Welsh security contractor that had been assigned to the doomed U.S. mission.

The State Department photos show buildings and vehicles ablaze during the attack, ransacked offices, burned-out cars, and Arabic graffiti scrawled on walls.

“The new photos reveal a level of total devastation thoroughly belying Obama’s original cover story that the carnage was perpetrated by a bunch of random malcontents upset over an unpleasant video,” says Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton on November 20.
Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Benghazi

January 13, 2014: A comprehensive report by the Senate Intelligence Committee definitively declares that individuals tied to Al Qaeda groups were involved in the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. While the report does not implicate Al Qaeda “core” -- whose leadership is believed to be in the Pakistan region -- it does implicate some of Al Qaeda's most influential branches, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). “Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM, Ansar al-Sharia, AQAP, and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks,” the report says.

The report contends that the attack was not “highly coordinated,” but rather “opportunistic” -- possibly organized in “short order” after protests over an anti-Islam film elsewhere in the Middle East. The report
acknowledges, however, that there was no such protest (against the film) in Benghazi before the attack.

The Senate report also
concludes that the attack was “preventable,” and that the Obama administration -- particularly the State and Defense departments -- failed to respond to “ample strategic warning[s]” by the intelligence community about the growing danger in Benghazi prior to September 11, 2012.

Further, the report
cites the failure of the Obama administration to "bring the attackers to justice."Newly Declassified Documents Give Insight into Benghazi Attacks

January 13, 2014: A Fox News report
provides the major details:

Hundreds of pages of declassified transcripts from the U.S. military's top commanders present a picture of a woefully ill-postured military force whose assets were not in a position to quickly respond to the Benghazi terror attack -- or other hot spots across Africa and the Middle East.

The 450 pages of newly declassified transcripts detail testimony from secret, closed hearings last year before Congress. They provide fresh insight into the military's decision-making that night from the very commanders who staged the rescue efforts, including the top commander in Africa at the time Gen. Carter Ham.

Among other details, they reveal gaps in the military's positioning of assets around the world.

For example, no attack aircraft were placed on high alert on Sept. 11, and the closest F-16 fighter planes to any of the trouble spots in North Africa were in Aviano, Italy. None were armed, and the closest air refuellers were positioned 10 hours away at a base in Great Britain.

No Defense Department AC-130 gunships were within a 10-hour flight to Libya, according to committee members who heard commanders' testimony over the past 15 months. And the commander's in-extremis force, which included a unit of 23 special operators who are used at the commander's discretion, were training in Croatia that day. They did not make it to a staging base in Sigonella, Italy, for another 19 hours after the attack began, according to committee members.


[T]he commander of AFRICOM's Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region, Col. George Bristol, admitted to the subcommittee on July 31 of last year that he believed there was an increased threat on Sept. 11 and was not comfortable with the military's force posture in North Africa. He expressed those concerns with members of his team in Libya. The transcript reads as follows:

REP. ROB WITTMAN: "In your professional opinion, based on that, were you somewhat uncomfortable maybe knowing about the threat that that was the posture then that was going to be there within that theater?"

BRISTOL: "Sir, I -- yes, and that wasn't the only country that I was worried about that."

... The new congressional testimony also shows that [General Carter Ham] was left out of White House-led discussions regarding preparedness and force posture on the eve of Sept. 11, despite White House assurances that then-counterterrorism adviser John Brennan had met for weeks with deputies and the nation's principal national security advisers to review "security measures" and force protection at home and abroad.

A White House press release on the eve of the Benghazi attack stated unequivocally: Brennan "convened numerous meetings," and the president and his national security principals discussed "steps taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad." But according to Ham, whose area of operation came under attack, he was not asked what forces he had pre-positioned in the event of an attack and whether they were they sufficient.

[REP. MARTHA] ROBY: "So did anyone in DOD, the White House or national security staff, including Mr. Brennan, review the force posture with you?"

HAM: "Not personally with me. I did have a discussion with General Dempsey. ... I did not have a personal discussion with anyone at the national security staff."

And yet AFRICOM commanders were aware of a deteriorating security situation in Libya, and had discussions at the Defense secretary and Joint Chiefs level, following a visit to Libya in December 2011 by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Panetta and his aides noted the rise of violent militias and the lack of any Marine element at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. It is customary for the State Department to enlist the help of a Marine detachment to secure Embassy property and classified materials in most countries around the world. Ham and other Pentagon officials had offered to provide Ambassador Chris Stevens with Marines for the Embassy in Tripoli. One of the remaining questions is why the State Department did not accept the Pentagon offer. There were no U.S. Marines stationed anywhere in Libya on the night of the attack.

Copyright 2003-2012: 

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