Benghazi: House Testimony Further Incriminates Obama Administration


May 5, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – – Last Thursday, May 1 Darrell Issa’s [R-CA] House Committee On Government Oversight heard testimony from four national security experts regarding details of the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi tragedy including the status of the Libyan government post the U.S. led NATO bombing campaign [March-September 2011] which resulted in deposing long time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The embassy attack which claimed four American lives – including Ambassador Chris Stevens and two Navy Seals – took place over 18 months ago, September 11, 2012. Since then the administration has stone-walled the investigation, failed to produce key documents which the committee has requested and [as demonstrated by its evasiveness] is obviously still lying about almost every aspect of its role in the event including a failure to account for the actions of the president in the hours following the jihadist assault.

Sorry Tommy [Vietor, former WH spokes-boy], in the big leagues "dude" just doesn't cut it.

The most significant recent development was last week's release of a flood of new Benghazi related WH documents due to a FOIA suit brought by Judicial Watch. That lawsuit produced what many are calling the “smoking gun,” interoffice emails which confirm that Obama working through his top PR people intentionally misled the nation as to the nature of the attack with an eye towards the 2012 presidential election which was then only 6 weeks away.

“…Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.” [source, Judicial Watch: Benghazi Documents Point to White House on Misleading Talking Points ]

It’s no coincidence that Ben Rhodes' brother David, is President of CBS News, which helps to explain why this hack occupies a position for which he is clearly unqualified. His CV displays no credentials whatsoever in policy formulation or related fields, having majored in Creative Writing while in college, a skill which he does indeed seem to have mastered. [source, Wiki, Ben Rhodes]

Rhodes' conduct in other scandalous affairs are too numerous to be covered within the scope of this piece but Ed Lasky has done yeoman’s work connecting the dots. [see for example, Ben Rhodes: Obama's Fixer behind the Benghazi Cover-Up, The American Thinker ]

That aside, Thursday’s testimony seemed to confirm what we have been postulating for quite some time, that the president refused to provide aid to the besieged American Embassy in Libya on the dark theory that dead men tell no tales.

“…There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability - the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: ‘Always move to the sound of the guns.’” [testimony, Brigadier Gen. Robert w. Lovell [Ret], Deputy Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate J-2, United States Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany. Deputy Commanding General of Joint Task Force ODYSSEY GUARD with the mission to plan for any potential United States military missions in Libya following the fall of the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Joint Task Force ODYSSEY GUARD was instrumental in providing support to the Department of State as it reopened the United States Embassy in Tripoli] [source, testimony of Brig. Gen Robert W. Lovell, Ret. p. 3]

A significant part of this story, though has been overlooked, necessarily, as Congress, researchers and a limited number of legacy media outlets have spent the last year-and-a-half simply trying to determine what happened in the Obama WH, minute by minute from the time the attack was first reported until Susan Rice [former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, currently National Security Advisor] made her embarrassing Sunday talk show appearances which we now know were carefully crafted to intentionally mislead the American electorate as November rapidly approached.

The heretofore referenced question centers on what effect the Obama administration's [NATO cloaked] air war, which succeeded in removing Gaddafi, had on destabilizing a relatively quiescent Libya and replacing it with a failed state run by Islamic jihadists that set the stage for the subsequent attack on the U.S. Embassy.

General Lovell didn't mince words in his Thursday appearance before Issa's Committee:

"...Simply put, perhaps overly so, the new-normal in Libya was a former intact country now fractured and divided along many lines of diplomatic, economic and military power in desperate need of organization toward self rule in the post-Qaddafi environment. This was and is a tall order. The Department of State was the U.S.-lead for this effort and the military was in the support role..." [source, testimony, p. 2]

Also testifying was Daveed Gartenstien-Ross, PhD, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Georgetown University, whose overall critique of Team O's Libyan adventure was both harsh and specific.

"...The intervention has had a destabilizing effect on Libya’s immediate neighbors, most significantly Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, and also helped to destabilize Mali, significantly contributing to a jihadist takeover of north Mali that would prompt another intervention, this time led by France. NATO’s intervention also accelerated events in Syria, where a tragic civil war has claimed over 150,000 lives. Taking into account these consequences of NATO’s intervention, it is not clear that lives were saved on the whole. As one of my contacts in the intelligence community recently put it, “lives that were saved in Benghazi turned into lives lost in Timbuktu.” Al-Qaeda and the jihadist movement, rather than being undermined by the intervention, ended up with a new foothold in Libya that also strengthened their efforts in neighboring countries. In short, removing the immediate emotions of the situation that prompted NATO’s intervention and looking at the broader effects of the decision to go to war in Libya, it appears to have harmed America’s strategic interests and made the region more, rather than less, dangerous..." [source, testimony of Daveed Gartenstien-Ross, p. 5-6]

According to Gartenstien-Ross' assessment, Libya is becoming, less, not more stable as events play out and the inflow of al-Qaeda and associated jihadists remains unchecked:

"...Illustrating Libya’s security problems, within a single six-day period earlier this month, gunmen in Libya kidnapped Jordan’s ambassador, kidnapped an adviser at Tunisia’s embassy (the second Tunisian diplomat kidnapped within a month), and broke into Portugal’s embassy. Though not all the perpetrators of these acts are known, both Tunisian diplomats were taken by jihadists, whose resurgence in Libya will be discussed shortly. The situation has grown so severe that Sri Lanka’s foreign employment bureau has suspended sending migrants workers from that country to Libya due to security concerns...On April 20, a group called Shabaab al-Tawhid released a video showing one of these diplomats, Mohammed Bel Sheikh, crying and pleading with his government to negotiate with his captors. This kidnapping is symptomatic of a broader problem: contrary to the prevalent predictions of analysts in early 2011, jihadists groups, including al-Qaeda, have experienced significant growth in Libya since Qaddafi was toppled from power. One comprehensive report on this topic, entitled Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile, was published in August 2012 by the Library of Congress’s Federal Research Division. The report notes that al-Qaeda’s senior leadership is attempting to create a clandestine network in Libya, and explains some of its efforts in that regard..." [source, testimony, p. 6-8]

The U.S.' failure to secure Gaddafi's huge storehouse of weapons [estimated at 20,000 plus] combined with a nation in disarray has resulted in the jihadists being armed to a degree previously unseen, provided them a safe haven from which to extend their mayhem and allowed them to hook up with the leader of al-Qaeda central, Ayman al-Zawahiri through his brother Muhammad:

"...observers suspected early on that more sophisticated weaponry, such as surface-to-air missiles, may also have escaped Qaddafi’s arsenal, and more recent evidence—including the downing of an Egyptian military helicopter in Egypt’s Sinai by militants = tends to confirm these fears...A variety of jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda, have operated training camps in Libya. These camps exist largely because new opportunities arose after Qaddafi’s fall from power, as the central government has been unable to effectively control southern Libya. Muhammad al-Zawahiri has connected his brother, al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, with the Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN), which has used this safe haven in Libya to establish an enclave. As a result...the report found that illicit arms flows from Libya were 'fuelling existing conflicts and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors in the region and well as more farflung places, including, potentially, the Horn of Africa...'" [source, testimony, p. 9-10]

Gartenstien-Ross' bill of particulars goes on for another 10 pages and his assessment doesn't get any more hopeful.

The testimony of Ms. Kori Schake, PhD, Hoover Institution was much the same:

"...the problems Libya is experiencing have all been aggravated by Obama Administration policy choices. We overthrew the government without a plan for establishing security or helping stabilize fragile processes of democratization. We have ignored the growing aggressiveness of militia and activity of jihadists. We have been silent on an election marred by violence. We are not helping organize the parliamentary elections coming in a few months, which are likely to be a bellwether for legitimacy of democratic processes in Libya. Their policies have been and are concerned primarily with limiting our involvement rather than limiting threats emanating from Libya and assisting a society in transition from repression..." [source, testimony, p. 1]

What emerged from the combined testimony is that this WH broke Libya through an ill-considered war and it will be difficult if not impossible in the near future to hope for a reversal of that process. Despite constant assurances to the contrary we really don't know how to "do Democracy" in the non-Western world.1.

With the appointment of a Congressional Special Committee to investigate the issues surrounding the September 11, 2012 attack now being a reality, Mr. Obama has much more to fear than disclosure of its continuing mendacity. With Congressman Trey Gowdy [R-SC, 6 years as a federal prosecutor, previous to his election] at the helm, Obama's entire foreign policy will likely be flayed publicly as having materially weakened the national security of the United States to a degree not seen in a very long time.

Thus Mr. Obama had every motive for attempting to cover-up the Benghazi tragedy because, he must have conjectured, absent that his entire presidency might be put on trial...but now that his cover story has evaporated that is exactly what is happening. If the president would have instead trusted the American people and honestly admitted the mistakes that were made in this matter rather than engage in a sordid criminal cover-up, he would very likely still have been re-elected, buoyed by an enhanced reputation. But his cynical manipulation and campaign of lies has instead resulted in him being hoisted by his own petard.

There will be no tears shed for him on these pages. Call it schadenfreude if you will, but we have a feeling that he's going to find out that the smug sense of omnipotence - of which he reeks - was merely an illusion as his administration is called to account.

End note:

1. "Doing democracy," has been a self-congratulatory catch-phrase in use since the GW Bush years. Its use likely represents a substantial intellectual flaw among policy experts who advocate it. The first goal when dealing with a nation which harbors revolutionary Muslims should be to contain or hopefully, defeat the threat without creating anarchy. That said if we are seeking to assist in the creation of non-threatening states, democracy itself is neither desirable nor for that matter is it reasonably attainable.

Rather, if nation building is considered important, the end point should be a republican form of democratic rule, not an Athenian popular democracy where the majority can easily suppress a minority. If such an idea is even practicable - which in the short term we doubt - much attention must be given to building representative entities at the most basic village level based upon some form of a written constitution which clearly defines and delimits the roles of all parties involved. In that way people are allowed to slowly become familiarized with how the process works. Without an in-place sub structure of representative building blocks [or the benefit of a Western heritage] it's hard to imagine how a "democracy" could spontaneously emerge in the chaos produced by modern warfare in a world very different from out own simply by pulling a few strings.

Additionally Islamic cultures are almost by definintion theocratic in nature and Western concepts such as representative government are naturally viewed as being alien. Perhaps the best and most effective outcome when facing countries harboring jihadists which present a threat to the United States, lies in working with the the government in power if possible, so that threat doesn't metastisize into an attack on America. Anything beyond that is in the short run really expecting quite a bit more than can be delivered.

While Western diplomats see themselves as being infallibly able to turn societies which they really don't understand inside-out while not breaking them simply by talking, as has been recently been noted by Dr. Michael Rubin an expert on Iran, concluding agreements with diplomats who have little or no ability to bind the actions of their respective governments is delusional.

[For further perspective on this matter please refer to Dr. Michael Rubin [resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Civil-Military Relations and previously the editor of the
peer-reviewed publication, The Middle East Quarterly], Dancing with the Devil, the Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes.

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