I’ve now gone through three hours of the four-plus hours of available videos of the hearings on the Benghazi consulate attacks. The New York Times attempted a defense of Obama based on them. They asserted that he had nothing to do with security or other activities at our foreign missions. This is true enough, though denied by Obama himself, who claimed on Comedy Central (of all places) to be personally involved with Libyan decisions (except, evidently, those that turned out bad):
“Here’s what I’ll say. When four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. We’re going to fix it. All of it,” Obama said. “The government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it. Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes first, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.”
The answer is, apparently, that he doesn’t make those decisions, and isn’t even informed about those decisions unless something goes wrong, (which seems to be when they are attacked by those they see as their real “enemies” — conservatives).
So the media is willing to say that Obama is not responsible for Benghazi. This analyst (Col. Hunt) agrees, and points at Hillary Clinton. A man on the ground in Libya recently (Lt. Col Wood, security commander until August) provided damning testimony. But remember that this same newspaper held Bush personally responsible for the six idiots with their drunken spree at Abu Ghraib.
The NYT next came up with this story:
In a stream of diplomatic cables, embassy security officers warned their superiors at the State Department of a worsening threat from Islamic extremists, and requested that the teams of military personnel and State Department security guards who were already on duty be kept in service. The requests were denied, but they were largely focused on extending the tours of security guards at the American Embassy in Tripoli — not at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, 400 miles away.
The parts I bolded let the headline writer come up with the soundbite for the article:
Well, that puts an end to that, doesn’t it? Case closed — the “focus” was not on Benghazi. So the left and media picked this up. Here’s ThinkProgress, castigating a Republican for alleging that the denied security involved Benghazi:
See? Not Benghazi. The only problem with this story is that it’s not true — which would have been obvious to anyone actually tracking on the hearings. The assertion, that the security requests were not for Benghazi, should be compared with these words from the security request under discussion (PDF):
– DS AGENT SUPPORT IN BENGHAZI: Post requests continued support for 5 TDY DS agents in Benghazi on 45-60 day rotations. This number is required to ensure that we have an appropriate USOH presence to protect our COMSEC; support the two long-term USDH TDY’ers; and support an increasing number of program/assistance TDY’s from both Tripoli and Washington….
They had requested more temporary duty (TDY) team members for Tripoli than for the Benghazi consulate, but planned to move some Tripoli folks to Benghazi as well. (One mechanism for doing this, a DC-3 aircraft more than half a century old, was taken away from them after this point.)
One surprise: We tolerated Libya’s demand that we not give our embassy/consulate security personnel weapons, nor have any Marines in Libya, as part of the State-Department-issued (and Clinton-signed) Rules of Engagement. We had other “detached” security people with weapons, and could get 48-hour or 72-hour permits for special occasions like a VIP visit, but generally they were unarmed. Amazing. This is a government that would not exist save for intervention to turn the war to oust Qaddafi in their favor.
One more surprise: They were being pushed by their State Department bosses to eliminate all American security personnel, and use only Libyan people (the (ex-?) revolutionaries who are sympathetic to al Qaida and are partly made up of al Qaida people) as their only protection. Some of the people they are now acting as diplomatic missions to were in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan killing Americans not long ago. We’ve seen, of course, many instances of Afghan local security people turn on and kill the American military people they were working with.
If you are a local defending the US diplomatic mission, your life (and your family’s lives) are at risk, also. We just had our head of security in Yemen, a local, killed by jihadists days ago as he was on his way to work. We are asking a lot of the locals — and of our own people that we place in their hands.
In this case, it wasn’t threats to the locals that was an issue, it was threats from them: Earlier on the day of the Benghazi attack, Ambassador Stevens cabled the State Department with another of the chain of cables describing increasing threats — this time, from the locals they had hired to guard the consulate.
But the Left is asking us to believe a lie, that the requests were for Tripoli only. Clearly false, and the evidence is unambiguous.
There’s another lie: that this is because of budget “cuts” (the WSJ calls this “malarkey”) — and the final number, agreed to by the Democrats’ Senate and the Republicans’ House, was that the money was slightly reduced from Obama’s (and Clinton’s) massive requested increases. And those increases were not for military presence: The State Department had already ruled that out, putting it off five years in hopes that they might not offend the Libyan jihadist government. The approved appropriations included $688 million dollars this year to beef up security at embassies and consulates — added onto the $750 million the year before.
So where did this budget increase actually go? Part of it was spent on Chevy Volts, including adding charging stations at a cost of more than $100,000 each, as part of Obama’s much-touted “Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe” initiative, according to this article.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle