Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Time for Obama to Admit to the 9/11 Benghazi Attack Being Planned...Not Because of a Video.


In a new foreign policy headache for the embattled Obama administration, a memo has now leaked from the White House detailing numerous ways in which the U.S. Embassy in Libya warned Washington about an upcoming attack, according to Jake Tapper of ABC News.

The memo comes from the embassy’s “security support team,” a group of 16 special forces soldiers assigned to protect the embassy who were inexplicably removed from Libya in August over their commander’s objections, just one month before the attacks in Benghazi. That commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, will testify about their removal before the House Oversight Committee this week. CBS News provides more on Wood’s story:
Speaking to CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Wood said when he found out that his own 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force were being pulled from Tripoli in August – about a month before the assault in Benghazi – he felt, “like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.”[...]
Wood insists that senior staff in Libya, including Ambassador Stevens, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, and himself, all wanted and had requested enhanced security.
“We felt we needed more, not less,” he tells Attkisson.
Asked what response their repeated pleas got from the State Department in Washington, Wood says they were simply told “to do with less. For what reasons, I don’t know.”
“We tried to illustrate… to show them how dangerous and how volatile and just unpredictable that whole environment was over there. So to decrease security in the face of that really is… it’s just unbelievable,” Wood tells CBS News.

ABC adds more on the leadup in its print report:
The State Department pushed the American diplomats to develop plans to transition its security staffing to one that incorporated more locally based assets, but its ability to do so was “severely limited by a number of factors,” the February memo states, including inconsistent support from the Libyan government, no reliable “armed, uniformed host government security at our residential and office compounds,” no “real progress on the policy framework required to support a transition to an armed locally engaged body guard force,” silence from the Libyan Minister of Interior when it came to formal U.S. “requests for firearms licenses, training sites, or static, host nation security.”
The request concludes: “Given the unstable security environment, projected staffing increases, lack of physical and technical security upgrades in place and continued high volume of VIP visits, Embassy Tripoli requests an extension” of the Security Support Team for four months, which “will allow us to implement the security transition plans recommended by the Department. A loss of SST now would severely and negatively impact our ability to achieve the Department’s policy and management objectives at this critical time in Libya’s transition.”
But ultimately the SST left and “they just had to make do with less security,” Wood told ABC News.
It should be noted that Lieutenant Colonel Wood does not speculate as to whether his presence, or the presence of his team, would have made a difference in the protection of Ambassador Chris Stevens. However, his revelations about being “asked to play the piano with two fingers” may strike some observers as damning enough without that specific speculative indictment.
Bombshell: Obama Administration Deleted State Dept. Memo From Internet After Discovering Al-Qaeda Was Behind Benghazi Attack

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, September 27, 2012, 9:17 AM

Yesterday there were reports that the Obama Administration found out that Al-Qaeda was behind the Benghazi consulate attacks within 24 hours of the assault that killed four Americans.
So what was their first action?
Did they secure the compound? – No, that took over a week to get FBI agents to the consulate
Did they acknowledge it was an Al-Qaeda attack? No, Obama this week blamed the terror attack on a YouTube protest.
Here’s what they did – They scrubbed a damning State Department memo from the internet–
On Wednesday September 12, 2012 blogger Speak With Authority discovered that five days before 9-11, the US State Department sent out a memo announcing no credible security threats against the United States on the anniversary of 9-11.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council, who posted the memo, is part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security under the U.S. Department of State.
Here is a screengrab of the memo at the OSAC website:

The OSAC memo said:
Terrorism and Important Dates
OSAC currently has no credible information to suggest that al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group is plotting any kind of attack overseas to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of September 11. However, constituents often have concerns around important dates, holidays, and major events, Often times, these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence of a terrorist plot.
But now it’s gone.
The State Department scrubbed the letter from its OSAC website.

The damning memo is gone.
How convenient. They flushed the damning memo down the internet memory hole.

More details emerge on U.S. ambassador's last moments

By Arwa Damon, CNN
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon September 17, 2012

New details emerge about Libya attack

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security.

Jamal Mabrouk, a member of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander had a meeting about the economy and security.

He said they told the diplomats that the security situation wasn't good for international business.
"The situation is frightening, it scares us," Mabrouk said they told the U.S. officials. He did not say how they responded.

Mabrouk said it was not the first time he has warned foreigners about the worsening security situation in the face of the growing presence of armed jihadist groups in the Benghazi area.

The main building in the compound is in charred ruins.

The suite where the body of the ambassador was found was protected by a large door with steel bars; the windows had steel bars.

His body was recovered after looters broke into the room. It appears his security detail left him in the room while they tried to deal with the attack.

There are numerous questions about what happened at the consulate where protesters had gathered to demonstrate against the film "Innocence of Muslims," which reportedly was made in California by a filmmaker whose identity is unclear.

Chief among the questions is what happened to U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who went missing during the attack.
The State Department has not released details about how Stevens died, though numerous media reports have said the ambassador was taken from the consulate to the Benghazi medical center by locals.

He arrived at the hospital, according to the reports, unresponsive and covered in soot from the fire. A doctor was unable to revive him and declared him dead, the reports said.

According to one of the Libyan security guards who was stationed at one of the gates armed with only a radio, the assault began simultaneously from three directions.

Heavy machine guns and rocket -propelled grenades were used, according to the guard. He said masked men threatened to kill him at gunpoint for 'protecting the infidels. He declined to appear on camera for fear of repercussions.


CBS: State Department Told Benghazi Consulate To Stop Even Asking For More Security

And if that's not bad enough: A State Department official told Congressional staffers almost immediately after the attack that it was pre-meditated terrorism.
n a briefing to Capitol Hill staffers delivered the day after the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the killings appeared to be the result of a terrorist attack.Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy -- who exercises responsibility for all department personnel, facilities, and operations, and who is one of the department's most respected civil servants, having served in his position under both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations -- delivered the assessment in an unclassified, half-hour conference call with staff aides to House and Senate lawmakers from relevant committees, and leadership offices, on the evening of Sept. 12. Capitol Hill sources described the call to Fox News.
And yet the White House went out insisting it wasn't pre-meditated, and was a "spontaneous protest" due to an "internet video."


Interview with Rep. Darrell Issa; Warning Signs in Benghazi; The Final Factors
Aired October 2, 2012 - 19:00   ET

ERIN BURNETT, HOST: OUTFRONT, next, did Washington reject repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi? That's what happened, according to House Republicans in a letter sent to Secretary Clinton today. One of the authors of the letter, Representative Darrell Issa comes OUTFRONT.

Plus, we're just about 24 hours away from the first presidential debate. What are they going to say? We've got advisers to both of them, Mitt and Barack OUTFRONT tonight, and how a lot of money is riding on tomorrow's debate -- a lot.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, warning signs missed? That's what the Republican head of the House Oversight Committee is charging tonight in the lead up to the U.S. ambassador's death in Libya. He's calling for Congress to return for a special hearing next week. It was a three-page letter and in it, Darrell Issa listed 13 security incidents and threats in Libya over the past six months. Including in June, a pro Gadhafi Facebook page posted a picture of Ambassador Stevens and mentioned his running habits. The posting directed a threat against Stevens. Issa says Stevens stopped his morning runs for about a week and then resumed them.

In June, an IED was successfully placed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, blowing a hole in the security perimeter gate, big enough for 40 people to go through. And in the weeks before the September 11th attacks, unarmed Libyan guards working at the consulate were warned by family members to quit their jobs, because of, quote, "rumors in the community of an impending attack". Those are just a few of the 13 things that Darrell Issa listed. And he also included this major allegation.

According to Issa, "multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that prior to the September 11th attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington." Now the State Department has responded to Darrell Issa's letter. Here is spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.


VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPT. SPOKESWOMAN: We are now working through all of the documents, all of the information that is available to us in this department. We will see where we are on the 10th, but it is our intention to cooperate fully.


BURNETT: All right. Hillary Clinton also responded to Issa with a letter of her own. I have it here. She said she has established an accountability review board, which begins work this week to determine, and I want to quote her, I'll read here to you straight from the letter, "wants to determine whether our security systems and procedures in Benghazi were adequate, whether they were properly implemented and any lessons that may be relevant to our work around the world." Darrell Issa joins me now. Good to see you, sir, and appreciate your taking the time tonight.


BURNETT: Let me start, if I may, sir, with the serious allegation that you've made. And this one -- as I just read the quote from your letter. That the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi, which were denied. Where did you get that information?

ISSA: We got it from whistle blowers and from confirmation from an interview with the former regional security officer, what is called an RSO, who actually has over 66 separate incidents that he recorded. We're not making any allegations. We're taking the facts that were brought to us, putting them in perspective, and asking the question, and getting, quite frankly concerns from the individuals that themselves that were responsible for security. And we're doing it not just for what is a done and sad situation in Libya. But because with the Arab Spring going on around the Arab world, the question is what are we doing in these other countries? Will we be ready or could this happen again?

BURNETT: So do you know who denied the security that you're saying was repeatedly denied?

ISSA: Well, we have a number of documents we have requested. Secretary Clinton has said that she is going to cooperate and provide. Those exchanges -- we want to make sure we look at all of the documents fully, rather than just, if you will, whistle blower side of the story. And that's the nature of our committee, is we get a credible and verified allegation of a failure anywhere, and then we follow it up with full confirmation on both sides and that's what we expect to do between now and the 10th with the goal on the 10th to make sure this doesn't happen again in some other embassy or with some other foreign service personnel around the world.

BURNETT: So it's interesting, because I know you're referencing you know an individual that you have information from saying that there were multiple security incidents. But this issue of repeated requests being denied I think is really at the heart -- from -- of what the letter says today. And the reason I wanted to ask you about the sources is because the State Department is telling CNN tonight that security upgrades were actually made to the Benghazi mission in part in response to some of the security incidents that you reference in your letter. So what are you talking about? It sounds like they got more security.

ISSA: Well, first of all, we want to hear fully from the State Department. We want to understand how they evaluated the threat, why there were so few people. Remember that we're not investigating per se the details the day that the ambassador and his party were killed. But let's understand, clearly he had almost no security on that day. Clearly, this was in a consulate that had been breached earlier with a hole -- an explosive hole that was described as a hole --


ISSA: -- that 40 people could run through. So we already kind of know the awful end result. We know there wasn't enough security. That's not our investigation. Our investigation is really about the signs and whether there's a process. And I think Secretary Clinton is saying she wants to do the same thing. And our hope is that between now and October 10th, we go a long way toward doing what we need to do and expecting it will continue after.

BURNETT: Why do you think it has taken so long for the administration to come out and say this was a terrorist attack? Obviously, they did so formally on Friday, the intelligence community.

ISSA: Well, I served on the Select Intelligence Committee. It's filled with very conservative people who will often tell you that there may be a threat, there may be a threat, and then when something happens, even if it fits all of their claims, they still want to double and triple check. So I give the administration as much as I can the benefit of the doubt for the slowness. Again, though, whistle blowers, multiple confirmed whistle blowers have told us that they saw and reported what they saw as coming together of al Qaeda and testing our missions and the British missions. And that's part of what we want to ask is are these warning signs ones that should have been heeded and are there similar ones in Beirut or in Oman or in any number of other countries in the Middle East.

BURNETT: I'm curious, because you know you sound so -- you're very calm here. Your letter though was -- you know -- like I said, there were some real smoking guns in that letter, the allegations that were in there and I'm curious, given how calm you are tonight, given that you say you want to work with the secretary of state, why was it that Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of your committee tells us that you didn't ask him to sign the letter. You know you didn't do this in a bipartisan fashion.

ISSA: Well, first of all, I expect that the hearing will be bipartisan. A number of the Democratic members have already told me they'll be attending. I just got off of "Fast and Furious". We're not a committee that we've seen much cooperation, even when there's real wrongdoing that we're running to ground. In this case, there wasn't time to meet our statutory requirements, our rule requirements. And quite frankly we had a meeting with state in which the -- Mr. Cummings, his representatives were there. We asked these questions. This letter is based on specific allegations from whistle blowers, confirmed by the regional security officer, and then put into a letter. So they're not allegations by us. They're actual statements by individuals who were on the ground, both in Tripoli and Benghazi. And we are pursuing this on a bipartisan basis. To be honest, Mr. Cummings was helpful when I called him and asked for this interview with the regional security officer and he helped make it happen the same day, so we do have a working relationship. We do not often sign on to letters partially because that can take several days --

BURNETT: And what about --

ISSA: But I think the letter is --

BURNETT: I just want to ask you -- sorry -- a final question though about the timing of this. Obviously, it's important to know who knew what, when, and if the ball was dropped. I don't know if there is any American, Democrat or Republican who would disagree with you on that, but why next week? Why ahead of the presidential election when you yourself just said look I understand that sometimes it takes time to get the final answers?

ISSA: Erin, we sent a letter on September 20th that wasn't responded to as of yesterday. Subcommittee Chairman Chaffetz sent that letter. So we started this right away. We continued pursuing it. But let's understand men and women are serving us overseas around the world. And if what happened in Libya happens again because we waited until after election, 30 or 60 days, then we haven't done our job. The secretary is working right now before the election. She has put together a panel to start looking at this. We're doing our job, too. And just because it's an election doesn't mean members of Congress shouldn't work, including fact-finding and that's what we're doing. We're doing it as timely as we can. Candidly, I would have preferred that the September 20th letter had been responded to sooner.

BURNETT: Fair enough. All right, well thank you very much, Chairman Issa. We appreciate your time tonight. So the question continues. Were warning signs missed? Well, the man who briefed Ambassador Stevens is standing by. But first was key intelligence about the attack in Benghazi left out of a memo used to brief Congress and the American people? Intelligence like the involvement of al Qaeda linked groups which CNN has reported U.S. intelligence knew about within 24 hours. Well last night CNN reported that the White House chose to leave out some intelligence from information shared with the public about the attack, the so-called talking points you've heard so much about.

The talking points that Ambassador Susan Rice used on Sunday talk shows that emphasized an initial assessment that the attack began as a spontaneous protest, that it didn't appear to be planned. The White House's National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor tells CNN the White House was not involved in writing that memo. Elise Labott has been following this story and she is back with us tonight. And Elise, I know you have been working fast and furious on this. What was the memo and what did it say?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well Erin, what senior administration officials are telling us that they were speaking from unclassified talking points that were provided by the intelligence community based on preliminary intelligence assessments, which were used in the briefing members of Congress and speaking about it publicly. Now, we know, as you said, there was other information reporting from our sources saying there were indications of possible terror involvement. But National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor says they didn't have that information and in a statement I want to read to you he says "this was an intelligence community assessment based on the analysis of all of the available information."

Leaked memo shows plane was denied US Benghazi consulate

A leaked memo shows the US State Department rejected a request to retain a plane for its security team in Libya, raising further questions about the protection provided for diplomats in Benghazi.

Leaked memo shows plane was denied US Benghazi consulate
US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi

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