Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Benghazi Emails, and Some Speculation on What It All means [UPDATE]

FOX and others have obtained UNCLASSIFIED real-time email messages from Tripoli back to the DS OP Center that showed that the Embassy was aware of a terrorist attack on the facility in Benghazi. Those messages were shot around to a wide range of people in Washington in a number of agencies, including the White House. I am sure that in addition to these messages were many classified emails, cables, and phone calls, as well as real time video both from the facility and, apparently, from a UAV platform. Senior levels of the National Command Authority (NCA) knew what was happening in Benghazi.

This new confirmation that Washington had a very good idea of events in Benghazi, highlights the need to answer the questions that I posed in an earlier post. These are questions that I have not heard asked and certainly the Obama misadministration has not offered the information. Now, of course, I am not privy to classified or closed-door meetings that might be taking place, so it is always possible that the information is flowing freely--somehow, I doubt that, but you never know.

What is also becoming clearer, at least to me from conversations, and bits of this and that I am reading, is that we apparently had cooked up some sort of an arms transfer from Libyan groups to Syrian groups via Turkey. I can't prove it, but that seems a very likely scenario and would help explain the presence in Benghazi of Stevens, the "senior" Turkish diplomat, and the ex-SEALs working with a contractor to find and secure MANPADS. To whom exactly those weapons might be going, I have no idea, and do not know what if any relation or reaction the attackers had to any possible arms transfer deals being negotiated. The possible combinations are so numerous that it is not worth speculating; I won't.

If any of this is true, that could be a motive for the misadministration to try to lie about and divert attention from Benghazi developments. We might have on our hands a "Fast and Furious" scandal mated with an "Iran-Contra"scandal, and all on steroids.

The latest line that Ambassador Rice used talking points prepared by the CIA seems very odd--but then in a bureaucratic sense, the whole role of Ambassador Rice seems very odd. As I wrote long ago, Rice is not in the chain of command involving Libya or the Middle East; she is a political hack; she does not report to the Secretary. Why she went out to do the p.r. blitz, therefore, is a bureaucratic mystery . . . but, of course, not a political mystery. The White House undoubtedly considered Rice more loyal and, of course, more of an Obama groupie than Hillary Clinton, the person we would have expected to see on those talk shows. Rice and Clinton have a tense and distant relationship since Rice backed Obama in the Democrat primaries instead of Hillary Clinton, an act of betrayal that the Clintons, long Rice's political mentors, have neither forgotten nor forgiven. It would not be surprising that Secretary Clinton had put distance between herself and developments in Benghazi, before and after the attack. Whatever was happening in Benghazi before the attack might have been against her wishes. While the Ambassador in Libya nominally would have reported to her, he, in fact, was the President's personal representative; the White House could have given him instructions directly. Don't be shocked if something was up that Hillary did not want to "know" about.

I have never heard of the CIA preparing talking points for personnel at State or USUN. CIA might go over some points in the clearance process to ensure that nothing classified or grotesquely inaccurate is said, but they would not draft them. In the Rice case, the drafting would be done at State/IO, State/INR, State/NEA, or at USUN itself and then widely cleared around at State, the NSC, CIA, and other places. In an exceptional case, I suppose the points could have been drafted directly at the NSC, bypassing State entirely. If, however, CIA or NSC drafted them with no input from State, that would show a major breakdown in interagency cooperation on a scale I have never seen among foreign affairs agencies. All this is very easy to solve: Congress should ask to see Rice's briefing materials, including the actual UNCLASSIFIED talking points sheet. All those papers will contain the names and offices of the drafters, the clearers, and the authorizers.  It ain't rocket science.

UPDATE: There is an excellent Frank Gaffney piece in The Washington Times on Benghazi along the same lines laid out above. His report, however, is less speculative; I wish I had seen it before writing my own.

30 comments:

  1. Diplomad, maybe you should contact at least conservative media to offer your expertise/perspective (if your employment/post-employment situation permits that?)...a lot of work and hassle, but maybe worth a try as a public service?

    Thanks by the way for a series of very informative insider posts about this scandal.

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  2. Regardless, Hillary lied and blamed everything on a youtube video that very few had even seen.



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  3. Dip:

    Well analyzed. Thanks. I think it's preposterous that CIA would have drafted talking points, but perhaps they suggested a cover story for their operation in Benghazi. Still to be explained is why this program was being run by Stevens instead of a CIA officer.

    As for the Hillary/Rice thing, I'm guessing you have figured that out about right. It is still a little mystifying that Hillary would appear with Obama in the Rose garden for the launching of their "demonstrations focused on the video" story. Why wasn't she somewhere in the far beyond tending to "business" and avoiding this entire thing like the plague? F

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    1. Petraeus delivered the talking points to Capitol Hill on September 13,

      Roll Call's Humberto Sanchez and Niels Lesniewski Report: With recent events in the Middle East drawing the attention of lawmakers, CIA Director David Petraeus today briefed members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Our entire committee, all 15 of us, eight Democrats, seven Republicans, were present for a briefing by Director Petraeus that lasted a couple of hours. And it was a very good briefing," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the intelligence panel, told CNN.... "There was a protest, and it could well be that quickly, some two dozen people took that as an opportunity to attack," Feinstein said of the Libya attack. "They have attacked the Benghazi consulate before. I believe it was on June 6. So this is not a new thing," Feinstein said.

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  4. Obama may have sent people like Susan Rice and Jay Carney to lie for him, but Hillary Clinton is a much more slippery fish. I can't imagine her getting caught in a lie, so let's go back and parse her words,

    e.g. September 12: "We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation."
    She never blamed it on the video.
    Ambassador to the UN is a cabinet-level position that reports directly to Obama. Rice was sent out because she was the most plausibly clueless. Rice wanted the SecState job.

    e.g. September 14,
    "This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable."

    She never lied. She's an expert with decades of experience in not lying.

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    1. Yep. I was there when she was dodging sniper fire in the Balkans. Yep. Hillary never lies. LOL

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    2. Oh, I'm no fan of Hillary, but I think her caution on Benghazi is commensurate with its seriousness.

      Blizzard of Lies.

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  5. I want to know why this was all viewed in real time and no help was called in for the "annex" or the consulate. I just can't get the picture out of my mind of those two brave ex-SEALS on the roof top holding off 100s of armed men and Obama, Biden and Panetta watching it and DOING NOTHING!!!!!!! It's been reported that aircraft could have been there in an hour and this fight went on for 7 hours!!!! How sickening...

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    1. The President has a history of voting "Present". His reluctance to authorize taking out Bin Lauden is fairly typical. I wonder if he couldn't bring himself to authorize military action, if he froze. Maybe this cover up has nothing to do with CIA activities.

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  6. Trump's announcement:

    http://youtu.be/MgOq9pBkY0I

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    1. Yeah...he's a publicity ho', but...gotta wonder if he's got copies of the transcripts and is telegraphing (dog whistle words) his intent to release them if Obama doesn't, or if Obama's attack dog, the "Glorious Already," tries her own October surprise...

      He could be holding aces, or he could be bluffing...he's crazy enough to do either...

      Kalashnikat

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  7. Dear Diplomad, A BeckyC, a troll, is telling lies and posting misinformation on your blog. Hillary did indeed call the video disgusting and reprehensible and even paid 70,000 dollars for an apology about the video in Pakistan. And Hillary never lies?!!? I guess the WH obama presstitutes are really working overtime posting this garbage wherever they can. I don't buy the "I'm not a Hillary fan" meme either. Sheesh. I enjoy your blog and your critical thinking ability. Thanks very much.

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    1. By the way, Those $70,000 were your tax dollars (and borrowed Chinese money as well) at work...we coulda hired a substitute teacher for that!

      Kalashnikat

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  8. I don't think BeckyC is covering for Hillary but rather illustrating the lawyerly (weasel) wording so typical of both Clintons. But that is just an opinion - I am not looking to defend anyone.

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    1. Let me illustrate my point by filling in the blanks in Hillary's statement as we all heard it,
      We [good guys in America] are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those [bad guys in Libya] who carried out this assault. Some [crazy people in the Middle East] have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

      But Hillary is thinking to herself,

      We [at the State Department] are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some [in the White House] have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

      I would not put it past her, so she can sleep well at night.

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  9. I'm interested in how the worker bees in State are reacting to this. I have friend I've known since elementary school who has worked his entire adult life in the State Department working in embassies around the world. Including Afghanistan. I emailed him the other day about Benghazi and his response was very tight lipped...but it reeked with disgust and frustration. He's a Liberal, BTW. I wonder how long until a someone, not a political appointee, in our Diplomatic Corps has had enough and blows this up?

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    1. I am surprised by how many of my ultra lib friends at State are furious and fed up with Obama and Clinton.

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  10. Our "misadministration" has a narrative that with Bin Laden dead, the war on terror is winding down and we can relax and build socialism in our country. Unfortunately, the killing of Chris Stevens on 9/11 is probably a bunch of Qaida sympathizers making the point that they're still around.

    Dip, if you're right in your speculations, it disgusts me all the more with this misdadministration--but I admit to being someone who wasn't impressed with the O when he was running for Senate in Illinois (where I lived at the time) or in 2008.

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  11. This is nothing more than my opinion, but whenever I see well armed violence in a tin horn, destitute country, I look for the major powers around them and look for what they need most but can't get in the open market.

    I think....and again its just my uniformed opinion.... that this administration was selling the arms for the Libyan revolution to the Saudis for lots and lots of little campaign donations made on credit cards that couldn't be easily traced. Unfortunately, I think Ambassador Stevens was sent to get back the toys from people who wanted to keep the toys. It just never made any sense to me that the Obama campaign would get such a huge slug of tiny donations in Sept. (181 million) the rank and file Democrat doesn't donate what little they have that late in a campaign. I also never thought is smelled right that Obama went to Vegas of the next day. Vegas is where every major money launderer in the world has junket accounts for their off the books projects.

    I have no foreign service experience, but I have a lot of experience in spotting white collar crooks. I would imagine in the foreign policy world its not that different for underground operations. A) Find the guy who needs clean money, B)Find the guy with guns, C) find the guy who needs guns...bingo the rest is just figuring out the terms of the deal and making the case stick.

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  12. We're missing the elephant in the room.

    Chances are they already knew he would be there. This is the President's envoy we're talking about, and being where he was on the day that was also 9/11 with a very small security detail far from safe harbor is more an extraordinary than a normal operation.

    And they watched. The elite of the elite in our military, intelligence and security apparatus watched at the ready. All contingencies in place.

    All who watched were following orders.

    All that was done and not done was the product of following those orders.

    All saw the product of the executive policy directives they were operating under. It was the President's personal envoy on the ground in harms way. Not just anybody. The personal envoy of the President of the United States of America.

    Most must be horrified by the product of the official orders they obediently followed as they documented the 7 hour saga and unfolding murder by neglect which sacrificed the lives of Ambassador Stevens and his detail.

    Our military and agency finest stood down and did nothing because they were ordered to do so. It can be no other way. Had their orders been different, there is a realistic expectation the Ambassador and his detail would be alive today.

    A team was at the ready with plenty of notice with the full support and resources of the greatest military in the history of the world. The plight of Ambassador Stevens and his detail was unquestionably worthy of emergency rescue interdiction by one the elite teams that train and stand at the ready to deploy.

    They too followed orders and did not deploy; forced to stand down and observe a series of events absolutely central to their fundamental mission of emergency military rescue and extraction.

    WHO took away their "GO" and when did they do it?

    The standing orders under which all were operating is the elephant in the room. That, and the confluence of other rumors that the UN and EU sycophants had demanded the US minimize its military presence in Libya.

    Were the President and Valerie Jarrett merely redirecting orders that were issued to them by pandering foreign interests?

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  13. So where does the Muslim Brotherhood and the upcoming Caliphate fit into this jigsaw puzzle?

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  14. As the Instapundit keeps saying.. where is Petraeus in all this?

    Its not like gun walking is something new.. ask Oliver North.. or Petraeus when all that weaponry walked during the Iraq active phase.. or in Mexico and now Libya and Syria?

    Look at the drone campaign(s) as well.. there's a lot of walking back of Nato/US obvious force and an increase in cross border arming and drone attacks that will keep Mexican gangs, Arabs, Al Qaida and the Taliban happily engaged locally for years to come as the West disengages from the hot spots.

    I dunno, but none of this looks inconsistent with a Petraeus MO and a tricky Barry play to create ME/Asian/Nth African confusion and distractions and bring the troops home.. afterall there are no success stories (and legacy in dealing with Muslim countries) so why not do what someone suggested to General Westmorland, declare victory in Vietnam and bugger off home.

    JC

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  15. Maybe I've read too many Clancey and LeCarre novels or I'm just a silly old woman, but something is terribly out of whack here. From the beginning, especially when help wasn't on the way, I asked my hub: Who wants the Ambassador 'gone' other than the known bad guys? How did the Turk leave the meeting without incident and a very short time later, all hell broke loose? Why meet in Benghazi if the situation was that dangerous? Are we going to see a 'John Dean' moment?

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  16. One huge difference between this scandal and "Iran-Contra" is that this time it's a Democrat administration. Our lefty media would never do anything to make fellow travelers in the Democrat Party look bad.

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  17. So, if the whole thing was actually about MANPADS, who ended up with them?

    Did al Qaeda get the winning bid by eliminating the competition?

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  18. My own little conspiracy theory is that the intent was to allow the ambassador to be captured, thus providing a handy pretext (trade bait) for releasing the blind sheik. But the lackeys got over enthusiastic and killed him instead of keeping him alive.

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