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.