So much for the “Video made them do it” narrative about Benghazi

It just gets worse.

Fox News’s Catherine Herridge has unearthed a secret cable sent on 16 August which details the concerns of the US mission in Benghazi about its security, given the presence of multiple terrorist training camps in the city, and the loss of police control by the government.

Says the Fox News report:

The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.

Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected. …

According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have just been on Greta van Susteren’s Fox News show confirming that the cable exists.

The details make it clear that the US mission personnel in Benghazi, and Ambassador Stevens himself, were quite concerned about the possibility that the mission compound would come under “coordinated attack” by the Islamist terrorists proliferating unhindered in Benghazi.  It’s equally clear that their chain of command acknowledged information about the terrorists’ Benghazi presence in reviewing the cable for Secretary Clinton.

Notably, the Site Security Team (SST) run by Army LTC (Reserve) Andrew Wood left Libya on 14 August, although Wood testified to Congress that Stevens wanted the SST to stay on.

Given the history of attacks in Benghazi this year, the intelligence on terrorist groups in Benghazi, and the US mission’s and ambassador’s concern about their security situation – registered several times in 2012 – there appears to be no excuse for two important things:

1.  The failure of the State Department and the Obama administration to arrange better security for the US mission in Benghazi (and probably for the US embassy in Tripoli as well), before the 11 September attack.

2.  The administration’s bizarre recourse to a narrative about the Nakoula video, when a set of known facts fully accounted for the nature of the attack on the US mission in Benghazi.  It was known to the public within the first 24 hours that the attack was coordinated and professional, involving military-grade weapons.  Everything that has come out since has simply strengthened that assessment.  Not one feature of the attack is consistent with it being a spontaneous eruption from an angry Muslim crowd.

Experienced analysts in the punditry made that point from the beginning.  They made deductive conclusions that have been validated by subsequent revelations.

But for government analysts with clearances, very little deduction was actually necessary.  The cable reported by Catherine Herridge makes that clear.  The US government knew the terrorists were in Benghazi, knew about the earlier attacks on other diplomats, and knew about the very specific concerns of Ambassador Stevens and his team in-country about the likelihood of a coordinated attack on the US mission compound in Benghazi.

Yet there was no apparent effort to improve security for the US missions in Libya.  And in the wake of the 11 September attack, instead of acknowledging the raft of previous information that explained what happened, the Obama administration retailed a spurious story – apparently suggested by the tweet (later repudiated) of a US embassy official over in Egypt – about angry Muslims responding to a movie-trailer video.

I’m not sure it matters much at this point why the Obama administration kept crying “video!” for so many weeks.  What the American people are owed an accounting of is why the administration didn’t acknowledge all the relevant, explanatory things that were known before the attack.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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7 thoughts on “So much for the “Video made them do it” narrative about Benghazi”

  1. It’s understandable that you find events before and during the attack more consequential than the coverup after. After all, the coverup has not killed anyone, yet. But what we have learned of the events before and during merely confirm the common knowledge that this administration has been feckless in policy and execution (and not merely in foreign affairs). Though it was fatal, it is not news, and not necessarily even disabling by historical standards. [Defenders of the Obama administration like to point out that more Americans were killed in Beirut on 23.Oct.1983 than in Benghazi on 11.Sep.2011.]

    The more competent Nixon administration was brought down by a mean-spirited penchant for secrecy and dishonesty, which became the first resort after a failed burglary at the Watergate. Problems can occur even with competent leadership. Watergate reminded again (the cliche that the coverup is worse than the crime) that the bigger test of character and leadership is how you acknowledge the problem. That will be true again: Bad as the performance was up to and including 11.September, the invented “video” explanation will convict Obama of deceit incompatible with the oath of office.

    1. The constant deceit emanates from many more quarters that should depend on the people’s trust for their everyday sustenance. The main stream media [spit!], the TV networks, both air and cable as well as the print media, are as unworthy of continuing on their merry ways as the President and his cabinet are. Their synergistic relationship, bonded by their comon socialist agenda should insure that they both sink into oblivion together and at the same time.

      Not that we will ever be so lucky…


  2. I don’t know about referencing the video at this point doesn’t matter.

    Whatever it takes to get folks to pay attention is important. Seeing as reporters are upset that the administration kept blaming the video might be what it takes.

  3. “I’m not sure it matters much at this point why the Obama administration kept crying “video!” for so many weeks. What the American people are owed an accounting of is why the administration didn’t acknowledge all the relevant, explanatory things that were known before the attack.”

    Of course it matters, the two “whys” posited are interrelated. The administration knew from the very beginning that this was a terror attack by jihadists. The video was the chosen excuse needed for the cover-up because acknowledging “the relevant, explanatory facts” that were known both before, during and after the attack was never a political option. Obama’s abandonment of Stevens was intentional, he sacrificed the Ambassador to preserve the secrecy needed (from Congress and the American public) for the Libyan weapons running operation into Syria. That Obama is intentionally allowing with near certainty heavy, serious Libyan weapons to fall into the hands of Al Qaeda, borders on treason…he can’t, no President could politically survive that charge, should the public reach agreement with that conclusion.

    Obama didn’t expect the former Seals to disobey the stand down order and in doing so expose the CIA annex to discovery and attack, risking exposure of Obama’s Libyan/Syrian operation, that is why Obama and Obama alone refused to give the “cross border authority” order (as only he has the authority to give a CBA order) needed to help the Seals.

    Now we learn that U.S. yanks support for Syrian opposition group, warns of extremist takeover of uprising which was an entirely predictable and certain outcome if Assad should fall. There never were any moderate, democratic groups in Syria capable of gaining ascendency or garnering the support needed to govern effectively. The CIA had to know that and thus the administration knew it.

    Clearly, Obama judged that Libyan weapons were needed to oust Assad and that Syria becoming another Egypt was preferable to remaining aligned with Iran. Yet now he’s abandoning that assistance. The only rationale that explains that action is fear. It’s a political calculation to avoid any more damage to his chances for reelection. He’s seeking to at least temporarily halt the weapons operation, to lessen the ongoing potential for exposure of the that operation, to avoid the Benghazi debacle from reaching a tipping point of exposure to the general public and blowing up in his face.

    The very last thing Obama is ever going to do is acknowledge anything about Benghazi or his Middle Eastern ‘fast and furious’ operation. If the full truth emerges, it will be in spite of all he and his administration could do. He’s effectively committed murder to conceal and protect his covert operations and arguably, committed treason in allowing ‘aid and comfort’ to be given to our enemies.

    1. That’s pretty damn close to a bull eye GB.

      I hope the SECSTATE doesn’t get the chance to slither out of this one either.

      1. Clinton is culpable in the cover-up and in collusion in the Libyan/Syrian arms running. Since the arms would predictably end up in the arms of Al Qaeda and, Clinton almost certainly knew what Stevens was doing, by continuing in office she became culpable in the arguably treasonous behavior of Obama. The charge of treason may apply to Panetta, Petreaus, etc. too.

        Where the charge of treason becomes uncertain is in the claiming that by arming the rebels but not Al Qaeda directly, the policy was designed to lessen long term terrorism by isolating Iranian influence, at the cost of ‘some’ indeterminable but unavoidable “aid and comfort to the enemy”.

        Clinton’s not culpable in the stand down order or in the refusal to assist once the attacks began. Even if she advised Obama to do those things, it was his decision and his alone.

        Without a CBA order, all Panetta could do was watch it unfold. By not resigning, Panetta condoned Obama’s sacrificing of American lives. Once the Seals acted against the stand down order and requested assistance, by not awakening Obama after he went to bed, Panetta essentially usurped Obama’s command authority, though its almost certain that he knew what Obama would say.

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