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Former Obama Aide Ben Rhodes Now a Person of Interest in House Intelligence Committee Unmasking Investigation

Sara A. Carter reports: Former Obama White House National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes is now an emerging as a person of interest in the House Intelligence Committee’s unmasking investigation, according to a letter sent Tuesday by the committee to the National Security Agency (NSA). This adds Rhodes to the growing list of top Obama government officials who may have improperly unmasked Americans in communications intercepted overseas by the NSA, Circa has confirmed.

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, sent the letter to the National Security Agency requesting the number of unmaskings made by Rhodes from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 20, 2017, according to congressional sources who spoke with Circa. Rhodes, who worked closely with former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and was a former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications for President Obama, became a focus of the committee during its review of classified information to assess whether laws were broken regarding NSA intercepted communications of President Trump, members of his administration and other Americans before and after the election, according to congressional officials. The committee is requesting that the NSA deliver the information on Rhodes by August, 21.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP –  In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan have all been named in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the unmasking of Americans. A letter sent last week from Nunes to Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, suggested that top Obama aides made hundreds of unmasking requests during the 2016 presidential elections. The story, which was first reported by The Hill last week, stated that the requests were made without specific justifications as to why the unmasking was necessary. Rice and Brennan have confirmed they sought the unredacted names of Americans in NSA-sourced intelligence reports but insisted their requests were routine parts of their work and had no nefarious intentions. Power also has legal authority to unmask officials, though the practice has not reportedly been common for someone in her position. Rhodes also had legal authority to unmask Americans in NSA-source intelligence reports. But intelligence and congressional sources question the extent of the unmasking.

[Read the full story here, at circa.com]

Nunes told Coats in a letter last week that the committee has “found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

Multiple federal law enforcement and intelligence officials told Circa, that requesting an unmasking for intelligence and analytical purposes is something that is done only when the information is absolutely necessary to analyze a specific threat or for other national security purposes. An intelligence source, with direct knowledge of the type of requests made by the Obama aides, said “it’s like hell and high water to fill out and gain approval for these types of unmaskings. It’s something analysts take seriously and could entail filling out 80 pages of paperwork to prove there is a need to unmask. If top officials were unmasking without oversight it’s something everyone should be concerned about and it puts our intelligence community in a very bad place.” Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Steyn: Maintream Media in Overdrive to Disprove Rice Story: ‘Media Annoyed Someone has Outfaked their Fake News’

Radio host and commentator Mark Steyn on liberal media dismissing the revelation of Susan Rice unmasking Trump associates under surveillance, decrying the story as a ‘diversion’ from the Russian collusion scandal.

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Did the Obama Administration’s Abuse of Foreign-Intelligence Collection Start Before Trump?

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One clue: The Russia story is a replay of how the former White House smeared pro-Israel activists in the lead-up to the Iran Deal.

Lee Smith writes: The accusation that the Obama administration used information gleaned from classified foreign surveillance to smear and blackmail its political opponents at home has gained new traction in recent days, after reports that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice may have been rifling through classified transcripts for over a year that could have included information about Donald Trump and his associates. While using resources that are supposed to keep Americans safe from terrorism for other purposes may be a dereliction of duty, it is no more of a crime than spending all day on Twitter instead of doing your job. The crime here would be if she leaked the names of U.S. citizens to reporters. In the end, the seriousness of the accusation against Rice and other former administration officials who will be caught up in the “unmasking” scandal will rise or fall based on whether or not Donald Trump was actively engaged in a conspiracy to turn over the keys of the White House to the Kremlin. For true believers in the Trump-Kremlin conspiracy theories, the Obama “spying and lying” scandal isn’t a scandal at all; just public officials taking prudent steps to guard against an imminent threat to the republic.

But what if Donald Trump wasn’t the first or only target of an Obama White House campaign of spying and illegal leaks directed at domestic political opponents?

In a December 29, 2015 article, The Wall Street Journal described how the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on Israeli officials to understand how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, like Ambassador Ron Dermer, intended to fight the Iran Deal. The Journal reported that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”

Despite this reporting, it seemed inconceivable at the time that—given myriad legal, ethical, political, and historical concerns, as well as strict National Security Agency protocols that protect the identity of American names caught in intercepts—the Obama White House would have actually spied on American citizens. In a December 31, 2016, Tablet article on the controversy, “Why the White House Wanted Congress to Think It Was Being Spied on By the NSA,” I argued that the Obama administration had merely used the appearance of spying on American lawmakers to corner opponents of the Iran Deal. Spying on U.S. citizens would be a clear abuse of the foreign-intelligence surveillance system. It would be a felony offense to leak the names of U.S. citizens to the press.

[Read the full story here, at Tablet Magazine]

Increasingly, I believe that my conclusion in that piece was wrong. I believe the spying was real and that it was done not in an effort to keep the country safe from threats—but in order to help the White House fight their domestic political opponents.

“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”

This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—terrorize them.

Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.

***

Two inquiries now underway on Capitol Hill, conducted by the Senate intelligence committee and the House intelligence committee, may discover the extent to which Obama administration officials unmasked the identities of Trump team members caught in foreign-intelligence intercepts. What we know so far is that Obama administration officials unmasked the identity of one Trump team member, Michael Flynn, and leaked his name to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Charles Krauthammer: Susan Rice Appears to be Contradicting Herself

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Fresh Evidence the Russia ‘Scandal’ is a Team Obama Operation

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Do you suspect that the noise over Trump campaign contacts with the Russians is just a political hit arranged by Obama insiders before they left?

You got fresh evidence of that Monday, with news that then-national security adviser Susan Rice was behind the “unmasking” of Trumpites in transcripts of calls with Russian officials.

Again, nothing on the public record so far shows that anyone on Team Trump said anything improper on those calls.

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It’s no surprise that US spooks intercept foreign officials’ calls. But intelligence community reports don’t disclose the names of US citizens on the other end. To get that info, a high official must (but rarely does) push to “unmask” the Americans’ names.

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Bloomberg’s Eli Lake now reports that Rice started doing just that last year.

That was perfectly legal. But we also know that the Obama administration later changed the classification of the “unmasked” transcripts, and other similar material, in order to spread the information as widely as possible within the government.

[Read the full editorial here, at NYPost]

The motive for that was (supposedly) to prevent Team Trump from burying it all once it took over. But the result was that it made it relatively safe for someone (or someones) to leak the info to the press.

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Which made it likely somebody would leak. So Team Obama’s “spread the info” initiative certainly broke the spirit of the laws. Read the rest of this entry »


CNN: Now Debunking Stories It Never Covered in the First Place

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Mollie Z. Hemingway writes:

… Yesterday, the news broke at multiple outlets that the unmasking wasn’t done by a low-level official at an intelligence agency, but by Susan Rice herself. She was President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor. All of a sudden people began admitting that Nunes was right that information on political opponents had been collected, unmasked, and disseminated, but they turned to downplaying this as significant news.

[Also see – Susan Rice’s White House Unmasking: A Watergate-style Scandal – Her interest was not in national security but to advance the political interests of the Democratic party]

This is a media-wide problem, but no one has been more shameless about this than CNN, which formerly at least attempted to position itself as politically neutral. CNN has decided to declare the news story “fake” because of this report from former Obama political appointee Jim Sciutto (who was a colleague of Susan Rice at the Obama State Department), who now covers the Republican administration:

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Wait, wait, wait, wait. Slow down here. A person close to Rice said she did nothing wrong? Well this changes … oh wow, this changes … nothing. I mean, people close to Mike Flynn said he did nothing wrong, and they even had quite the case, but I don’t recall Sciutto either running with that angle, or believing such an angle “debunked” the coordinated leak campaign against Trump he was recipient of.

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Of course Susan Rice’s family and friends will rush to her defense. That’s what friends are for. But that doesn’t “debunk” a story. The idea that you wouldn’t pursue this story and all of the interesting questions raised by it is an affront to journalism. But that seems to be the road CNN has chosen to go down. A few examples:

Screen-Shot-2017-04-04-at-10.27.31-AMcnnmollie Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: On Possible Unmasking, Democrats ‘Are Pretending It Is Not an Issue’

Charles Krauthammer argued that the Russian investigation now involves multiple issues, and that it is a partisan maneuver to say that one or another is the only one that matters.

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Stephen Miller writes:

…As the facts about who surveilled whom during the transition get sorted out, it is useful to remember why Trump’s team and his supporters have reason to be suspicious, thanks to a long documented history of Obama using shady surveillance tactics on both political opponents and international allies. Rhodes himself knows this history but that doesn’t seem to matter as he once again attempts to make people believe he fell out of the sky and onto Twitter on January 21st, 2017.

To help jog Rhodes’ memory, below are all the documented instances of the Obama administration using and in some cases abusing surveillance.

1. Fox News reporter James Rosen

In 2013 the news broke that Eric Holder’s Justice Department had spied on James Rosen. Obama’s DOJ collected Rosen’s telephone records as well as tracked his movements to and from the State Department from where he reported. Rosen was named as a possible co-conspirator in a Justice Department affidavit. Rosen claims that his parents phone line was also swept up in the collection of his records and DOJ records seem to confirm that. Despite the targeting of Rosen, there were no brave calls to boycott the White House Correspondents Dinner.

2. Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA

CIA officers penetrated a network used to share information by Senate Intel committee members, including Sen. Diane Feinstein, the committee’s Democrat chair. The bombshell New York Times report went on to disclose:

The C.I.A. officials penetrated the computer network when they came to suspect that the committee’s staff had gained unauthorized access to an internal C.I.A. review of the detention program that the spy agency never intended to give to Congress. A C.I.A. lawyer then referred the agency’s suspicions to the Justice Department to determine whether the committee staff broke the law when it obtained that document. The inspector general report said that there was no “factual basis” for this referral, which the Justice Department has declined to investigate, because the lawyer had been provided inaccurate information. The report said that the three information technology officers “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities” during interviews with the inspector general.

The Obama White House defended CIA director John Brennan’s actions and response. Imagine that.

3. Prism
In 2013, it was revealed how the Obama administration and NSA were facilitating a secret government mass surveillance program called Prism, because the name Orwell would have been too obvious, I guess. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Michelle Malkin: Mainstream Media Ignores Report Obama Aide Unmasked Trump Transition Team

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A National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of Americans caught up in incidental surveillance revealed Rice’s requests, Bloomberg reported.

The identities of citizens collected are normally redacted from the intelligence reports and are designated as something like “US Person One,” Bloomberg reported.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the NSC’s senior director for intelligence, uncovered Rice’s multiple requests related to the Trump transition in February while conducting the review and alerted the White House General Counsel’s Office, which undertook another review of Rice and told him to stop his investigation into the unmasking, the website reported.

The intelligence documents contained summaries of conversations monitored between foreign officials talking about the Trump transition. They also contained some instances of communication between Trump associates and foreign officials, the report said.

The data, according to a US official, included sensitive information about whom the Trump associates were meeting and their views on foreign policy issues.

Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment, the website said.

During an appearance on “PBS NewsHour” on March 22, Rice was asked about whether Trump transition officials were swept up in incidental monitoring.

“I know nothing about this,” she said.

House and Senate committees are investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump associates had any contact with the Kremlin during that time. … (read more)

Source: NYPost


[PHOTO] Hands On With Susan Rice and John Kerry at a Paris Agreement Climate Change Event Ahead of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou

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Donors Are Panicking

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Ryan Lizza writes: This week marks an important anniversary in the political lives of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton was dominating the young upstart from Illinois in the Democratic primaries. After a burst of excitement when Obama announced his candidacy, in February, 2007, his campaign flagged over the summer. He was down in the polls, his donors were complaining, and, hard as it is to believe now, he was even losing to Clinton among African-Americans.

“We were trailing in national polls by a wide margin, the pundits were pouncing, and donors were panicking.”

— David Axelrod

“A lot of our supporters nationally were very concerned that we weren’t moving in the national polls,” Larry Grisolano, one of Obama’s top campaign strategists, told me.

Dan Pfeiffer, then the campaign’s deputy communications director, told me, “It’s crazy to think now, but the big narrative was whether Obama was tough enough to take on Clinton and whether he was black enough to win the African-American vote. That’s an actual debate we had in America. You could see the political world placing its bets on Hillary.”

“We were trailing in national polls by a wide margin, the pundits were pouncing, and donors were panicking,” David Axelrod, who was Obama’s top strategist and later became a senior White House adviser, told me.

How did the Obama team turn it around? The conventional wisdom is that he inspired voters with an uplifting message and out-organized Clinton in Iowa and elsewhere. And while it’s true that Obama had a superior organization and an optimistic message, the real beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton was when Obama attacked her greatest vulnerability: her character.

The kill-Hillary strategy began with an October memo that was written by several top Obama officials, including Axelrod, Grisolano, Pfeiffer, the campaign manager David Plouffe, and Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster. “Joel Benenson was a key contributor to how we stack up against her message-wise,” Grisolano said.

I’ve previously reported on aspects of the memo, but the entire document is being published here for the first time. It offers a fascinating glimpse into campaign strategy, and specifically into the strategy used to defeat Hillary Clinton, who was then, as now, the Democratic frontrunner.

[Read the full text here, at The New Yorker]

The memo was used to set up a crucial meeting to plot Obama’s fall strategy, which included a debate in Philadelphia and the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, traditionally one of the most important events in the run-up to the caucuses. Obama and his aides met in a Chicago office building on October 11, 2007. “The memo was written for a big Come-to-Jesus meeting, at which Obama wanted us to review the strategy and lay out our plans,” Axelrod said, adding that Obama “wanted to talk brass tacks about where we were going” and “we had a rigorous discussion around the points in the memo.”

Obama’s strategists argued that the “key premise” of the campaign was that 2008 would be a change election, and that while Hillary was trying to “define this as change from George Bush,” Obama had a broader definition, one that emphasized her weaknesses:

 Our construct is much broader and tracks with Americans’ deep discontent with Washington, specifically:

• Its political gamesmanship, where politicians score points by saying what others want to hear, rather than what they need to hear;

• Its divisiveness, which pits Americans against each other and blocks the consensus we need to get things done;

• Its submission to powerful interests that shut out the voices of average Americans.

The only way for Obama to win this argument about change was for him to raise the character issue, which he had tiptoed around until that point in the campaign. Benenson’s polling showed that voters wanted a President “who can unite the country and restore our sense of common purpose,” “stand up to lobbyists,” and “who doesn’t just tell people what they want to hear.” The strategists, addressing Obama, wrote that these qualities “are the ones on which YOU scores high and Hillary, low.” They concluded, “Barack Obama is change. She is not.” Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] President Xi Jinping Inspecting Formations of Troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

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President Xi Jinping inspected formations of troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s multiple forces standing along Chang’an Avenue, the east-west axis of the capital city, ahead of the massive parade. #VDay #VDayParade

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China to trim military by 300,000


Dispute Continues Over Hillary Clinton Testifying Before Benghazi Panel

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton adjusts her make-up before speaking at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, July 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young        TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Clinton’s spokesman said there was a deal, but the committee’s representative said no agreement had been reached

Zeke J Miller reports: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the House Benghazi Committee remain at loggerheads over the conditions under which she would testify before the committee, probing the killing of four Americans in the September 2012 attack in Libya.

“Earlier this week we were pleased for Secretary Clinton to receive an offer from Congressman Gowdy to appear before the committee in a public hearing in October, and yesterday accepted his invitation.”

— Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill, in a statement

Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill announced Saturday that Clinton had agreed to testify before the committee in a public hearing in October, but the committee’s communications director, Jamal Ware, said no agreement had in fact been reached.

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“Secretary Clinton’s campaign may want to reach out to her lawyer, Mr. David Kendall, with whom the Committee has had ongoing conversations. As of last night, Mr. Kendall was still negotiating conditions for her appearance.”

— House Benghazi Committee communications director Jamal Ware

“Earlier this week we were pleased for Secretary Clinton to receive an offer from Congressman Gowdy to appear before the committee in a public hearing in October, and yesterday accepted his invitation,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.

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“Her email arrangement clearly falls within the scope of the Select Committee’s jurisdiction, which is charged by the House under the Resolution to look at Executive Branch efforts to comply with congressional oversight as well as the administration’s response in the aftermath of the tragic attacks in Benghazi.”

—  Jamal Ware

“Secretary Clinton’s campaign may want to reach out to her lawyer, Mr. David Kendall, with whom the Committee has had ongoing conversations,” Ware said. “As of last night, Mr. Kendall was still negotiating conditions for her appearance.” Read the rest of this entry »


Eliana Johnson: Rabbi Shmuley’s Full-Page Ad in Washington Post Slamming Iran Deal

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Eliana Johnson writes: Shmuley Boteach, the outspoken Orthodox rabbi, is going up with a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Washington Post blasting the president for negotiating with Iran and pleading with him not to strike a deal with the ayatollah.

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“Fighting al-Qaeda made you like Churchill,” the ad’s headline reads. “Appeasing Iran will make you like Chamberlain.” A photograph of former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain, waving the infamous Munich agreement over his head, along with the New York Times’s coverage of the moment in 1938, are superimposed over Obama’s face. The Times, the ad notes, endorsed the Munich agreement as “the price of peace.”

“We look to you as the leader of the free world and our friend. to understand that Jews today are being murdered around the globe. We need you to stand up for us.”

“The price of peace,” it says, “turned out to be 60 million lives.”

The ad, which is paid for by the World Values Network, an organization founded by Boteach and intended to foster Jewish values, also says that even those awed by the president’s resolve in foreign affairs are now “mystified” by his “willingness to appease” Iran. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Susan Rice: Bergdahl Served With ‘Honor and Distinction’


U.S. Federal Grand Jury Indicts Benghazi Suspect on Charges that Carry Death Penalty

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Ahmed Abu Khatallah to face 17 new charges over alleged involvement on September 2012 attacks on US diplomatic compound in Benghazi that saw four US citizens killed

A US federal grand jury issued a new indictment on Tuesday that includes a possible death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militant accused of involvement in the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. chris-stevens-bodydiplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

“Obama administration officials, including Susan Rice, currently White House National Security Adviser, stoked political controversy by initially saying the attack was a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video.”

The indictment supersedes earlier accusations brought against Khatallah in July, and adds 17 new charges, including allegations he led an extremist militia group and conspired with others to attack the facilities and kill U.S. citizens.

Khatallah was captured in Libya in June by a US military and FBI team and transported to the United States aboard a U.S. Navy ship to face charges in Washington federal court.

A lawyer for Khatallah did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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Four Americans were killed in the attack, including the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The attack ignited a political firestorm in Washington that could still resonate if Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State at the time of the attack, runs for president as expected in 2016.

Read the rest of this entry »


Susan Rice: Diplomat Extraordinaire

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UPDATED [VIDEO] Perks: Islamists Throw Pool Party at US Embassy Compound in Libya


REWIND: DOJ Court Documents in Benghazi Suspect Case Put Video Narrative to Rest

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“We will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted”

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Father of SEAL killed in Benghazi

Court documents filed by the U.S. Justice Department in the criminal case against Benghazi attack suspect Ahmed Abu Khatallah provide unprecedented details about the evolution of the assault and further shatter the Obama administration’s initial claim that it sprouted from protests over an anti-Islam film.

The narrative that the video played a role continues to live on, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying recently that some of the attackers may indeed have been influenced by the online video.

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But the Justice Department’s court filings make clear that at least those spearheading the attack were part of a “conspiracy,” one that involved several members of the Ansar al-Sharia “Islamic extremist militia.”

A government motion filed Tuesday seeking Khatallah’s detention provides some of the greatest detail to date on the suspect’s alleged role.

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The motion says that in the days preceding the attack, the defendant “voiced concern and opposition to the presence of an American facility in Benghazi.” According to the motion, a group of 20 or more “armed men,” including militia members, assembled outside the U.S. compound at 9:45 p.m. the night of Sept. 11, 2012, and “aggressively breached” the gate.

They carried rifles, handguns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

After breaching the gate, they stole a U.S. vehicle, “forcibly entered” buildings and stole U.S. property.

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“During this initial attack, buildings within the Mission were set on fire,” the court document says, noting that the fires “ultimately led to the deaths” of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Read the rest of this entry »


15 Most Annoying Expressions in Politics

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For RealClearPoliticsCarl M. Cannon writes: Irritating phrases and words are not confined to political circles, or solely to Washington, although here in the nation’s capital they burrow in and proliferate like obsolete, but entrenched, government programs. This is a call to arms to fight them—but only metaphorically.

15: “WAR ON [FILL IN THE BLANK]” Syria’s civil war has produced 2.5 million refugees and a death toll of 160,000, a tragedy that has galvanized neither major political party into action. So next time a Democrat brays about the so-called Republican “war on women” or a Republican trumpets the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” tell them you’ve seen what real war looks like—and ask what the U.S. can do to stop it.

14. “TAX HIKE” It’s not a “hike.” What are you going to do, put it in a knapsack and take it for a walk? It’s a tax increase. This usage was coined by headline writers because it’s shorter. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who often employs this phrase, has no such excuse.

13. “RIGHT-WING” This term is bandied about carelessly, usually as a pejorative. In “The Devil’s Dictionary,” Ambrose Bierce defined “conservative.” Here is the entry, in its entirety: “CONSERVATIVE, n. a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.” The converse of “right-wing,” a label freely applied to Fox News and countless Republican elected officials, is not “liberal,” it’s “left wing.”

12. “FRANKLY” Rhett Butler made this word famous, but when politicians preface their remarks with “frankly” (or “candidly”), they don’t give a damn about being frank or candid. Usually, it means they’re about to tell a whopper—or recite a talking point. Listen for this usage from now on. It’s a self-administered lie detector.

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11. “TALKING POINTS” Pols who recite self-serving spin written by others while answering basic questions about their jobs are essentially reading the stage directions. It suggests they are too lazy to invent their own fibs or excuses—or that they work for control freaks who don’t trust them to know their own subject matter. This is a discordant trait in a high-ranking official, such as U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice or anyone who attended top-notch schools, which also fits Rice. She was a history major at Stanford and a Rhodes scholar with a master’s degree and a doctorate from Oxford.

10. “DOCTOR” In the White House compound and certain media precincts, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden is referred to as “Dr. Biden,” usually in reverential tones. This is understandable—who wants to be called “the second lady”? But, like Susan Rice, Jill Biden has a PhD, not a medical degree. It was also a secret password in the Bush administration to affix “Dr.” in front of another foreign policy official surnamed Rice. Susan Rice, Condoleezza Rice, and Jill Biden are accomplished people, but the old-time newsroom rule is best: If someone isn’t licensed to take your tonsils out, you don’t have to call ’em “Doc.”

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[This next one is my personal favorite example of an annoying, overused word–I hear it a lot from POTUS, and also, Brit Hume]

9. “LOOK…” Almost as soon as he arrived in Washington, Barack Obama adopted the off-putting Sunday talk show habit—used promiscuously by Karl Rove—of starting sentences with the word “Look.” Two months after his inauguration, things got so bad that Jimmy Fallon sought to discourage its proliferation by producing a montage, set to music, of Obama saying “Look…” 26 times in an hour-long news conference. To a layman, it sounds like Obama is really saying, “Look here, moron…” But two UCLA professors told Anya Sostek of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this preamble isn’t as patronizing as it sounds. Manny Schegloff says Obama is signaling that he’s about to provide background information as part of his answer that informs his policy position. His colleague Steven Clayman adds that Ronald Reagan often began answers to questions with the word, “Well”—as a way of preparing listeners for a different answer than they might expect. Or so say Dr. Clayman and Dr. Schegloff.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Hammer: ‘Clinton Flailed’

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From NRO:

Hillary Clinton’s interview with Bret Baier last night failed to win over noted columnist Charles Krauthammer. When questioned on Benghazi, Hillary Clinton flailed in response, according to Krauthammer.

Baier questioned Clinton on public statements made by the State Department announcing the cause of the attacks. Her answer, however, was “a flail,” Krauthammer said. “She had no answer to that. It was a pointed question.”

Krauthammer explained,

“Your own State Department is saying–Beth Jones, acting Assistant Secretary, Near East Affairs–telling the Libyans it was the terror group Ansar al-Sharia, and you, your State Department issues a statement that it’s the video. It’s a direct contradiction. She had no answer. She said you have to hold both ideas and then she goes off, but there’s nowhere to hide on this. And clearly, on the Sunday when Susan Rice goes on…(read more)

National Review Online


[VIDEO] Trey Gowdy’s Explosive Question About Obama Refusing to Obey the Law

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[VIDEO] ‘Honor & Distinction’: Susan Rice on ABC’s ‘This Week’ – with Laugh Track

Pundit Planet Media


The Hammer: Very Important the Army Pursue Trying Bergdahl for Possible Desertion

“I think that it’s very important that the Army pursue this.”

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“If you’re going to do the swap that we did for this kind of guy, where there is a question whether he left on his own or not or what the motives were, you absolutely have to bring military justice to bear.”

— Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday’s Special Report

Read the rest of this entry »


Number of Emails From Snowden to the NSA Raising Concerns: One

Report: Snowden impersonated NSA officials to access some files

On Thursday, NSA released the email they said Snowden appeared to be referring to, which the agency says is the only communication from Snowden it could find raising any concerns. It was dated April 8, 2013, three months after Snowden first reached out to journalists anonymously.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Edward Snowden says he repeatedly raised constitutional concerns about National Security Agency surveillance internally, but an NSA search turned up a single email in which Snowden gently asks for “clarification” on a technical legal question about training materials, agency officials said Thursday.

Snowden, a former NSA systems administrator whose leaks have exposed some of the agency’s most sensitive spying operations, called himself a patriot in an interview this week with NBC NewsBrian Williams. He said he felt he had no choice but to expose what he considered illegal NSA surveillance by leaking secret details to journalists.

NSA officials have said he gained access to some 1.7 million classified documents, though it’s not clear how many he removed from the Hawaii facility where he worked as a contractor.

Asked by Williams whether he first raised his qualms with his bosses, he said, “I reported that there were real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Susan Rice: ‘Dang If I Know’

Susan Rice got a few laughs as she shrugged off whether the House select committee on Benghazi would uncover any new information…

 NRO


Shapiro: The 6 Biggest Lies About Benghazi

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For Brietbart.comBen Shaprio writes: On Wednesday, an email emerged from White House in which national security aide Ben Rhodes instructed UN Ambassador Susan Rice – copying President Obama’s entire political team at the White House – that her goal on the Sunday shows following the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi should be to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

That email demonstrates that the White House lied when it said it did not skew for political reasons the talking points provided to Rice; Rice then appeared on the Sunday shows and claimed that a YouTube video lay at the root of the terrorist attacks. Although White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested that the White House talking points merely reflected the best available information provided by the CIA, that was clearly untrue; CIA deputy director Michael Morell testified last month that when Rice “talked about the video, my reaction was, that’s not something the analysts have attributed this attack to.

[Check out Ben’s book: Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans at Amazon.com]

But that’s hardly the only lie from this White House surrounding Benghazi. Here, then, are the top six top lies told by the White House with regard to the terrorist attacks that ended in the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

The Obama Administration Did All It Could To Protect American Personnel in Benghazi. Thursday on Capitol Hill, retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who was Deputy Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate for AFRICOM during Benghazi, testified:

There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability—the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: “Always move to the sound of the guns.” It is with a sense of duty as a retired General officer that I respectfully submit these thoughts and perspectives.

Lovell further testified that the State Department submitted no request for military force to the best of his knowledge. In 2013, Deputy Ambassador Gregory Hicks stated that Special Operations Command Africa commander Lt. Col. Gibson were going to board a C-130 to head to Benghazi “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight…”

That’s a far cry from the consistent claim from the Obama administration that everything that could have been done was done on that night. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: Hillary’s Benghazi Lie

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Remembering the injustice done to the grieving father of an American hero.

For National Review Online, Mona Charen writes: The Ben Rhodes memo revealing the duplicity of this administration on the subject of Benghazi reminds us about the character of those involved. That President Obama could lie so evenly and so passionately (remember the second presidential debate?) is perhaps not surprising at this stage. But let’s not forget what it took for Mrs. Clinton to lie to the grieving father of an American hero.

First, a refresher on the facts (as they were certainly known to the principals):

A convoy of well-armed terrorists rolled into the complex housing the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The attackers sealed off streets leading to the consulate with trucks and then commenced the attack on the building using rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s, mortars, and artillery mounted on trucks. Ambassador Chris Stevens called Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks for help, saying “Greg, we’re under attack.” Hicks, who was in Tripoli, conveyed this up the line, but no help arrived.

The terrorists killed Ambassador Stevens and another American and set the building ablaze. (Two more Americans would die later attempting to protect the annex.) As soon as the next morning, Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, described the attack as a “commando-style event” with “coordinated fire, direct fire, [and] indirect fire.” A few days later the Libyan president said that it was a planned terrorist attack. He also said that the idea that it was a “spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous.” Yet a well-orchestrated disinformation campaign by the Obama administration managed to put the press off the story and mislead the American people. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jay Carney Trying to Explain Things

“Snake experts believe this behavior occurs in sick animals that are unaware of what they are doing.”

telegraph.co.uk

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(Blame Jonah Goldberg’s G-File for snake-eating mental image)

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BREAKING: Boehner to Form Select Committee on Benghazi

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol

UPDATE: Other news organizations confirm the report below that House speaker John Boehner will announce the formation of a select committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy

House Speaker John Boehner is “seriously considering” appointing a select committee to investigate the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, according to a senior GOP leadership aide. The move comes after the revelation of an email from a top Obama national security official, Ben Rhodes, instructing Susan Rice to focus on an anti-Muslim internet video to explain the attacks.

“For the first time we have clear and public evidence that the White House was more involved in misleading the American people than it had previous admitted. And, second, it’s now proven that the administration withheld relevant documents from a congressional subpoena request…”

“The new emails this week were the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says the aide. “The Speaker was furious to learn that the admininstration withheld relevant documents from a congressional subpoena. He’s sick and tired of this evasion and obstruction from the administration, and wants a solution to finally force accountability, get to the truth, and provide justice.”

“…the administration has now demonstrated it is willing to flagrantly defy such subpoena requests, compelling the House to consider taking the strongest actions possible in an effort to ensure Americans have the truth about what happened.”

Boehner, who has paid careful attention to the Benghazi developments since the attacks, has resisted calls to appoint a select committee, preferring to allow the various committees of jurisdiction to pursue investigations of their slices of the attacks on their own. Aides say Boehner continues to believe that the work of those committees has been valuable. “The current committees investigating the attack have done good work, using their authority, including subpoena authority, to gather facts, interview hundreds of witnesses, and conduct dozens of hearings. But this week’s events demonstrate a new level of stonewalling and obfuscation by the administration that requires a new level of investigation.”

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Is it Hot in Here? Or am I Jay Carney

: After a second day of tough questioning in the White House briefing room,  #JayCarney is trending on Twitter -and not in a good way. Doubling down on yesterday’s lie that the Susan Rice talking points memo was not about Benghazi, he went after Fox News – accusing them of spreading conspiracy theories…(read more)

[See also: General: We may have been able to save Benghazi victims, we’ll never know]

 


REWIND: SPSCI White Paper Talking Points for Use with the Media 14 September 2012

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[VIDEO] Ben Rhodes: Political Hack

The Arizona senator wants to see Rhodes and others involved subpoenaed under a congressional select committee. “We have never heard from many of the key players that were involved in that, including Ben Rhodes, who we now see used to be a spokesperson for the NSC [National Security Council], obviously was the political hack for the Obama reelect.” 

— Andrew Johnson, NRO

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The goal of the appearances, said Rhodes, is “to convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad; [and] to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy.”

…The email is black-and-white evidence of deception and spin by top White House officials, who have denied since shortly after the 2012 attack that they tried to portray it as an out-of-control protest. In fact, the Cairo demonstration — which was not blocked by the Obama-supported Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt — was organized to demand the release of a jihadi locked up in a U.S. jail…

— Neil MunroWhite House Correspondent

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Emails sent by senior White House adviser Ben Rhodes to other top administration officials reveal an effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans.

Rhodes sent this email to top White House officials such as David Plouffe and Jay Carney just a day before National Security Adviser Susan Rice made her infamous Sunday news show appearances to discuss the attack.

The “goal,” according to these emails, was “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

Rice came under fierce criticism following her appearances on television after she adhered to these talking points and blamed the attack on a little-watched Internet video.

The newly released internal White House e-mails show that Rice’s orders came from top Obama administration communications officials.

“[W]e’ve made our views on this video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it,” Rhodes wrote in the email, which was released on Tuesday by the advocacy group Judicial Watch…

– , Washington Free Beacon

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Obama’s ‘Blame the Video’ Fraud Started in Cairo, Not Benghazi

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The e-mail revelations and the Obama administration’s lies 

For National Review OnlineAndrew C. McCarthy writes: Here is the main point: The rioting at the American embassy in Cairo was not about the anti-Muslim video. As argued here repeatedly (see here and here), the Obama administration’s “Blame the Video” story was a fraudulent explanation for the September 11, 2012, rioting in Cairo every bit as much as it was a fraudulent explanation for the massacre in Benghazi several hours later.

We’ll come back to that because, once you grasp this well-hidden fact, the Obama administration’s derelictions of duty in connection with Benghazi become much easier to see. But let’s begin with Jay Carney’s performance in Wednesday’s exchange with the White House press corps, a new low in insulting the intelligence of the American people.

Mr. Carney was grilled about just-released e-mails that corroborate what many of us have been arguing all along: “Blame the Video” was an Obama-administration–crafted lie, through and through. It was intended, in the stretch run of the 2012 campaign, to obscure the facts that (a) the president’s foreign policy of empowering Islamic supremacists contributed directly and materially to the Benghazi massacre; (b) the president’s reckless stationing of American government personnel in Benghazi and his shocking failure to provide sufficient protection for them were driven by a political-campaign imperative to portray the Obama Libya policy as a success — and, again, they invited the jihadist violence that killed our ambassador and three other Americans; and (c) far from being “decimated,” as the president repeatedly claimed during the campaign (and continued to claim even after the September 11 violence in Egypt and Libya), al-Qaeda and its alliedjihadists remained a driving force of anti-American violence in Muslim countries — indeed, they had been strengthened by the president’s pro-Islamist policies. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ABC’s Jon Karl Challenges White House Over New Benghazi Email

During the April 30, 2014 White House press briefing, ABC’s Jon Karl repeatedly presses White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over a newly released email from a White House senior aide discussing preparing then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice to blame the Benghazi attack on a YouTube video.

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Analysis: What the New Benghazi E-mails Show, and What They Don’t

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For National Review OnlinePatrick Brennan writes: Charles Krauthammer argued on Special Report tonight that the new Benghazi e-mails from the White House are a “smoking gun,” but that the media will plead that the scandal is too complicated, so the issue is dead. Alas, the scandal is complicated enough that Krauthammer is either mistaken about the facts of what he calls “a classic cover-up of a cover-up,” or he’s eliding the details for his audience”the CIA and the State Department assembled talking points pinning the attacks partly on the video, without any input from the White House.

“…the CIA and the State Department assembled talking points pinning the attacks partly on the video, without any input from the White House…”

An e-mail revealed today shows a White House official recommending that U.N. ambassador Susan Rice play up the importance in the Benghazi attacks of an anti-Islam YouTube video that was mentioned in an unclassified summary from the intelligence community (the “talking points”), in order to help burnish the administration’s image.  Krauthammer claims this demolishes the White House’s longstanding claim that “this stuff” — the involvement of the video — “all came from the CIA, or from intelligence, that it was completely clean.” What the batch of e-mails (most of which aren’t new, they can be read here) show is the opposite: that the CIA and the State Department assembled talking points pinning the attacks partly on the video, without any input from the White House.

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Then the White House told Susan Rice to argue that the intelligence community had concluded, on balance, that an exogenous factor (the video) had caused the protests, and that administration policy (in terms of the stability of Libya and the fight against al-Qaeda) wasn’t to blame here. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] More From The Hammer: Benghazi Emails ‘a Classic Cover-Up of a Cover-Up’

From NROCharles Krauthammer called the new emails showing White House involvement in briefing U.N. ambassador Susan Rice before she spoke about the Benghazi attacks on the Sunday shows “a serious offense” and “a classic cover-up of a cover-up.”

“We now have the smoking document, which is the White House saying, ‘We’re pushing the video because we don’t want to blame it on the failure of our policies,’ which is what anybody who looked at this assumed all the way through.”

Krauthammer said. Read the rest of this entry »


New Benghazi E-mails Show White House Telling Rice to Play Up Video to Protect Obama

The president, flanked by his foreign-policy team: Chuck Hagel, Susan Rice, and Joe Biden. From L to R: AFP/Getty Images; Bloomberg (2); Getty Images (2)

For The CornerAndrew Johnson writes:

 New e-mails in the days after the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack reveal that the Obama White House urged Susan Rice to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video” ahead of her controversial Sunday-show appearances.

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch show deputy national-security adviser Ben Rhodes providing Rice, as well as others on the e-mail, with a list of “goals” for handling the attacks. Two of them:

  •  “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
  •  “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

He wrote that the president and administration “find [the video] disgusting and reprehensible,” but said that “there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this move with violence.”

Additionally, Rhodes recommended Rice herald President Obama ahead of the upcoming elections…(read more) The Corner

via Washington Free Beacon

And for Fox News reports:

Newly released emails on the Benghazi terror attack suggest a senior White House aide played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her controversial Sunday show appearances — where she wrongly blamed protests over an Internet video.

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More than 100 pages of documents were released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a Sept. 14, 2012, email from Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

The Rhodes email, with the subject line: “RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET,” was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Press Secretary Jay Carney. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] McCain Laughs at Rice’s Blatantly Dishonest Explanation for Benghazi

“For Susan Rice to say such a thing, I think it’s a little embarrassing to tell you the truth..”

[See also Susan Rice: No Regrets about Post-Benghazi Appearances]

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[VIDEO] GOP and Dem. Reps. Dispute NYT Benghazi Story

Andrew Johnson writes:  Members of the House Intelligence Committee, including its chair, voiced bipartisan criticism of a recent New York Times investigation that asserted that al-Qaeda had nothing to do with last year’s attacks on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi.

Representatives Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), the committee’s chair, and Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) took to Fox News Sunday to contest its claims. Rogers called the piece “just not accurate,” while Schiff said he didn’t “think it’s complete.” Both indicated that their intelligence has found pre-planning and aspirations of an attack for al-Qaeda and its affiliates, such as Ansar al-Sharia.

Rogers also pointed to the curious timing of the Times piece as well as a recent 60 Minutes feature on Susan Rice. “I don’t want to speculate on why they might do it, but I can tell you that the information that’s being presented in a way that we heard before and, through the investigation, have been able to determine is not accurate in its portrayal,” he said.

National Review Online


House Intelligence Chair: Benghazi Attack ‘Al Qaeda-led Event’

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Catherine Herridge writes: The 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya was an “Al Qaeda-led event” according to multiple on-the-record interviews with the head of the House Intelligence Committee who receives regular classified briefings and has access to the raw intelligence to make independent assessments.

“I will tell you this, by witness testimony and a year and a half of interviewing everyone that was in the ground by the way, either by an FBI investigator or the committee: It was very clear to the individuals on the ground that this was an Al Qaeda-led event. And they had pretty fairly descriptive events early on that lead those folks on the ground, doing the fighting, to the conclusion that this was a pre-planned, organized terrorist event,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told Fox News in a November interview.

“Not a video, that whole part was debunked time and time again,” Rogers added of the attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, “which just leads to questions of why the administration hung with that narrative for so long when all the folks who participated on the ground saw something different.”

The comments challenged the findings of a New York Times “investigation” which pointed instead to local militias and claimed an anti-Islam video played a role in inciting the attackers.

Asked in November what might explain the initial narrative that an anti-Islam film triggered the attack, Rogers did not answer directly but said all evidence points to the State Department, whose leadership skirted the security requirements for the Benghazi mission. “We think we can fairly sense what was going on here and I will tell you, the answers, I think, are going to lie within the State Department and the decision-making in the State Department,” he said. “Lots of questions to be answered there.”

Read the rest of this entry »