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home : opinions : letters May 24, 2016

5/11/2013 1:01:00 PM
Letter: Benghazi matters to those still in the line of fire



The Obama administration told us for two weeks after the attacks that they were nothing more than a demonstration turned violent. Instead, it was a successful, well planned and well executed terrorist attack specifically targeting the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Before a congressional panel, not under oath, Hillary Clinton asked, “What difference does it make?” It was that callous response that will come back to haunt her as she seeks the Democrat nomination for the 2016 presidential race.

The “difference” it makes, Madam Secretary of State, is whether or not you are fit to lead. In the eyes of those who were down the chain-of-command the night of Sept. 11, 2012, you fail that test miserably. Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer for Libya that night, before the Congressional committee Wednesday, choked up recalling the incident when he said, “It matters to me, personally and it matters to my colleagues at the Department of State.” Commanders of personnel who are in the line of fire tend to be touchy when casualties result from stupidity and the response is “What difference does it make?” Those people understand that they put their lives on the line in the service of their country, for national security. They don’t understand leaders who throw them under the bus to preserve a fiction being pushed in a national election to bolster a candidate. So yes, it matters - to them and to those still serving.

What kind of leadership begins a cover-up to hide a politically based policy decision even as their personnel are still under fire? The decision to, not only withhold increased security for the Benghazi consulate compound and Ambassador Stevens himself, but to actually reduce security personnel in the face of recent terrorist activity against westerners and the compound, itself, was purely political - the president assuring American voters that “Bin Laden is dead - and al Qaeda is on the run.” The attack in progress at the Benghazi compound was a direct rebuttal of that assertion and had to be explained as something else. In the process of inventing a narrative to fit their needs, the State Department refused to send aid to the beleaguered survivors who were still fighting to survive, saying that help would arrive too late to matter. One special operator, speaking anonymously because he is still on duty, said that in any situation such as this, a relief unit would be sent in any event, in order to help the survivors.

Mark Thompson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counter-terrorism at the State Department, testified that he emailed Patrick Kennedy, the Undersecretary, and asked him why he had so swiftly rejected the option suggested by the FBI and Defense Special Operations Command to deploy the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST). Kennedy told him it was too late. How Kennedy could have any idea how long the attack would continue is unknown. A quick reaction force composed of Special Operators and specially trained (probably ex-special ops) embassy personnel at Tripoli had started to deploy to Benghazi but were held up at the airport and told to stand down. Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission under Ambassador Stevens said the team was “furious.” Lt. Col. Gibson was quoted by Hicks, “This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more b---s than someone in the military.”

Was there a “demonstration?” Hicks testified that he had spoken to the ambassador a couple of times on the 11th. Stevens never mentioned any demonstrations in progress. At 3 a.m., the Libyan president called Stevens to inform him that Ambassador Stevens was dead. The narrative - the lie - was formulated that Stevens was the victim of an outraged mob protesting an anti-Islam video on the Internet. The leadership, from Obama down, fell in line and stuck to that narrative for two weeks until the president was safely re-elected. Then the cover-up was starting to unfold.

Unfortunately for Ms. Clinton, Beth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Mid East, had sent an email dated Sept. 12, addressed to all the major parties of the cover-up. “When he (the Libyan Prime Minister) said his administration suspected former Khadafi regime elements carried out the attack, I (Jones) told him ‘The group that conducted the attacks, Ansur al Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.” And, the Weekly Standard released a statement by the CIA made on Sept. 14, “... (We) do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.”

How high and complex did the cover-up go? Hicks, the man on the spot, “was stunned and embarrassed” when UN Ambassador Rice told the world the attacks were due to the video and was never questioned by the FBI (and, subsequently, demoted to a desk job). Mark Thompson says his counter-terrorism unit was kept out of the loop soon after the attacks. Hillary Clinton did her best to avoid appearing before a congressional committee. When she did, she wasn’t under oath. Former JCS Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen and former UN Ambassador Thomas Pickering, joint heads of the Accountability Review Board on Benghazi, never called Clinton to testify before finding her not guilty of any negligence.

Do Messrs Hicks, Thompson and Nordstrom have an ax to grind? Hell, yes! They were prevented from coming to the aid of fellow Americans who were dying for their country. In the process they have been threatened, coerced and their reputations have been damaged by leadership too busy covering their own hind-quarters to worry about those for whom they were responsible.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

I see the liberal angst and rage is beginning to boil… can’t wait to see what that ends up like.

I merely made a semantic mistake about the WAY Nixon left office, your error is one of fundamental dishonesty.

The relevant fact is that Watergate was not as serious as Fast & Furious or Benghazi.

Nobody died… and it was probably not even as serious as the IRS and Phone tapping , the common thread is: the Presidents lied to us then and now.

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: M J

I have a question for all you good little liberals out there.

Iffin’ the IRS thinks (or knows) they have the power to block and hinder tax exempt status for groups that they apparently don’t politically agree with……

Then what would stop them from harassing folks they don’t politically agree with when they (the IRS) has the power to enforce obamacare?

Why should I trust them? Why should anyone trust them?

Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Congress of the United States, Articles of Impeachment against Richard M Nixon

Article 2

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner."

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

@ Mr. Bond and PF,
Your smarmy attitude is duly noted… At least I can and do admit when I am wrong, it’s called being honest, you should try it sometime… it’s good for the soul.

Time will tell about Obama and Hillary being criminals. Time will also prove the Republican’s to be too scared to push any impeachment proceedings against Hillary, Holder or Obama… for fear of being called racist or bigots by people like you. This is the world we live in today, to what end we shall see.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

Not sure Jasmine Tea why you speak about things you admit you know nothing about and you are also too lazy to look them up.

You OBVIOUSLY have a computer, learn to google or stfu.

Here is a tip: Billy Bob's Blog and Tinhat Party.com are not reputable sources.

Try colleges, history, foreign news . . . and most importantly . . .

Think for yourself.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Hillary Clinton does not need the GOP to "besmirch" her reputation. An honest assessment of her performance is sufficient. Clinton was incompetent and mendacious as the behind-closed-doors concocter of the monstrous Hillary/Romney/Obamacare, she was incompetent and mendacious in her presidential primary campaign against Obama, and she's been incompetent and mendacious as Secretary of State. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention.

P F wants the GOP to field a good candidate and so do I. But I'd also like the Democrats to do the same. We've had nothing but dispiriting choices for decades.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Danny Smith

Obumma paraded those families around strictly for political gain but I get it John. Everything the republicans do is bad, everything the Dems do is fine even if they do the same things. I see your mind is to closed to be able to think logically. 92% of the population (myself included) do support universal background checks, that is why we already have universal background checks in place, even at gun shows. The only sales not requireing checks are private person to person sales. To enforce checks on private sales could only be done effectively by unconstitutional means. Granted the left cares little for the Constitution. The actual will of the people won out and his policies were defeated. I hve been through an extensive background check and carry a DPS safety card so all my guns are fine. The only diffference between Nixon and Obumma is that with what little dignity Nixon had left he used to resign.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: P F


When you know little or nothing about something, as you admit, it is prudent to keep quiet.

"T'is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

You have removed all doubt.

The evil pervasive in the Nixon White House because of Nixon's character, paranoia and ethic cannot, by a rational person, be compared with the mere stupidity in Obama's.

Your accusing the dems of forcing Nixon from office proves two things: the republicant lie machine works on ignorant minds, and, it works on you.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@Jasmine Tea:

You said, "he was forced from office by Democrats and the media for much less than Obama has already done. I was too young to know what politics were in the mid seventies."

I do not know where YOU get your info but the decision to issue an impeachment indictment against him as bi-partisan at the time.

Richard Nixon was charged with "obstruction of justice" by directly participating in the cover up of the Watergate break in- a criminal offense [felony].

To avoid the indictment and probably prison, Nixon resigned from office.

Although he infamously said, "I am not a crook", he was a criminal. He abused the power of his office after the democratic headquarters in the Watergatge building were illegally wiretapped to spy on his political opponents.

Just a little history for you.

The GOP attitude at the time was a bi-partisan effort to impeach him after the truth came out.

Now, do you have any facts to support your allegations that President Obama has done anything to obstruct justice or "cover up" Benghazi other than your "belief" that he must be guilty of something?

No, I didn't think so. The GOP never lets facts get in the way of their impeachment efforts.

The partisan effort to impeach President Obama is motivated by the desire of the GOP to solidify its racist base for the up-coming 2014 congressional elections in the hopes of using this "scandal" to regain control of both houses of congress.

Even a child can understand the motivations of the GOP. Their effort to besmirch the reputation of Hillary Clinton is designed to undermine her viability as a presidential candidate in 2016.

The GOP is the most corrupt political party in the world. It is loyal only to the wealthy elite and uses racism to achieve its political goals.

Nothing more needs to be said about the GOP.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

@ Mr Bond,
I stand corrected about Nixon... he was forced from office by Democrats and the media for much less than Obama has already done. I was too young to know what politics were in the mid seventies.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Danny Smith:

Your effort to equate the response by President Obama to the Newtown massacre with the effort to impeach him over Benghazi is pathetic.

Only a rabid neoconservative racist would equate an expression of compassion for the deaths of innocent children at the hands of a mass murderer by our POTUS [ combined with efforts to actually do something meaninful about such mass murders brought about by lax and ineffective gun control laws] with the reprehensible effort to use the Benghazi incident to impeach a sitting POTUS who has no culpability in it.

President Obama called for "universal background checks"! This is supported by 92% of the American people.

The US Congress cannot even free itself from the corruptive influence of the gun lobby to achieve even that modest goal.

Where did you purchase your weapons, Danny? At a gunshow without background checks?

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

"...Elia Kazan...helped blacklist actors accused of being commies…"

I wonder if there was anything more beneficial to the communist cause in this country than the McCarthy hearings. McCarthy demonstrated that an elected senator in a constitutional republic could be as destructive of individual liberties as the communists he claimed to be fighting. Thankfully, this being a constitutional republic, a few brave (and influential) individuals still had the power to stop him.

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: John A. Bond

Jasmine Tea:

You said, "Nixon was impeached for much, much less than this or Fast and Furious or any of the growing number of scandals coming to light each passing day."

May I point out to you that Richard Nixon was not impeached!

Nixon resigned in August of 1974 in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office.

In other words, Jasmine, to avoid being impeached, he resigned from office.

In other words, Jasmine, you do not know what you are talking about concerning the alleged impeachment of Richard Nixon.

However, the GOP has never forgotten or forgiven the resignation of Richard Nixon.

The GOP is determined to force a Dem POTUS out of office just like Nixon was forced from office.

To accomplish that goal, they acutally impeached Bill Clinton but he was not convicted in the senate trial.

The goal is to get rid of President Obama anyway possible.

What the GOP cannot win at the ballot box they will seek to achieve by congressional fiat!

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Jane

@ MJ - I agreed with you 100% when you said,

"...Republicans had marginalized themselves with their myriad paranoid conspiracy theories about the intrusive, oppressive, uncontrolled big government squashing American's Constitutional rights..."

BTW - Having the IRS profile known tax scofflaws is not unconstitutional! Although, if Obama had any part in the AP phone records scandal, I would the first to sign a petition for his impeachment!!!

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Article comment by: M J

Last week President barry addressed Ohio State University students. He told them to ignore the voices warning them of big intrusive government.
I wonder what those students think now?


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