Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27, 2012

Benghazi: Petraeus Implicates Obama
by Joel B. Pollak
October 26, 2012

Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus has emphatically denied that he or anyone else at the CIA refused assistance to the former Navy SEALs who requested it three times as terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on the night of Sep. 11. The Weekly Standard and ABC News report that Petraeus's denial effectively implicates President Barack Obama, since a refusal to assist "would have been a presidential decision."

Earlier today, Denver local reporter Kyle Clarke of KUSA-TV did what the national media largely refuses to do, asking Obama directly whether the Americans in Benghazi were denied requests for aid. Obama dodged the question, but implied that he had known about the attacks as they were "happening."

Emails released earlier this week indicated that the White House had been informed almost immediately that a terror group had taken responsibility for the attack in Benghazi, and Fox News reported this morning that the two former Navy SEALs, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, had been refused in requests for assistance they had made from the CIA annex.

Jake Tapper quoted Petraeus this afternoon denying that the CIA was responsible for the refusal: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate."

As William Kristol of the Weekly Standard notes, that leaves only President Obama himself to blame:
So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No. 
It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
Earlier today, Charles Woods, father of Ty Woods, called the White House's explanations for events in Benghazi a "pack of lies" and implied that those in the administration who could have helped, but refused, were guilty of "murder." He added:
My son violated his orders in order to protect the lives of at least 30 people. He risked his life to be a hero. I wish that the leadership in the White House had the same moral courage that my son displayed with his life.
Also today, the State Department shut down questions from reporters about Libya at a press briefing in Washington. The administration, as a whole, seems to have decided to say nothing further about Benghazi until after election--except for Petraeus, who was directly implicated by charges that the CIA failed to help, and who was thereby compelled to provide a response that points, inexorably, to the man in the Oval Office.

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They sacrificed their lives to save others. Our government refused to help.

Obama ducks questions on why help wasn’t sent to Benghazi
by Allahpundit
October 26, 2012

We’re going to gather all the facts,” he says, echoing Hillary’s plea to let the investigation play out until, oh, say, mid-November at the earliest. Simple question: Why does he need “all the facts” about Benghazi to find out (a) whether anyone at the consulate called for help during the attack and (b) if so, who in the chain of command denied that request? He could find that out with 10 minutes of phoning around and then spend another 10 firing the people involved — assuming, of course, that it wasn’t The One himself who delivered the thumbs down on the calls for help. Problem is, there’s only one thing he really cares about, and that thing wouldn’t be well served by an admission 10 days out from election day that his administration screwed up badly enough in Benghazi to warrant canning people. So he’s playing the “all the facts” game. Estimated arrival of all the facts: 11 days from now.
Clark pressed again. 
“Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked. 
“Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” the president again said. “I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.”
Two things worth noting there. One: In claiming that he needs to “find out exactly what happened,” he’s professing ignorance about the distress calls. Remember that if/when it comes out later that he had earlier notice than we thought. Two: The first “directive” makes it sound like he’s blaming someone else for not informing him sooner so that he could send the help needed. Is that a reference to the CIA? If so, David Petraeus is prepared for it: Per Bill Kristol, he just threw Obama under the bus.
CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”
If CIA didn’t give the order to stand down, who did? Panetta? In that case, why is the Secretary of Defense being called on to make a snap decision on a sudden military intervention in the middle of an international crisis? To put it differently, if O’s excuse is that no one gave him a heads up while this was going on — for hours — why didn’t he get that heads up? “The ambassador is under siege by jihadists in Libya and his security detail is requesting assistance” sounds exactly like the sort of thing you’d get in the fabled 3 a.m. phone call. How come someone other than O took the call, if that’s what in fact happened? Was he busy with something more important, like a fundraiser in Vegas?

His alleged ignorance isn’t limited to the distress calls, either:
President Obama today said that he had not been aware of the requests for additional security made by security officials in Libya before the deadly attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in Benghazi. 
“I was not personally aware of any request,” the president told radio host Michael Smerconish. ”We have an infrastructure set up to manage requests like that but we’re going to find out what happened. Ultimately though any time there is a death of an American overseas I want to find out what happened because my most important job as President is to keep the American people safe.”
It sure is odd how thoroughly uninformed he seems to have been about what was happening in Libya, which is supposed to be a key part of his reelection foreign-policy credentials. In fact, after you watch the video of his interview with the Denver station, listen to the call Rush Limbaugh got today from someone claiming (convincingly) to be a special ops planner. He insists that Obama would have, or should have, been informed within minutes once the Situation Room got a message that Stevens was in peril. If that’s true, then it defies reason to think O wouldn’t have also been informed immediately once Americans at the consulate were requesting military help. The caller thinks maybe Obama gave the thumbs down because he was afraid of another Desert One-type failure happening and branding his administration Carter redux right before the election. Could be, but I think the success of the Bin Laden raid has immunized him on that to some extent. Another possibility is that O didn’t want to send American troops in with guns blazing for fear of a backlash in Libya specifically or across the region generally. That would have also complicated his reelection narrative: Supposedly, helping to topple Qaddafi has earned us goodwill among devotees of the Arab Spring; having a gunship hovering over Benghazi blasting away followed by protests among our new Libyan friends would have cut the knees out from under that storyline. The thing about the distress calls is that even the “best-case scenario” — that Obama wasn’t in fact told until it was too late to help — is proof of catastrophic dysfunction. If that’s how O’s going to play it, pleading ignorance to cover his own ass, okay, but then let’s some some people get fired. Tomorrow.

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