Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Secret Cable Warned Consulate in Benghazi Was Unprepared to Defend Against ‘Coordinated Attack’
by Jason Howerton
October 31, 2012

Less than a month before heavily armed terrorists overwhelmed the U.S. Mission in Benghazi and killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the compound held an “emergency meeting” because to al-Qaeda had training camps set up in Benghazi and the consulate could not withstand a “coordinated attack,” Fox News reports, citing a classified cable.

The Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” indicated that the State Department’s senior security officer, or the RSO, did not think the U.S. compound could withstand an sophisticated attack — like the one that occurred on 9/11.

“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable says.

Fox News has the exclusive on this story:
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.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.
The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.
In addition to describing the security situation in Benghazi as “trending negatively,” the cable said explicitly that the mission would ask for more help. “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”
The secret cable did not warn of an imminent attack targeting Americans “but did caveat that (there was not) a complete picture of their intentions yet. RSO (Regional Security Officer) noted that the Benghazi militias have become more brazen in their actions and have little fear of reprisal from the (government of Libya.)”
As Fox News first noted, the Obama administration’s official story is that there were no warnings prior to the Benghazi attack but the cables uncovered by Fox seem to indicate that there was a direct warning given regarding the U.S. compound in Libya being vulnerable to an attack.

Predictably, the State Department refused to provide specific answers to Fox News about the cable.
“An independent board is conducting a thorough review of the assault on our post in Benghazi…Once we have the board’s comprehensive account of what happened, findings and recommendations, we can fully address these matters,” Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said in written statement.
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U.S. Gov't Poised to Hit Debt Limit before 2013
by Thomson/Reuters
October 31, 2012

The Obama administration said on Wednesday that the nation would hit the legal limit on its debt near the year's end, although it can tap emergency measures to stave off a default and keep the government running into early 2013.
As of Monday, the U.S. Treasury was $235 billion below the $16.4 trillion statutory ceiling on the amount it can borrow. That gives the government enough funds to pay its bills, including interest on its debt and retirement health benefits, until the end of the year, the Treasury said, reiterating a forecast it made in August.

If Congress fails to raise the debt limit, analysts expect the Treasury will run out of options to avoid a default some time in the latter half of February. However, the forecast could change dramatically depending on how the administration and Congress deal with the massive tax increases and spending cuts due to go into effect at year-end.

After Tuesday's presidential and congressional elections, Washington will have less than two months to find a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff - the $600 billion in tax increases and budget cuts that could fuel a fresh recession.

Treasury officials, briefing reporters on debt sale plans, said it was urgent that Congress act to increase the nation's borrowing authority.

"As we saw last summer, it is important that the debt limit is raised in a timely manner," said Treasury Assistant Secretary Matthew Rutherford.

A political fight last summer over raising the debt ceiling pushed the United States to the brink of default and prompted Standard and Poor's to downgrade the country's top-tier credit rating. A congressional watchdog agency said the battle also drove up Treasury's borrowing costs.

Deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans over taxes and government spending once again carry the potential for a costly policy clash over budget policy.

A group of Wall Street firms that advises the Treasury on borrowing needs warned that the prospect the nation could run into the fiscal cliff was already weighing on the U.S. recovery. Business investment slumped in the third quarter, taking a bite of economic growth.

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Obama Just Does Not Like People Very Much 
by Ed Lasky
November 1, 2012

Many Americans find repellent a president who condescends to them, patronizes them, scolds and berates them. Such a president does not show that he cares about them. Despite hagiographic media coverage in the 2008 campaign and beyond, Barack Obama is being perceived as such a man by a large number of Americans.

When candidate Barack Obama spoke about "the bitter clingers" (or dismissed farmers' concerns about their livelihood by suggesting that they grow arugula -- a modern-day "let them eat cake"), these were not mere gaffes.

Even when he tried to pantomime empathy, he fell flat.

Neera Tanden, former aide to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama: "Obama doesn't call anyone, and he's not close to almost anyone. It's stunning that he's in politics, because he really doesn't like people."

Journalist John Heilemann: "I don't think he doesn't like people. I know he doesn't like people."

Washington Post political reporter Scott Wilson in "Obama, the loner president": "Obama is, in short, a political loner who prefers policy over the people who make politics in this country work."

Liberal New York Times columnist Roger Cohen on the disappointing Cabinet Obama assembled: "Nixon, like Obama, was a loner, but he had Kissinger generating ideas[,]" but, for Obama, "there is only one star in the galaxy at this White House and his name is Barack Obama."

Barack Obama in his autobiography Dreams from My Father: people are an "unnecessary distraction."

Why should it matter to Americans casting votes that Obama does not like people?

Americans want to feel that the leader of the country cares about them. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was peerless in reaching out and touching Americans' hearts. He was a patrician, true -- the type of person that Barack Obama might castigate today. But FDR, perhaps because he was crippled by polio, spoke genuinely and movingly about the struggles of his fellow Americans. His Fireside Chats brought his reassuring voice and warm words into people's homes. He spoke from on high but did not speak down to them. People felt he cared and gave him their votes -- over and over.

Sam Youngman of The Hill wrote about Obama's attempt to connect with struggling Americans -- back in 2008:
President Obama told a small crowd in Fairfax, Va., on Monday that he would stand in the hot sun with them and "feel their pain." 
He was meeting with a Fairfax family for a backyard discussion on the economy in an effort to improve voter perceptions about his empathy with ordinary people.
"The problem is he doesn't seem like he's always trying to be empathetic," said one Democratic strategist." 
They have been missing the need for the emotional connection people need in times like this - but they've needed
He started clinging to his teleprompter and sought crowds to speak down to -- not individuals or small groups to socialize among.

Then he became president.

Emboldened and unleashed, time after time, he expressed how little he thought of us and how much he thought of himself. Away from his handlers, triumphant in his victory, the true Obama emerged. And he is just not that into us.
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