Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Benghazi Files: Welcome to the party, WaPo.

Remember the beginning of Die Hard when Bruce Willis's character is trying to get help from the police, but they don't believe him?  Eventually they send one patrol car over, the cop gets out, asks if there's a problem- is told "no" by the bad guys, and starts to leave?

Then Bruce Willis shoots the patrol car with a sub-machine gun, causing said cop to realize there really is a problem?

This article from David Ignatius in the Washington Post is a cross between that cop and the clueless FBI agents who show up later.

David, this information has been around for weeks.  Some of it for just under one week, some for more than that, but please actually do some fact checking before you try to stick up for the Administration while appearing to praise Fox News.

Let's break this down.

Mr. Ignatius starts with the first line of defense that everyone used when questions first started being posed about what happened that 9/11, and what lead up to it.  It is, apparently, "a political football."  No, Mr. Ignatius, it's thoughtful questions raising serious doubts about the abilities of our current Commander-in-Chief to fulfill that role.  Insofar as it is a "political football," it is such because you, and those like you, refuse to actually act as journalists regarding the matter.

He then tries to say that Fox's "Stand Down" story was inaccurate, because the CIA said the order didn't come from them.  Here's his full quote:
The Fox “stand down” story prompted a strong rebuttal from the CIA: “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.”

One little problem with that, we know that the Stand Down order came.  The only thing the CIA says is that they didn't order it.  Mr. Ignatius never gets around to asking, "Well, if the stand down order didn't come from CIA, who had authority to give it?"

Instead, he tries to write his own timeline.  Problem- we already know the timeline.  Bret Baier did an excellent job of assembling one.

He claims the delay in the local CIA response was due to trying to contact the February 17 Brigade  the local militia which was "in charge" of security in that part of Benghazi.  He then inserts the non sequiter "The United States depends on local security to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities everywhere..."

No, Mr. Ignatius, we don't.  We rely on local military forces to protect the exterior of our diplomatic compounds.  And Ambassador Stevens had made quite clear that he did not believe any security force native to Libya could provide adequate security.  Why weren't there Marines inside the compound?  And, even if you were correct, sir, why would we wait to get permission from a local militia to save our own personnel?  Are you really that credulous, or do you just want us to be?

Then, to cover himself, he says this:
Here’s my question: Was it wise to depend on a Libyan militia that clearly wasn't up to the job? Could it have made a difference for those under attack at the consulate if Woods had moved out as soon as he was, in one official’s words, “saddled and ready”?

Mr. Ignoramus Ignatius, we don't even depend on the English, French, or Germans for security in those nations.  They supply security for the exterior of the Embassies.  We supply our own security for the interior of the compound.  If we had done that, we wouldn't be talking about 4 dead Americans today.  So the question is "Why were the minimum security requirements for all diplomatic missions waived in the case of Benghazi?"

He then says this:
Second, why didn’t the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately? This one is harder to answer. The CIA did dispatch a quick-reaction force that night from Tripoli, with about eight people, but it had trouble at first reaching the compound. One of its members, Glen Doherty, died along with Woods when a mortar hit the roof of the annex about 4 a.m.
What more could have been done? A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily, for quick deployment to Benghazi or any of the other U.S. facilities in danger that night across North Africa. Armed drones could also have been sent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta summarized last Thursday the administration’s decision to opt for caution: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”

Here, he accepts two known lies as truth.

First: "why didn't the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately."  Mr. Ignatius, perhaps you should actually have done some research.  If you had, you might have found that Mr. Woods was killed when the mortar he'd been illuminating with a laser guidance system finally managed to hit his position with ordinance.

Now, maybe you don't realize this, because you're an oik, but those who stop to think about it realize that a former SEAL and current CIA contractor would not be pointing what amounts to a glorified laser pointer at a mortar for several minutes if he did not believe that support was mere minutes away.

You might also have found out that the President, and others from his administration watched the whole event (we'll come back to this later, too) unfold live on a... drone.  Was that drone armed?  Maybe not, but we don't know, because you and your friends in the media have been helping the White House cover this up from the moment it happened.

Before we get to the next lie he accepts, I need to address a piece of misdirection he inserts himself.  "A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily..."  Note "moved that night" which would imply it wasn't there on time.  Problem- it wasn't "moved that night."  It had been there for at least a little while.  Fighter support could have arrived at Benghazi in just about an hour, with ground support only a couple of hours behind.

Now, the second lie he accepts at face value was Leon Panetta's laughable statement "You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on."

Excuse me.  So now we don't send our forces out on patrols?  Isn't that the very definition of sending them "into harm's way without knowing what's going on?"  We'll never mount a rescue mission without having 100% reliable knowledge of every single fact on the ground?  Of course not.  That's stupid.  It deserves mocking, not credulous acceptance.

Further, we did know what was going on.  The White House was monitoring by drone video feed.  They were receiving frantic phone-calls for help.  Former SEAL Woods was in contact with his superiors telling them what was happening.  You don't get better in-situ intelligence than that.  The line is a bald-faced lie, and everyone knows it.

Then Mr. Ignatius gets to this stupid statement: "Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night.  Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire."  Hmm... "uproar?"  Over what, Mr. Ignatius?  We wouldn't be falling back on the discredited "video" story-line are we?  That would simply be pathetic.

Of course, that would be in keeping with the whole piece, so maybe you are.

Then there's the little problem where no one was talking about bombing anyone.  The fighter support doesn't have to use bombs or missiles, they still have machine guns.  Strafing runs work.  Then there's the AC-130U which could have been deployed.  I don't think they even have bombs.  But they can rain hot lead on a relatively small area like almost no other war machine in anyone's inventory.  Or the special forces commandos who could have been sent?  Does Mr. Ignatius believe they'd all be Rambo, shooting indiscriminately at everything that moves?

In his final paragraph, Mr. Ignatius doubles-down on the stupid "we needed better intelligence."  Better intelligence, Mr. Ignatius?  We had prior warning that an attack was possible, even probable.  For nearly a year Ambassador Stevens had been begging for more security for both Tripoli and Benghazi.  There was no reason this attack should have taken us by surprise at all.  Once the attack began, we had a drone in the air watching it unfold.  We had resources involved in the action calling in with reports and pleas for help.  You can't ask for more intelligence than that.

All-in-all, it's nice that the media is finally being forced to cover the Benghazi story.  Unfortunately, they're more than a day late, and way more than a dollar short when it comes to their coverage.  There was a time when journalists were skeptical of anything the Government said, and sought concrete proof.  And Watergate didn't even have a body count.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Treason: Expert Testimony

I've written here why I believe that Barack Obama is a traitor to the United States.  I've almost certainly made some people uncomfortable by saying it so bluntly, but I believe it's necessary to call a spade a spade, and not just a "manual digging tool."

With more evidence, though, and from a much more credible source than me, is an article in the Washington Times.  Its author is Admiral James A. Lyons (Ret), the former commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Fleet and senior US military representative to the United Nations.  It's safe to say he knows of what he speaks.

And what does he speak?

Once the attack commenced at 10:00 p.m. Libyan time (4:00 p.m. EST), we know the mission security staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli.  It now appears the White House, Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NDI, JCS and various other military commands monitored the entire battle in real time via frantic phone calls from our compound and video from an overhead drone. The cries for help and support went unanswered.

What I've already said here numerous times: They knew.  They watched.  They didn't send help.

But that's not enough for treason.  That could simply be gutlessness, or "vapor lock" preventing a good order.  No, we need something active- some active decision to prevent help to make it up to treason (emphasis mine).

I know those Special Forces personnel were ready to leap at the opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind they would have wiped out the terrorists attackers. Also I have no doubt that Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, would have had his local commander at Sigonella ready to launch; however, apparently he was countermanded—by whom? We need to know.

With all due respect to the Admiral, we don't need to know who made that decision.  We don't need to know who made the decision, because we do know the White House was monitoring the situation.  That means that, whoever made the call, Barack Obama agreed with it.  Barack Obama agreed with the active order not to provide support to our own personnel under attack.

His last paragraph begins this way (again, emphasis mine):
Somebody high up in the administration made the decision that no assistance (outside our Tripoli embassy) would be provided, and let our people be killed. The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable.

Indeed he's right.  Someone high up in the administration did make that decision.  But the person who ultimately made the decision- the one setting the rules such that anyone would even think for a moment of forbidding assistance- is the President.  Moreover, even if someone else made that decision "on their own," the President was there an knew about that order.  Had it been one with which he disagreed, he could have countermanded it.  He did not.

Barack Obama made the conscious choice to prevent an operation which would have saved at least two lives, and possibly 4 that night.  Barack Obama made the conscious decision to favor terrorists attacking our Benghazi mission over the lives of our own personnel.

Barack Obama is a traitor.

Benghazi Files: Special Report with Bret Baier

I'm not going to link the separate parts, instead I'll just send you to the Ace of Spades HQ.

I can't even really discuss this right now, my blood pressure is so high.  Barack Obama didn't just abandon those men to their deaths, he bears direct responsibility for the order which prevented their rescue.

By his authority, 4 good men are dead.  By his authority, the monsters responsible were not stopped and killed in the act.  By his authority, they were able to avoid blame and scrutiny for 14 days while a YouTube video was blamed, and its maker thrown in jail.

By providing this aid and comfort to our enemy, Barack Obama has made himself a Traitor to the United States of America.

Foreign Policy President: Iran Threatening Israel

Okay, I can already hear you asking, "So what's new?"  Well, honestly, not a whole lot.  In this particular case, Iran is claiming that the drone it created and gave to Hezbollah transmitted, real time, images of Israeli military installations back to Iran.  Now, if true, that's a very bad thing.  It would mean, among other things, that they had been able to adapt some of the technology from the drone the CIA lost over Iran.  If true.

Here's the thing: it's a bad thing even if it isn't true.  Belligerence toward Israel from Iran is nothing new.  What is new is the brazen manner in which they're rattling their sabers now.  When George W. Bush was president, Iran would make dark, menacing noises about how it would "retaliate" if Israel did anything, but everything was very vague "don't test us," kind of language.  Now that Barack Obama is president Iran is much less circumspect.

Now, I don't really think Iran is quite stupid enough, yet, to launch an attack on Israel.  On the other hand, I do know that Barack Obama won't do a thing to stop them from getting to that point.  In many ways, Iran is like the bar room bully who is psyching himself up to a fight.  America, traditionally, has taken the role of very visible, very intimidating bouncer who comes along every now and again to remind them to be polite.  That stopped about 4 years ago.  Now Iran seems to need another one of those reminders, but Barack Obama's foreign policy seems to be "oh, it'll be fine."

A fight between Iran and Israel would be bad on many, many levels.  Not just because our treaty obligations, which may well be contradictory in such a conflict, based on how other powers in the region line up.  There are also economic realities.  A Middle East at war is bad for everyone, including us.  A middle east at nuclear war is even worse, and Iran has made it quite clear that it will continue to pursue nuclear weapons no matter what anyone says.

This is just one more piece of evidence that Barack Obama's Middle East policy, indeed his entire foreign policy, given Russia's involvement in the area, is a shambles.  This situation is a direct result of the pathetically weak foreign policy.  Four more years of this President may well see a new war in the Middle East, a war with disastrous consequences for everyone.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Questions For Obama

Barack Obama has announced that he will have a press conference this afternoon about the Hurricane Sandy.  Strangely, he has never had a press conference regarding the murders of 4 Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya, in a coordinated terror attack on September 11th.

So, here is my challenge to the media.  Ask Barack Obama these questions, to see what he says:

  • Mr. President, is the "Frankenstorm" Sandy a result of natural forces, or some YouTube video no one has heard of, let alone seen?
  • Mr. President, if someone has an urgent, life threatening emergency during the storm, would you authorize a rescue mission?
  • Mr. President, people have been warned of Sandy for about a week now, and you have understandably made or overseen a variety of preperations, including alerting FEMA.  Why weren't we prepared on the anniversary of 9/11 for a possible terror attack?
  • Mr. President, why are you holding a press conference to answer questions about preparation and response to Sandy, but, six weeks later, still have not had a similar press conference about the Benghazi Attack?

Holy Crap. Stay Safe.

So, the "Moose-jaw Cow killer" storm (per Meteorologist Brad Barton of WBAP in Dallas/Fort Worth) Sandy is making it's presence known.  At this point, Atlantic City is already experiencing severe flooding. 

Go look at this photo.

Good luck Easterners.  Stay safe.

Treason: Weasel Words from Obama

Let's get it out there at the beginning.  I believe that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at least, are guilty of Treason against the United States of America.  By not providing additional security to the Libyan diplomatic delegation, especially the Benghazi office, they paved the way for the September 11th murder of 4 Americans, including our Ambassador.  By pushing the narrative that a YouTube video was to blame, including having the maker of the movie arrested during a midnight raid, they provided crucial cover for more than a week for the terrorists who killed our personnel.  And, as of Friday, we know that someone in the administration gave the "Stand Down" order to prevent a rescue operation from attempting to save the Ambassador and other staff.  Given that Mr. Obama was in the Situation Room with a live feed of the events, even if he is not the one who gave the order to stand down, that order was issued on his authority; had he disagreed with the order, he was in the position to over ride the order and authorize the rescue attempt.  He chose not to do so.
Can there be any greater "aid and comfort" than not sending our forces to kill the enemy while they are engaged in an attack on our personnel, and THEN attempting to shift blame from the monsters responsible to a video? 

And now the spin and weasel words begin.  Actually, they began on Friday.  In an interview with a Denver TV Station, Barack Obama was asked directly if he denied requests for assistance during the 7 hour attack.  Here's the exchange:

No direct answer.  And why didn't he answer directly?  Because he couldn't.  If the answer is yes, that the requests were denied, the uproar would be heard for an immediate impeachment.  Failure to answer that call would doom Democrats for years to come.  If the answer was "no," then the follow-ups would have started.  "Then who did deny the request?"  "If the requests weren't denied, why didn't help arrive?"  And so forth.

The truth is that Barack Obama is the Commander-in-Chief, as well as head of the diplomatic corps.  That means the buck stops with him.  He either ordered the stand down, or accepted it.  Now, will anyone else- anyone in the National Media, perhaps, ask these same questions?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Treason: Obama Ordered Ambassador Stevens's Death

Many have said, including me, that Barack Obama "let Ambassador Stevens die."  That, based on currently available information, is not true.  Based on what we now know, Barack Obama ordered his death.  Ambassador Stevens was not murdered, he was summarily executed.

This sounds over the top.  As I type it, I cannot believe that I am seriously saying that a sitting US President used terrorists to execute an Ambassador.  But he did, and I am.

To prove that I'm not just crazy, though, I'll let you follow this a little more slowly.

First we have the information that Ambassador Stevens repeatedly asked for more security for Benghazi.  I documented that here myself.

Next, only Hillary Clinton or the President could have waived denied that extra security and waived the basic security requirements.  Given that Mr. Obama wanted us to believe that Libya was a foreign policy success for him, we have ample reason to believe that he either ordered the waiver, or was at least informed of it and gave it his okay.

Further, we now know that the CIA was ordered to "Stand Down" and not assist when the temporary compound was under attack.  Two former SEALs disobeyed those orders, saved many lives, and lost their own.  During that time, they painted the very mortar which killed them with a targeting laser and requested air support which was also denied. Update: That air support was ALREADY IN THE AIR and flying overhead.  An AC-130 gunship was in the air and denied permission to fire.

Something to note here.  Our servicemen don't target paint something when a strike will take hours.  When something is that far away, the missiles are launched first, and then the Soldiers, Marines, or SEALs use the laser in the last minutes.  So the SEALs had to believe that support was minutes, not hours, away.

Finally, there are reports that Barack Obama has (or at least had) a standing order for our forces not to engage, and that only he could override that order.  If that's true it is especially damning, but it is not necessary for my logic.  I don't need that, because I know that Mr. Obama knew about the attack.  I know that it was being shown, live, in the Situation Room in the White House.  If a request for support had come in, and someone else had denied it, Mr. Obama was right there to override that denial.  By not doing so, he was approving the decision not to save our personnel.

"Let them die" is passive.  It would mean he hadn't made a choice.  For Barack Obama to have "let" Ambassador Stevens die, there would have had to have been no decisions made, and the problem would then be mere incompetence.  That is not the case here.  Direct orders were given for the CIA to "stand down" and then requested air support was specifically denied.  Those are active choices.

By making the active choice to deny support to the Benghazi compound, Barack Obama all but directly ordered the execution of Ambassador Stevens.

Barack Obama is a traitor.  He should be immediately impeached, then tried on charges of treason.


I know I said I wasn't going to post until Monday, but I can't not.  This is too important.

We all know that there was no reason for Ambassador Chris Stevens to be so poorly defended in Benghazi.  Now we have some more information to add to that.  First is this, via the Washington Post, that we had a Predator Drone over Benghazi while the attack was occurring. 

Take that in for a moment.  Between that and the emails released by Fox, we know that the White House knew about the attack as it was taking place.  They knew it was a coordinated terror attack, not "mob" because of a video.  They watched it happen in real-time.  And then Barack Obama went to bed.

Next is this piece, reported by Bloomberg.  Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claims that "a lack of intelligence" prevented the Administration from ordering military support that night.  Consider that.  They'd been forewarned of the attack.  Based on the emails they'd received that night, they knew terrorists claimed responsibility.  They had a predator drone in the area, with a live feed of what was happening.  But this skidmark of a SECDEF wants you to believe we didn't have enough intelligence to act to save our own people.

And now there's a report, from Fox News, that two former SEALS with the CIA detachment, acting against orders, went to assist.  There, they had a laser on the very mortar which killed them, and were denied support three times.

Barack Obama and his Administration chose to let US Diplomatic personnel and armed services personnel die, rather than send in support.  The reasons they gave for that do not make any sense.

They are traitors to the United States.  They placed our enemies' well-being, and their political desires above the lives of our men on the ground.  There can be no clearer "aid to the enemy" than choosing not to send soldiers and allowing your own people to die.

Barack Obama is a Traitor, as are Hillary Clinton, and Leon Panetta.  At least.

They shouldn't just be voted out of office.  Once President Romney takes office, they should be arrested, tried for treason, and executed.

Update: Corrected the identification of the servicemen- they were CIA, not Marines.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Break

So... I'll be taking a break for the rest of the week.  Reading through those documents, plus the other information that has come out about the Benghazi attack (including Mrs. Clinton's most recent idiotic statements, and knowledge that she and the SCOAMT watched the attack unfold and never dispatched help) has left me mentally and emotionally out of whack.

That's not a good place to be, so I'm taking a couple of days off from blogging (I'll probably be lurking at the Ace of Spades HQ and on Twitter, though).  Look for new posts here starting Monday.  Until then, see my sidebar for some good links.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 10

So we've come to the end of the documents provided by Republicans on Friday, October 19.

Over and over I've made this point, because I want to drive it home: There was no way local security forces could actually secure the Benghazi compound.  No matter how well meaning they were, they were simply unable to do so.

When we send an Ambassador to a country, we expect that country to provide some basic security on the exterior, but Marines to secure the compound itself.  We do this in England, France, or Germany.  How much more so should it have been done in the war-ravaged terrorist haven of Libya?

Some might view that list of security incidents in Part 9, and think I'm being unreasonable.  We knew Libya was fragile, after all, how could I expect the same security as in France or England or Germany?  The answer is: I don't.  But that same understanding that the host nation will be less secure would lead me to want a stronger than normal security presence in the compound itself.

For nearly a year the Embassy staff, which means Ambassador Stevens, asked for more security.  On the day he was murdered, the Ambassador himself, once again, requested additional security.  None was forthcoming.  That something bad would happen should hardly have been unforeseen.

What, then, is Barack Obama's excuse?  Well, it largely seems to be "SQUIRREL!"  In the Foreign Policy debate he avoided the subject as much as possible.  When the attack originally occurred, he blamed a YouTube video for the attack, and Mitt Romney for the fact he even had to address it.  In the weeks since, he has finally been forced to admit it was a failure on the part of his administration, but even in "taking responsibility" he has attempted to avoid responsibility.

Unless, God help us, Mr. Obama is re-elected, it is too late to impeach him for this.  But make no mistake, I believe this is a lapse worthy of that avenue.  But on November 6, if not before, you have the opportunity to fire Mr. Obama; to hold him truly responsible for the decisions he and his Administration made which lead to the murders of 4 Americans.

(Back to Part 1)

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 9

The ninth, and penultimate, entry in the Benghazi Files- the documents dropped on Friday, October 19th.

By rights, the next document I should review is U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 12 - Diplomatic Security.  I am not for a couple of reasons.  First- it bores me.  If it bores me, it would probably put many, if not most, of my readers to sleep.  Second, I don't know enough about the contents to digest them.  I'll leave my "review" of that document to this, then:  It starts on page 59 and continues through page 66.  The most important thing it says is that any of the requirements contained therein must be waived by the Secretary of State.  Since we can be fairly certain that some of those standards were not met, we must assume, then, that Hilary Clinton directly signed off on those choices.  It is unbelievable that the disposition of the delegation to a country Barack Obama had been hailing as a foreign policy success would not have been discussed with him.  In short: he and Hillary both knew the precise dangers to the Libyan detachment, both in Tripoli and Benghazi.

The next document I will review is perhaps the most depressing.  It is a litany of the "Security Incidents Since June 2011."  It begins on page 67 of the documents and continues through 117.  Obviously, just reviewing this document could be the subject of several posts.  I'll just take some highlights.  These will focus on events in Benghazi, or US Embassy staff directly.

June 1, 2011 - Car bomb in Benghazi.  Blamed on "former regime officials."
Sept 23, 2011 - Pipe bomb thrown at NTC forces "approximate 500 meters west of the temporary U.S. Embassy residential buildings."
Sept 27, 2011 - Protests in downtown Benghazi over holdovers from old regime.  (I note this only because it is not called a "peaceful protest" and others in the document are.  Which, if consistency is assumed, means this one was not. -DT)
Oct. 8, 2011 - Celebratory Gunfire Hits U.S. Mission Mission compound; USG Vehicle damaged.
Oct. 12, 2011 - Celebratory Gunfire Hits Mission Compound.  " approximately 2200 local time, heavy celebratory gunfire, including some heavy weapons fire and substantial amounts of tracer fire, erupted throughout Tripoli, Libya to include from properties and personnel adjacent to the Embassy Residential Compound."
Oct. 14, 2011 - Armed Robbery of ORE Staff:
 "...a member of the Mission's local official residences (ROE) staff, a citizen of Pakistan, was robbed by three males at knife point of his cellular telephone and approximately 200 LYD while walking to a taxi stand.  The incident occurred in daylight hours in the Burg al Fateh area of Tripoli.  The victim went immediately to a nearby police station to report the incident and was told by the police that they could do nothing since Libya was 'without a government or laws'."
Oct. 14, 2011 - Qadhafi Spokesperson Dr. Moussa Ibrahim reportedly calls for supporters to rise up and attack the US, French, and Italian Embassies in Tripoli.
Oct. 26, 2011 - Hand grenade recovered from Mission property lawn - Disarmed and Disposed without injury.
Oct. 28, 2011 - Diplomatic Vehicle Stolen.
Nov. 3, 2011 - Attempted Car-jacking of LES
Nov. 3, 2011 - hand grenade recovered from Mission property - Disarmed and Disposed without injury.
Nov. 24 - 27, 2011 - Student Protests hinder resumption of classes at the Benghazi University
Nov. 27, 2011 - Vandalism of Vehicle at US Embassy
Nov. 28, 2011 - Vandalism of Vehicle at US Embassy
Nov. 29, 2011 - Raid of farm house; Recover of 180 Assault Rifles near Mission compound
Dec. 1, 2011 - (Benghazi) Four injured in Tebu-Arab clashes in Kufra
Dec. 1, 2011 - Detention of U.S. Citizen NGO Representative
Dec. 12, 2011 - (Benghazi) Protests and Counter-Protests in the East
Dec. 16 - 17, 2011- youth Protests Continue
Dec. 18, 2011 - Break-In and Theft form LES vehicle at US Embassy "This is the third incident since 11/27 involving vandalism and/or theft of a Mission employee's vehicle at the interim Embassy compound.
Dec. 20, 2011 - (Benghazi & Tripoli) Protective Security Forces foil an attempt dubbed (Papa Noel) or Santa Claus targeting Embassies and Oil Fields in Libya during Christmas and New Year Eve holidays.
Jan. 10, 2012 - Embassy LES Vehicle Break-In; Theft
Jan. 12, 2012 - Female Political Activist beaten in Benghazi.
Jan. 19, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protesters rough up NTC Vice President
Jan. 20, 2012 - (Tripoli & Benghazi) Mutli City Protests
Jan. 21, 2012 - Protests Storm TNC HQ in Benghazi
Feb. 10, 2012 - Alleged Terror Cell Arrested in Airport Area (Not directly involving US Embassy in Tripoli, or Benghazi area, the fact it was specifically a terror cell makes it germane -DT).
Feb. 14, 2012 - Embassy Security Team member grazed by celebratory small arms fire.
Feb. 19, 2012 - US Mission Personnel Detained "U.S. Mission personnel ere detained by militia personnel after they drove through a previously unknown and hastily created checkpoint in Benghazi"
Mar. 3, 2012 - Local driver threatens Embassy security officers after vehicles scrape in traffic.
Mar. 6, 2012 - (Tripoli & Benghazi) Semi-Autonomy Demonstrations
Mar. 8, 2012 - (Benghazi) Explosions near US Mission Compound
Mar. 16, 2012 - (Benghazi) Pro-Autonomy Demonstrators clash
Mar. 18, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed robbery of British school personnel
Mar. 22, 2012 - (Benghazi) Militia Members searching for a suspect fire weapons near and attempt to enter U.S. Mission compound. "The local guard on duty fled the gate area when the individuals began firing their weapons in the air."
Mar. 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protests by policemen and soldiers
Mar. 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed militia blocks coastal road in Benghazi demanding pay
Apr. 2, 2012 - (Benghazi) UK Diplomatic Armored Vehicle attacked by protesters
Apr. 6, 2012 - (Benghazi) Crude IED thrown over wall of US mission; 2 contract guards arrested as suspects.
Apr. 10, 2012 - Demonstrators storm PM office; Embassy employees evacuated from site.
Apr. 10, 2012 - (Benghazi) Crude IED thrown at UN convoy and Supreme Security Council building
Apr. 11 - 12, 2012 - (Benghazi) MoI Facility attacked by unknown gunmen
Apr. 12, 2012 - (Benghazi) Inter-Militia Clashes
Apr. 23 - May 9, 2012 - (Benghazi) Protests at oil company
Apr. 25, 2012 - US Embassy Local Security Office detained; radio seized
Apr. 26. 2012 - (Benghazi) Fight at International Medical University; US Diplomat evacuated from site
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Failed prison break
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Courthouse bombed
Apr. 27, 2012 - (Benghazi) Expatriot demining/weapons abatement staff detained, question, and released
Apr. 28, 2012 - (Benghazi) Airport closed due to protests.
May 1, 2012 - Deputy LGF Commander detained, assaulted, and US Embassy LGF vehicle stolen by armed individuals at an impromptu check-point near Post's GSO Warehouse
May 2 - 10, 2012 - (Benghazi) Workers strike at Libyan cement company
May 6, 2012 - Three killed and two injured in an armed robbery of bank vehicle; 2 million LYD taken; thieves part of brigade hired to protect Libyan Central Bank in Benghazi.

(Sick of it yet?  This isn't even half the incidents reported -DT)

May 15, 2012 - Military Police Headquarters in Benghazi target of grenade attack
May 15, 2012 - Director of Benghazi's medical center injured in shooting
May 16, 2012 - (Nationwide) Bank employees staged demonstrations following murder of colleagues in armed robbery
May 17, 2012 - TNC Members attacked at Benghazi Airport
May 18, 2012 - (Benghazi) Peaceful demonstration at UNHCR
May 22, 2012 - (Benghazi) ICRC Building and Bank struck by RPGs
June 6, 2012 - (Benghazi) US Mission Target of IED
June 11, 2012 - (Benghazi) RPG Attack on UK Ambassador's convoy; 2 security officers injured
June 13, 2012 - (Benghazi) Individual killed in car bomb assassination
June 21, 2012 - Benghazi Judge linked to Younis's death assassinated
June 23, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed Robery of UK citizen by local taxi driver
July 1, 2012 - (Benghazi) HNEC Offices stormed; election materials and ballots burned
July 4, 2012 - Border security officer assassinated in Benghazi.
July 6, 2012 - Libyan Airforce helicopter struck by gunfire; one HNEC employee killed
July 7, 2012 - (Benghazi) Armed individuals storm three polling stations
July 19, 2012 - Benghazi Planning Office closed by protesters over salary dispute

As can be seen just from this small selection, the Libyan government couldn't even pay it's security and other personnel.  It couldn't even protect itself or its own citizens.  No matter how well meaning the Libyan government was, they could not provide security for our staff, and local citizens were often worse, not better.  There was absolutely no excuse to have the Benghazi office so lightly defended.

The report ends with a "General Assessment on the Security Environment."  What it says has been discussed in previous posts; I won't rehash all of it here.  However, there is one paragraph (recall, this is from the end of July, still plenty of time to have obtained more security) that I believe needs publication (Emphasis in original):

The risk of U.S. Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens, and business persons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is HIGH.  The Government of Libya does not yet have the ability to effectively respond to and manage the rising criminal and militia related violence, which could result in an isolating event.

I'll summarize my thoughts in the final post of this series.

To Finish in Part 10

Part 1Part 5
Part 2Part 6
Part 3Part 7
Part 4Part 8

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Barack Obama: Traitor-in-Chief

So, while I've been busy blogging about the Benghazi documents, we've gotten more news about the actual attack itself, and the Administration's lack of response to it.

First, we found out that we had support within range (in Sicily) who could have saved the Ambassador's life. Air support could have been there within an hour, and commandos within three hours.  Just the firefight took seven hours.  That's a four hour window when commandos could have been on the ground killing anyone who even dared look hostile.

Then, tonight, via ace (who got it via the GretaWire), we found out this:  Within two hours of the attack, the Obama Administration knew it was a terror attack.  Specifically, an Al Qaida affiliate had taken responsibility before the attack was over.

So let's put this together a little bit, since the MFM refuses to do so.

The fighting started, and was reported immediately.  At that point, both air support and a commando unit could have been dispatched.  The air support could have arrived in an hour, the commandos within 3.  That support was not dispatched.

Within two hours, it was known to be a terror attack.  A terrorist organization took responsibility for the attack while there was still a four hour window for effective air support, and a two hour window for effective ground support.  That support was not dispatched.

Barack Obama and his team sat in the situation room twiddling their thumbs while a US Ambassador and his too-small security team were murdered.  And then they went to bed.

The next day, Barack Obama lied on national television, and blamed a YouTube video.  To this day, the maker of that video sits in jail on the official charge of parole violations, and the unofficial charge of engaging in Free Speech.

The day after that, Barack Obama and his administration lied to the American People and blamed a YouTube video.

The day after that, and the day after that.  For fourteen days the Obama Administration let the American people think that a "spontaneous mob" sacked the Benghazi compound and killed the Ambassador.  The whole time they knew it was a terror attack.

If shifting blame from the guilty party, a terrorist organization, to a YouTube video no one had ever seen is not "providing aid and comfort to the enemy," I don't know what is.

Barack Obama is not just a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable tyrant.  He's a stuttering clusterf*ck of a miserable traitor.

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 8

I continue my review of the documents provided regarding the Benghazi attack and the murder of Ambassador Stevens.  The next document is another "weekly report."  The document begins on page 56 of the document drop.  It is dated September 11, 2012- the very day that Ambassador Stevens would be murdered.

I hate to be overly dramatic, as this material is so deadly serious, but this document unfolds almost like a novel.  To avoid unnecessary editorializing, emphasis has been added.

The second section is titled "Benghazi Local Council Welcomes the Ambassador."  Ambassador Stevens had gone to Benghazi and spoken with its local council.  It contains this quote: "Despite the challenges, members asserted that the security situation was improving and told the Ambassador that the USG should 'pressure' American companies to invest in Benghazi."

The third section is titled "Benghazi SSC Commander discusses security situation, dissolution of the SSC, extra-judicial killings of former regime security officers, political aspirations of militia leaders, reintegration of revolutionaries, and welfare of Iranian Red Crescent detainees."  It is quite obvious that Acting Principal Officer Fawzi Younis did not believe "that the security situation was improving."  "Younis expressed growing frustrations with the police and security forces (who were too weak to keep the country secure) and commented that the Iranian Red Crescent detainees are still held by "unknown" kidnappers but in good accommodations)."

Enough of the fourth section is of too low quality to be readable to get a good idea of what it says, but the title tells enough: "Militia commanders discuss the Muslim Brotherhood, Jibril, their political aspirations the economy and security."  From what I can gather from the document, it was a shake-down.  If Mahmoud Jibril (the US's favored candidate for Prime Minister) won they essentially threatened to stop providing any security at all.  "Growing problems with security would discourage foreign investment and led to persistent economic stagnation in eastern Libya, but the USG would play a role by 'pressuring' American businesses to invest in Benghazi."

Section 6: "Expanding Islamist Influence in Derna."  Section 7: "Car Bomb Kills One, Injures Another."  Finally, Section 11: UK Presence:
British Charge d'Affairs Gill Frasier visited U.S. Mission Benghazi during a September 5 trip to determine whether conditions were appropriate for the re-opening of the British Consulate.  According to Frasier, London will make its decision about reopening the consulate sometime in October.  The British withdrew their presence from Benghazi after the widely reported June 11 RPG attack on the British Ambassador's motorcade.

It is quite obvious from this document that things were spiraling out of control.  Obviously, by the time this cable was sent, it was too late for additional security.  But this report is simply the logical conclusion of those that had preceded it.

To Continue in Part 9

Part 1Part 5
Part 2Part 6
Part 3Part 7
Part 4

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 7

Part 7 in an ongoing review of the Benghazi Documents starts on page 52 of the document dump.  This request, directed to the Secretary of State and "WASHDC" (probably the White House) is dated August 2, 2012.  Most of the document is too poorly scanned to read, but the beginning is enough- and is chilling enough.  The document is a "corrected copy" correcting the Subject of a prior document.  The (corrected) title is "Request to add LES Ambassador Protective Detail Bodyguard Positions in US Embassy Tripoli.

Ambassador Stevens requested an additional 11 bodyguards to assist with security, to replace TDY Security personnel who would be leaving.  A line in this document, which has been seen in prior documents is this: "Post appreciates ongoing efforts by DS to meet and fulfill our security standards."  Translated from Bureaucrat, that says, "What the hell is going on over there?  We need additional security, ASAP."

As with other documents, this refers to the deteriorating situation on the ground:
The security condition in Libya remains unpredictable, volatile, and violent.  Though certain goals have been successfully met... violent security incidents continue to take place due to the lack of coherent national Libyan security force and the strength of local militias and large numbers of armed groups. 
Post has made several procedural security and physical upgrades to the interim US Embassy Compounds.  However, host nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on to provide a safe and secure environment for the diplomatic mission of outreach performed by FSO and other USG personnel on the ground.

Once again, we're told of a "volatile and violent" situation on the ground.  Once again, we're told that the Libyan government is unable to guarantee security.

The next document, begins on page 54.  It is another "weekly report."  Unlike the others, this does not merely provide "scene" for what would happen later, but is another cry for additional security.

The fourth section of the document (page 55) is a report of a "Security Dialogue."  A Women's rights activist in Benghazi had been detained by a militia.  Afterwards, she told the Embassy staff "for the first time since the revolution, I am scared."  That section finishes thus:
She asked in exasperation, "How can we be the commercial capital if we can't keep our streets safe?"  Bugaighis is particularly concerned by the lack of public remorse over the killings of former regime officials, which she sees as a reflection of concern that the government is too weak to bring them to justice.

Again, a report of a weak central government.  This time, instead of it being from US Staff, it is from a native with a stake in the future of the country far above what the Embassy staff would have had.

The fifth and final section of the document is a simple list of "Security Incidents."  Among those items:
* UN officials believe the Supreme Security Council is "fading away," unwilling to take on "anyone with powerful patrons or from powerful tribes."
* Incidents continue in this security vacuum, including a grenade attack on Army Colonel Abdullah el-Shaafi on August 14 and the reported storming of the al-Bilad newspaper by unidentified armed men on August 16.

The one "positive" is almost pathetic, in light of previous information- namely that government officials would promise things which would then not be delivered.
* On a positive note, the local police did respond informally to acknowledge receipt of our request for a permanent presence in Benghazi; we will follow up with them in the days ahead.  Also of note, the war veterans who had been occupying the Tibesti hotel lobby have departed and the hotel is said to be preparing to reopen on August 22.

Their "positive note" was that local police had responded informally that they had received a request.  Not a formal response.  Not an affirmation that permission would be granted.  No, an informal response that they'd received the request.

To Continue in Part 8

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Monday, October 22, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 6

My continuing review of the Benghazi documents dropped by Republicans on Friday continues. 

The next document begins on page 49 and continues through page 51.  This is a direct request signed by Ambassador Stevens to extend the TDY security personnel.  As with the previous document, scan quality is not optimal. The request is dated July 9, 2012, and again is addressed for action to "WASHDC" and "SECSTATE."

As with the other documents, this is divided into numbered sections.  The very first is the "Summary and Action Request."  It begins thus: "Embassy Tripoli requests continued TDY security support for an additional 60-days, through mid September 2012."  It then spells out the specific resources the Ambassador is requesting.

The second section is particularly damning against the State Department and, ultimately, the President:
Conditions in Libya have not met prior benchmarks established by Post, the Department, and AFRICOM, for a complete drawdown of TDY security personnel.  Overall security conditions continue to be unpredictable, with large numbers of armed groups and individuals not under control of the central government, and frequent clashes in Tripoli and other major population centers.  National parliamentary elections have been delayed from 6/19 to 7/7, with post expecting an increased likelihood of election related political violence during and after the election period.

"Have not met prior benchmarks."  "Security conditions continue to be unpredictable."  There is no excuse or justification for security in Libya to be as understaffed as it was.

Section 3 continues, and my be the most damning one in the document (note: some of this is guesswork, the scan quality was particularly poor on this paragraph):
While post has made a number of procedural security enhancement and physical security upgrades, our efforts to normalize security operations have been hindered by the acts of host nation security support, either static or response, and increse in violence against foreign targets, and long delays in issuing firearms permists for our LES close protection bodyguard unit.  [Unreadable...] physical security upgrades to improve both the temporary Embassy and [unreadable].  Recognize the growing challenges to Libya's fragiel security environment, the Department increased Post's danger pay allowance from [unreadable 25?] percent to [unreadable 30?] percent on July 1st.

The Libyan government was responsible for some of the poor security.  Those firearms permits were only required for private security firms; thus the request to extend TDY assignments: US Military and Government Security would not require firearms permits.  "Increase in violence against foreign targets," that is: the US staff, as well as members of other nations' delegations.  Despite the clinical tone of the request, Libya was obviously becoming ever-more dangerous for diplomatic personnel.

The next section of particular interest is section 7.  It essentially says, again, that the Embassy was getting no help from the Libyan Government.  "However, despite assurances of support from throughout the MoI, to include from the Minister directly, the reality is that the GoL remains extremely limited in its ability to sustain a security support presence at USG compounds (REFTEL B)."  Promises of support, but none forthcoming.

As we are beginning to see, not only was Ambassador Stevens well aware of the need of increased security, he was doing everything in his power to ensure that the White House and Secretary of State knew as well.  And they did nothing to provide that needed support.

To continue in Part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 5

My review continues.  I'm actually skipping a couple of documents.  I think it's quite clear that anyone with a brain would know that the Libyan situation, especially in Benghazi was highly dangerous and required greater security than had been provided.  So the next document we'll review is an 'SBU' from Ambassador Stevens sent to Washington, DC (the White House, I believe) and the Secretary of State.  The subject of the document says it all, "Libya's Fragile Security Deteriorates as Tribal Rivalries, Power Plays and Extremism Intensify."  It is dated June 25, 2012.

Once again a prevailing theme is the inability of the Libyan Government to enforce law and order.  Militias were fighting each other.  Tribal violence was breaking out.  One section contains this quote, which I will use as a summary for most of the document:
The GOL has had some success in dispatching its nascent national army and high-level mediators, such Prime Minister ElKeib, Defense Minister Juwaili and TNC Chairman Mustafa Abd al-Jalil, to quell the worst of the violence and prevent it from escalating further.  These efforts have mostly focused on negotiating limited ceasefires, rather than addressing the underlying causes of the conflicts - which continued to simmer until specific events renew outbreaks of violence.

Read that entire document.

The next document is the first one directly from the Tripoli Embassy requesting more security.  If you remember, the very first post in this series pointed out that the officer in charge of Benghazi (not Ambassador Stevens, who would normally be in Tripoli) had requested more security from Tripoli but been denied.  Well, here's proof that Ambassador Stevens wanted more security for Benghazi.  So who denied it?

The document goes from pages 46 - 48.  The quality of the scan is very poor, but enough survives.  It is dated March 28th (maybe 26th- again, poor scan quality) of 2012.

The Embassy requested 12 TDY Agents for Tripoli itself, and 5 (remember- they were down to 2 agents) for Benghazi.  They requested the continuation of one of the MSD teams until another LES (local security) team could be trained.  They then proceed to lay out their case for the security request.  Once again, they note that security was "uncertain and unstable."  Again the inability of the TNC to control the militias is noted.  It then spells out the specifics of what the Ambassador was requesting.  For Benghazi the request was as follows:
-DS AGENT SUPPORT IN BENGHAZI: Post requests continued support for 5 TDY DS agents in Benghazi on 45 - 60 day rotations.  This number is required to ensure that we have an appropriate USDH presence to protect our COMSEC; support the two long-term USDH TDY'ers; and support an increasing number of program/assistance TDY's from both Tripoli and Washington.  The number of TDY'ers in Benghazi is expected to increase in the runup to the June elections.  Embassy Tripoli is in the process of recruiting four LES drivers and an RSO LES SPSS, which will support operations in Benghazi.  Post also plans to deploy a TDY RSO from Tripoli once expanded permanent staffing is established and stabilized.  once these positions are filled, Post anticipates requiring fewer TDY agents to support Benghazi.  Although an LGF contractor has begun operations in Benghazi, initial discussions regarding contractor-provided armed close protection / movement support does not appear viable based on complications regarding GOL firearms permits.  Currently, the LGF contractor is able to obtain only short-term (48 - 72 hr) firearms permits for specific VIP visits.

In March of 2012, while Benghazi was down to 2 security agents, the Embassy in Tripoli (which means Ambassador Stevens) was requesting increased security for Benghazi.  They noted the reasons that local or private security was not viable.

This report went directly to "WASHDC" (probably the White House) and "SECSTATE."  They had to have known.  And the requests were not fulfilled.

To Continue in Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 4

My continuing review of the documents related to the Murder of Ambassador Stevens continues.  The next document I will review is a Memo from Ambassador Stevens to Washington, DC (the White House?) and The Secretary of State.  It is titled, "The Guns of August: security in eastern Libya," and on pages 36 and 37.

It is divided into five paragraphs.  The first talks about the general climate of Libya.  It begins inauspiciously: "Since the eve of the elections, Benghazi has moved from trepidation to euphoria and back as a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape during the Ramadan holiday."  The entire paragraph is devoted to the non-existence of a stable security force in Benghazi.

The second paragraph expands on that theme of weak security.  It uses the term "understaffed" and points to the assessment of the commander of the largest security force, The Supreme Security Council (SSC): "SSC Benghazi has not coalesced into a an effective, stable security force."

The third paragraph follows from the first two.  Poor security and widespread violence feeds chaos, and it is clear from this paragraph that was the case i n Benghazi in August of 2012.  "The absence of significant deterrence, has contributed to a security vacuum that is being exploited by independent actors."

The fourth speaks to a problem our own founders faced: one of mistrust.  I'll quote it in its entirety:
Though most acknowledge the need, others fear the government's potential strength.  But a centralized and professional security force is the future, and contacts across the political spectrum concede that the government needs to be strong enough to keep the peace (though strongly committed to doing so within checks and balances).  This is a long-term prospect the militias regard with suspicion at best.  As Benghazi navigate the move from a Transitional Council no one respects to a National Congress no one yet knows, they are clearly jockeying for position in a game that involves public relations and private intimidation.  (Comment: A surprising number of contacts here dismiss many of the recent incidents - particularly the bombs that were reportedly discovered and disarmed - as having been engineered by the various security forces to discredit their rivals, to improve their own standing, and to seize prime real estate.  End comment).

An ineffective, and mistrusted governing authority.  An understaffed and ineffective security force.  Growing violence from all corners.

The fifth and final paragraph in this document should have caused immediate dispatch of increased security.  Once again, the effectiveness of the SSC is called into question.  It ends with these two sentences:
What we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks.  Attackers are unlikely to be deterred until authorities are at least as capable.

How could any rational human being have chosen not to send greater security, or to determine that the cost was not justified, and just remove our presence from Benghazi completely?

To continue in Part 5

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 3

The ongoing review of the Benghazi documents continues with a Memo from Eric Nordstrom to "DS/DSS/TIA/OSAC" with the subject: "OSAC Crime and Safety Report."  It begins on page 11 and continues through page 22.  I think we used to call that a "Report" not a "Memorandum" but that's irrelevant.

This document is another that sets up the scene for what would eventually occur.  Dated February 1, 2012, it gives overviews of several areas.  It's too long to quote portions of every section, let alone vast swaths of the document, but some pieces bear repeating.

The first section is simply labeled "Crime."  All of its five paragraphs either center on, or mention, the general instability in Libya, and the fact that it has no effective central government.  Several times the Libyan Ministry of Interior is referred to as "ineffective" or some variation thereon.

Reading the document sounds like the set-up for a Mad Max movie.  Private entities  including citizens, foreigners, and institutions such as international corporations, must rely on themselves for protection.  Crime was rising.  Such security as existed was scattered, poorly concerted, and largely ineffective.

In the first paragraph of the section "Regional Terrorism and Organized Crime," we find this little gem of a quote:

"However, extremist groups and persons affiliated with extremist groups participated in the fighting against the Ghaddafi regime.  Al-Qaida affiliated groups, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and other violent extremist groups are likely to take advantage of the ongoing political turmoil in Libya."

It is obvious that terror groups were well known to operate in Libya.  Their presence, and that they still wanted to kill Americans should hardly have been a surprise.  Given the ineffectiveness of the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), it should also have been realized that no security could be guaranteed by that agency.

Worse, several times the document refers to low police presence, long response times from police, and the heterogeneous nature of security- that is, that most areas were controlled by one militia or another.  The picture it paints of Libya is one of the Wild West of the movies, not the relatively genteel Frontier West of the real world.

The next document, included in this part because of its close correlation with the previous, is a report labeled "Annual Crime Evaluation Questionairre (ACEQ) 2012"  It was dated February 20, 2012- just under 3 weeks later.  It begins on page 23 and continues through page 35 of the document release.

If the previous document painted a bleak picture in broad strokes, this document fills in the details.  It provides 13 pages of specific problems in Libya.  I will simply provide snapshots.

Note that, as early as November 15 of 2011, US personnel, in this case an International (US Based) NGO, were the specific targets of attacks.

That exact wording is found in "Justification" sections throughout the document.  It is usually preceded by "Police or neighbor assn. are partially effective..."

As has been shown, as far back as November 2011 Libya was known to be highly dangerous.  By the latter half of February 2012 that still had not improved.  Yet no moves were made to make the Benghazi office any more secure.

Particularly disturbing is the blunt language on the question of "Professionalism of Police."  By that description, they were effectively not police at all.

To Continue in Part 4

Part 1
Part 2

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 2

In the first part of this series, I looked at the first eight pages of those released by a pair of Republicans on Friday.

Those first 8 pages set the general stage for what was to come.  From virtually the beginning, the Benghazi office was under-protected, to the point that they had to curtail any activities outside their compound.

To continue...

The third document is a Report "Progress Elusive in Libya."  It is dated March 1, 2011.  It is split into sections.

The first section is simply titled, "Instability Continues."  It remarks on the fact that violent clashes were known to occur, and that many of these armed conflicts were targeting the Transitional National Council (TNC)- the group trying to form a new Libyan Government after the death of Muammar Qaddafi.  One highlight: "Clashes between the Tabou and Zwaya tribes erupted in southeaster Libya on February 12 and killed more than 100, according to the United Nations."

The next section is "A Confederation of Militias."  This details some of the problems with the militias and demonstrates the TNC's tenuous grasp on the country. Several times in this section the inability of the TNC to reign in the militias is mentioned.  One telling excerpt: "TNC efforts to centralize authority and incorporate militias under its control generally have failed thus far, highlighting the continued dominance of local militias and the fragmented nature of the national security profile."

I believe it is worth mentioning that these two paragraphs are bureaucrat-ese for "this place is FUBAR."  Don't let the clinical language fool you.  The words chosen are those attempting, through the veil of the bureaucratic language barriers, to inform someone's superiors of just how bad the situation is.

Then the third section: "Radical Islamists."  Let's just say it doesn't say, "Nope, didn't find any."  This section references December 2011.  Given that the report is dated March 2011, either the date on the document is wrong, or the date in this section is.  I cannot tell which.  Given the context of this section, I believe they mean December 2010.  Again, a single quote: "Until a stronger national army or guard force is developed, rural Libya will remain fertile territory for terrorist groups such as al-Qai'da in the Islamic Maghreb."

The final section of this document (which takes 2 pages- taking us to page 10 of 121) is "Implications for the Private Sector." This one, less germane to the overall picture as regards Benghazi on 9/11/2012, nevertheless helps us see the full picture.  In an act of understatement to rival "that's not optimal," the section begins: "The lack of an effective national government will continue to present a challenge for businesses operating in Libya."

So, again, we see a country in upheaval   One that was dangerous to its own citizens, let alone any foreigners.  Perhaps more important, we see a nation which is not a nation.  It cannot enforce its own will internally, let alone defend its actual sovereignty.  As such, anything less that the utmost security should have been seen as inadequate long before September of 2012.

Part 1
To Continue In Part 3

Friday, October 19, 2012

Criminal Negligence: Benghazi Files Part 1

I'm going to undertake to read through the files dropped today regarding Ambassador Stevens' repeated requests for additional security, as well as the overwhelming evidence such security was a) needed and b) known to be needed.  We'll take this in chunks.

The first document, covering pages 1 - 4 is a request from NEA Jeffery Feltman to yield their lease on one of three buildings for the Benghazi consulate.  Little is of interest to me here except the following notes:

Important here is on the first page: "Because of budget constraints and reduced footprint, Diplomatic Security's current presence consists of two Special Agents, with an additional three slots currently unfilled."

That was on December 27, 2011.

The next set of documents, from pages 5 - 8 is a chain of emails starting on November, 30 2011.  November. Of. 2011.

You have to read from page 8 up to page 5 to follow the whole thing.  Please do.

The first email is from Eric Nordstrom to Kathleen Hill, and Joan Polaschik, cc: Bryan Scruggs.  It is an advisory message that one of (then) three security agents would be leaving in December, and that there were no available replacements.  This would take the security detail down to two.  That advisory is then follwed up with a question: are we leaving, or are we going to "be at this level for some time?"  Note there is no assumption that they would increase security.

The second email is a reply from Kathleen Hill back to Mr. Nordstrom.  It says that Chris Stevens had planned on continuing 3 - 5 security personnel at Benghazi, not two.

The next email isn't until February 11, 2012.  The very first sentence indicates it is actually a re-forward of the previous two emails.  Shawn Crowley asks several recipients for additional security resources, reminding them that the Benghazi site is down to two.

On the same day (2/11/2012) Karen Keshap forwarded to lee Lohman a reply from Mr. Nordstrom.  That reply contains the following:
While the status of Benghazi remains undefined, DS is hesitant to devout (sic) resources and as I indicated previously, this has severely hampered operations in Benghazi.

He then mentions that the too low security also means their staff cannot leave the site, which is hampering specific operations regarding reporting.

Email 5 is a short request from Mr. Lohamn to a Charlene Lamb (the next day) asking her to speak to him.  The reason?  "I suspect the NEA Front Office will react if the reporting stops."  No mention of "hey, we don't have enough security."  Nope, it's all about the reporting.

Email 6 is from James Bacigalupo to Mr. Nordstrom containing all the previous emails asking him, on Feb 12, to call as he is "surprised at [Nordstrom's] statement that 'DS is hesitant to devote resources and as I (you) have indicated previously that has severely limited operations in Benghazi'."

Now, I've sent emails like that before.  They're "Oh, Crap, I'm about to get called on the carpet." Emails.

Almost immediately (we're now onto the 12th) Mr. Nordstrom replies, in part:
I've been placed in a very difficult spot when the Ambassador tells me that I need to support Benghazi but can't direct MSD there and been advised that DS isn't going to provide more than 3 DS agents over there long term.

The final email is also from Mr. Nordstrom, containing all the above and says simply:
See attached, the last time we had only 2 agents at post, suspending outside movements for approximately 10 days.

What these emails show is the need for extra security.  They show the limits that Ambassador Stevens was under in Tripoli, and therefore had to place on Benghazi.  It is clear from these emails that those States-Side were more concerned with their precious reports than with finding actual solutions for the Libyan mission.

To Be Continued in Part 2

Not Optimal- Ambassador Stevens Begged For More Security

UPDATE: Here is the full document release.  It actually turns out security concerns date back to November of 2011, at least (I haven't gotten all the way through them, yet)

From Fox News.

Today, a pair of Republican Senators (that is the only way they are identified in the article) released 166 pages of internal State Department documents showing that for months (going back to at least February) Ambassador Stevens had asked for increased security for Benghazi, Libya, citing increasing violence and the presence of Terrorist Organizations.  And they show that he was denied, every time.

Up until the day he was murdered (in a move Barack Obama characterized as "not optimal), the ambassador was requesting increased security.

Remember that the administration claimed for two full weeks that the attack was because of a YouTube video.  Here is proof positive that Barack Obama (he claimed responsibility stopped with him) should be fired or, preferably, impeached.

This is proof that the "video" story was a lie from the beginning.  Forget "within the first 24 hours."  They knew a terror attack was possible, if not highly probable, anyway.  Once the attack occurred, their first thought should have been "terror attack." 

These documents prove that the Administration was aware that security was "not optimal" at Benghazi.  In one of the documents, a State Department official points out that Benghazi will only have two agents for security.  Two.  Agents.

These documents prove that Al Qaeda was known to be operating openly in Libya.  In one email, Ambassador Stevens referred to the fact that the Al Qaeda flag had been seen over both government buildings and training grounds.

These documents prove that the Administration knew that violence was worsening in Libya, and that their personnel were unsafe.  The ambassador went so far as to point out that "Attackers are unlikely to be deterred until authorities are at least as capable."

Barack Obama lied about the Benghazi attack, and then he had the unmitigated gall to call the murders of 4 Americans, murders which his Administration enabled by not providing adequate security, "not optimal."

The Growing Police State: Newspeak Edition

I wrote about this a few days ago (published only this morning) for The Arlington Voice, where I also write from time to time.

Go to that link for the full story, but I'll sum up: The Dallas ISD has issued a series of phrases Principals are being instructed to use when communicating face-to-face with parents and the public.  These phrases are all geared toward making people think "in the right way," about the new Superintendent and the changes he's making in the District.

I want to make a different point here, one I touch on briefly in the article: So much attention today is placed on "how" we see things that we're becoming brainwashed against certain phrases, and therefore thoughts.

Speech, for most people, is thought.  I have known a few people who think in images; my understanding of the current state of research on Dyslexia and it's associated diagnoses is that these people may think in image rather than in words, for instance.  But, for most of us, we think in words.  So when we censor certain words from the national discourse, we limit the number of thoughts people are "allowed" to think.

If this sounds like 1984, that's because it's the same idea behind Newspeak.  We're living with the partial results of over 20 years of Newspeak in the guise of "political correctness."  One of those consequences is this phrase: President Barack Hussein Obama.

The very cry of "Racism" is an attempt to get people to think "in the right way."  The fact that any criticism of the SCOAMT in 2008 was called "racism," was an attempt, largely successful, to keep people from thinking about any deficiencies in his abilities, let alone his character.

That a public official is pushing this kind of jargon-based thought control should be horrifying to anyone concerned about Liberty.  It is but another incremental step along the path toward a tyranny which cannot be opposed, because people literally cannot think of opposing it.

Update: Thanks to @TorchOWyatt on twitter, the incorrect "Principles" has been corrected to "Principals."

Barack Obama: 4 Murdered Americans 'Not Optimal'

On The Daily Show (insert rant #357 about how Mr. Obama has time for the Daily Show, but not, say, to write personal letters to families of dead Navy SEALs) President Obama had this exchange with Jon Stewart:
'Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.'

Obama responded: 'Here's what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.'

Now, a lot of people are spinning this as "he was repeating the question," or "he was going for understatement."  Here's the problem with those.  First, the question referred to his response- "it was not the optimal response."  Mr. Stewart was trying to get Mr. Obama to admit that they'd muffed the response to the attack.  Second, the President of the United States should know better than to call the deaths of any Americans "not optimal."

How many deaths would have been "optimal" Mr. President?  One?  Two?  Or maybe you think not enough Americans died.  Maybe you wanted five dead.  Ten?

Another reason I'm less than willing to give him a pass on this is the disdain he regularly shows for anyone who isn't him, but especially our military.  He took the time to write a personal letter consoling the family of a dead rapper, but sends only form letters to the families of dead Navy SEALs.

This wasn't simply some "gaff" or a joke gone wrong.  As with everything, the Benghazi situation was about him.  It was "not optimal" because it hurt him politically.  "Not optimal" is something you say when something "could have been better."  The fact he was even able to make that "joke" shows how he views our foreign service personnel- as chess pieces who can be sacrificed, as long as it's "optimal."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Barack Obama: Economic Devestation Better Than Tax Cuts For Small Businesses

From the Washington Post comes this story.  Barack Obama, after being shown in all his beta-male faux glory in two debates, has apparently decided he's going to prove he's "tough."  How is he going to perform this amazing feat?  He's threatening to veto any legislation which prevents the so-called "fiscal cliff" that does not include a tax hike on "high earners."

The Fiscal Cliff, remember, is a combination of across-the-board cuts, including Defense and Medicare, and tax hikes which will kick in automatically if some deal is not reached to prevent them.  Remember also that a majority of small businesses, which make over that magical $250,000/yr, are reported on the owners' individual taxes.

So Barack Obama would rather the entire economy suffer than small business owners continue at their current tax rates.  Barack Obama would rather raise everyone's taxes (including those on the poor and middle class) as well as engage in poorly planned departmental cuts which will hurt the poor and seniors disproportionately, than to allow job creators to keep the same amount of money that they're keeping now.

Look at that again.  This isn't about some new tax rate cut.  He is demanding an active tax hike on small business owners.  And he's willing to hold your taxes hostage to do it.

Moreover, this would have to be a bipartisan agreement.  Remember, while Republicans control the House, Democrats control the Senate.  Any bill which makes it to his desk would have to be supported by leaders in both parties.

I can't be emphatic enough: Barack Obama would literally (not in the Joe Biden sense, either) rather see the entire economy collapse than allow job creators to continue at their current tax rates.

So while Barack Obama is going around claiming that Mitt Romney making a specific effort to hire women, and then making compromises to comply with their scheduling needs is somehow bad, he's simultaneously threatening them with even higher unemployment, more uncertainty, and less pay at the end of the day.

Obama's Economy: About Last Week's Jobless Claims

Whoops.  Last week, the BLS reported an unbelievable drop in jobless claims.  A "mere" third-of-a-million families had someone in them who had lost their jobs.  The BLS almost immediately admitted those numbers were false, and that one state had not reported some numbers.  It was speculated that California was the culprit.

Well, the answer has come- yes, California was the culprit.  Apparently some applications for unemployment were "delayed" in processing, and so were not reported.  Now that that those have been caught up, the new jobs numbers have come in: 388,000, the highest in four months.  Three hundred eighty-eight thousand families have someone who was working last week, who is not working this week.

I'll leave others to speculate on why California did not complete their processing on time.  That state is enough of a CF that I'd be willing to believe just about anything.  That's really not important.

What is important is this: while Barack Obama and the democrats keep crying "SQUIRREL!" over something new every week, we are still hemorrhaging jobs.  Four years into Barack Obama's term, we still have 7.8% "official" unemployment.  Real unemployment is still over 14.5%.  Workforce participation is still at record lows.

And instead of doing his job, Barack Obama is sitting down for a hard hitting interview with... The Daily Show.

I understand he's running for a second term (God, please, save us from such a doom) and he has to be out campaigning.  But The Daily Show?  Seriously?  While people are losing their jobs, while we have record low workforce participation, while we're dropping 10 people from the workforce for every one who is added, the President is going to go slow-jam the news again?  While regulations that he supported are strangling businesses both large and small, while corporations (both large and small) are fleeing the crippling corporate taxation in the US, while small businesses are opting to drop employees' hours or go out of business all together to avoid the crippling burdens of ObamaCare, he's going on a freaking comedy show?

This is just one more example of the disdain in which he holds the American people.  He can crow all he wants about "binders of women," the simple fact is this economy is crushing the American People, and he's done everything he could to make it as bad as possible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama is Right: Mitt Romney's Tax Rate Isn't Fair

It's way too high.

This isn't quite going to be a "burn the mathwitch!" post, but it may be a little dense.  I'll try to keep it as accessible as possible.

Before we can get into the specifics of Mitt Romney's tax rate (by the way, as an absolute number, he paid more than something like 90% of taxpayers), we need to review a couple of concepts.  First, what is "money?"  Second, what is "income?"  Third, what is "time-value?"  Fourth, What is "taxation?"

Money is not real.  Money, on its own, is a worthless abstraction.  Whether we're talking about coin money, bullion, paper money, or ones and zeros in a computer, money doesn't mean anything on its own.  Despite its ephemeral nature, money is vital to our economy.

What money "is" is an abstraction of barter.  If you want to think of it in these terms, our entire economy is an abstraction of previous barter-based economies.  Instead of carrying around all that bread we baked, or the eggs our hens laid, and having to trade them separately for the things we want, we can take them and sell them all at one location for money, and then use that money to buy the things we want.  In either case, it's the baked bread or laid eggs which are being "traded," the money just abstracts that away.

And it is a powerful abstraction.  Because of the concept of money, we can have a service-based economy where instead of selling bread or eggs, I can sell my labor.  In fact, wasn't it my labor I was "selling" when I was trading bread or eggs?  It wasn't the bread that sold, it was the convenience of the person to whom I traded it of not having to bake it themselves.  Because I used my labor to bake the bread, or raise the hens and gather the eggs, someone else had time, instead, to weave cloth, or make nails, or whatever.

In short, money is an abstraction of the value of our time and labor to create something (whether a good or service) to sell.

Income is money you earn.  It is different from "capital gains" for a couple of reasons (we'll get to "time-value of money" in a bit), but among those is this one: capital gains are interest on investments (capital), whereas "income" or "earned income" is wages paid for work.  Those are both over-simplifications, but they'll do for our purposes.  That is, income is as much a process as a thing. 

When I bake bread and sell it, or gather eggs and sell them, the money I get in return is income.

Time-value means, literally, the value of something over time.  When applied to money, it is the concept that a dollar today is worth more than that same dollar would be tomorrow.  If I earn a dollar, and then immediately use it, it provides its full value.  Maybe I used it to buy groceries.  Maybe I put it in a mutual fund or other investment.  In either case, I got its full value because I exploited its utility immediately.  The same dollar, tomorrow, will be worth less.  It will have the same purchasing power, but it would have given up a day's worth of interest, or a day's worth of use of whatever I'd purchased.  Additionally, it required resources on my part to keep it- a wallet, or a safe, or whatever.

Now, when we're talking one day and one dollar, the time-value is so infinitesimal as to be not worth noting.  When we're talking a lot of money, or a lot of time, it can be significant.

One of the effects of the time-value of money is interest.  This applies both on investments (interest earned) and on credit (interest paid/owed).  When I invest my money, I'm letting you use it.  If you were to return it to me in a year, that same money (because I wasn't able to use it) would be worth less to me.  So you pay me interest, or dividends, or whatever.  You are not actually paying me more than I lent you (even though you are paying more than you borrowed), you're replacing the actual value of the money you borrowed and used.

Taxation is removal of money from the economy.  It's that simple.  When the government takes money away from me, they have taken something of value and they have not replaced it.  Now, I may get some value from the use of that dollar- in the case of roads, or national defense, or what have you, but I may not either, if it's used for welfare or "studies" determining if a watched pot really doesn't boil.  In either case the dollar has been removed from the economy, in practical terms.  Any benefit I receive is purely coincidental.

So, when Mitt Romney was asked if it was "fair" that people "like him" who made millions of dollars paid less in taxes than poorer people, he said, "Yes."  However, he was wrong.  It wasn't fair.  He's paying too much.

Let's take a look again- the interest (capital gains) he "earned" on his investments were not an increase in value, they were a replacement of value he had provided, a "making good" if you will.  He had already been taxed- at the much higher "income" percentage- on the income he then used to make those investments.  The difference in the 5, 10, or 20% interest he earned and the 1.025% you're earning on your money-market account is due to several factors, but among those is that his money had provided greater value to those to whom he loaned it.

When viewed properly, taxing earned interest is a double-dip taxation.  It's taxing the value of money which had already been taxed.

In last night's debate, Mitt Romney mentioned doing away with capital gains taxes on middle-income earners.  The reason that works is that the money has already been taxed.  Actually, much of it would then never be taxed, as it comes out "pre-tax" on people's paychecks.  I don't think that goes far enough, though.  I simply think the capital gains tax should be eliminated at all levels.

I am not a rich man.  I'm one of those "middle income earners" who, I guess, is supposed to be outraged that Mitt Romney is rich.  I'm not, because I understand why he pays a (theoretically) lower tax rate than I do.  And I want to be able to enjoy that when I'm rich some day, too.