Accuracy in Media

The media have discovered a scandal they can eagerly embrace, and they are off to the races. Having already found him guilty, they are now trying to determine if New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie knew about or ordered his underlings to create traffic jams entering the George Washington Bridge, from Ft. Lee, New Jersey into New York City; or to threaten to withhold Superstorm Sandy funds from Hoboken, NJ unless the mayor agreed to play ball with a developer with ties to the governor; or if he created a culture whereby all that could happen. Yet few are asking the parallel questions of Hillary Clinton. While those are all valid questions for Christie, the fact remains that Mrs. Clinton was in charge of the State Department during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, which the recent SSCI report determined “were likely preventable.” Did she create a culture at the State Department that would allow these attacks to occur? Or is the answer, “What difference at this point does it make?”

One person who is getting blamed in the media is Chris Stevens, the ambassador to Libya at the time, who was murdered by the terrorists when they attacked the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi. Sean Smith was another casualty there. Liberals like Piers Morgan and MSNBC’s Katty Kay are among a number of journalists who have basically blamed Stevens for his own death, as did The New York Times, and third-rate comedian Bill Maher, who wouldn’t be worth mentioning, except that Time Warner sees fit to give him a weekly one-hour show on HBO to spew his venomous ignorance on a range of topics.

How was it Ambassador Stevens’ fault that he and the others died? According to the SSCI report, “General Ham called Ambassador Stevens and asked if the Embassy needed the SST [Site Security Team] from the U.S. military, but Stevens told Ham it did not.” And, again, “Shortly thereafter, Stevens traveled to Germany for a previously scheduled meeting with Ham at AFRICOM headquarters. Ham again offered to sustain the SST at the meeting, and Stevens again declined.”

How does this evidence stack up against reports that he had pleaded, repeatedly, for additional security?

Here is what the record shows: The U.S. Mission had been attacked twice earlier in the year. The British and Red Cross had pulled out before the attacks. On July 9, 2012, Stevens sent a cable requesting additional security support, so that the Tripoli Embassy would have 13 security support personnel. The cable mentions Department of Defense SST as a possibility.

On August 16, another cable was sent, to the attention of Hillary Clinton, who claims she never saw it. The cable reportedly said that al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi, and that the senior security officer at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi didn’t believe the mission could be protected or defended against a “coordinated attack.” The State Department had signed a contract with the Blue Mountain Group out of Wales, which provided security of sorts. Unarmed security. The only armed security was supplied by the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, a Libyan militia group of which Greg Hicks, the State Department’s deputy chief of mission in Libya at the time of the attacks, said, “Certainly elements of that militia were complicit in the attacks.”

What changed for Stevens between July and August? The August 16 Emergency Action Committee (EAC) cable that prompted Ham to ask Ambassador Stevens about accepting the SST back remains classified. We now know from the SSCI report that a CIA officer briefed the EAC in August “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and [Al Qaeda] training camps within Benghazi.”

We also know from former Regional Security Officer in Tripoli Eric Nordstrom that the State Department was opposed to additional military support. “Mr. Nordstrom told the Committee that Ms. [Charlene] Lamb claimed [an extension of the SST] would be embarrassing and give Libya more security agents than in Yemen and Pakistan,” according to the “Additional Views” of six Republican senators on the committee, who issued their own summary as part of the SSCI report. Lamb was the State Department official responsible for managing Diplomatic Security programs designed to protect all of the international missions from terrorism and other threats. Such political considerations should not have outweighed the value of the lives of those in Libya.

So while there is some word-of-mouth testimony that Stevens said no to additional security, wasn’t it up to the State Department higher ups, those who created the culture, to protect their diplomats? There is always the Chief of Mission responsibility for his or her own people, but could State have been applying pressure to Ambassador Stevens not to accept the military support? They certainly applied pressure on Nordstrom.

According to the unified findings of the SSCI, the State Department could have prevented this attack given the “known security shortfalls” and “significant strategic…warnings from the Intelligence Community about the deteriorating security situation in Libya.” But why blame a building? According to the minority view, Hillary Clinton was due a share of the blame: “Ultimately, however, the final responsibility for security at diplomatic facilities lies with the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.”

When will the media start chasing Hillary, and spending hours of prime time television questioning the culture she created at State, and going line by line through what everyone said? No, instead they try to tell us that this is a phony scandal, no one cares about it, and as MSNBC host Chris Hayes said, “it is time to say good-bye, RIP, Benghazi scandal. There is nothing left.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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  • stlouisix

    “When will the media start chasing Hillary, and spending hours of prime time television questioning the culture she created at State, and going line by line through what everyone said? No, instead they try to tell us that this is a phony scandal, no one cares about it, and as MSNBC host Chris Hayes said, ‘it is time to say good-bye, RIP, Benghazi scandal. There is nothing left.’

    “Nothing could be further from the truth.”


    This story has cried out for justice for the families of the Benghazi fallen since that fateful night. It is an abomination what was allowed to happen to Americans in harm’s way by a despotic anti-American sham administration who didn’t give a damn, and for which all those in the chain of command of that administration right to the top responsible for this moral atrocity, and I’m talking about Hillary Rotten Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama should be facing prosecution for the murder of those four Americans with the commensurate penalty!

    How many more stories like this is it going to take before Obama is brought to justice for his high crimes against The Republic, especially its military whom Obama despises to the point of using it for cannon fodder in sending it on unnecessary missions with no air support because the self-esteem of the radical jihadists is a higher priority than the lives of our troops in the field?

    It is no accident that the casualty rates for our military in Afghanistan skyrocketed on Obama’s watch! NEVER FORGET THAT!

    Kerry says Assad cannot be part of transition in Syria as peace talks open

    The biggest threat to world peace is not Assad but rather the Al-Qaida allied pro-radical jihadist Shariah Law or death, Christian persecuting Muslim Brotherhood supported rebels and their supporters in the Traitorous Obama administration, especially its Vietnam war traitor spokesman, as evinced by the Imam Obama’s farce of an Arab Spring!

  • jaimelmanzano

    Amb. Stevens’ reputation deserves to be more openly defended. Underscoring his turning down additional military (Marines?) to address embassy security overlooks alternative approaches to security, and other considerations. For example, uniformed staffing in Libya at that time would likely have heightened the visibility of U.S. military presence in-country and fueled hostility against the U.S. It would not have furthered U.S. policy objectives then being pursued. Alternatives to a military detachment would have been preferable, were possible, and could have been amb. Stevens’ preferred approach to staffing for security, a choice touched on in passing by the narrative presented.

    The Benghazi narrative needs to also take into account the reason why am. Stevens traveled to Benghazi. Quite aside from the overall objective of limiting U.S. visibility in-country, there also was the clear policy of the Administration to further the perception that al Queda presence, and hostilities, were diminished and in retreat. Consistent with this policy was the reported interest of secy. Clinton to make the Benghazi facility a visible, and positive evidence of American cultural presence and friendship. Amb. Stevens is reported to have undertaken his visit to Benghazi, in part, for this reason. A second, less discussed reason, was his meeting with the Turkish official (ambassador?) just before the attack. Indications were that an undercover effort was being fashioned to transfer Libyan arms accumulated in the region to Syria, using the good offices of a then neutral Turkey. Keeping that action under wraps at that time makes sense.

    Lastly, casting amb. Stevens judgement as mistaken in turning down more security from the general unthinkingly just doesn’t wash in the light of clear, and repeated, reports and requests that security be increased for the official family and staff in Libya. All-in-all, the Benghazi incident seems to have more to do with policy errors, and central office mismanagement, than defective field office implementation. Amb. Stevens, and other U.S. staff in Libya, paid the price with their lives.

  • Oddjob

    Stevens knew too much and was deliberately allowed to die. Thats why the officers who tried to intervene were sacked on the spot and the ones who rushed in received no help. Just like the members of seal team six who were loaded onto a vietnam era helicopter aug. 7 2011 and flown into a kill trap. They knew too much.

  • Janet Williams

    The attack lasted seven hours, I believe. When they called for help, why couldn’t we send the cavalry? Someone had to have said, “Nah, let ’em die.”

  • Dudleydoright

    Anyone can tell Hillary is being sincere, she has on those head injury glasses.