Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Journalists Finally Showing Interest in Benghazi

I have written several blogs about the terrorist attack on our Consulate and the CIA Annex in Benghazi, predicting that this was a developing scandal which would hurt the Obama Administration. But, the disaster in Benghazi and the Administrations foggy response has not caught nearly the attention it should. I believe that is because of the election. Many in the media have a well recognized bias towards President Obama and they know this story could verywell do serious damage to his re-election bid. It has been painfully obvious that there has been an attempt by the Administration to put off the subject of Benghazi until after the election -that attempt has been aided by many in the media.

But a story like this can not be ignored and some responsible journalists have finally begun asking questions. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal offered stinging critiques of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi.

The Post said that what happened in Benghazi “increasingly looks like a major security failure” and argues, “sooner or later the administration must answer questions” about that failure and “the policies that led to it.” Questions such as: Why was there a security failure at the consulate, and how did U.S. forces in Libya and outside the country respond to the emergency?

After holding one single background briefing, the State Department has refused to respond to inquiries about Benghazi, citing an ongoing investigation by a review board. But considerable evidence has emerged that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in the attack, and his security staff were deeply concerned about what they considered to be inadequate security. Fox News (one of the few major news sources that have been reporting the story from the beginning) reported this week that a secret cable described an Aug. 15 “emergency meeting” at the consulate, at which the State Department’s regional security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend the Consulate in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support and the overall size of the compound.”

The cable, addressed to the Office of Hillary Clinton, said the emergency meeting included a briefing about al-Qaeda training camps in the Benghazi area and Islamist militias, including those that allegedly carried out the Sept. 11 attack. In another cable on Sept. 11, hours before the attack, Ambassador Stevens described “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” with the local militias and police, to which the State Department had entrusted the consulate’s defense. Separately, Mr. Stevens dispatched a letter to Benghazi authorities, complaining that a policeman assigned to guard the consulate was photographing it on the morning of Sept. 11.

The Journal argues that the Obama administration has sought to avoid accountability by offering “evasive, inconsistent and conflicting accounts about one of the most serious American overseas defeats in recent years.” The editorial continues: “Unresolved questions about Benghazi loom over this election because the White House has failed to resolve them.”

Some of the questions that need answering are: “Why didn't the U.S. heed warnings about the growing Militant Islamist presence in Benghazi and protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex
better?”; “What exactly happened on the day of the attack?; During the over six hours that the compounds in Benghazi were under attack, could the we have done more to save lives?”; “What was President Obama doing and what was he ordering his subordinates to do in those fateful hours? Why has the Administration's story about what took place in Benghazi been so foggy and unclear?”

We need answers. We will demand answers. The administration has managed to avoid providing them for nearly eight weeks and they have enjoyed some much needed assistance from a general lack of curiosity among the truth-seeking journalists at many of America’s most influential news outlets (something that I doubt would be happening under the previous President). My guess is that  curiosity will return, but not until after the election. If Obama is re-elected, this scandal will start out his new term with a demonstration of incompetence and by undermining confidence in his policies. Don't be surprised if key political appointees involved in the scandal are allowed to take early retirements or be quietly asked to leave office before they are forced out following the completion of the investigation.  If Obama is not re-elected, this scandal will follow him and be one of the things his Administration will be remembered unfavorably for by history.

Live Long and Prosper...

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