Alexander's Column

Obama's Benghazi Talking Points

The CIA and DoS 2012 Pre-Election Coverup

By Mark Alexander · May 1, 2013
“It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” –Thomas Jefferson (1785)

Amid all the media saturation regarding the 9/11 2012 assault in Benghazi, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our own soil in 2001, there are important questions which remain unanswered, as outlined by our friend, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Those developments fall into two categories:

First: Who within the Obama administration knew what, and when, and who told our Special Forces operators to stand down and not respond? The answer to this question is crucial, because it allows us to determine what motivated that stand-down order. In addition, the answer might shed some light on where the president was after 5 p.m. on September 11, when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey informed him that our embassy was under attack and that our people were fighting for their lives. That we still don’t have any idea what the commander in chief was doing during this crisis tells us all we need to know about our shamefully incurious mainstream media.

Second: Who within the administration changed the narrative talking points about the Benghazi attack, in order not to derail Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign momentum just weeks before the election? The CIA immediately (and correctly) asserted that it was a terrorist attack, so why did the Obama administration tell the American people that it was a protest in response to an utterly obscure YouTube video that was deemed offensive to Muslims? The answer to this question is crucial for determining who in the administration advanced the fraudulent narrative in order to provide Obama political cover ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

As to the first question regarding the stand down order, here is what we do know:

Regarding the stand down order, questions raised about what could have been done to save Americans in Benghazi are legitimate, but hindsight is 20/20, and second guessing military commanders on the ground, or at the Pentagon, should be done with all due respect.

If the response team was ordered to stand down because they would have arrived too late, or because the response could have escalated into a much larger conflict resulting in the deaths of the responders, or both, that is one thing.

On the other hand, if the response team was ordered to stand down because of political concerns in advance of the upcoming election that a larger confrontation would undermine the appearance that Obama was conqueror of the al-Qa'ida threat, that is quite another thing. Were these Americans sacrificed as part of a political campaign calculation? We won’t know the answer to this question until it’s clear how far up into the Obama administration that stand down order was issued.

The second-highest-ranking American official in Libya at the time of the attack, Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S., testified this week that he received a call from Ambassador Stevens, who told him, “Greg! We’re under attack!”

Hicks said that after U.S. Special Operations Command Africa was alerted, then ordered to stand down (or “not to go” as the DoD is parsing it), the operations commander “was furious.” Hicks said, “I had told him to go bring our people home. That’s what he wanted to do,” adding “everyone in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.”

When asked about his reaction to the repeated assertion on Sunday morning talk shows by UN Ambassador Susan Rice that the attack was a “protest” related to a YouTube video, Hicks responded, “I was stunned. My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed. … The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya.”

When Hicks raised objections to the administration’s utterly inaccurate narrative, he says he was “effectively demoted.”

In the final analysis of the attack in Benghazi, the Accountability Review Board assessment may be correct, even though the Board was chosen by Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper – both of whom have career stakes in the outcome of that review.

However, the question of who changed the talking points narrative after the incident was not addressed by the ARB.

As to the second question regarding who changed the narrative about the Benghazi attack for political reasons, here is what we do know:

Days before the Obama administration began pushing the “YouTube video protest” narrative, it was clear that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist assault. Department of State counterterrorism officials, the CIA and military intelligence sources immediately reported that the attack was a terrorist assault.

Within 24 hours of attack, the acting assistant secretary for Middle Eastern affairs at the State Department, Beth Jones, confirmed that Ansar al-Sharia, a radical Islamic terror group with known ties to al-Qa'ida, was the perpetrator.

Although the official Benghazi account generated by the CIA immediately after the attack makes no mention of a protest regarding a YouTube video, the Obama administration intentionally altered that accurate account into a fraudulent one that blamed the video. This was done to create political cover for Obama so the incident would not derail his re-election campaign momentum.

Indeed, an email from State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland warned that the original CIA talking points “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that?” Nuland and Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, were the key conspirators in the talking point alterations. They are now Obama’s “cutouts,” who will be encouraged to “fall on their swords,” in order to provide Obama plausible deniability.

Three days after the attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood in front of the flag draped caskets of four dead Americans and asserted, “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that, because it is senseless and totally unacceptable.” Clinton shamelessly assured Charles Woods, the father of the slain former Navy SEAL, “We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.”

That was a lie of Bill Clinton proportions.

White House spokesman Jay Carney asserted, “The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”

That, too, was a lie.

NOTE: Carney has become Obama’s orchestral point man for the whole Benghazi deception, and it should be noted that while his title is “White House Press Secretary,” Carney is, in fact, the proxy spokesman for the President of the United States. His lies are Obama’s lies.

Four days after the attack, then-CIA director David Petraeus emailed Chip Walter, head of the CIA’s legislative affairs office, objecting to the scrubbed talking points.

Five days after the attack, Ambassador Susan Rice saturated the Sunday morning network news circuit with the YouTube claim. “What happened this week in Benghazi was a result, a direct result, of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated…” It is not clear if she knew this to be an administration fabrication.

By that time, the original CIA assessment had been revised 12 times by Obama’s political handlers.

A full two weeks after the Benghazi attack, Obama himself told the UN General Assembly, “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.”

That was a lie, and Obama knew it was a lie.

On October 15, 2012, ahead of the second presidential debate, The Patriot Post submitted to key Romney campaign officials a thoughtful compilation of talking points that would resonate with grassroots Americans. Among those talking points was the recommendation for Romney to make the case that Obama was concealing the truth about Benghazi in order “to shield his administration from the appearance of incompetence and to maintain the errant perception that the al-Qa'ida threat died when he (actually Navy SEALs) killed Osama bin Laden. Thus, Obama and his key administrators insisted that protests over a web video led to attack in Libya, knowing full well that it was actually a well-executed terrorist assault. This obfuscation clearly was, and remains, a political calculation in advance of his re-election, to ensure this incident does not detract from the perception that Obama is adequate as commander in chief.”

Romney never made that case, nor did he reference any of the other grassroots talking points we submitted – and by the narrowest of margins, he lost the election. Unfortunately, the Republican National Committee also pulled its pre-election ad on Benghazi.

In November, Carney proclaimed, “Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the [intelligence community’s] best assessments of what they thought had happened. The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility'…”

That was a boldface lie.

In January, Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

Her phony indignation is evident, and it’s downright despicable. This was neither a protest over a video nor was it “guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans.” Clinton is not calling it what everyone knew it to be within hours of the incident.

“What difference at this point does it make?”

The difference now is that we know she, and Obama, were lying.

Asked about the revisions again this week, Jay Carney explained, “The only edits made here at the White House were stylistic and non-substantive. They corrected the description of the building, or the facility in Benghazi, from consulate to diplomatic facility and the like.”

Fortunately, fact trumps fiction, however. After twelve revisions, Obama’s team had not only removed the original CIA al-Qa'ida talking point, “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa'ida participated in the attack,” but removed all references to al-Qa'ida and Ansar al-Sharia, and CIA references to advance warnings of Benghazi threats, and substitute those points with phony references to the YouTube video. Those alterations constitute something more than “stylistic” changes.

Challenged to defend his description of these changes as “stylistic,” Carney said, “I accept that 'stylistic’ may not precisely describe a change of one word to another [but] these were intelligence community talking points…[which reflected] the intelligence community’s view of what they knew at that time about what happened.”

That is a lie on top of a lie.

Carney then delivered the centerpiece of the Obama’s rebuttal to cover the political trail of the original (adulterated) talking points: “Ultimately…the attempt to politicize the talking points again is part of an effort to chase after what isn’t the substance.”

Current Secretary of State John Kerry, who as you recall, launched Obama into the national limelight by featuring him as the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democrat Convention, picked up on Carney’s theme this week: “I respect the people who spoke up in the course of these hearings…but I hate to see it turned into a pure, prolonged, political process that really doesn’t tell us anything new about the facts.”

Clearly, it is the Obama administration that politicized the talking points last September. Blame-shifting from terrorism to the video narrative achieved two political goals. It framed the attack in one of the Left’s favorite themes, “intolerance,” and removed it from the specter of the Obama administration appearing incompetent and having overstated the demise of al-Qa'ida. But the blame-shifting charade is falling apart.

The primary architect of the politically motivated alteration of the Benghazi narrative was undoubtedly then-CIA Deputy Director, Michael J. Morell, who has deep ties to former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and is vying for a key post in her administration if she is victorious in 2016. Morell claims that the talking points were sent to the White House for informational purposes only, and nothing was “produced with any political agenda in mind.” But it is clear, after reviewing White House emails, that the altered talking point were designed to provide political cover.

Morell ignored a cable from the CIA Station Chief in Libya on 15 September, days after the attack, which made it clear the attack was not an escalation of protest over a YouTube video. The cable also made it clear that the attack was a well organized terrorist assault. For the record, Station Chiefs are the top authority on actions in a region, but Morell later testified that he deliberately set aside the Station Chief’s assessment and opted instead, to use a report from some unnamed CIA analysts in Virginia. That account does not square with Morell’s earlier accusation that the FBI altered the talking points, which was clearly a lie.

Notably, Morell had access to the Station Chief assessment before Susan Rice was sent out with the altered YouTube video talking points – designed to protect Obama’s presidential campaign. Moreover, nine key U.S. personnel on the ground during the attack, who gave congressional testimony, said the attack was a terrorist assault, and not one had heard about a YouTube video protest.

Morell retired from CIA in 2013, and now works for Beacon Global Strategies, founded by Philippe Reines, who The New York Times describes as Hillary Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper.”

Obama, Clinton, Morell and Rice lied after Americans died. Clearly, there is an “al-Qa'ida Spring” underway on Obama’s watch. It is time for Congress to ramp up the investigation into the politicization of the attack narrative, form a bipartisan Select Committee and appoint Special Counsel.

It is also time for the Leftmedia talkinheads, at least those who still call themselves “journalists,” to go after this Obama administration fabrication with the same vigor the went after George Bush’s famous “16 words” in his 2003 State of the Union: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” Bush was skewered for this claim, with the Left accusing him of “lying us into Iraq.” Turns out, of course, that Iraq was indeed seeking uranium from Niger, and President Bush was correct.

Challenge Obama’s infamous “7 words”: “A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage.” Those words are now clearly know to be part of an well organized charade to protect Obama’s re-election campaign.

Meanwhile, on the eve of the congressional testimony on Benghazi this week, Susan Rice was honored by The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies for “her work in advancing U.S. interests, strengthening the world’s common security and prosperity, and promoting respect for human rights.”

And Ms. Clinton was in Hollywood the day of the testimony for a Beverly Hills gala to receive the Warren Christopher Public Service Award from the Pacific Council on International Policy. It is no small irony that the late Christopher, who was deputy secretary of state under Jimmy Carter and secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was awarded by Carter the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his failure to successfully negotiate the release of the 52 American Embassy hostages held in Iran for the final 444 days of the Carter presidency.

That was another Middle Eastern debacle, which contributed to Carter’s defeat by Ronald Reagan.

No doubt Obama heeded the lesson from Carter’s re-election defeat, and was determined to do whatever needed to be done so that the Benghazi embassy attack would not threaten his re-election bid.

For the record, Carter awarded that medal to Christopher just days before Reagan took office. Also for the record, on January 20, 1981, at the moment President Reagan completed his inaugural address, Iran released all of the American Embassy hostages. Iran understood that Reagan would not be a pushover like Carter – as the leadership of the Soviet Union would soon learn.

If only Obama could learn that lesson…

Footnote: It is clear that Obama and his key administrators lied about Benghazi to conceal the truth about al-Qa'ida’s strength in order not to derail his campaign momentum. On the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our nation, and the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attack in Benghazi, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers told The Washington Times, “To say the core [of al-Qa'ida] is decimated and therefore we have al-Qa'ida on the run was not consistent with the overall intelligence assessment at the time.” Asked about why Obama mislead the nation, Rogers said, “One, he wasn’t getting the information that the rest of us were getting, or two, he got the information and decided to disregard it for political purposes. Either of those is a problem for a commander in chief.” Indeed, Jihad is alive and well.

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