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BUT NOT IN LIBYA?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 6, 2012) — In an interview conducted by The New York Times five years ago with then-Senator Barack Obama, who had announced his candidacy for the presidency in February of that year, Obama pledged to place members of the military at U.S. embassies in Iraq for protection.
On September 11, 2012, four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, died in Benghazi during a seven-hour siege of Islamic terrorists after the U.S. embassy in Tripoli reported deteriorating security in the country over the past six months or more. There had been no Marines guarding the compound in Tripoli nor any American security at the building where Amb. Stevens spent the last day of his life along with a special analyst, Sean Smith. Two CIA employees who saved lives before being killed by a mortar attack had called for help, but none was offered.
Instead of U.S. Marines or other military protection, the State Department hired a British firm, Blue Mountain, to guard the Benghazi outpost, and in turn, Blue Mountain outsourced the work to the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, some of whom are suspected of having betrayed the position of Stevens and Smith after the attack commenced at approximately 9:40 p.m. local time on September 11.
Early reports blamed the violence which spread to 20 Middle Eastern countries beginning on September 11 on a low-budget internet video which insulted Islam. Obama, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted for several weeks that the video was the catalyst while the intelligence community refuted their claims. After it became clear that the intelligence community had stated within 24 hours that a terrorist attack had killed the four Americans, another unnamed “intelligence official” had reportedly said that both the video and terrorist activity were to blame but that the Benghazi attack was not pre-planned.
Various Obama regime officials have said different things regarding the cause of the attack and what was known about security on the ground in Libya prior to the tragedy. Upon the return of the remains of the four who were killed, both Obama and Hillary Clinton referred to the video as the cause, with Clinton vowing to “have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.” It is unclear how Clinton and Obama gained knowledge of the existence of the video when few people had viewed it.
The United States is on the eve of a presidential election without the incumbent having answered any questions or given a press conference about what occurred in Benghazi nearly two months ago. Some polls show that Obama will win despite failing to have addressed the security shortcomings in Benghazi which allowed, and perhaps even facilitated, the deaths of the four Americans.
Reports from late last month state that supervisors at the CIA had refused to send assistance to the besieged compound, but CIA Director David Petraeus denied that he or anyone within his agency had refused help to those under attack. Some lawmakers have called for the release of video footage captured by a drone which had flown overhead while the attack ensued, but the Obama White House has not responded during the run-up to Election Day on Tuesday.
A cable which had been considered classified has revealed that the State Department had considered moving the activities of the Benghazi facility to the nearby CIA annex.
In regard to Obama’s planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, he told the reporter, “We have a very narrow list of things that we want to accomplish: protecting embassies, protecting civilians and counter terrorism in contrast to counter insurgency.”
Then why were Americans allowed to die in Libya? Did the embassy there not also deserve adequate protection?
During testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on October 10, it became clear that more security had been requested but refused by Charlene Lamb and other career State Department employees. The evening before the last presidential debate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly said that the responsibility for the four deaths in Benghazi was hers.
The regional manager of security, Eric Nordstrom, said during his testimony that instead of extending the assignment of the security team which had worked in Libya to protect embassy personnel, “There was no plan, there was just hope that everything would get better.”
In 2008 Obama had campaigned on a platform of “hope and change,” pledging to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” several days before he was announced the winner.
During the interview, Obama also said that he didn’t “want to hamstring our military from being able to strike at terrorist targets successfully. That should be a priority.”
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan under Obama, had altered the Rules of Engagement with the expressed intent of avoiding civilian casualties. Gen. David Petraeus, then-commander of the Iraq war theater, had believed that the new rules had “effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.”
McChrystal was terminated from his position in the Army after an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2010 proved “disparaging” to Obama. The same month as McChrystal’s departure yielded several reports that U.S. soldiers were dying as a result of the restrictive Rules of Engagement.
McChrystal now is an instructor at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Petraeus is director of the CIA.
Martha Raddatz, moderator of the vice-presidential debate and ABC News reporter, has written that a “timeline provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official gives the first precise account of how CIA security teams provided the first response to the Sept. 11 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.” Raddatz specifically said that the unnamed intelligence official’s account “appeared to be a direct rebuttal of a Fox News report that CIA teams on the ground had been told by superior officers to “stand down” from providing security support to the consulate.”
CBS News has reported that the Counterterrorism Security Group, which is able to coordinate resources among different U.S. security agencies, was not asked to mobilize on the night of September 11, 2012 in reaction to the Benghazi attack. Reporter Sharyl Atkisson wrote, “Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reportedly met with the commander of AFRICOM after the Benghazi attack began, but no military forces were sent to assist. The AFRICOM commander, Gen. Carter Ham, has since been replaced.
It is the opinion of one Middle East analyst that Libya is presently “functioning completely unchecked” as a result of terrorists becoming armed with weapons amassed by deposed dictator Muommar Gaddafi, whose removal from power was supported by the United States under Barack Obama as part of the “Arab Spring” movement. Chaos and instability have risen in the Middle East since the uprisings which ushered in a government heavily influenced by The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and an Islamic government in Tunisia. It has been reported by several sources that the United States is arming members of Al Qaeda in Syria.
Obama had also stated in the interview that he would hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program. On October 20, 2012, The New York Times reported that private exchanges had occurred between the U.S. and Iran since Obama entered the White House, something Obama then publicly denied. However, Obama and his surrogates then stated that they would “consider” direct talks with Iran.
When New York Times reporters Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny asked Obama about the kind of person he would nominate to the positions of “defense secretary” or “national security adviser,” Obama responded:
On the issue of judgment, I absolutely think that the decision about who the next president should be has everything to do with judgment and character. I will say when it comes to the most important issues in foreign policy that we’ve faced over the last several years, my judgment has been better than my opponents.
In regard to Benghazi, Obama-supportive media is now reporting that “Although two teams of special operations forces were deployed from central Europe and the United States, the attack, which began after 9 p.m. local time and ended by 4 a.m., was over before they arrived at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, across the Mediterranean from Libya.”