Tag Archives: benghazi

Critical Reading from Andrew McCarthy

A Mismanage-able Problem
Obama’s belief that he can “manage” the Islamic State may collide with reality.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

President Obama says he intends to shrink the al-Qaeda-spawned Islamic State into a “manageable problem.” Perhaps we’ll learn more about how when he speaks to the nation on Wednesday evening. Still, the question presses: Is he the manager for the job?

In answering that question, past performance is more a guarantee of future results than is any statement of newfound purpose from a president whose innate dishonesty has turned his signature phrase “Let me be clear” into notorious self-parody.

In late September 2012, Mr. Obama’s administration quietly approved the transfer of 55 jihadist prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. As Tom Joscelyn explained at the time, most of the detainees had previously been categorized as “high risk” because they were deemed “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies” if released. Almost all of the rest had been assessed “medium risk” — still posing a threat, albeit one less certain than the “high risk” jihadists.

But Obama officials overruled those judgments. Rife with members of the Lawyer Left vanguard who had stampeded to volunteer their services to al-Qaeda detainees during the Bush years, who had smeared Gitmo as a gulag, and who had fought bitterly against the Bush/Cheney paradigm that regarded al-Qaeda’s jihad as a war rather than a crime wave, the administration determined that the anti-American terrorists were fit to be sprung from American custody.

Wait a second . . . two years ago in September . . . what was going on then? Why yes, the Benghazi massacre — whose second anniversary we mark this Thursday.

The Obama administration would like us to forget that bit of old news since “dude, this was like two years ago.” You may nonetheless recall it as an act of war in which al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists attacked a sovereign American government compound. The terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya, killed three other Americans, and wounded many more in an eight-hour siege during which President Obama declined to take any meaningful responsive action. Indeed, agents of the U.S. security team in Benghazi say they were prevented from trying to save Ambassador Stevens.

Among those carrying out the attack were operatives of Ansar al-Sharia. That’s the al-Qaeda affiliate with cells in Eastern Libya’s jihadist hotbeds, Benghazi and Derna. Ansar is led by Sufian Ben Qumu, a former Gitmo detainee who, inexorably, went right back to the jihad.

News of Obama’s approval of the mass transfer of Gitmo detainees came less than two weeks after the Benghazi massacre. Let that sink in: The Obama administration knew that a former Gitmo detainee was complicit in the most humiliating defeat suffered by the United States since the 9/11 attacks that took the nation to war; yet, the president approved the transfer of dozens more Gitmo terrorists. Just as, only a few months ago, he approved the transfer of five top Taliban commanders even as the Taliban was (and is) continuing to conduct terrorist operations against American troops in Afghanistan.

Shocking, yes, but how surprising from Barack Obama? Mind you, this is the president who, though AWOL (and still unaccountable) while terrorists were killing and wounding American personnel in Benghazi, had the temerity not just to fly off to a Vegas fundraiser the very next day but to pick that setting, and that moment, to declare victory: “A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.”

Yes, bin Laden is dead. But the terrorist hordes chanted, “Obama, we’re all Osama!” as they torched our embassies and raised the black flag of jihad — the flag the Islamic State vows to fly over the White House. And just two days after Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” fundraiser, Ansar al-Sharia’s Tunis cell attacked the American embassy there. That al-Qaeda franchise is led by Seifallah ben Hassine, long-time jihadist confidant of bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some path to defeat.

Of course, the Benghazi massacre would never have happened had Obama not switched sides in Libya, dumping the Qaddafi regime — theretofore an American counterterrorism ally — and partnering with Eastern Libyan jihadists. The president’s strategy ensured that enemies of the United States would acquire much of Qaddafi’s arsenal, empowering jihadist cells throughout North Africa and the Middle East, growing al-Qaeda and what would become the Islamic State. And as we have seen in just the last few weeks, Obama’s “lead the jihad from behind” strategy has resulted in the near complete disintegration of Libya, with Ansar al-Sharia and its allies now controlling much of Tripoli.

Nor is that all. Hours before the Benghazi attack began on September 11, 2012, there had been rioting at the American embassy in Cairo. It was stoked by al-Qaeda leaders — including Zawahiri’s brother, Mohammed. The latter had called for attacks against the United States to avenge the recent killing of the network’s leader in Libya. The al-Qaeda leaders had also been threatening to besiege the embassy to extort the release of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, imprisoned in the U.S. on terrorism charges. These jihadists had been enabled in their incitements against America by the Muslim Brotherhood–controlled government — a government the Obama administration had pressured Egypt’s military leaders to make way for.

When the Left says it intends to make the challenge of international terrorism “manageable,” that is usually code for saying it wants to return counterterrorism to the law-enforcement paradigm, in which terrorism is a crime addressed by indictments. Crime — petty theft, graft, racketeering, and the like — is a constant that society manages. National-security threats, on the other hand, cannot be indicted into submission. And they are not “managed” by imagining that if we ignore them they will go away.

President Obama probably does believe the Islamic State could become a manageable problem. Unfortunately, he also believes that when his ideology collides with reality, it is reality that must give. Reality does not see it that way.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.

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Benghazi suspect al-Kashef added to al Qaeda sanctions list

One day, there will be a price to pay for what happened in Benghazi on 9/11/12.  At least there ought to be.  In any event, this from The Long War Journal:

The United Nations added Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, a longtime subordinate to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, to its sanctions list on Oct. 18. The UN’s sanctions web page for Jamal, as he is commonly known in intelligence circles, contains many of the same details included in the US government’s designation earlier this month. [See LWJ report, State Department designates longtime Zawahiri subordinate.]

However, the UN mentions two key aspects of Jamal’s career that were omitted from the announcement of the US government’s designation.

The UN notes that both Jamal and members of his network (the Muhammad Jamal Network, or “MJN”) are “reported to be involved in the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 Sep. 2012.” The US announcement did not mention Jamal’s connection to the attack in Benghazi, even though it was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and subsequently other outlets, including The Long War Journal.

The UN describes Jamal as the head of the “Nasr City terrorist cell in Egypt in 2012.” The Long War Journal has reported on Jamal’s role in the Nasr City cell, which has multiple ties to al Qaeda.

The Nasr City cell has been tied to terrorist plots inside Egypt, according to Egyptian officials, including a planned attack on a Western embassy.

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My Latest for the Huffington Post






No Shame in this Administration

It’s always difficult to discern just where President Obama stands on the topic of national security. From his reluctance to say that acts of terrorism were committed by, well, terrorists, to his condemnation of the conditions at Guantanamo Bay while far exceeding President Bush’s use of drones (including strikes against U.S. citizens), and up to his association with actual terrorists (Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn), his position is, at best, a hard read. But his appointment of Susan Rice to the post of National Security Adviser is a good indicator that national security is not a top priority.


Susan Rice became a household name last September when she appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows to sell a bill of goods to the American people. Asked about the roots of the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans — including an ambassador — dead on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, she told Bob Schieffer, “What our assessment is as of the present is in fact … it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where of course as you know there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.” Yes, that’s right Ambassador Rice, YouTube was to blame.


Well, we later learned that the White House knew within hours of the attack that the assault in Benghazi was a terrorist attack against the United States without any connection to the “hateful video” that Rice cited. It’s clear now that the Obama Administration did not want to risk fallout on its reelection efforts just weeks before the voters went to the polls in November.


Rice likely accepted the role with the hope that she would be rewarded with a nomination to head the State Department after Hillary Clinton’s imminent departure. All signals pointed in that direction, but her obvious and now famous prevarications on national television about so important a topic led to intense pressure on the president to remove her from consideration for Foggy Bottom. So again, Rice fell on her sword and withdrew her own name from consideration.


But the day has finally arrived for payback, and it comes in the form of her nomination to the post of National Security Adviser. This, the president believes, is the perfect way to reward her. The vacancy was created by the resignation of outgoing NSA and former lobbyist Tom Donilon, by far the least qualified person to hold the post of any NSA in the last 20 years.


Donilon’s October 2010 appointment came at the heels of the departure of Gen. James Jones. Jones tenure as National Security Adviser was brief, having begun his service in this once vital role in January 2009. Gen. Jones brought impeccable credentials to the position of national security adviser. Raised for much of his formative years in France, he attended Georgetown where he was enrolled in its foreign service program. His 40-year military career was nothing short of remarkable: Commander of the U.S. European Command; Supreme Allied Commander for Europe; Commandant of the Marine Corps. One would be hard-pressed to craft even a fictitious resume for someone with better qualifications for the job. Despite this background, or maybe because of it, Jones didn’t last in the Obama administration.


In the fall of 2010, Bob Woodward published Obama’s Wars, in which he wrote that Donilon, whose previous experience included a stint as VP with Fannie Mae but precious little by way of national security, was once disparaged by his predecessor, who criticized Donilon’s lack of overseas experience. Jones told directly, “You have no credibility with the military.” Worse, according to Woodward, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates became so offended by remarks made by Donilon that he nearly walked out of a meeting and later predicted that Donilon would be a “disaster” as Obama’s NSA.


It seems that despite a recent uptick in terrorist attacks against American interests, President Obama still doesn’t view the job of National Security Adviser to be one requiring any sort of credibility, least of all when it comes to, ironically, maintaining the security of the nation. If Rice doesn’t last in the role — and with the fog of Benghazi still very much casting a pall over the White House this is a real possibility — it will be interesting to see who Obama picks next. Maybe Lois Lerner will be interested.

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Benghazi Hearing: Hicks ‘stunned’ at Rice explanation

Deputy Chief of Mission Hicks said it best about Susan Rice’s statements on the Sunday morning talk shows in which she perpetuated the lies about Benghazi: “My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.  Someone must be held accountable for the Obama Administration’s purposeful lies about the terrorist attacks on our Ambassador and three other Americans on 9/11/12. — AA

(Guardian UK)

A top US official who was in Libya during the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi has given the first public account of the event.

Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Tripoli, said he was “stunned” by UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments that the attack was spontaneous.

He also told lawmakers he received a phone call from US Envoy Christopher Stevens, just before he died.

Three other Americans were killed in the attack on 11 September 2012.

Start Quote

My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed”

Gregory Hicks on his reaction to Susan Rice’s comments

During several hours of emotional testimony before a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday, Mr Hicks described the moment he was informed of the attack.

He said he was in Tripoli watching TV when he received a phone call from Ambassador Stevens.

“Greg, we’re under attack,” the ambassador reportedly told Mr Hicks by telephone before the line cut.

He later received a phone call from the Libyan prime minister informing him of Ambassador Steven’s death.

“I think it is the saddest phone call I have ever had in my life,” Mr Hicks said.

After the disrupted phone call with Ambassador Stevens, Mr Hicks said he received calls from Libyans using the ambassador’s phone who said they had the envoy with them.

But Mr Hicks decided not to act on the calls, fearing an ambush.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice has been the focus of outrage from Republicans in Congress, for giving the news media what has been acknowledged as an incorrect explanation for the attack.

She said on a Sunday chat show on 16 September that the attack had grown out of an anti-US protest, while other officials have said they knew at the time it was an organised, armed assault, possibly by an Islamist militant group.

“My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.

Some Republicans accuse the White House of hiding information about the attack, while Democrats say the issue has become politicised.

The BBC’s Jane O’Brien in Washington says Wednesday’s testimony will do nothing to dispel Republican concerns that President Barack Obama tried to cover up a terrorist attack in the run-up to a presidential election.

Democrats will continue to say there was no attempt to mislead the public, our correspondents adds.

‘Need to evacuate’

At Wednesday’s hearing, Mr Hicks expressed frustration with the lack of a US military response during the night-time attack, saying one could have deterred a second assault.

The Pentagon has said nothing could have been done to assist the Americans in Benghazi.

Mr Hicks and two other state department employees criticised an official review undertaken after the attack, saying many people with first-hand knowledge of the event were not interviewed and it focused too much on lower-ranking officials.

The review found that poor leadership and management in two state department teams led to a security plan that was “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place”.

Mr Hicks told the panel he spoke to people at the State Department and to Libyan officials, and had a conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton around 02:00 on the night of the attack.

“Secretary of State Clinton called me along with her senior staff… and she asked me what was going on. And I briefed her on developments,” Mr Hicks told congressmen.

“Most of the conversation was about the search for Ambassador Stevens. It was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in Benghazi, and I told her that we would need to evacuate. She said that was the right thing to do.”

The ambassador died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped in the burning consulate building, after armed men stormed the compound.

State department employee Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty also died in the attack.

Mrs Clinton angrily defended her handling of the Benghazi raid in a series of hearings on Capitol Hill in January.

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Marine Times: USMC embassy guard boost will be tough

Thank you to Jenifer Adkins for directing this story my way. AA

The Marine Corps could face significant challenges filling a congressional mandate to nearly double its number of Marine embassy security guards at a time when the service is drawing down its active-duty force.

In response to the deadly attack in September on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Congress has called for 1,000 new Marine security guards to provide additional protection for U.S. diplomatic facilities around the world. With 1,200 Marine security guards currently assigned to more than 130 countries, this would boost the total number by nearly twofold.

The additional guards would be assigned to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, which is based in Quantico, Va., and to regional commands and detachments at embassies, consulates and diplomatic facilities worldwide. The extra personnel would be authorized beginning fiscal year 2014, and would be available for three years.

A Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon, Capt. Gregory Wolf, told Marine Corps Times that the service anticipates it will be able to assess and train the enough Marines to fulfill the new requirement.

But filling manpower quotas has been a challenge even when the State Department capped the authorized number of Marine security guards at much lower levels, said Andrew Bufalo, a retired Marine master sergeant who served as a detachment commander at American embassies in the Republic of Congo and Australia. He’s the author of “Ambassadors in Blue,” a book about the Embassy Security Group. Nearly doubling its size won’t come easy, Bufalo said.

“When you look at the quality of troops you need out at the [Embassy Security Group], usually they’re the better Marines, so commanders don’t want to let them go to that duty,” he said. “Then you get to the school and you have a high attrition rate because the standards are high.”

Read More HERE

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My Response to a Post by Peter Bergen on Benghazi

Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst and the author of “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden — From 9/11 to Abbottabad,” an outstanding book. He’s also one of my favorite commentators on terrorism and is consistently on target. However, I took issue with his defense of the Obama administration on the opinion page of CNN.com. Here’s an excerpt from his piece: 

What is the Republican theory of the case against Rice? It appears to boil down to the idea that leading Democrats covered up the involvement of terrorists in some way connected to al Qaeda in the Benghazi attack during the run-up to the close presidential election because President Obama and others in his administration had for some time said that al Qaeda was close to strategic defeat.


Does this case make sense? First, you would have to accept that Obama, Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all knowingly deceived the American public about what had happened at the Benghazi consulate.

Read the whole piece at CNN.com HERE

In response, I offer the following:

Peter, you ignore the point that by creating a cause entirely out of whole cloth–namely, citing The Innocence of Muslims–the administration also provoked more unrest, protests, and riots in Libya and other Middle Eastern nations. The president in turn made unnecessary statements on national TV and before the UN decrying a video no one would have seen had they not created such a lie. And Ansar al-Sharia isn’t so stupid as to not know they would be immediate suspects especially when they were claiming responsibility.

I’ve not received a response.

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Senate Leaders Stand Ground Against a Rice Appointment

Thankfully, Senators McCain, Ayotte, and Graham are not backing down from their criticism of, and concerns about, the prospect of Ambassador Rice becoming Secretary Rice.  The administration has failed to provide the country with anything resembling the truth, and she has done nothing but prevaricate on the Benghazi affair before national audiences.  Instead, the president has been defensive and combative.  -AA


* Republican McCain says ‘troubled’ by answers

* Senators will not support her until questions resolved

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Tuesday failed to win over her harshest Republican critics in the U.S. Senate who are threatening to block her nomination if President Barack Obama chooses her for Secretary of State or another top post in his second-term Cabinet.

Rice met for about an hour behind closed doors at the U.S. Capitol with Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte. They have openly criticized her for initial comments after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that suggested it was a spontaneous event arising from protests of an anti-Islam film rather than a premeditated attack.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi mission and a nearby CIA annex. Intelligence officials later said the attack was possibly tied to al Qaeda affiliates.

“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate,” McCain told reporters after the meeting.

“It is clear that the information that she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video,” he said.

“It was not, and there was compelling evidence at the time that that was certainly not the case, including statements by Libyans as well as other Americans who are fully aware that people don’t bring mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to spontaneous demonstrations,” McCain said.

Republicans have argued that the Obama administration tried to play down the terrorist angle in its initial comments to avoid undermining the president’s claims of success in fighting al Qaeda in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election.

Rice was accompanied by acting CIA Director Michael Morell and was not seen by reporters, but later issued a statement saying: “We explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”

“While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved,” she said. “We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process.”

Obama has defended Rice and said if senators have a problem with the administration’s handling of Benghazi they should “go after me” rather than try to “besmirch her reputation.”

Graham also criticized U.S. intelligence agencies that wrote the talking points on which Rice based her public comments.

“I’m very disappointed in our intelligence community. I think they failed in many ways. But with a little bit of inquiry and curiosity, I think it would be pretty clear that to explain this episode as related to a video that created a mob that turned into a riot was far afield,” he said. “And at the end of the day, we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

Rice’s controversial Benghazi statements were based on a set of unclassified talking points prepared by U.S. intelligence agencies for members of Congress.

The initial draft written by the CIA referred to “attacks” carried out by “extremists with ties to al Qaeda.” However by the time Rice received them, “attacks” had changed to “demonstrations” and “with ties to al Qaeda” had been deleted, multiple U.S. sources have said.

The White House has denied making those edits and members of Congress are trying to determine where the changes were made.

The senators who met with Rice remained unconvinced by her responses and said her visit left them with greater concerns than before the meeting.

“I wouldn’t vote for anybody being nominated out of the Benghazi debacle until I had answers about what happened that I don’t have today,” Graham said.

Asked whether he would block such a nomination, Graham said: “Oh, absolutely. I would place a hold on anybody that wanted to be promoted for any job that had a role in the Benghazi situation.”

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via AFP-

WASHINGTON: The row over the assault on the US mission in Libya has narrowed to focus on how and why the CIA’s determination that it was a terror attack was left out of a public “talking points” memo.

Armed militants stormed the US mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi on September 11 in a coordinated assault at two different locations over several hours that left US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

President Barack Obama alluded to the attack being an “act of terror” almost immediately, but senior administration officials then started suggesting it resulted spontaneously from protests at an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube.

In hearings in Congress on Friday, former CIA chief David Petraeus, in his first public outing since his humbling resignation due to an extramarital affair with his biographer, said he knew from the start it was terrorism.

Rather than putting the matter to rest, his remarks — which sounded very different depending on whether you believed the Republican or Democratic interpretations after the closed-door hearings — just raised more questions.

Dianne Feinstein, Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, vowed on Sunday to investigate why Petraeus’ conclusion was not reflected in CIA “talking points” used by the administration to inform the public days later.

The stakes of the row are high as Obama mulls picking US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as his next secretary of state despite the fact that Republicans accuse her of misleading the public over Benghazi.

If he does and Republicans dig their heels in during the Senate confirmation process, a bitter partisan fight looms at the start of Obama’s second term just when he is looking to bridge the Washington divide on budget talks and possible immigration reforms.

Rice, seen as the up-and-coming star of US diplomacy prior to Benghazi, fell into the Republican crosshairs when she took to the Sunday morning talk shows five days after the attack at the behest of the White House.

She said initial intelligence indicated that the assault arose “spontaneously” out of “copycat” protests like the ones in Cairo, and that the attack did not appear to be pre-planned or premeditated.

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The Broadwell Distraction

Over the past week, the names Patricia Broadwell and Jill Kelley have dominated the news and headlines for a week now, becoming synonymous with the scandal in Benghazi.  The saddest part of all of this fiasco is not how hurt Holly Petraeus must be, or how Gen. Allen could lose his shot at being the Supreme Allied Commander for NATO.  Certainly, the shrapnel that has hit these two and their families is unfortunate. But what I find much more disheartening is how the aforementioned names have replaced those of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods an Glen Doherty.  Remember them?  They were the Americans that lost their lives at the special mission in Benghazi.

No one is mentioning them anymore.  No one talks about the wicked Ansar al-Sharia, the terrorist group responsible for the attack.  No one is raising the name of Fawzi Bukatef, the man who led the militia responsible for protecting the facility, nor his known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.  While the images of biographer Broadwell and socialite Kelley are all over the internet, who’s seen an image of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the associate of Bukatef with deep ties to al-Qaeda? 

All of this marital infidelity makes for great tabloid fodder.  Yet the most esteemed broadsheets are focusing on it instead of the victims and the perpetrators of the 9/11/12 attacks.  It remains to be seen why this is so, but the answers–hopefully–will arise out of the numerous hearings and investigations being conducted and promised by the government and Congress.

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Benghazi Hearings will be Fascinating

So much about the coming hearings into the Benghazi tragedy will be worth noting.  First, what the president knew and when he knew it will be the key to this whole fiasco.  Few with an understanding of how such national security events work believe he 1) didn’t know what was happening in real-time and 2) that he didn’t know it was a terrorist attack.  As Col. David Hunt told a radio interviewer recently, the entire operational arm of the government is made aware of the situation on the ground immediately when American interests are under siege.

Almost as interesting will be how the politics play out.  Obama, of course, will have to worry that Republican majority in the House might seek impeachment over the findings, which are sure to embarrass–at the least–the White House.  Second, it will be interesting to see just how much more Hillary Clinton is willing to fall on her sword for this president.  She did so two weeks ago, but that was in the face of a presidential election.  With Obama re-elected, her willingness to be his fall-person will be weighed against her own future designs on the White House.  With Obama’s friend Deval Patrick reportedly interest in the Oval Office, the amity between Obama and Clinton could soon turn to enmityImage.  Finally, Sen John Kerry, who will be leading hearings, is set to become Clinton’s replacement at State.  It’s unlikely that he’ll allow the president to be embarrassed in the hearings, but that might lead to some heated criticism from the Republicans.  All told, there will be much to look for in the coming month.

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