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[Ed. Note: This is just too good (and too long) to leave as just a mere comment, so I'm making it its own story.
I asked our commenter Anonster -- whose dogged persistence and research skills run rings around mine -- to take a look at the claim's in Geoff Willis's piece from Tuesday morning on the debate. This is what she found. -- Greg]
Geoff [Willis] has such little regard for the truth and is so lazy that he never bothers to fact-check the right-wing blather that informs his every opinion. So here goes.
“(only missing the fact that we have drone surveillance footage that intelligence received real time,…”
Not true, the Drone surveillance footage is of the last hour of the attack and the FBI only recovered the security camera footage in early Oct.
From the Daily Beast 10/12/12;
“Video footage from the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, taken the night of the Sept. 11 anniversary attacks, shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, according to two U.S. intelligence officials who have seen the footage and are involved in the ongoing investigation. The footage, which was recovered from the site last week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, offers some of the most tangible evidence yet that a military-style assault took place, according to these officials.
The Obama administration has been studying the videos, taken from closed-circuit cameras throughout the Benghazi consulate’s four-building compound, for clues about who was responsible for the attack and how it played out. The two officials tell The Daily Beast that analysts are hoping to decipher the faces of the attackers and match them up with known jihadists.
The videos could also play into an expanding investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that is looking at whether security steps could have been taken that would have saved the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed that day. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is one of the Republicans leading the House investigation, says he hasn’t been given the footage.
In addition to the footage from the consulate cameras, the U.S. government is also poring over video taken from an overhead U.S. surveillance drone that arrived for the final hour of the night battle at the consulate compound and nearby annex. …”
“the fact that we had prior warnings that the attacks were coming, that folks in the Administration has asked for and had rejected requests for more security for the consulate in Benghazi)”
From the NYT’s;
By ERIC SCHMITT and MARK LANDLER
Published: October 12, 2012
WASHINGTON — In the weeks leading up to the attack last month on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats on the ground sounded increasingly urgent alarms. In a stream of diplomatic cables, embassy security officers warned their superiors at the State Department of a worsening threat from Islamic extremists, and requested that the teams of military personnel and State Department security guards who were already on duty be kept in service.
The requests were denied, but they were largely focused on extending the tours of security guards at the American Embassy in Tripoli — not at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, 400 miles away.
And State Department officials testified this week during a hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that extending the tour of additional guards — a 16-member military security team — through mid-September would not have changed the bloody outcome because they were based in Tripoli, not Benghazi.”*
There is testimony from former Regional Security Officer for Libya, Eric Nordstrom that he requested more security agents in March and July;
From Reuters 9/10/12
“Nordstrom, a State Department regional security officer, told lawmakers that Kennedy issued a “decision memo” in December 2011 requiring that the Benghazi post be manned with five diplomatic security agents, but that it usually had only three or four.
“He (Nordstrom) stated that he sent two cables to State Department headquarters in March and July 2012 requesting additional Diplomatic Security Agents for Benghazi, but that he received no responses,” the memo said.”
He also testified;
“The ferocity and intensity of the attack was nothing that we had seen in Libya, or that I had seen in my time in the Diplomatic Security Service, having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault.”
There were five guards there on the day of the attack, as Ambassador Stevens had brought two with him.
As for “prior warnings”, yeah, it was and is a dangerous part of the world, lots of embassies and consulates are in volatile areas. I guess if you right wingers were so concerned about embassy safety the republican congress wouldn’t have voted to CUT embassy security funding by 330 million.
Remember, no one is denying that this was a tragedy and mistakes were most likely made and that Obama is ultimately responsible, but is it a “scandal”, probably not.
” Jay Carney and Susan Rice unequivocally both stated that it was not a terrorist attack on camera …”
But why rely on Geoff’s interpretation of “unequivocal” when we have transcripts.
From Media Matters;
In Fact, Rice Repeatedly Stressed Ongoing Investigation
ABC’s THIS WEEK
Rice: “There’s An FBI Investigation That Has Begun … That Will Tell Us With Certainty What Transpired.” On the September 16 edition of ABC’s This Week, Rice told guest host Jake Tapper that an FBI investigation was under way and relayed the administration’s “current best assessment” based on information available at the time:
RICE: Well, Jake, first of all, it’s important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.
But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.
We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.
We’ll wait to see exactly what the investigation finally confirms, but that’s the best information we have at present. [ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 9/16/12]
CBS’ Face The Nation
Rice: “We’ll Want To See The Results Of That Investigation To Draw Any Definitive Conclusions.” On the September 16 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation, Rice repeatedly stressed to host Bob Schieffer that the United States was conducting an investigation and that “we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions”:
RICE: Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and –
SCHIEFFER: But they are not there.
RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of — of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what 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–
RICE: — sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that — in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
RICE: We do not — we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
SUSAN RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine. [CBS News, Face the Nation, 9/16/12]
NBC’s Meet The Press
Rice: “Investigation, Which Is Ongoing,” Will “Give Us The Definitive Word As To What Transpired.” On the September 16 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, Rice reiterated that an investigation into the Benghazi attack was ongoing and that the administration would “look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired”:
GREGORY: Well, let’s talk — talk about– well, you talked about this as spontaneous. Can you say definitively that the attacks on– on our consulate in Libya that killed ambassador Stevens and others there security personnel, that was spontaneous, was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?
MS. RICE: Well, let us– let me tell you the– the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode. Obviously, that’s– that’s our best judgment now. We’ll await the results of the investigation. And the president has been very clear–we’ll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice. [MSNBC, Meet the Press, 9/16/12]
Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday
Rice: “Obviously, We Will Wait For The Results Of The Investigation And We Don’t Want To Jump To Conclusions Before Then.” On the September 16 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, Rice noted that the FBI was investigating the attacks “closely” and stated that “we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then”:
WALLACE: Let’s talk about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi this week that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The top Libyan official says that the attack on Tuesday was, quote, his words “preplanned”. Al Qaeda says the operation was revenge for our killing a top Al Qaeda leader.
What do we know?
RICE: Well, first of all, Chris, we are obviously investigating this very closely. The FBI has a lead in this investigation. The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of control.
But we don’t see at this point signs this was a coordinated plan, premeditated attack. Obviously, we will wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then. But I do think it’s important for the American people to know our best current assessment. [Fox News, Fox News Sunday, 9/6/12]
Rice’s Statements Were In Line With State Department’s Consistent Message
Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy: “Any Administration Official” Would Have Said What Ambassador Rice Said. The Atlantic Wire reported that Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy defended Rice’s September 16 comments, saying that “any administration official, including any career official” would “have said what Ambassador Rice said”:
If any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, September 16th, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had at that point from the intelligence community is the same that I had at that point. As time went on, additional information became available. Clearly, we know more today than we did on the Sunday after the attack. But as the process moves forward and more information becomes available, we will be sure to continue consulting with you. [The Atlantic Wire, 10/10/12]
State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland: Rice “Made Clear … That There Is An Ongoing FBI Investigation.” Commenting on Ambassador Rice’s comments at a State Department press briefing, spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted that Rice was “very clear” about “what our initial assessment of what happened is” and that Rice “also made clear, as I had on Friday, that there is an ongoing FBI investigation.” [State Department, 9/17/12]
Nuland: FBI And Libyan Government “Are Going To Have A Full Investigation” Into Whether Libya Attack Was Terror Act. Nuland explained in a separate interview that the FBI and Libyan government have launched an investigation to determine whether the consulate attack was terrorism:
Four Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya, were killed during the attack on its Consulate in Benghazi.
Washington so far has said that the protest was a result of an anti-Islam video made in the US, while some US lawmakers have said that the attack has the hallmark of that of al-Qaeda.
“I don’t think we know enough. We are going to continue to assess. She (Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN) gave our preliminary assessment. We are going to have a full investigation now, and then we will be in a better position to put labels on things,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland yesterday.
She said the FBI and the Libyan government, besides carrying out independent investigations, are also mutually “cooperating” over the case.
“The investigation is obviously going to lead us to the appropriate conclusions about precisely what happened and how it happened,” Nuland said, pointing out that the US was “working well” with Libya in probing the attack. [Deccan Herald, 9/18/12]
AP: “The Obama Administration … Is Investigating Whether The Assault On The U.S. Consulate In Libya Was A Planned Terrorist Strike.” The Associated Press reported on September 13 that the FBI is investigating whether the attack was a terrorist attack or not:
The Obama administration, roiled by the first killing of a U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, is investigating whether the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a planned terrorist strike to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and not a spontaneous mob enraged over an anti-Islam YouTube video. [Associated Press, 9/13/12]
Press Secretary Carney: It Is “Self-Evident That What Happened In Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack.” Press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that as of September 20, intelligence still did not point to a “significantly preplanned attack.” From Carney’s press gaggle:
CARNEY: It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident. I would point you to a couple of things that Mr. Olsen said, which is that at this point it appears that a number of different elements were involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in Eastern Libya.
He also made clear that at this point, based on the information he has — and he is briefing the Hill on the most up-to-date intelligence — we have no information at this point that suggests that this was a significantly preplanned attack, but this was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of reaction to the video that was found to be offensive. [White House Press Briefing, 9/20/12]
“As to the rest of your commentary, simply retreads of the Obama refrain that everything bad is Bush’s fault.”
My point in bringing up those few of the many, many, many Bush scandals was for perspective, something the right-wing nuts in this country sorely lack.
Finally, this was and is an evolving story from a volatile part of the world, the latest from the NYT’s;
“Clarity Emerges About the Attack, Al Qaeda Links
The night of the assault against the Benghazi compound, eyewitnesses have said there was no peaceful demonstration against the anti-Muslim video, though a crowd of Benghazi residents soon gathered, and some later looted the compound. But the attackers, recognized as members of Ansar al-Shariah, did tell bystanders that they were attacking the compound because they were angry about the video. They did not mention the Sept. 11 anniversary. Intelligence officials believe that planning for the attack probably began only a few hours before it took place.
If there is a link between Al Qaeda and the Benghazi attack, it is likely indirect. Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, had called on Libyans to avenge the killing of a Libyan-born Qaeda leader, and American intelligence officials have said they intercepted boastful phone calls after the assault from the attackers to members Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”