“There is no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust.” - Barack Obama
While the Obama Administration has been insistent that the details surrounding the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya were hazy and unclear for days, Reuters reported last night that the White House knew that militants claimed responsibility within two hours of the incident:
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
The records obtained by Reuters consist of three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
It appears that the media has finally picked up on the fact that intelligence officials reported that the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was the work of Islamic militants within 24 hours:
The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.
It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.
This, of course, shatters the narrative advanced out by the White House and administration officials, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who said that the incident was a protest against an anti-Islamic video turned violent. This is also old news. Eli Lake, who has extensively covered the Benghazi attack and its aftermath at The Daily Beast, noted earlier this month that the White House and CIA had cherry-picked information to use as talking points to “support a preferred thesis,” leaving out that it was indeed a coordinated terrorist attack.
Many conservatives like to knock Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, as a liberal that like to pick on them and their views. While it’s true that he does poke fun at them at times, Stewart has also criticized President Barack Obama for abuse of executive power, his lack of transparency, his military crusade in Libya, the Solyandra scandal, and the Summer of Wreckovery.
On Wednesday, Stewart again criticized Obama, this time on the “kill list” that the White House put together. He also laid into some of the critics of the intelligence leak, who insist that it came from the White House because it makes Obama “look good.”
Watch Stewart’s reaction to this and more below:
There’s been a lot of buzz regarding word that the CIA is currently operating inside of Libya’s borders. I can certainly understand that, especially since there aren’t supposed to be any “boots on the ground”. However, the reality is that this isn’t a real shock to many of us.
The CIA is the primary intelligence service for the United States. We are currently engaged in military action against Libya. It only stands to reason that intelligence services would be needed. Some of what is needed can be done with signal intelligence and spy satellites, but not all of it can and that’s where the CIA operatives on the ground come in.
It’s through human intelligence that we learn the most details about any potential target. That’s where we find out about prisoners, or about where key personnel are located. The CIA gathers this information and passes it along so that the military can do its mission effectively.
None of this should be read to excuse the use of force itself. In truth, I’m not a big fan of attacking another nation, regardless of reasons except for responding to an attack on us. Why? Because it sets a precedent that we may not particularly like when it’s applied against us. This isn’t something I’m particularly fond of.
However, let’s keep the reality in mind when criticizing various aspects. Those who fight the wars are duty bound to fight the war to the best of their ability. The will do what they can to kill the enemy and protect allied lives. Make no mistake, they will use whatever tools at their disposal. For the record, the CIA is part of that team that fights wars.
They’re there, and they’re in a lot of other places. It is what it is.
Despite that some Republicans are saying that we don’t need to cut defense spending, a new report by the Washington Post called “Top Secret America” shows that there is much waste and inefficiency in the intelligence community:
Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, top-secret intelligence gathering by the government has grown so unwieldy and expensive that no one really knows what it cost and how many people are involved, The Washington Post reported Monday.
A two-year investigation by the newspaper uncovered what it termed a “Top Secret America” that’s mostly hidden from public view and largely lacking in oversight.
In its first installment of a series of reports, the Post said there are now more than 1,200 government organizations and more than 1,900 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.
Some 854,000 people — or nearly 1 1/2 times the number of people who live in Washington — have top-secret security clearance, the paper said.
The Post said its investigation also found that:
—In the area around Washington, 33 building complexes — totaling some 17 million square feet of space — for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since 9/11.
—Many intelligence agencies are doing the same work, wasting money and resources on redundancy.
—So many intelligence reports are published each year that many are routinely ignored.