Report: CIA knew within three days that Benghazi attack wasn’t a protest

In the hours following the 2012 attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, during which four Americans were killed, senior Obama administration officials — including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney — tried to advance a talking point that the incident was a protest over an anti-Islam YouTube video that had gone awry.

Even President Obama focused on religious tolerance in the days after the attack, giving passive mention to it as an “act of terror.” Eight days later, however, administration officials conceded that the incident in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

It’s not hard to figure out why the administration didn’t want to immediately admit that the incident was a terrorist attack, after all, 2012 was a presidential election year and the Obama campaign was trying to boost his foreign policy credentials against Republican criticism. As it turned out, Mitt Romney’s campaign mishandled Benghazi at a presidential debate, and the issue was a nonfactor in the election.

Rand Paul wants Iran to release Pastor Abedini

Saeed Abedini

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) to introduce a resolution calling the government of Iran to act promptly and release all American prisoners who have been incarcerated for their religious beliefs.

The resolution is intended to call the government of Iran to release Saeed Abedini who has been accused of compromising national security over his religious activities. The resolution would also ensure that the U.S. government calls Iran to release any other prisoner whose crimes include conversion from Islam to the Christian faith.

More information comes forward on Obama’s disaster in Libya

Libya protests

The more that comes out about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, the more Americans should be outraged at the Obama Administration. According to Eli Lake, who has already destroyed the narratives put foward by the White House in the aftermath of the attack, once again brings startling information about the events leading up to that tragic mid-September evening:

In the six months leading up to the assault on the United States consulate in Benghazi, the State Department reduced the number of trained Americans guarding U.S. facilities in Libya, according to a leading House Republican investigating the Sept. 11 anniversary attacks. The reduction in U.S. security personnel increased America’s reliance on local Libyan guards for the protection of its diplomats.
On Tuesday, Chaffetz and the oversight committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), disclosed in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton details of an alleged April 6 bombing at the consulate. The letter detailed how in the run-up to the 9-11 assault there was an escalation of military-style attacks on Western targets in Libya’s second-largest city. The letter also said U.S. security personnel had requested, and were denied, additional security for the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi.

Obama’s Libya narrative has completely crumbled

Libya protests

In the aftermath of last month’s attack in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama Administration tried to do everything it could to avoid taking blame. They hoped that the anti-Islam video posted on YouTube would suffice as a reasonable scapegoat, as noted by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But as more has come to light, it has been difficult for them to avoid accepting blame — not that they aren’t trying. Eli Lake has already shattered some of early narratives put forward by the White House, but more is coming out.

A couple of House Republicans are pointing out that the consulate in Benghazi has been the target of threats in the past and had requested more security prior to the attack:

Two House Republicans say they have been informed by whistleblowers that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked and threatened 13 times before the incident last month that killed four Americans.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter on Tuesday that detailed the whistleblowers’ allegations.

When ‘Free Speech’ as a Concept Vanishes

Written by Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

A sign mentioned in the New York Times coverage of the ongoing protests in the Muslim world crystallized a question that had been nagging at the back of my head since the attacks on the American embassies in Libya and Egypt. The sign read: “Shut up America!” and “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”

What a strange non-sequitur, to Western ears! What does the president—or the U.S. government in general—have to do with some crude, rinky-dink YouTube video produced by an apparent con man? Surely, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, Barack Obama would never even have been aware of the trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” if it hadn’t become the bizarre focus of controversy abroad. Even if the video was more catalyst than cause of the outrage, commenters all along have remarked how absurd, almost surreal, it seems that one shoddy YouTube—surely one of many containing harsh criticism of Islam or its prophet—could trigger such a massive reaction. If people hadn’t died, it would be comical.

Contempt for free speech rises after anti-Muhammad video

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

After the protests irrupted in the Middle East last week, the United States Embassy in Egypt sent out a statement condemning the video created the Obama Administration insists created the outrage. It was a startling condemnation of free speech and expression, which protect not only speech with which the majority of Americans may agree, but also unpopular or even hate speech that some may otherwise find objectionable.

Some have defended the actions of President Obama since the controversy has erupted, but the reaction from the United States Embassy in Egypt was typical of the Obama Administration, which has fought to curb political speech. But more details have come to light in recent days, such as the White House privately asking Google, which owns YouTube, to review the video. Access to the video has already been restricted in Middle Eastern countries where violence has broken out.

Moreover, the person who made the video, a convicted felon, has been questioned by federal authorities because his activities may have violated the conditions of his release. Obviously, that is a separate issue and not necessarily one that we should say is an attempt to silence speech. However, it does make one question whether federal authorities would bother with him if he had put out a video denigrating Christianity.

Free Speech and the Middle East Riots

Last year, I wrote a post on free speech during the whole Terry Jones Quran burning incident. It started out like this:

In 1987, artist Andres Serrano won the “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. The piece awarded was called “Piss Christ” and it depicted a crucifix, submerged in the artist’s urine.

In case you didn’t click on the link above, here are some Andres Serrano images (“Piss Christ” on the left; “Madonna and the Child II” on the right):

Now, suppose Pat Robertson (or any other Christian right winger) came out and said the following: “Andres Serrano should be jailed and prosecuted”. What would our liberal elite say? They would probably come out in defense of Serrano’s artwork. And guess what? They would be right to do so.

The Embassy Attacks Are A Clash of Values

Tuesday’s tragic and hainous attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya have refocused the spotlight on 11 years of endless war against radical Islam. The attack was preceded by the storming of the US Embassy in Egypt the day before. The attacks were apparently motivated by an anti-Muslim film that has been promoted by the Koran burning pastor Terry Jones. Predictably from interventionists all across the political spectrum, there have been calls for a military response and the phrase “act of war” has been flying around the Internet all day. Meanwhile, the Libyan government has promised to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. While there is absolutely nothing that can justify the attacks in Egypt and Libya, we as Americans often forget that not everyone else around the world shares our liberal, tolerant values.

The concepts of freedom of religion and free speech are mostly unheard of in Egypt and Libya. Both nations’ governments may claim to respect both, but they are restricted in practice. Egypt has a blasphemy law that is often used to crack down on religious minorities for example. Libya, since the fall of Gaddafi, has enacted its own restrictions on freedom of speech and religion. Both nations are functioning democracies on paper and both have just recently had free and fair elections. However, neither nation is a liberal democracy that respects the rights of minorities. Unfortunately, since both nations are democracies, we have to conclue that the hostility to tolerance and liberty is pervasive among the population.

U.S. Embassy apologizes for free speech

If you’ve been paying attention to President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress over the last few years, then you know the appreciation for free speech is, well, non-existent. This problem isn’t limited to the Obama Administration or Democrats; after all, a Republican Congress and Republican president brought us one of the worst pieces of legislation in the last decade with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. However, the Obama Administration does bring us examples of contempt for free speech.

The exercise of free political speech is one of our bedrock principles in this country. Our Founding Fathers fought against the tyranny of King George III, who frequently sought to take the liberties of colonists and burden them with oppressive taxes. The Founding Fathers, using their natural right to free speech, fought back, condemning King George. With the Bill of Rights, they sought to recognize certain fundamental, natural rights to ensure that the federal government knew its bounds; among them was right to free speech.

The very clear wording of the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” — hasn’t always prevented the federal government from passing laws to silence critics. Not long after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law, which made it a criminal offense to criticize his policies.

Paranoia over Sharia law run amuck

Sharia #PANIC

On September 11, 2001, our world changed.  The vivid recollections are still far too fresh in many people’s minds for them to realize that it was over a decade ago that we witnessed the horrors of that day.  Also, many Americans have learned things about Islam.  Some of them true, others not.

Unforunately, they’ve taken those tidbits of knowledge, both factual and fantastic, and developed opinions.  Opinions that are a special kind of ridiculous.

Gov. Bill Haslam hired an amazingly talented business attorney to serve as the international director to handle the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s new focus on expanding the state’s overseas exports.

The new hire, Samar Ali, is a Tennessee native, Vanderbilt law graduate, a recent White House Fellow, a former associate attorney at Hogan Lovells and has one of the most impressive resumes of international humanitarian service I’ve ever seen.

She’s also Muslim.

As a result, several county Republican groups and a Tea Party group went berserk and began churning out petitions and resolutions calling for Ali to step down and for Haslam to receive “appropriate action.”

A couple of resolutions also condemn Haslam for allowing “open homosexuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services.”

Apparently this small, but loud, group of local loons believe that anyone who isn’t Christian and straight shouldn’t have the opportunity to work for state government in Tennessee.

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