In the latest episode of Twitter-spawned outrage, Politico tweeted about the New Jersey bridge scandal with a #Bridgeghazi hashtag. It turns out Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed had used it six hours earlier, and some random yahoo spawned it first on December 16. Regardless of who started it, the fury was swift and strong.
How could you compare the lane closure on a bridge in New Jersey to a terrorist attack that killed four American public servants? Seems crazy. However, the more you examine the details of the events and the responses to them, the more uncanny the similarities between the two events become.
Four Americans died in the attack on Benghazi, including two military personnel and the US Ambassador to Libya. It turns out someone may have died as a result of the bridge closure too. No, the New Jersey death isn’t directly attributable to the bridge issue, but a body count is a body count, and political foes will be sure to use it exhaustively going forward.
It’s no secret that Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post blogger who writes from a “conservative perspective,” is not a fan of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). She had frequently written screeds attacking his foreign policy views, which she erroneously labels as “isolationism,” and his approach to politics.
Rubin is, strangely, obsessed with Paul. She’s also written missives against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), classlessly calling him a “jerk” because he got under the skin of some of his Republican colleagues for challenging them on gun control legislation.
But Rubin’s latest post on Paul is breathtakingly incoherent and downright silly. She assails Paul for comments he made earlier this week on Fox News about proposed sanctions against Iran.
“The Kentucky right-winger apparently didn’t learn anything from the reception to his speech at the Heritage Foundation earlier this year, which suggested containment as an option for Iran.” wrote Rubin on Tuesday. “In a Fox appearance, he came out with this muddled mess: Containment ‘shouldn’t be our policy. But I don’t think we should also say the extension of that, that we will never have containment as a policy. Containment actually, for 70 years, was a great policy.’”
While this story has flown largely under the radar due to the political battles raging in Congress over the Continuing Resolution, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, recently took what was supposed to be unannounced trip to Libya to further investigate last year’s Benghazi terrorist attack.
But the trip became public when Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member on the Committee, slammed Issa for taking the trip without inviting any House Democrats to tag along. Cummings and his colleagues have been dismissive of congressional inquiries into the attack.
Cummings’ public complaint, however, had the unintended consequence of potentially putting Issa’s life in danger. CBS News reported last week that a “general threat” was made against the California Republican while he was on the trip:
[Last] Monday, a State Department email showed the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reported that a Libyan national known as Eyad “shared his concern and his opinion that Representative Issa should not come to Libya for his own safety.”
Eyad told the embassy “The Sen. Mr. Darrell Issa if he would like to keep his luxury life with a half billion $$$ Do not come to Libya. Who is gonna [guard] the guy? And whom you gonna put a blame if the worst happened…Cuz all he gonna gained a several bullets in his smart skull.”
In a post at the Huffington Post on Monday, Charles Ferguson, who was slated to directed a documentary on Hillary Clinton for CNN, announced that he has canceled the project because of lack of cooperation from Clinton and her allies:
The day after the contract was signed, I received a message from Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton’s press secretary. He already knew about the film, and clearly had a source within CNN. He interrogated me; at first I answered, but eventually I stopped. When I requested an off-the-record, private conversation with Mrs. Clinton, Merrill replied that she was busy writing her book, and not speaking to the media.
Next came Phillipe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s media fixer, who contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them, and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor (as nearly all documentaries and news organizations are). When I contacted him, he declined to speak with me. He then repeated his allegations to Politico, which published them.
Next came David Brock, who published an open letter on his highly partisan Democratic website Media Matters, in which he endorsed the Republican National Committee’s position, repeating Reines’ conflict of interest allegations and suggesting that my documentary would revive old, discredited Clinton scandal stories.
Ferguson — who gushed over Clinton-era “reform” proposals, including a carbon tax and government-run healthcare — noted that the answer to his inquires for an interview with Clinton were denied. Since he wouldn’t get the documentary he wanted, he decided to cancel the project:
HBO has announced that it will produce a movie about the Benghazi terrorist attack, according to The Hollywood Reporter, based on bestseller, Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi (emphasis added):
HBO is getting political.
The premium cable network has optioned New York Times best-seller Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi,with Jerry Weintraub on board to executive produce. The telepic, much like the book by Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz, will offer an inside account of the attack against U.S. diplomatic and intelligence outposts in Benghazi, Libya.
The book, published this month, has been billed as a heart-stopping narrative of the diplomatic mission’s efforts to fend off and escape a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, which resulted in the death of four, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Fire reveals the 12-hour ordeal confronted by Stevens, Sean Smith, his Diplomatic Security contingent and the CIA security specialists who raced to rescue them.
A month after CNN reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had gone to great lengths to keep who were working on the ground the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack from talking to the media, agency director John Brennan reportedly cleared survivors to be able to talk to lawmakers and congressional investigators.
But one CIA employee who has refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) on Benghazi has been suspended by the agency, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) via the Washington Free Beacon:
A CIA employee who refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement barring him from discussing the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, has been suspended as a result and forced to hire legal counsel, according to a top House lawmaker.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) revealed at an event on Monday that his office was anonymously informed about the CIA employee, who is purportedly facing an internal backlash after refusing to sign a legal document barring him from publicly or privately discussing events surrounding the Benghazi attack.
“My office received a call from a man saying that he knew a CIA employee who has retained legal counsel because he has refused to sign an additional NDA regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, events in Benghazi,” Wolf said in Sept. 9 remarks at a panel discussion hosted by Judicial Watch.
A little more than a year after the deadly attack on an American outpost in Benghazi, Libya, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is challenging the official report produced late last year by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB).
The ARB report noted that lax security and leadership failures at the State Department were part of the blame for the attack. But the 100-page report released yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the Benghazi attack, says that the ARB report was deficient and lacked accountability.
“The ARB was not fully independent,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a statement from the committee. “The panel did not exhaustively examine failures and it has led to an unacceptable lack of accountability.”
“While Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen have honorably served their country, the families of victims and the American people continue to wait for more conclusive answers about how our government left our own personnel so vulnerable and alone the night of the attack,” he added.
The report, Benghazi Attacks: Investigative Update Interim Report on the Accountability Review Board (embedded below), alleges that the ARB was not comprehensive, lacking thorough interviews with key officials.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the American outpost in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans — Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty.
During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya turned whistleblower, recounted the events of that tragic night in Benghazi and continued to express frustration with what happened in the aftermath of the attack.
“I’ve been perplexed and frustrated with the way this has all played out. Because to me this is a simple story. Ambassador Stevens went to Benghazi to do his job. To what he knew Secretary [Hillary] Clinton wanted him to do. And he was attacked while he was there,” Hicks told Stephanopoulos.
“And the American staff in Benghazi and in Tripoli responded as we’ve been trained to do, in an amazing way, to save the lives of our people who were in Benghazi. Unfortunately, we lost four people in the line of duty,” he said.
Even as Congress is contemplating military action in Syria, few are asking questions about the cost of even a brief campaign against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
During yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, a few representatives brought up the cost of limited strikes in Syria. But those concerns were hardly the focal point of the hearing, nor will it play a factor for many members when they cast their votes on the issue in the next week or so.
We know from the Obama Administration intervention in Libya that even a limited airstrike campaign can come with a hefty price tag. In 2011, the administration spent over $1 billion to help depose Muammar Gaddafi. That was a seven month air strike campaign that didn’t involve troops on the ground.
CNN Money reported yesterday that the budget implications of military strikes against Syria would be relatively small, provided the United States doesn’t get sucked into a broader campaign involving troops on the ground. And despite what the Obama Administration is saying, no one guarantee that American soldiers won’t eventually be pulled into the conflict.
After another round of reports that Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own citizens in the bloody civil war raging in Syria, President Barack Obama has ordered Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to begin drawing up plans for air strikes in the Middle Eastern country:
A U.S. official said the Pentagon has crafted military options for limited U.S. air strikes in Syria that would send a message to the regime of President Bashar al Assad not to continue using chemical weapons against its civilians. There has been no presidential decision to use the military options, and U.S. intelligence continues to investigate an apparent large-scale chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime this week that may have killed as many as 1,000 civilians.
The official said the military options developed for consideration by the White House are limited in scope and would be intended to “deter or prevent” the Assad regime from the further use of chemical weapons. The options are not intended to remove the Syrian president, who has tenaciously hung on to power as Syria’s two-year civil war has raged on.
Traveling on a plane to Malaysia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel confirmed to reporters that Obama had asked the Pentagon to provide military options in Syria in light of the reported use of chemical weapons against civilians by the civilian government.