terrorist attack

House Republicans move forward on Benghazi, analyzing testimony for contradictions

A group of House Republicans are reviewing testimony provided by witnesses who have testified in front of congressional committees looking into the 2012 attack on the American compound in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans.

In an interview with United Liberty on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explained that he and several other House Republicans have been reviewing testimony from congressional witnesses to look for contradictory statements.

Westmoreland said that he went to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) approximately six weeks ago to get his blessing to form a group consisting of members of three key House committees — Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs. He wanted members with prosecutorial experience to build a potential case.

“We would look at the testimony, we would look at a list of witnesses that have testified in front of Government Oversight and Foreign Affairs,” Westmoreland told United Liberty. “And we would look at them, and we would look at their testimony and see if there [were] any contradictions in testimonies that may have been presented by somebody else at another committee.”

Boehner’s staff contacted Westmoreland two weeks later, offering staff support to assist the group as it reviews some 50,000 pages of testimony and interviews.

“[I]t’s a small group,” said Westmoreland. “We don’t want any big committee chairs, we wanted the average run-of-the-mill kind of guy that could look at this and not be on TV every night, or be doing interviews and trying to make a lot of gain out of it, because the American people, they want to know the truth, and that’s what we’re doing our best.”

Report on DOD Response to Benghazi Released by House subcommittee

After reviewing thousands of pages of a series of Benghazi-related documents, including classified emails and situation reports, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations released a summary of its members’ particular reviews regarding what is known of the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack and the Department of Defense’s response.

According to Think Progress, the Subcommittee concluded that “there was no way for the U.S. military to have responded in time to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya to save the four Americans killed that night,” but according to the report, “given the uncertainty about the prospective length and scope of the attack, military commanders did not take all possible steps to prepare for a more extended operation.”

In other words, what the Subcommittee concluded appears to sound nothing close to what Think Progress reported.

The White House, the Subcommittee found, failed to address a growing concern related to the deteriorating security situation in Libya, which created a particularly vulnerable situation for U.S. personnel stationed in Benghazi. The Subcommittee also found that the response of our military was “severely degraded because of the location and readiness posture of U.S. forces, and because of lack of clarity about how the terrorist action was unfolding.”

Obama defends handling of Benghazi, other scandals

Barack Obama

In an occasionally contentious interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups. He also addressed the Obamacare canceled health plan controversy.

Obamacare rollout and Sebelius

O’Reilly began the interview by asking President Obama why HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still has a job in his administration after the initial, disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange, Healthcare.gov.

President Obama repeated the line that no one in his administration “anticipated the degree of problems” on the federal Obamacare exchange website, which isn’t necessarily true, given the warnings from some officials that the website wasn’t ready for launch. Instead, he acknowledge the problems and focused on the fixes applied to the website.

Hillary Clinton cites Benghazi as “biggest regret”

During a discussion at the National Automobile Dealers Association conference in New Orleans on Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack is her “biggest regret” during her time serving as the United States’ top diplomat.

“You make these choices based on imperfect information and you make them to, as we say, the best of your ability,” said Clinton. “But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns.”

“My biggest, you know, regret is what happened in Benghazi,” she said. “It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans two diplomats and — now it’s public, so I can say — two CIA operatives, losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best and had served in Libya and across the Middle East.”

Clinton was eventually asked about her plans to 2016, to which she responded with laughter and played coy.

Benghazi Whistleblowers: Troops Could Have Intervened

We’re learning more about what did and didn’t happened during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. According to a military special operator who spoke to Fox News, military support could have been on the ground at the consulate before the second attack.

“I know for a fact that C-110 CIF was doing a training exercise in the region of Northern Africa but in Europe. They had the ability to react and respond,” the unidentified special operator turned whistleblower told Fox News. “They would have been there before the second attack. They would have been there at a minimum to provide a quick reaction force that could facilitate their exfil out of the problem situation. Nobody knew how it was going to develop, and you hear a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of advisors say hey, we wouldn’t have sent them there because the security was unknown situation.”

“If it’s an unknown situation, at a minimum you send forces there to facilitate the exfil or medical injuries,” he added. “We could have sent a C-130 to Benghazi to provide medical evacuation for the injured.”

Could Regulators Target Pressure Cookers?

Boston Marathon

In the wake of the Boston bombings, many people throughout the country are bracing.  Yes, they got the alleged perpetrators, with one in custody and the other in the morgue, but now they brace for the inevitable legislative push that will result in nothing but a loss of liberty for people who had nothing to do with the bombings.

Sounds a lot like gun control, doesn’t it?

Memes are flying fast and furious in the wake of the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many joking about what Congress and the White House will try to ban.  They’re generally meant humorously, but I’m not so sure.

Over this week, we’ve heard about pressure cookers being suggested as bomb housing by such diverse sources as The Anarchist Cookbook and an al-Qaeda guide on making IEDs.  As such, could they be the likely target of Washington’s ire?

Even now, statist forces are trying to decide how to keep us safe my taking away our freedoms.  Just as they have done with meth, it’s entirely possible that those forces will look at regulation of how many pressure cookers one can buy in a given time frame as a way to curb would be terrorists.

In reality, almost no one buys several pressure cookers over a short period of time…unless they’re building bombs.  The fact that multiple publications call for such to be used as housing is really a good reason in some people’s eyes to restrict them in some way.

Of course, there are a few things that will make this more difficult.  For one, Sudafed doesn’t exact have a resale value, while used pressure cookers do.  Of course, that’s not exactly a deterent for many in Washington, now is it?

The Best Defense Against Terrorism

Terrorism

The specter of terrorism, especially on the American homeland is very frightening. These fears are especially acute in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack such as the bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

More recently and prior to this latest attack, however; according to a recent Gallup poll, terrorism received 0% when asked about America’s greatest problem. Sen. Mitch McConnell said in response to the mathon bombing: “I think it’s safe to say that, for many, the complacency that prevailed prior to September 11th has returned. And so we are newly reminded that serious threats to our way of life remain.

Is Sen. McConnell right? Have Americans become complacent to these “serious threats”? Are Americans to blame for failing to be vigilant? Should we demand the federal government “do something” more to protect us?

How the Media Reacts to Boston Tragedy

Boston Marathon

In the aftermath of the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday, a lot of information came out, and less than 36 hours we now know that most, if not almost all, of that information was incorrect.  As Elizabeth Scalia (@TheAnchoress) tweeted yesterday:

Every time something big happens, particularly if it is tragic, the media reports a lot of things that just aren’t so.  You’ve heard the saying “if it bleeds, it leads?”  Well that is completely true, and every news outlet wants to be the absolute first to report every detail.  When things are happening quickly, news outlets report whatever information they have, with no time to fact-check the details to make sure that what they report is accurate.  In the 24-hour news cycle, every broadcast news outlet is competing for ratings, so being right, but second to report, does not help.  Being wrong, but first to report, can help a broadcast station because they get the reputation as “the first on the scene,” but there is no accountability later for being wrong.  After all, it’s a chaotic scene, so how can you blame them for being wrong?

Benghazi Attack Fallout: Hillary vs the White House

Political junkies have long known that the relationship between the White House and Sec of State Hillary Clinton is far from great. I am actually surprised she’s held on this long— considering the vicious exchanges they both had (along with Bill) during the 2008 campaign.

Maybe all is forgiven in politics? Not really. Last year, the Hillary-Obama relationship reached a boiling point over the invasion of Libya. The Sec of State— who was pushing for military action— was not pleased with Obama’s lack of resolution on the issue:

Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up…She’s exhausted, tired.

Fast forward to the Benghazi embassy attacks— where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed— and we can again see the tension boiling.

House Republicans begin digging on Libya security failures

Libya hearing

Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committe held its first round on hearings over last month’s terrorist attack at the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the subsequent cover-up.

House Republicans are looking to get to the bottom the security failures that aided terrorists in attacking the consulate and finding out why the White House and State Department initially blamed the anti-Islamic video, “Innocence of Muslims,” for the incident. In case you haven’t read anything about the hearing, things got a little testy.

Eli Lake, who has contributed some excellent reporting on aftermath of the attack and cover-up, has a great breakdown of the hearing:

The star witness for Republicans at Wednesday’s hearing on the assault on the consulate in Benghazi said he twice urged the State Department to keep an elite diplomatic security team in Libya, but was denied each time. The team, a group of soldiers attached to the national guard, left the country in August.

In his testimony, Eric Nordstrom, the top U.S. diplomatic security official in Libya until the end of June, was at times harshly critical of his superiors at State. His tone differed from his prepared remarks, which appeared more measured, and which he said were written with the help of guidelines from the State Department. In those remarks, he said the vast majority of his requests for security resources were “considered seriously and fastidiously.


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