Benghazi facts vs. Benghazi fiction
by Kevin Foley
Columnist
May 16, 2013 10:39 PM | 2178 views | 18 18 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you live inside the conservative information bubble relying on Rupert Murdoch’s Republican Party organs, The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal, or his GOP-TV, Fox News, then you might believe Benghazi is “Obama’s Watergate.”

If you’re paying attention to all the objective evidence, however, Benghazi is a tragedy, but not a scandal.

The House of Representatives has been recessed for more than 100 days this year. It seems only to convene when Rep. Darrell Issa’s Permanent Committee to Impeach Obama decides to meet.

Last week the GOP witch hunters “investigated” Benghazi. But to the chagrin of all but the dead-enders, there was no Watergate, no Whitewater, not even a stained blue dress.

Republicans are terrified of a Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016, which will likely mean no White House for the GOP until at least 2024. That’s why they’re desperate to smother her candidacy in the cradle. With the help of Murdoch’s media minions, Benghazi looks like the perfect pillow.

Unfortunately for them, the pillow is stuffed with fiction, not facts.

Fiction: The State Department and White House conspired to erase “terror” in describing the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.

Fact: In the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, President Obama very publically declared, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…” Obama repeated this statement on Sept. 13 and again on Sept. 14.

Fiction: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points were “scrubbed” of references to terrorist groups for political reasons.

Fact: The references were “… removed … to avoid alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them,” testified former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Fiction: The administration lied when Rice said an anti-Muslim movie prompted the attacks.

Fact: The CIA contends the Benghazi attacks were “inspired” by events in Cairo, where the movie triggered an attack on the U.S. Embassy. Witnesses in Benghazi also told reporters the attacks were in response to the movie.

Fiction: Obama was AWOL during the attacks.

Fact: Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified he was with the president when news of the attacks arrived and said Obama immediately ordered a military response ASAP. There is also a photo of Obama conferring with aides in the Oval Office during the attacks.

Fiction: Benghazi witnesses were “intimidated” by the State Department.

Fact: All relevant witnesses were interviewed by the non-partisan Accountability Review Board led by George H.W. Bush’s U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen.

The ARB concluded the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs were largely responsible for security failures. Still, Hillary Clinton accepted overall responsibility. Republicans, who cut more than $300 million from State’s security budget, have yet to accept any responsibility.

Fiction: Republicans claimed Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief diplomat in Libya, was “silenced” by the Obama administration.

Fact: Hicks was debriefed twice by the ARB. Contrary to conservative media reports, he was also permitted to speak to members of Congress provided an attorney was present.

Fiction: Obama called off a rescue mission and four Americans died.

Fact: Hicks testified the Special Operations Command Africa cancelled his proposed rescue mission to Benghazi.

Fiction: Hicks was demoted.

Fact: Hicks declined to return to Libya for family reasons. “I voluntarily curtailed. … I accepted an offer of what’s called a no-fault curtailment.”

With the Republicans’ Benghazi fiction falling apart, GOP leaders are now attempting to smear the good names of Pickering and Mullins, probably because the former said this:

“The notion of a quote, cover up, has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it.”

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments
(18)
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Jim Stepan
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May 31, 2013
Wow!, Kevin Foley. You are even smoother than Jay Carney! Are you makin' a move on his position?

The two of you lay down more smoke than a battleship in WWII!
CobbCoGuy
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May 19, 2013
"Fact: In the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, President Obama very publically declared, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…” Obama repeated this statement on Sept. 13 and again on Sept. 14."

These are good facts for the low info voters to throw into faces of us tin foil hatters. But, there is additional information not disclosed here.

Sept. 12 interview with Steve Kroft...

Kroft: Do you believe this was a terrorist attack?

Obama: Well, it's too early to know...[mealy mouth answer]

Sept. 18 on Late Show with Letterman...

Obama: Here's what happened. You had a video...[mealy mouth answer]

Sept. 20 on Univision...

[video was]...used as an excuse by the extremists...[mealy mouth answer]

Sept. 24 on The View...

Joy Behar: I heard Hillary Clinton say it was an act of terrorism.

Me: I have no idea what mealy mouth point he was trying to make.

Sept. 25 at the U.N...

Obama: There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.

Me: This answer sounds definitive to me.

So, terrorism or the video?

CobbCoGuy
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May 18, 2013
Culture of corruption. It comes from the top and need be nothing more than a suggestion, a raised eyebrow, an attitude.

Remind yourself of the rhetoric for the last four years, then current events should come as no surprise. The lickspittles will do whatever necessary to curry favor.

Remember Henry II? The common history version of his frustration: Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

And we all know what happened to Thomas Becket.
CobbCoGuy
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May 18, 2013
Folks, you gotta watch Mr. Foley. He's quite the wordsmith. For instance...

"...the non-partisan Accountability Review Board led by George H.W. Bush’s U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering..."

Since Pickering worked for Bush, then, of course, us wingnuts would infer the ARB would have been "non-partisan."

But, he was Clinton's Ambassador to Russia from 93-96.

How about this: The ARB, led by career diplomat Thomas Pickering...
CobbCoGuy
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May 18, 2013
Obama was absolutely AWOL.

Obama and Panetta spoke ONCE during the attack, and never spoke again. Nothing from Obama. No, "How's it going?", "What's the latest?" "Why no assets deployed?" Nada, zip, squat, nothing.

One would think the Commander in Chief would have, at the very minimum, at least, a passing interest in what's going on. But, no, he was too preoccupied with his upcoming campaign event in Vegas.

It's on video - the exchange between Senator Graham and SecDef Panetta. Google it. It's three minutes and worth your time. Graham makes mincemeat out of Panetta.
CobbCoGuy
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May 17, 2013
Obama and his administration are unraveling. It will only get worse. And, it's not funny; it's damn serious.
CobbCoGuy
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May 17, 2013
WaPo, May 14, 2013, The Fact Checker...

"Obama's claim he called Benghazi an 'act of terrorism.'"

Four Pinnochios.
CobbCoGuy
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May 17, 2013
"Republicans, who cut more than $300 million from State’s security budget, have yet to accept any responsibility."

Debunked by Charlene Lamb in testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Lamb is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.
Samuel Adams
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May 17, 2013
Not one word in all those just released e-mails written three days after Benghazi about any "video" yet that's what Obama, Hilary, Panetta blamed for weeks.

This was a cover up of the most egregious failure of our government to protect its ambassador and embassy staff abroad on the obvious anniversary of the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history. Marines and spec ops were ready to go, to save the two gallant SEALS and our ambassador at a moments' notice, yet the commander in chief gave the stand down order. Good field grade officers had careers ruined for daring to try to rescue these people and their colleagues in service at the State Department were threatened by Democrats when they attempted to tell the truth.

The whole thing makes Watergate seem like a kid who stole bubblegum. The buck stops with Obama and Hilary, who are no better than murderers in the eyes of military and foreign service people around the world. And you, Kevin Foley, have no concept of the words service or sacrifice. You protect scum, you cover for it.

anonymous
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May 17, 2013
Obama has used the full weight of the U.S. government, through the IRS and other agencies, to block the political participation of millions of conservative Americans.

Of course, all you can do is scream about FOX news, which is the only organization that I can see reporting the facts.

The woman at the IRS who politicized tax exempt status is now going to be administering YOUR health care. When BIG LIBERALS get their health care and others don't, maybe someone will begin to pay attention. For now, Americans are sadly in the dark, including this columnist.

Bob Johnson
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May 17, 2013
Really Kevin you are trying hard to convince us that there was no systematic lying about the facts from someone in the State Dept. or the White House. There was clear cut info about the attacks being from an organized terrorist group and the Gov't tried to hang it on a video that had nothing to do with the attack. When the Ambassador requested more protection he was rejected. Why weren't they all recalled when it became evident there was a treat? Throw in the IRS and A.P. scandals and you come up with strike three.
Facts only, please
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May 17, 2013
Another winner by Mr. Foley.

When you consider the 10 years long war in Afghanistan, leftovers from the Bush years, was that war not also based on fiction? Considering the billions spent on wars based on fiction, isn't it time to look at the facts first?
Laura Armstrong
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May 17, 2013
The IRS official in charge of targeting conservative groups for persecution is the same guy Obama is putting in charge of his comprehensive health care plan.

I hope you and yours never need a CT scan, Kevin. Or, are you ok with this because if you're a known liberal, maybe you get preferential treatment?
Papermill gal
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May 17, 2013
SO not credible.

Just because you write it and it gets in the newspaper...nuh uh.

How many columns this year have you started with the FOX NEWS meme? Way too many.
Jamie W.
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May 17, 2013
Oh, really?

1. Was a carefully worded statement that referred to terrorism in a blanket fashion, without specifically calling out Benghazi.

2. Petraeus testified to this once back in October; everything else, especially the released emails, indicates otherwise.

3. The CIA may have said that, but what ordinary spontaneous protesters bring mortars and truck-mounted 50-cals?

4. Where was Obama's military response? What happened to it, if he ordered one "immediately"?

5. Security is a much more complicated question: the "cuts" were really refusals to increase, so security should have been in line with previous years; at the very least, security should have followed the ambassador. State kept asking for Marines, who are properly tasked with protecting secret documents not personnel; host countries are supposed to ensure security, which Libya utterly failed to do here. However, the real question is why didn't state reallocate resources from safer areas to protect our more vulnerable sites in unstable places, like Libya, and why was the ambassador there with nearly no protection anyway?

As for intimidation, I'll believe the witnesses, who for the first time ever spoke publicly this month, rather than politicians who may have a lot to lose.

6. It is not normal to require an attorney when a trusted high-level diplomat is speaking to congressional authorities - and sending an attorney who does not have secret or better clearance makes no sense whatsoever.

7. Hicks requested rescue; General Ham's command turned it down. However, his turn-down would have had to come from higher up - which puts it back in Washington DC. This is really a decision that's supposed to be made by the CinC.

8. Hicks himself in public testimony called it an effective demotion. Perhaps clarification should come from him, rather than each side choosing what it wants to believe.

In all of this, your Benghazi "fiction" accusation is not much more than a parroting of Media Matters. I find the public televised testimony of Hicks and others who were in Benghazi to be significantly more convincing than stories and responses hastily cobbled together to address talking points.

Besides, if Republicans are worried about the Benghazi story "falling apart", they have a veritable smorgasbord of failings, lies, and incompetence to choose from.
Nettie Helen Stemm
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May 17, 2013
To anyone inerested in intelligent discussion to go along with this presentation of misinformation,labelling and back alley insinuations, by a presumptuous local liberal, I suggest reading Bill Lewis' column today, along with the last couple of days of Don McKee.

Bear in mind, though, that somewhere between the radical right's claims that Obama was directly responsible and the radical left's claims that everybody in the administration is pure as the driven snow. lies the real truth about Benghazi. We do not yet know that truth and anyone claiming that we do, is wrong. Only by keeping open minds can the truth ever come out.
Flying Pig
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May 17, 2013
FACT: Kevin Foley confers with his pet unicorn before writing every column.
FROM TEXAS
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May 17, 2013
If there’s nothing to hide why don’t we see a blow by blow time line just like Osama Bin Laden? Probably because you would see Czar Obama packing for Los Vegas and not being bothered with four dying Americans; anybody in the military has to know that they are as expendable as a used soda can!! Czar Obama Hitler Hillary didn’t even try to save anyone nothing to hide put all the facts out there. I’m sure you’re afraid to say too much or ask to much yourself you might end up just like the A P reporters after all they were lap dogs. Why did ABC go from no coverage on Benghazi to a breaking story on it riddle me that Bat Man or Obamanite. Hitler Hillary has gone three times to the UN to push through small arms bill to take away our second amendment rights.
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