The administration claim that the Benghazi attack in Libya was related to a video disrespectful of Islam has never made any sense to me. So, the obvious question remaining to be answered is this -- what the hell is going on, and why did it -- whatever *it* is -- freak out the Obama Administration?
The story is still unfolding this glorious Sunday, but slowly and surely some meat is being put on the bone. Over at PowerLine they referenced today a transcript released by the State Department that details the heroic actions of American personnel at that compound during the terrorist attack. You should read the excerpt provided by PowerLine but you should also try to read the full transcript (I haven't yet).
Wretchard the Cat / Richard Fernandez, however, has a post up (Wanted: Pills for Dementia) that discusses the oddity of the actions taken by Clinton and Obama on this matter. And their subsequent attempts to finesse the story in hopes it eventually slips down the rabbit hole of forgotten memories. But in the comments, Wretchard has some interesting speculation on what this all means:
Some days back I cited an report saying that Bill Clinton had retained a legal team to advise Hillary on this Benghazi thing because he believed the President was setting her up to take the fall. That suggests the danger that, if enough facts came out, there could be criminal liability lurking around inside there.
While I’m no lawyer I dimly remember that government officers are immune while in performance of their duties or following instructions from other or higher authority. Hence Hillary has to start saying “I was only following instructions” or she’ll wind up holding the bag.
Note that she hasn’t said exactly whose lead she was following. That will give the ‘other’ — whoever it may be — time to back off. This is a warning shot. Once they start exchanging broadsides chances are both ships will sink.
Now the knowledge of the Benghazi assault was probably known to at least three agencies: State, DOD (which provided the drone) and CIA, whose safe-house came under attack. It’s almost inconceivable that the national command authority chain was not cut into the loop almost immediately, so I’d guess the President was in the loop also. ‘Other’ is going to be one of those.
Now let me put on my tinfoil hat and really go out on a limb in this comment. Being incompetent in Benghazi isn’t important enough to go through all this trouble. But using it as a cover up for something much, much larger is. So here’s my guess. There’s another shoe waiting to drop. Either a penetration in the State Department, CIA or the White House. Or a secret deal nobody wants to talk about. That’s the bomb.
The problem with Benghazi is that it took the al-Qaeda line. In addition to the attack itself being orchestrated by the AQ, it almost looks like the State Department or White House lines were written by them as well. By accident perhaps but possibly to cover the bigger bomb.
So to be linked to the cover story is to be linked to what was covered up. So that’s my wholly insane speculation, which is probably off the wall. But I just don’t see either Obama or Hillary taking all these risks just to keep the faults in security under Bengazi under wraps. They could have said “we took a calculated risk”.
If you read the link the Powerline story, the security staff on the ground acquitted themselves very well. That could have been touted as a ‘victory’ — yet the unnamed ‘other’ decided to push the cock-and-bull video story? Why? Why?
No this was an act of panic. What were they panicking about?
What is the hell are they so panicked about? What could possibly have spooked them so much that they tell this obvious lie? More from Wretchard:
Think about it. According to the Colonel in the radio program hundreds of people were monitoring the assault in near real time in the various command centers. They had a drone taking video. State sent back video. Thirty seven witnesses got out alive.
There was so much evidence to the contrary out there that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the video story was going to fly. Yet they went with it. Not only did they go with it, they sent Rice to shop it around. Hillary gave a bunch of speeches on TV. President Obama called Mitt Romney out on it. They took out a friggen ad in Pakistan.
They done took a noose, slipped it over their heads, stepped on the trapdoor and pulled the lever themselves. They wired themselves into the electric chair, clapped the steel hat on their heads and repeatedly threw the switch. Am I dead yet? Let’s do it again. All without being aware of what they were doing?
I guess Occam would have me believe that stupid is as stupid does. But if they are actually this dumb then we are really in a world of pain. If Occam is right these guys can’t figure out how to pop a beer can. These are people who think you move a mouse pointer up by lifting it from table. These guys would make Elphinstone seem like a genius.
And now here comes Hillary saying she never bought into it in the first place. That she was just saying these things because some unnamed ‘other’ prevailed on her to do it. Does she actually expect this line of explanation to work?
It’s very strange. Or maybe the ancient saying is right. Those who the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.
And in response to a request for clarification, Wretchard wrote:
I don’t grasp what you mean by a “penetration in the State Department, CIA or the White House.”
The attackers knew where the secret annex and safe house were. And they blindsided the security people in Benghazi and the CIA itself. This doesn’t prove there’s a penetration but it does raise the possibility that there may be one.
By ascribing the attack to the video you avoid this question. “It evolved from a demonstration”, then you are home free. Just bad luck. Just something which grew out of Islamophobia. But the moment you acknowledge is a terrorist attack then you must address the question of how the enemy knew the dispositions of the US official establishment.
You will also recall that the senior Yemeni security officer for the US mission in in Sanaa was just hit. Again this suggests surveilance. State Department was asked whether it was possible the enemy had the entire list of Yemeni employees and they could not rule it out.
Maybe there’s no penetration but the question is now unavoidably on the table. Who was it who said: the Taliban are inside the building? How can they not think this?
So the kindest scenario is that Panetta pretended to go along with the video story so that he could send out the counter-intel people without the enemy suspected he was on to them. He was going to cover his investigation with their own cover story. That might have been a misjudgment but I think it just barely plausible that is what happened.
But is that right? Could the penetration lie elsewhere? With an ally we deeply trust, perhaps? Remember, the whole "leading from behind" nonsense in Libya was in furtherance of some European aspirations, wasn't it? Here was my speculative addition to the thread:
Wretchard, I think you're correct about the penetration -- as far as that goes. But who was penetrated? I don't think it was any of the American entities you listed. I suspect the penetration (and subsequent double-crossing) was of one of our trusted European allies. Said ally probably had set up something of a "fake but accurate" scenario for a 9/11 protest of the video at that compound. Unfortunately for them, and us, our jihadist enemies infiltrated the ruse and saw it as the perfect opportunity to inflict severe damage (it was curious to me to see multiple protests around the region of the video; we know the video excuse was bogus, but right on cue the protests crop up -- hmmmmm -- with an apology to the Pakistanis -- hmmmm).
Which they did. With our drone overhead, watching but not fully understanding what was really happening on the ground.
Now, I suspect we're scrambling to try and isolate the source of the fire and limit the damage (the silence from Petraeus is ominous to me). But the damage has been done and the "leading from behind" exercise in Libya has been officially trumped by the jihadists.
Something really strange is going on, that's for sure. Right now, we just don't have a real good clue as to what.