Obama's successful diversion of Benghazi [Update 5]

Bird Dog's picture

Of course, this diversion has a better chance of succeeding when the challenger overreaches in reaction to an embassy statement and then has to deal with the release of a secret recording at a fundraiser. But it's still a diversion. Here's the Benghazi chronology.

Since last June and prior to September 11th, there were three attacks on diplomatic corps in Benghazi. The first:

U.S. citizens are advised that there was an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on the U.S. Office in Benghazi during the early morning hours of June 6. There were no casualties. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The second:

Britain's ambassador to Libya was in a convoy of cars attacked in the eastern city of Benghazi, a British embassy spokeswoman has said. The convoy was hit about 300m from the British consulate office in the city's al-Rabha neighbourhood on Monday.

The third:

A car belonging to an Egyptian diplomat was blown up near his home in the eastern Libyan city Benghazi on Monday, a day after deadly bomb attacks in the capital Tripoli blamed on supporters of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi. A homemade device exploded under the vehicle of the Egyptian consulate's first secretary Abdelhamid Rifai in one of the city's most affluent neighborhoods but no one was hurt, security sources told Reuters.

Given this, you would think that the powers-that-be would have beefed up security, but they didn't. And there were warnings that attacks on our American missions were imminent.

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.

More on the warnings.

Three days before the deadly assault on the United States consulate in Libya, a local security official says he met with American diplomats in the city and warned them about deteriorating security.


Jamal Mabrouk, a member of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander had a meeting about the economy and security.

And warnings in Egypt were not passed on.

A U.S. intelligence cable warned the American Embassy in Cairo of possible violence in response to Arabic-language broadcasts of clips from an anti-Muslim film, U.S. government sources said on Monday.



Copies of the cable were not sent to other U.S. outposts in the region, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where violence took the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The ties between the Benghazi violence and the crude anti-Muslim film are still unclear.

The sources said the cable, which is still classified, was sparked by the broadcast on Saturday, September 8 by al-Nas, an Egyptian satellite TV network, of what its presenters described as extracts from an English-language film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad.

Compounding this, there were no Marines at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as a last line of defense.

A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.
The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies.

Despite months of violence and a warning leading up to the attack, security was lax at the Benghazi station.

U.S. officials told reporters on Wednesday that the Benghazi consulate had “a robust American security presence, including a strong component of regional security officers.” And indeed, one of the four Americans killed was former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was “on security detail” and “protecting the ambassador,” his sister Katie Quigly told the Boston Globe. Also killed was an information-management officer, Sean Smith. The fourth American who died has not yet been identified. Yet Baja describes a very different picture from his visit on Tuesday morning, even remarking at how relaxed the scene was when he returned to the consulate building a short while after leaving Stevens, in order to collect the mobile phone he had accidentally left behind. “The consulate was very calm, with video [surveillance] cameras outside,” Baja says. “But inside there were only four security guards, all Libyans — four! — and with only Kalashnikovs on their backs. I said, ‘Chris, this is the most powerful country in the world. Other countries all have more guards than the U.S.,’” he says, naming as two examples Jordan and Morocco.

Deliberately lax.

According to a source close to Breitbart News and high up in the intelligence community, the Obama administration's policy following Muammar Gaddafi's death has been to keep a "low profile" during a chaotic time. 
For this reason, according to the source, American Marines were not stationed at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli or the American mission in Benghazi, as would typically have been the case. In the spirit of a "low profile," the administration didn't even want an American company in charge of private security. Blue Mountain, the British firm the State Department hired, was willing to abide by the "no bullets" Rules of Engagement (ROE), so were a logical fit for the contract. These sub-standard protections for American diplomats were signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the ROE. 
In essence, the Obama Administration tasked an unarmed British firm with security responsibilities that should have been handled by armed American servicemen, and it was all approved by the Secretary of State. Needless to say, the plan failed and an Ambassador was murdered, along with several others.

The warnings communicated that violence would occur on or about September 11th, so it would be reasonable to conclude that a militant Islamist element would be involved. It would also be reasonable to conclude that any rioting and violence would be triggered by those militant Islamist elements. It would also be reasonable to conclude that these anticipated events involved a measure of planning and premeditation.

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the "safe house" in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed "safe".

Senior officials are increasingly convinced, however, that the ferocious nature of the Benghazi attack, in which rocket-propelled grenades were used, indicated it was not the result of spontaneous anger due to the video, called Innocence of Muslims. Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.

There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa'ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

The consulate was described as under siege.

According to guards at the compound, the attack began at about 9:30 p.m., without warning or any peaceful protest.
"I started hearing, 'God is great! God is great!'" one guard said. "I thought to myself, maybe it is a passing funeral." (All the guards spoke on condition of anonymity for their safety.)
The guard said he heard an American calling, "Attack, attack," over his walkie-talkie as the chants came closer. Suddenly, there came a barrage of gunfire, explosions and rocket-propelled grenades.
"I saw the ambassador's personal bodyguard -- the one who was killed -- running toward the villa where the ambassador was," he said. Armed only with a light weapon, the bodyguard "was running there to protect him."
Another Libyan guard said he saw Stevens escorted to the office in a wing off the main mission building, the room with an iron gate behind a wooden door. Three hours later, about 12:30 a.m., witnesses said that a crowd -- possibly looters -- broke through a tall and narrow window and found Stevens.

Yet, in that same article, the administration put forward the inexplicable line that this was "spontaneous and spurred by the Cairo protests". Jay Carney continued the spin last Friday, basically saying that we're not to believe what our eyes tell us. The State Department followed by saying that they won't answer any more questions about the Benghazi attack, enabling them to hide behind an FBI investigation until after the election. UN Ambassador Rice, a loyal foot soldier in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, went on national television spouting the same administration line.

WALLACE:  This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world.Tthe White House says it has nothing to do with the president’s policies. Let’s watch.

JAY CARNEY:  This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive.

WALLACE: You don’t really believe that?

AMB. RICE: Chris, absolutely I believe that. Because, in fact, it is the case.

Except, it is not the case

The somber ceremony came after Panetta briefed senators on angry unrest in the Muslim world that has propelled crowds against the outer walls of American diplomatic missions from North Africa to the Mideast and Asia.
Lawmakers emerging from the closed-door briefing described the onslaught as anything but a spontaneous display of religious-themed rage at an anti-Islam film on the Internet—a movie the White House has been blaming for the spike in violence.
"I think it was a planned, premeditated attack," Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said, according to Roll Call, the newspaper that covers Congress. But he said he did not know who carried out the attack.
"People don't go to demonstrate and carry RPGs and automatic weapons," sad Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on Levin's committee. "This was not a 'mob' action [or] a group of protesters."

Panetta was telling lawmakers one thing behind closed doors, and administration hacks and flacks were telling the American people something else. You can take FoxNews with a grain of salt, but there's little daylight between this and the above New York Times account.

An intelligence source on the ground in Libya told Fox News that there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi prior to last week's attack -- challenging the Obama administration's claims that the assault grew out of a "spontaneous" protest against an anti-Islam film.
"There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous," the source said, adding the attack "was planned and had nothing to do with the movie."
The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time, and included fire from more than two locations. The assault included RPG's and mortar fire, the source said, and consisted of two waves.
The account that the attack started suddenly backs up claims by a purported Libyan security guard who told McClatchy Newspapers late last week that the area was quiet before the attack.
"There wasn't a single ant outside," the unnamed guard, who was being treated in a hospital, said in the interview.

What's more, the Libyan president takes issue with Obama's spin

In an interview for "Face the Nation" Sunday, President Mohamed Magariaf also said that evidence "leaves us with no doubt" that the attack was pre-planned.

"It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival," he told Bob Schieffer.

The one part I find less than believable from the Libyan president is the "foreigners" line, which tells me that he's trying to absolve Libyans from the murders (Bashar al-Assad pulls the same BS all the time, blaming the current civil war on outside influences). Although much of this involves unnamed intelligence sources, and I can't speak for the reliability of said sources, it also makes sense.

My information is that Stevens was lured to Benghazi by Libya officials and betrayed to jihadist elements who are fully employed in a private army and as Cyrenaica security forces.

You recall that Cyrenaica Province was the launch point of the rebellion that overthrew and killed Quadhaffi in the summer of 2011. Also, Cyrenaica was long the cauldron of jihadist fighters who traveled to Iraq to fight America in 2004-8. This is well known.

What is also known is that the Tripoli government employs Cyrenaica jihadists — grouped in an alphabet soup of units including the rebel militia LIHJ — to police Libya from pro-Quadhafi elements and in general. This means the US endorses these cutthroats as native troops.

Did State and the Obama administration know this? Yes. Did State know … that there was an alert out for several months that Al Qaeda was going to revenge the drone killing of Yahya al-Libi, the senior Al Q lieutenant to the Egyptian al-Zawahiri? Yes.

Did State know that al-Libi’s older brother is a senior commander in the Cyrenaica jihadist militia? Yes.

Could State put all this together and refuse the Libyan authorities invitation to Stevens to visit Benghazi on 9-11? Yes.

Did State have enough information to arrange that Stevens escort was an armored convoy and full ambassadorial security, including advance teams, aircraft, bomb detecting units, waves of bodyguards, even snipers? Yes.


My information is that the Benghazi officials, and the so-called witnesses all have excellent cause to mislead and distort the facts in order to conceal the scale of the jihadist operation. Asking the FBI to rely upon local eyewitnesses is a fool’s errand similar to what played out in all the terrorist attacks in the Middle East since Khobar Towers in 1995 (Tehran op), USS Cole in 2000 (Al Qaeda op) etc.

The FBI is not an intelligence entity. The intelligence ops have already put all this together as a military strike on the basis of who commanded, paid for, planned and executed the operation (Russian weapons from the Quadhafi arsenals).

The suggestion so far is that Stevens was lured to Benghazi by Tripoli/Benghazi authorities working with Al Q linked jihadists, and then Stevens steered to the safe house on purpose by local Benghazi authorities and then betrayed to the fighters. This is the so-called “blacked-out period.”

The Obama administration approach to treat this assassination as a spontaneous or even accidental crime by hot-headed miscreants is not only an imitation of the Clinton administration years before the World Trade Towers 2 attack, but it is also certain to empower the jihadists to strike again at the impotent police state power of the US.

So either the Susan Rice is either woefully misinformed or she's lying to protect her boss from adverse political repercussions. An ex-CIA guy and current Internet bully goes with the latter. Jon Landay spells out both the Libyan and American motivations for their storylines, and he also confirms that there were no protests at the consulate when it was attacked.

The consulate compound's landlord, Mohammed al Bishari, and a 27-year-old guard, who was wounded and asked to remain anonymous, told McClatchy Newspapers last week that no protest was taking place when the attack was launched at 9:35 p.m. local time. They described the assault as sudden and well-coordinated.

The assailants were carrying the black flag of a local Islamic extremist group, Ansar al Shariah, Bishari said.

Al-Qaida is suspected of playing a role because a video posted on the Internet the evening before featured Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's successor, calling for revenge for the death of his second in command, Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan cleric, who was killed in a June 4 CIA drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region.


Aaron Zelin, an expert on Islamic extremist groups at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he agreed that the attack was most likely planned in advance because the assailants launched a second attack on the consulate's safe house, which U.S. officials have been referring to as the annex.

"Not only was there the attack on the consulate, but they knew where that safe house was," he said. "They had to have some kind of reconnaissance ahead of time."

"I think that has more to do with the anniversary of 9/11 than anything else," he said.

What is the bottom line? What's the point of this diary? This is a classic case of Obama blame-shifting, putting all the blame on a bad movie and distracting attention from the fact that security precautions were not taken despite a record of past violence and despite warnings of future violence. The reasoning for the spin is obvious. An American ambassador and three others were killed because the Obama administration failed to do enough to protect them. Obama, being a Democrat, does not want to be perceived as weak on national security, not when there is an election at stake, so he's sending out hacks and flacks to call it "spontaneous", with the deaths stemming from reactions by excitable movie critics. The attack also puts into question Obama's claims that he's kept Americans safe from al Qaeda and that al Qaeda is on the ropes. I'm suggesting that Obama, via his mouthpieces, is deliberately misleading the American people about what actually transpired in Benghazi, and quite frankly that pisses me off. He's lucky to have such an opponent as Romney, because Obama is going to get away with it.

UPDATE 1: Carney's and Rice's vociferous claim that the attack on the U.S. consulate was "spontaneous" is becoming inoperative.

The Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was in fact "a terrorist attack" and the U.S. government has indications that members of al Qaeda were directly involved, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday morning.

"I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in response to questioning from Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) about the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

As for who was responsible, Olsen said it appears there were attackers from a number of different militant groups that operate in and around Benghazi, and said there are already signs of al Qaeda involvement.

"We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," he said.

The U.S. government just isn't sure yet whether the terrorist attack was pre-planned or whether it was an example of terrorists taking advantage of protests against an anti-Islam film, Olsen said.

Let me get this straight. Members of al Qaeda are involved in the attack on the U.S. consulate, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of its most famous attack against the United States, yet this most recent attack wasn't planned or premeditated? Somebody pull my finger. More.

Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved and even may have led the attack, Fox News' intelligence sources said. Qumu, a Libyan, was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail. He was released by the Qaddafi regime as part of its reconciliation effort with Islamists in 2008.
His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The declassified files also point to ties with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a known Al Qaeda affiliate.

UPDATE 2: Those right-wingers at CBS News have eyewitness accounts that directly contradict the Obama administration narrative.

Witnesses of last week's deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya have told CBS News that the alleged anti-American protest that U.S. officials say morphed into the assault never actually took place.


The reporter is right. We won't get a detailed account from the Obama administration until after the election. Convenient for Barry.

UPDATE 3: That right-winger Anderson Cooper is reporting that Ambassador Stevens had told a source that he was on al Qaeda hit list.

In the months leading up to his death, Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list, a source familiar with his thinking told CNN.
Stevens spoke about a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda's growing presence in Libya, the source said.


It's unclear if those concerns were relayed up the organizational chain.

UPDATE 4: Excluding his pacifist anti-military stance, Glenn Greenwald channels Bird Dog.

UPDATE 5: With Romney not having made any tactical mistakes for several days running, The Diversion is looking less successful. I guess it's one thing to churn out implausible and false spin, it's another to spin it so bad that nobody believes it, not even his most loyal media transcribers want to look like mindless idiots. The WSJ has a lengthy breakdown of the security breakdown. In short, there were all kinds of miscues from all kinds of levels, including from the ambassador himself. The main question is: With the approaching anniversary of 9/11 and given militant Islamist activity, why wasn't his administration better prepared to secure America's embassies and consulates? Barry dodged the question in his three-minute "answer".



But the false narrative continues to unravel.

The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”

Now there is mounting evidence that the White House’s initial portrayal of the attacks as a mere outgrowth of protest was incorrect—or, at the very least, incomplete. The administration’s story itself has recently begun to shift, with Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, telling Congress on Wednesday that the attackers may have had links to al Qaeda and Carney characterizing the incident as a “terrorist attack.” (Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday that she was putting together a panel to look into the incident.)



But other indications that the White House’s early narrative was faulty are also beginning to emerge. One current U.S. intelligence officer working on the investigation into the incident told The Daily Beast that the attackers had staked out and monitored the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the attack, a move that suggests pre-planning.

What’s more, two U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the intelligence community is currently analyzing an intercept between a Libyan politician whose sympathies are with al Qaeda and the Libyan militia known as the February 17 Brigade—which had been charged with providing local security to the consulate. In the intercept, the Libyan politician apparently asks an officer in the brigade to have his men stand down for a pending attack—another piece of evidence implying the violence was planned in advance. (Plenty of Libyans, of course, did try to protect the consulate. “Many of those Libyans died in the gunfight fighting off the attackers,” one of the officials said. “But there were some bad apples there as well.”)

One other aspect of the administration’s story appears shaky as well. Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice responded to allegations that there wasn’t enough security at the embassy by saying, “Tragically, two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.”

Rice was referring to two ex-Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who died during the violence.


But two former special operators and a former intelligence officer, two of whom had worked with Doherty, told The Daily Beast that Doherty and Woods’s job was not to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens. That job falls to Regional Security Officers or RSOs. During the fighting, some RSOs who were supposed to protect the ambassador apparently became separated from him.

“Glen died for Tyrone and Tyrone died for Glen,” one of the former special operators told The Daily Beast. “They fought bravely, but they did not die protecting the ambassador.”

Since there were no actual protests at the consulate (as verified by multiple media sources), "the movie made them do it" storyline falls apart, and you can add Tommy Vietor to the list of Obama hacks and flacks who keep flogging falsehoods. The White House has a Benghazi problem and it'll remain a problem if they keep being dishonest about what happened.


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You're all so Squeemish.


The ambassador fell in service to his country right on the diplomatic front line. I suppose working the way he did he was able to achieve the things he needed to in service to the US.


The fallen soldier is celebrated for his sacrifice not lamented for not having stayed safe in his trench.


Even from his terrible death it would seem some good has come with the central (such as it is) government, working with a galvanised populace to shut down some of their extremists.


The first thing that sprang to my mind when i read of it was Charles Gordon and his death in the service of the British Empire.

No such thing as a fallen soldier in this age of drones

mmghosh's picture

if not yet now, then soon.  No PTSD, no VA, no amputation rehab.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Not true...


Pilots haven't been dying in significant numbers for years. Pilot casualties haven't been a problem since Vietnam.

Humanoid robots are coming though. Not here yet, but they will be. 15 years? 25? It's not so far out.  Also, robot tanks, helos, the works.

We'll get to talk about what that means at some point. Even with all that, you need people on the ground to run an occupation. If for no other reason than to build relationships with the local population.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Drones are just an aspect of air power, and air power


doesn't win wars. You can't hold a province by flying lethal RC planes overhead.


I wonder what the psychological impacts of pressing a button to kill people 8000 miles away might be.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

But you aren't trying to win. Just squash potential terrorists

mmghosh's picture

and some collateral damage.


Answer to second question - nil?

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

You just implied that the Age of the Solider is over,


because of drones. I'm just pointing out that drones only do one thing, and that not perfectly. There are still plenty of situations that require boots on the ground, and thus the possibility of casualties.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

boots on the ground


or perhaps a better drone.

Drones on the ground? Cylons? -nt-



"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



it's logical if the costs can be justified.

Coming sooner


than you might think.

Exactly, Nyoos, He Was an Involved Ambassador Apparently



...he died well.


I haven't followed this as much as I should have...the Seal Team members that according to some that were supposed to provide final security died less well. First they should not have gotten separated from Stevens, but, in the end, they apparently saved a number of people at a second safe house and escorted them to safety before being killed by a mortar fire and/or RPG's.


This is what they signed up for...they were the best of the best and still died in a very fluid situation. That the safe house locations were known, is disturbing, but I don't see anyone writing diaries and agonized hand wringing over the 9 ladies out collecting firewood and killed by a drone in Afghanistan at approximately the same time.


Times are tough, for Ambassadors in dangerous assignments, and for common women collecting firewood.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Roland Was A Great Hero Who Reveled In His Service To His Liege

M Scott Eiland's picture

Doesn't mean that Ganelon didn't deserve every bit of pain he got and more for his treachery.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Yeah, the "appeasing traitor" thing still doesn't work,


even dressed up in medieval poetry. Nice, obscure reference, but no thanks.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Thus Ganelon is torn limb from limb by four fiery horses...


...geeze, what an obscure reference!


I should know stuff like this myself, my favorite period of history this was, and yet didn't have a clue about your reference.


So, I thank you for this.


A narrower, or more focused link:




Best Wishes, Traveller

You criticize the Administration's


"low profile" in regards to embassy security. A little context might have been helpful here. I think it's safe to say that in the aftermath of the Bush League's disastrous invasion of Iraq, the average inhabitant of the Middle East views the US with no small amount of suspicion. Setting up a fortress embassy was likely impossible, and traveling with a large group of mercenaries private security detail would only serve to stir up memories of Blackwater and the abuses suffered by Iraqis at their hands.


In short, if there were constraints placed on embassy security, then they were there in part because of the botched, stupid policies of one George Walker Bush and his Band of Merry Neocon Idiots.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)


Bird Dog's picture

this is a topical diary. If you want to discuss the history of the Bush administration, the "create new diary" awaits, as if he hasn't been criticized enough here.

Two, had you bothered to read the links in Update 5, you would've learned that there were security miscues all up and down the line.

Three, I have every right to criticize to administration that failed to created a better security environment and then lied about the nature of the attacks.




"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No need to get so angry, Bird Dog


I did not say that the attack was Shrub's fault. The notion that past American policies have no effect on current ones is just plain silly, though. Like it or not, the US in Libya is trying to support the creation of a successor government to the Gadaffi regime without being seen as effecting Regime Change. You're free to disagree with my thinking, but you do not have the right to tell me how or where I should reply to your diary.


Second, your insulting and condescending tone aside, I did read your links and your fifth update. I just find the argument unconvincing. Nowhere is there any concrete plan for what could have realistically been done. Large embassy fortress/compounds cannot be built overnight, even assuming the Libyan government would have approved such a thing. I have already discussed why I do not think traveling with a band of mercenary escorts was a feasible option. My argument remains unchanged.


Lastly, I would never suggest that you have no right to criticize the Obama Administration. I have the right to reply and tell you why I disagree.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Excellent Point...(espc re mercenaries)...nt



I think this is a bit naive


Marines cannot be expected to secure perimeters around embassies. That would be an act of war, because the US does not have sovereignity once the marines take one step out to the street. They are there mainly to protect classified info, and to provide internal security, within the embassy walls.


The terrorists did not need to breach the walls to do their damage... they had RPGs. The mind reels at what would have been the diplomatic consequences of an all-out firefight, probably killing civilian protestors. My bet is you would be writing a different kind of critical post in that instance.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Re the Marines,

Bird Dog's picture

I haven't said anything different, but they are a last line of defense, charged with protecting property, personnel and sensitive materials.

The WSJ article in Update 5 well catalogues the security miscues.

As for what I would write under different circumstances, my policy is avoid hypotheticals as much as possible. I suggest that that's good advice for everybody, even liberals.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Securing the consulate is down to the host country


Securing the Ambassador would probably have involved restricting him to a more secure location or removing him from the country. But given the fluid situation post revolution, I would guess State largely deferred to the ambassador's own good judgement on that score. The diffculties of operating safely in such an environment were unfortunately realized, resulting in the tragedy. But tragedy for some is an opportunity for others, as BD's diary amply demonstrates.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Colonel Gaddafi's line of death


Maybe he had in mind diplomatic missions on aircraft carriers situated on the far side of Colonel Gaddafi's 'line of death.'

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

And for a reaction from some actual Libyans....

Jay C's picture

I'm glad they're doing it

Bird Dog's picture

It's their country, and they're choosing against militant Islamists. More of that is needed across the whole Muslim-majority world.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Nice to know


that some people there don't hate us.  However, I'm not going to believe that a pro-US protest represents the population as a whole anymore than I'd believe it for an anti-US protest.  And I appreciate them seizing and destroying the Ansar al-Shariah office, but it's instructive that the authorities hadn't done so already.


My overall take is semi-anarchy and a civil war that isn't 100% over.

And a continuing chance to build some goodwill.


Ambassador Stevens seems to have understood that quite a bit better than the armchair warriors back in the states ever will.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Have to give Obama some credit


for not reacting with lots of random drone strikes on the area.  It would have been an understandable response and politically very popular. 



I don't understand how that could be "an understandable response." There are US personnel living & working throughout Benghazi, and good relations with at least some of the authorities on the ground, who have now arrested dozens of individuals in connection with the attacks.


That's like saying, if you get mugged, running around and shooting at anyone wearing a hoodie is an understandable response.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes



"Understandable" was the wrong word, "not unexpected" would be better.  Just like the response to the movie,  which was not unexpected,  but shouldn't be described as understandable.


Can I take your writing class?

How odd

aireachail's picture

I can't find a link to that story anywhere on Drudge.


Maybe it's after working hours over at Matt's place?

Update 6?


Not sure how to work in an anti-Obama angle, but I have faith others could.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Anti-Obama angle?

Jay C's picture

Even if Bird Dog can't cobble one up, I'm sure some rightwing blogger or other will find a way to chastise the Prez for something or one, and we'll see it soon enough.

Moe Lane


misses George W.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

So basically George W. Bush killed Chris Stevens.


I'm using Bird Doggian logic here, so bear with me. Sufyan Ben Qumu was transferred to Libyan custody by the Bush DOD some time in September or October 2007, on the condition that Qumu be kept in custody. Well don't you know it, just to show that you really can't trust a dictator these days, ol' Curly released Qumu from the infamous Abu Salim prison in 2010, as part of an amnesty deal with Libyan Islamist groups. Osama Bin Laden's chauffeur then repaid Gaddafi by helping lead the insurrection that overthrew his regime, and now he appears to be leading jihadist attacks against US & European targets in and around Benghazi.


Now here's where the Bird Doggerian reasoning kicks in. If I may: George Bush is directly responsible for the death of Ambassador Stevens. He neglected warning signs, he trusted a notoriously fickle dictator, and his lack of perspicuity gave Qumu the chance to jump right back into the jihad game. 


Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

So much for that

Bird Dog's picture

But nice try.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Nice try, Republicans trying to politicize the attack?


"It is fairly disturbing the number of Republicans who have leapt to erroneous conclusions about what this means and have missed no opportunity to bash on the president rather than try to find a common approach to this," he said. "That has been extremely unhelpful."

Also, thank you for rebuffing my attempt at satire with utterly thickheaded humorlessness. I wish I could say it's been fun, but since you made that pretty much impossible, well at least it's been interesting. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The key word is...

Bird Dog's picture

...attempt. I might've been nicer without your dig at "Bird Doggerian reasoning".

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

At Least Until Harry's Imaginary Friend Drops A Dime On The Guy

M Scott Eiland's picture


. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Logic fail

Bird Dog's picture

I know it was a long diary, but the point is that (1) there were three attacks on diplomatic assets since last June in a city where militant Islamist activity is commonplace, yet there is no evidence that anyone added any security measures, and (2) the Obama administration has been spinning a line of implausible bulls**t, that the attacks were "spontaneous" and were not planned or premeditated, even though al Qaeda elements were involved and they occurred on the anniversary of its most spectacular attack.



"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No problem, I'll step you through it.


1) George Bush authorized a transfer of Sufian Bin Qumu from Guantanamo Bay into Libyan custody in 2007.


2) There were multiple indications Qumu was at least a medium-level security threat, with multiple al Qaeda connections, etc. Bush Failed To Take Precautions®.


3) There were *no* indications that Moammar Khaddafi could be trusted to keep his guarantee that the man would stay in custody, given the "fluidity" of his relations with Islamist organizations in the Maghreb. Was it likely he would put US commitments above interior relations with militant tribes? Given past interactions, there was every reason to expect the dictator would do whatever the hell he wanted when the time came. Bush Failed To Take Precautions® x2.


4) Khaddafi indeed broke his word to the US in 2010, claiming Sufian and 36 other militants had been "converted to peace through dialogue."


5) Since that time, Qumu has a) helped topple the Khaddafi regime and murder its leader, and b) helped organize attacks on western targets in-country, including apparently the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens.


6) Since Bush had evidence Qumu was dangerous, and abundant evidence that the Khaddafi regime couldn't be trusted, yet failed to take precautions®, according to the Bird Dog principle Bush is directly responsible for last week's attack in Benghazi.


Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I hope the Obama administration adopts...

Bird Dog's picture

...your strained attempt at blame-shifting.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Just following logical principles


that are now standard for this site.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes


Bird Dog's picture

Because your "logic" is hinged on the dubious presumption that the attacks would not have occurred had Qumu not shown up. Nice try, though. I hope Obama uses your approach. It'll go over real well.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

So you're saying that there are dubious assumptions in my logic?


Well isn't that a marvelous thing for you to say.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

He's not getting it


I tried the same tack but he didn't flinch.



"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Bankruptcy and exhaustion


I think he's just out of his depth here and has no idea of the significance of these events. That he would approach this matter as though it were some everyday scandal, or embarrassing lapse in judgment is evidence enough.


Charles Krauthammer says "A foreign policy in epic collapse."




He recognizes the import of the events but offers little more than blaming Obama's policies and speeches. And he offers no way forward, no way to rebuild a broken foreign policy; he can't even bring himself to propose an American attack on Iran. Like Bird Dog, he's reduced to running on partisan fumes. Bankruptcy and exhaustion: that's the message I'm getting here.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Not Cool to Speculate About Other Posters'


perspicacity or lack thereof.

still it's worth commenting on


Sure, it's not cool to storm an embassy and kill the ambassador either, but still it's worth commenting on.


And we have several lengthy diaries on the incident and none of them get close to expressing the true import of the events, or recognizing the fatal contradictions lying behind them. That's worth pointing out.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

Not a new development



"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Spart, Micky, let us not succumb to


the temptation of fooling around in the gray areas, please.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Standard for some conservatives at this site

HankP's picture

wouldn't want to broad brush anyone.

I blame it all on the Internet

their security lies in the hands of the host country


If you go overseas and have a look at some of America's diplomatic missions, you'll see that their security lies in the hands of the host country. If the host country is not trusted, the mission is closed down, as it was in Iran.


I'm surprised you can't bring yourself to question the wisdom of the US arming and supporting AQ in Libya. Especially since you believe them to be behind this attack on the mission. This seems the heart of the matter, but never address it, preferring to indulge in scapegoating or questioning the wording of government statements. It's terribly small minded and unproductive if you ask me. Can't you direct your energies to something that would unite your countrymen? I think the longtime consensual US policy towards the ME is in a shambles at the moment, and if it's to be rebuilt, it won't be on the foundations of partisan sniping you insist on laying here. Perhaps you don't grasp the potential importance of events over there. That's the impression I gather from what you chose to comment on and what you ignore or are unaware of.

You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

No, That's Sniper Grandma Logic

M Scott Eiland's picture

But thanks for playing.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Huh, so Bird Dog logic is identical to sniper grandma logic?


Now I finally understand what you mean by that phrase!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

The facts appear incomplete,


The facts appear incomplete, the information contradictory, and the situation remains fluid.  Your diary starts with the assumption that Obama wanted to keep the Benghazi mission unsecured for nefarious reasons (sourced to Breitbart no less) and continues from there to connect faint or invisible dots (sourced from FoxNews or 3rd tier blogs) to conclude it was all a political hatchet job.  I give it an A- for effort but a D+ for lack of vigorous analysis.

"Obama wanted to keep the Benghazi mission unsecured"

mmghosh's picture

Does the State Dept monitor each mission, through an independent, external process, via the CIA for example?  I though the threat assessment came from the local mission itself. 


I met up with our local US Consular folk recently.  They don't seem to be the type to skimp on consular security process - HRC visited here a few months ago, they set up (what seemed to me) a pretty major security operation.  Ambassadorial level security would be pretty important for a local consulate.  Also, what Micky said.


It seems (from press reports) that Mr Stevens maybe made some wrong judgments.  Our local al-Jaz TV is running with some interesting speculation, if you can get to see it there. 

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency


Bird Dog's picture

Which facts are incomplete? Which information is contradictory? The stories from the WH and from new sources are indeed contradictory, which is a major theme of this diary. Is the situation fluid? Yes! Are you suggesting that people shouldn't write about situations that are fluid?

Another thing. There may be "nefarious reasons" for the WH spin about Benghazi, and I think it's more than fair to question the Obama administration and its political motivations. The narrative coming out of the WH does not square with credible accounts of what occurred. People died and Susan Rice lied, far as I'm concerned.

As for Breitbart, where exactly did they get their facts wrong? I know that the Left has an automatic knee-jerk reaction to them, but from what I could tell, their facts came from McClatchy, CNN, WSJ, the State Department and directly from the Marine Corps. You can agree or disagree with the second to last paragraph, which is their opinion.

And let's recap. 17 links were from mainstream media or governmental sources, 2 were from right-of-center sources, and 2 were from a blog whose owner endorsed Hillary (1 of which I expressed caution re the reliability of the writer's source). If the Obama admin is getting hatcheted, it's from their own doing, IMO.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Breitbart's "source" for


Breitbart's "source" for nefarious motivations


According to a source close to Breitbart News and high up in the intelligence community, the Obama administration's policy following Muammar Gaddafi's death has been to keep a "low profile" during a chaotic time.



As for the rest - again there is no evidence Obama is doing anything other than publicly downplaying whatever evidence of terrorist involvement they have.  There is no evidence they are lying.  But hey, knock yourself out.


Bird Dog's picture

the "low profile" security sort of speaks for itself, no?


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I've read your diary so I


I've read your diary so I have an idea about what "low profile" speaks to you.


Bird Dog's picture

And as you'll see in the update, the "low profile" that Breitbart described is confirmed.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Huh?  Not sure how you can


Huh?  Not sure how you can get a PRV out of that.  Am I not allowed to use the pronoun "you" without someone whining?

You are conflating two seperate things


the widespread street protests and the attack on the Benghazi consulate office. The Obama administration is not.

An American ambassador and three others were killed because the Obama administration failed to do enough to protect them.


2604 Americans and 373 other nationals were killed on 9/11 because the Bush administration failed to do enough to protect them.

See how that works?



4,802 coalition military personnel and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed because the Bush administration launched a war under false pretense in Iraq.

Your diary is offensive, a naked effort to make cheap shots at the Obama administration by exploiting the tragic deaths of a courageous foreign service officer and others, for reasons of partisan domestic politics. Please remove it.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

The delusional commentary continues

Bird Dog's picture

There was no specific intelligence when it came to 9/11, according to the 9/11 report. In Benghazi, there were three previous attacks since last June, yet no one thought to beef up security. Now an ambassador and three others are dead.

As to your feeling offended, I couldn't care less.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

So, no comment on his link


So, no comment on his link which has this -

"I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in response to questioning from Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-CT) about the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Doesn't this guy count as "The Obama Administration"?  Carney is being coy at this point, perhaps because other elements are in play such as the culpability of the current Libyan govt.  

His statements go further than those of the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who said last week that the protests in Cairo and Benghazi were a reaction to the video and not a pre-planned attack. Today, Carney didn't repeat the assertion that the video was solely to blame, but he said again that there is no evidence the Benghazi attack was pre-planned.

The mixed messaging from the WH is the only sin I see here but apparently that, plus some Breitbart sourced hooey, equals COVERUP!

What do you mean?

Bird Dog's picture

The WH is telling one story, denying there was planning and premeditation, and the director of the NTC is saying something different.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I mean "mixed messages".  It


I mean "mixed messages".  It is right there in the text, even.

So now Carney is saying it


So now Carney is saying it was a coordinated terrorist attack.  Happy yet?  Oh right.


Anyways, I don't see the problem with slow playing the terrorism angle especially since things are changing and official pronouncements have widespread effects.  And I'm not talking about the right getting their panties in a bunch because "terrorist attack" isn't the first reaction out of the WH.



4 dead in the service of advancing the conservative cause of unseating a liberal president. Perhaps with posthumous medals to be awarded by a president Romney? What an irony that would be.

Not your best effort.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Nothing new here

HankP's picture

more desperate attempts to throw stuff at the wall and pray to god that something, somehow sticks.

I blame it all on the Internet

Doesn't Ambassador Stevens carry some of the responsibility

mmghosh's picture

being the man on the ground.  From all accounts, he seemed pretty switched on.  Which being the case, it seems more and more like a communications failure, resulting in an accidental smoke inhalation injury.



freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I was also surprised that no blame was directed at Stevens


I was also surprised that no blame was directed at Stevens, especially in a diary solely concerned with assigning blame to various civil servants. Stevens seems ideal for scapegoating.


"In his willingness to allow others to be heard, Stevens was an unusual US diplomat, colleagues say. He allowed himself to be governed by the habits, proprieties and slower pace of the Arab world.

After 9/11 when many US diplomats consigned themselves to embassies that resemble fortresses and armoured motorcades, Stevens plunged into Arab social life. He traded personal risk for personal contact. His distaste for displays of security, some quietly suggest, may have led to a touch of overconfidence that cost him his life."



Another short quote from April 2011:


Chris Stevens, a former U.S. Embassy official in Tripoli and the highest-ranking U.S. representative to travel to Libya since the uprising began, will explore ways to open the funding spigots for an opposition movement that is desperately short of cash and supplies, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday.



What are the odds that those Americans killed in Libya were killed by the same weapons Stevens worked so hard at delivering to Libya's Al Qaeda insurrectionists? The lesson I take from this is that if you're determined to meddle in the affairs of other nations, the more consistent the meddling, the better. Arming and aiding AQ in one country while killing off its members in another obviously invites such incidents as this, and Stevens presented himself as the perfect target.


Bizarrely, none of the pundits whose opinions are presented here, mostly Jewish journalists in America who don't appear to have any expertise qualifying them as Libyan analysts, none of them point out the inconsistency of arming AQ on the one hand, and killing AQ operatives on the other. Instead Jonathan Tobin incredibly blames "the president’s hubristic belief that his personal iconic status could change views about the United States." This is more mystification from those who have no quarrel with the war on Islam, and only quibbles over the way it's fought. I hope we can recognize this for the oafish propaganda that it is.


You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it. - Ho Chi Minh

I think the lesson is a bit simpler:


if your colleagues are going to shoot at people, people might well shoot at you. Act accordingly. Although I very much respect & admire the man's courage & willingness to become involved with the locals.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

But the Possible Irony Remains Cutting...


...that Mr. Stevens himself may have facilitated the importation of the weapons that eventually killed him is....eyebrow raising.


Justice or lack of it or something...Odd.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Say Obama reports that Benghazi was a successful al Qaeda attack


Doesn't that give credit, perhaps undue credit, not to mention encouragement to that organization? There's nothing worse for a terror network than to carry out an attack whose message nobody understands.


What you're suggesting is that Obama should correct the record and give al Qaeda the credit it deserves. What I'm suggesting is that that is a dumb idea.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

So it's better to lie?

Bird Dog's picture

I don't buy that.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

As it stands now, the attack has "failed."


The Benghazi militants effectively had their thunder stolen by the embassy protests in Egypt and elsewhere (where no real harm was done). They get no credit for the attack, which now looks like it was motivated by some dumb youtube video instead of retaliation for lethal drone strikes on al Qaeda's infrastructure. 


Explain how correcting the record would be a productive thing to do.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Because it would be bad for Obama

HankP's picture

come on Jordan, it's the simplest thing in the world. The diaries get longer and longer, the logic gets more and more tortured, and still the fantasy about this one finally damaging Obama goes unfulfilled.

I blame it all on the Internet

Brietbart as a source?


What's next? Cracked magazine?

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

I'd call it Romney's successful diversion

HankP's picture

He seems to be doing everything he can to keep his campaign on the front pages, and succeeding.

I blame it all on the Internet

That's a weird lead-in, just saying

brutusettu's picture

Because these are complicated issues that might not get solved neatly best to kick the can down the road and hope for the best?





And boom, I was wondering if a FDR knew Pearl Harbor was going to get attacked was coming.


Frack me sideways a million times Breitfrackingmerdebart News link.


I'm outta here.