Most transparent administration ever stonewalls chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is demanding answers from four senior United States military officers about whether there was advance warning of terrorist threats and the need for greater security prior to last month’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
However, an aide to the chairman, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, (R., Calif.), said the office of secretary of defense Leon Panetta blocked the senior officers from providing the answers last night.
“The chairman is disappointed that the administration won’t respond to this basic request for information,” the aide said.
“It is nearly unprecedented that the office of the secretary of defense would prohibit a member of the uniformed military from answering direct questions posed by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.”
The chairman’s letters are dated Thursday. They were sent to Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, which is responsible for military activities in Africa; Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Vice Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, director for operations at the Pentagon’s Joint Staff; and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
McKeon asked the officers to provide answers to questions about security threats by the close of business Friday.
The questions reveal that there may be information within the military revealing warnings about terrorist threats and the need to increase security that were ignored by the State Department or other civilians within the Obama administration.
McKeon asked each of the four officers in separate letters whether prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi anyone under their command had notified the State Department or other agencies about growing dangers in Libya.
“Given the steadily deteriorating threat environment in Libya prior to Sept. 11, 2012, did you or anyone in your command advise, formally or informally, that the Department of State or any other agency take action to increase security for U.S. personnel in Libya?” McKeon asked.
He also wants to know if there were any requests to increase security in Libya for U.S. personnel.
Also, the letters to the four officers asked whether any military officers under their command had recommended “deployment of additional U.S. military forces to Libya due to the threat environment.”
Other questions focused on determining if the officers were aware that officers under their command recommended increasing security in Libya prior to the deadly attack on the consulate that killed Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
“To your knowledge, has the Department of State or any other federal agency requested additional U.S. military forces to augment security for U.S. personnel in Libya?” McKeon asked.
Since the attack took place five weeks ago, McKeon said he wanted answers by the close of business Friday.
The committee aide said the chairman also had asked for a briefing on events leading up to the attack, and so far the Pentagon has failed to provide the briefing.
McKeon, according to the aide, does not believe any failures related to the deadly terrorist attack can be traced to the U.S. military, which has a limited presence in the region, including special operations engaged in counterterrorism operations.
“He believes it is important whether or not the State Department and the administration were using all the information available at the time” on the terrorist threat and the dangers to U.S. diplomats and intelligence personnel.
McKeon sent the letter as a supplement to an earlier letter to President Obama sent by McKeon and seven other House Committee chairmen, which sought details on the intelligence leading up the attack, security for personnel, and the role played by former Guantanamo detainees in the attack.
The House leaders said in that Sept. 25 letter that administration statements attributing the attack to protests spawned by an anti-Muslim film disturbed them. They emphasized that the consulate murders were “a terrorist attack.”
The House leaders said it appears the administration has reverted to a past policy of treating terrorism as a criminal matter “rather than also prioritizing the gathering of intelligence to prevent future attacks.”
As the Administration and its lackeys stonewall, speculation — much of it of a conspiratorial nature — only grows, with some writers and pundits even going public with the idea that Ambassador Stevens was involved in arms deals, or perhaps even a kidnapping attempt / plot gone wrong.
I myself don’t care to speculate on such matters — if such things happened, someone, somewhere, will eventually blow the whistle — but it is clear to me, and to many others, I suspect, that just because the Administration wishes to put behind them the Libya attack and their subsequent attempts at scapegoating a filmmaker, then covering up what they knew and when they knew it, this is a story that they are not going to be able to will away, even with the aid of the press.
They’ve done a decent job of containing “Fast and Furious” — remember, NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THAT, dead Mexicans and a dead border patrol agent or not, so stop chirping about it, wingnuts!– but even that continues to surface from time to time, with Romney making a passing mention in the last debate.
If Romney is receiving good advice — or if he simply has the right instincts and ignores bad advice — during Monday’s foreign policy debate he should corner Obama on both Fast and Furious and Libya (and hit him on Iran, and the hot mic conversation the President had in which he wanted to pass a message on to Putin), and be prepared to answer the lies that will flow so easily from the Marxists’s mouth: Bush started fast and furious (false); Iran has no means to deliver a nuclear weapon (bullshit); I called the Libya attacks and act of terror (sorry, Candy Crowley’s not here to lie for you, and this time I brought the transcripts; besides, if that’s the case, had you changed your mind by the time you did Letterman or were speaking before the UN and were blaming a YouTube video?); Israel remains a close friend and ally (yeah? Well, I’d hate to see how you’d treat them if they were an enemy, then. Maybe like the Koch brothers?); and so on.
I’d also beat him over the head with the “not optimal” line — including the response of the mother of one diplomat — and if and when Obama chafes, ask him why in the world he’s doing John Stewart in the first place, particularly when bombings of US interests are happening all over the middle east and Africa as a result of his foreign policy, which seems to be encouraging the projection US weakness, which in turn is emboldening our enemies (who incidentally are Islamic terrorists, not “criminals”). He and Biden seem to find humor where one wouldn’t ordinarily find it.
The President claimed he’d run the most transparent administration ever. Instead, his tenure has been marred with evasiveness, stonewalling, and cover-ups; and often times, his official version of events, when pressured, have to be “modified” or even rewritten entirely when additional information comes to public light. So tell the voters, Mr President: are you hiding something, or are you really just that incompetent?
Also, I’d defang the whole ridiculous “binder” issue. Perhaps something like, “I realize you don’t have any experience in business or the private sector, Mr President, but I assume after four years in office you are familiar with how research is put together and information organized, be it applicant pools or briefings on intel. Binders aren’t a bad thing, Mr President. They’re a tool that we in leadership roles often times use to allow us to quickly find, compare, and scrutinize what would otherwise be an overwhelmingly dispersed stream of information.
In the private sector, the resumes and reports on men get put into binders, too. So it’s not like I only have binders filled with potential women employees. Which I mistakenly thought would be understood implicitly. But then, I forgot I was speaking to a man who hasn’t really spent much time in the private sector, and whose dealings with the corporate world seem narrowly restricted to government takeovers or else fundraising.
But make sure you smile when you say that stuff, Mitt. For the independents and moderates. And deadrody, of course.