SHOCKER: White House, Administration, Defense Secretary, et al knew immediately Benghazi was a terror attack
James Rosen, fresh from being surveilled by the most transparent Administration ever, breaks the news last evening, citing newly declassified documents, among which was the transcript of Gen Ham, then head of AFRICOM, who was all but disappeared after the incident:
Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.
Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing — in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing — occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief.
According to declassified testimony obtained by Fox News, Ham — who was working out of his Pentagon office on the afternoon of Sept. 11 — said he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its commencement, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, through a call he received from the AFRICOM Command Center.
“My first call was to General Dempsey, General Dempsey’s office, to say, ‘Hey, I am headed down the hall. I need to see him right away,’” Ham told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation on June 26 of last year. “I told him what I knew. We immediately walked upstairs to meet with Secretary Panetta.”
Ham’s account of that fateful day was included in some 450 pages of testimony given by senior Pentagon officials in classified, closed-door hearings conducted last year by the Armed Services subcommittee. The testimony, given under “Top Secret” clearance and only declassified this month, presents a rare glimpse into how information during a crisis travels at the top echelons of America’s national security apparatus, all the way up to the president.
Also among those whose secret testimony was declassified was Dempsey, the first person Ham briefed about Benghazi. Ham told lawmakers he considered it a fortuitous “happenstance” that he was able to rope Dempsey and Panetta into one meeting, so that, as Ham put it, “they had the basic information as they headed across for the meeting at the White House.” Ham also told lawmakers he met with Panetta and Dempsey when they returned from their 30-minute session with President Obama on Sept. 11.
Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., sitting in on the subcommittee’s hearing with Ham last June, reserved for himself an especially sensitive line of questioning: namely, whether senior Obama administration officials, in the very earliest stages of their knowledge of Benghazi, had any reason to believe that the assault grew spontaneously out of a demonstration over an anti-Islam video produced in America.
Numerous aides to the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly told the public in the weeks following the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans that night — as Obama’s hotly contested bid for re-election was entering its final stretch — that there was no evidence the killings were the result of a premeditated terrorist attack, but rather were the result of a protest gone awry. Subsequent disclosures exposed the falsity of that narrative, and the Obama administration ultimately acknowledged that its early statements on Benghazi were untrue.
“In your discussions with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta,” McKeon asked, “was there any mention of a demonstration or was all discussion about an attack?” Ham initially testified that there was some “peripheral” discussion of this subject, but added “at that initial meeting, we knew that a U.S. facility had been attacked and was under attack, and we knew at that point that we had two individuals, Ambassador Stevens and Mr. [Sean] Smith, unaccounted for.”
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a first-term lawmaker with experience as an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, pressed Ham further on the point, prodding the 29-year Army veteran to admit that “the nature of the conversation” he had with Panetta and Dempsey was that “this was a terrorist attack.”
The transcript reads as follows:
WENSTRUP: “As a military person, I am concerned that someone in the military would be advising that this was a demonstration. I would hope that our military leadership would be advising that this was a terrorist attack.”
HAM: “Again, sir, I think, you know, there was some preliminary discussion about, you know, maybe there was a demonstration. But I think at the command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the point that this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack.”
WENSTRUP: “And you would have advised as such if asked. Would that be correct?”
HAM: “Well, and with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta, that is the nature of the conversation we had, yes, sir.”
Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of last year that it was him who informed the president that “there was an apparent attack going on in Benghazi.” “Secretary Panetta, do you believe that unequivocally at that time we knew that this was a terrorist attack?” asked Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. “There was no question in my mind that this was a terrorist attack,” Panetta replied.
Senior State Department officials who were in direct, real-time contact with the Americans under assault in Benghazi have also made clear they, too, knew immediately — from surveillance video and eyewitness accounts — that the incident was a terrorist attack. After providing the first substantive “tick-tock” of the events in Benghazi, during a background briefing conducted on the evening of Oct. 9, 2012, a reporter asked two top aides to then-Secretary Clinton: “What in all of these events that you’ve described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?”
“That is a question that you would have to ask others,” replied one of the senior officials. “That was not our conclusion.”
Ham’s declassified testimony further underscores that Obama’s earliest briefing on Benghazi was solely to the effect that the incident was a terrorist attack, and raises once again the question of how the narrative about the offensive video, and a demonstration that never occurred, took root within the White House as the explanation for Benghazi.
Rosen, who probably doesn’t want his parents further harassed, is speaking in class open-ended journalistic speak — “raises once again the question” is a kind of deferential rhetorical nicety, and also a way for Rosen to protect himself from making outright assertions; but I don’t have the same concerns, my current run-ins with the IRS notwithstanding, so I’m free to put it this way: Ham’s testimony makes it clear that both Panetta and Gen Dempsey knew that the consulate was undergoing a terror attack. What they did with that information is still unknown, largely, because we don’t know what Obama knew or when he knew it, itself the product of an activist, progressive media content to run interference for the man who went to bed, either left standing orders for no rescue incursion or deferred that power to someone like Valerie Jarrett, and then spent the next day doing a fundraiser with Beyonce while the narrative creating a short-term plausible scapegoat was concocted.
The Administration, from Clinton to Panetta to Jarrett to Obama (if it can be said he’s even briefed at all anymore: he may just be shoved out in front of cameras and told to read leftist boilerplate for the “cause”), it is now clear, was concerned about the political implications of a terrorist attack during an election season in which Obama’s trumpeting of his foreign policy positions included the assertion that Al Qaeda (and by extension, its various affiliated groups) was decimated and on the run.
And so the decision was made somewhere to protect the President, protect the would-be next President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and get through the election, after which, should the Democrats win, they could count on a complicit press, a lockstep Dem coalition of lawmakers, and a timid, feckless, teary orange clown heading up the House, to sweep the entire situation under the rug, likely for national security reasons that redound to the real nature of the CIA’s involvement (which I suspect had to do with recovering weapons).
In short, the decision was made — consciously, intentionally, and with no respect to those who perished, t0 the American people, and for the truth itself — to create a narrative they knew the leftwing media and new media shriekers would get behind and defend, as ridiculous as it was.
But to further give that concocted narrative teeth, a man was publicly arrested, thrown into jail, and left there for months under the pretense of a parole violation — in what has to be one of the most frightening instances of what a partisan, all-too-powerful government run by self-serving cretins is capable of. When it comes time to choose between the innocent and the guilty, they will protect the guilty, provided the guilty is on the “correct” side of the political equation, and the guilt can be rationalized as serving some greater good. Like, for instance, making sure Obama was re-elected so that fundamental transformation good proceed apace, and the socialist / liberal fascist society of rulers and ruled could be solidified and codified through various edicts, court decisions, imperial dictates, and the like.
As with the IRS scandal, the GOP establishment — rather than be seen as charging Obama with malfeasance — has never really sought to find answers. Or rather, they’ve rationalized (or been convinced) that the answers might compromise some ongoing programs in the region.
But the fact is, Americans died, and we, the People, were lied to — with one of us scapegoated and imprisoned as a way to protect an Administration and its secrets.
If you believe in the idea of the primacy of the individual in this society of representative government, this should outrage you. If you don’t? Well, then know what it is you are: one of those who would have pleaded “I was just following orders” at a different era in time. Godwin’s stupid law of the internet be damned.
If you’re truly willing to goose step like Nazis in order to serve a Big Lie, then you are what you are, and fuck you if you don’t like being told so.