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Tag Archive: Hillary Clinton


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Why the Gulf States, the Kurds, the Turks, the Sunnis, and the Shia Won’t Fight America’s War

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. In a rare Oval Office address, Obama vowed the United States would overcome a terror threat that has entered a “new phase” as he sought to reassure Americans shaken by recent attacks in Paris and California. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AP)

In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best — and this varies depending on which pseudo-strategist you cite — if the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunnis, and/or Shias would please step in soon and get America off the hook.

The idea of seeing other-than-American boots on the ground, like Washington’s recently deep-sixed scheme to create some “moderate” Syrian rebels out of whole cloth, is attractive on paper. Let someone else fight America’s wars for American goals. Put an Arab face on the conflict, or if not that at least a Kurdish one (since, though they may not be Arabs, they’re close enough in an American calculus). Let the U.S. focus on its “bloodless” use of air power and covert ops. Somebody else, Washington’s top brains repeatedly suggest, should put their feet on the embattled, contested ground of Syria and Iraq. Why, the U.S. might even gift them with nice, new boots as a thank-you.

Is this, however, a realistic strategy for winning America’s war(s) in the Middle East?

The Great Champions of the Grand Strategy

Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly called for the U.S. to round up some Arab allies, Kurds, and Iraqi Sunnis to drive the Islamic State’s fighters out of Iraq and Syria. On the same day that Clinton made her proposal, Bernie Sanders called for “destroying” the Islamic State, but suggested that it “must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” It’s doubtful he meant Indonesia or Malaysia.

Among the Republican contenders, Marco Rubio proposed that the U.S. “provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces.” Ted Cruz threw his support behind arming the Kurds, while Donald Trump appeared to favor more violence in the region by whoever might be willing to jump in.

The Pentagon has long been in favor of arming both the Kurds and whatever Sunni tribal groups it could round up in Iraq or Syria. Variouspundits across the political spectrum say much the same.

They may all mean well, but their plans are guaranteed to fail. Here’s why, group by group.

The Gulf Arabs

 

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New York Post

 

Hillary Clinton’s plan to fight ISIS is like Obama’s — only more so

Hillary Clinton’s plan to fight ISIS is like Obama’s — only more so

If you like President Obama’s “plan” to fight ISIS, you’ll just love Hillary Clinton’s.

Clinton wants to defeat the jihadis by relying pretty much on the same lame steps Obama has — only more so.

The Democratic presidential front-runner laid out her ideas Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations in what was billed as a major policy speech. Alas, it offered far more rhetoric than substance.

Even Hillary herself admitted, in a question-and-answer session afterward, that her proposal is but “an intensification, an acceleration” of the failed Obama strategy.

Yes, she called for more airstrikes, a no-fly zone over Syria and boots on the ground. But it’s plain she’d have non-US forces do the heavy lifting in many of these areas.

 

 

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 Sputnik

Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Alexandria, Virginia on October 23, 2015

Clinton Plan to Fight ISIL ‘All Rhetoric, No Strategy’ – Ex-US Ambassador

© AFP 2015/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

US

06:27 25.11.2015

US Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s plan to destroy the Islamic State, announced last Thursday, is a reheat of neo-conservative rhetoric and lacking any strategy whatsoever, former US Ambassador Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On the same day Clinton offered her proposed strategy to fight the Islamic State, her chief challenger for the nomination, US Senator Bernie Sanders, offered a different plan advocating close cooperation between the United States, Russia and major Muslim nations.

“‘Hillary’s plan’ is all rhetoric and no strategy. As such, it is hard to distinguish it from the bellicose pronouncements of our nation’s neo-conservative pundits,” Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a past president of the Middle East Policy Council, said.

Clinton wanted to repeat over Syria the policies she adopted as secretary of state to topple Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Gadhafi, not realizing that conditions were very different, Freeman argued.

“Ms. Clinton essentially proposes a replay of Libya, an example of the use of force that few, if any other than she, find inspiring. As she did in Libya, she proposes airstrikes and a ‘no-fly zone’ — a purely military approach aimed at regime change with a proven record of producing disasters,” he said.

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2012 Benghazi attack photo montage.jpg

From top to bottom, and left to right: the President and Vice President being updated on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa night of September 11, 2012; President Obama, with Secretary of State Clinton, delivering a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate; two photographs released through a FOIA request showing post-attack burned automobile and spray paint graffiti of militant Islamist slogans on ransacked consulate building; Secretary Clinton testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on January 23, 2013; portion of “wanted” poster from FBI seeking information on the attacks in Benghazi.

Wikipedia.org

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POLITICO

State Department objects to email release by Benghazi panel

Despite review, agency calls messages ‘not appropriate for public release.’

The State Department is objecting to the House Benghazi Committee’s plan to release more than 200 documents in connection with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s much-anticipated testimony to the panel Thursday, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

While State is opposing the public email disclosure by the House panel, the agency also conducted a “sensitivity review” of the records in response to committee Chairman Trey Gowdy’s plan to make the records public.

“We do not agree to these documents being released to the public outside of the Freedom of Information Act process……It is the Department’s position that these documents are not appropriate for public release,” State said in an unsigned memo to the panel Saturday.

“However, in recognition of the Committee’s stated intent to publically [sic] release them, this production reflects our best efforts—within the limited timeframe allowed by the Committee, to redact any sensitive information that could damage national security, subject any people or US facilities to harm or damage, interfere with any law enforcement activities, or result in an unwarranted intrusion of personal privacy,” the memo said.

State’s memo said the review was driven by Gowdy’s indication that he planned to release a set of emails Clinton exchanged with outside adviser Sid Blumenthal without redactions if State failed to propose deletions from the records.

A State spokesman declined to comment on the memo Tuesday.

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US House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Representative Trey Gowdy and ranking member cummings talking before a Benghazi committee hearing © Jonathan Ernst
The House Select Committee on Benghazi, a 17-month investigation into the 2012 consulate attack in Libya, has long been accused of being a partisan witch hunt. Now a former staffer is complaining about its extracurricular activities.

Over the course of the ongoing  Benghazi Committee investigation ‒ so far, a month longer than that of Watergate and counting ‒ there were bound to be some ebbs and flows to the committee’s workload. However, it is how they took advantage of that downtime that is raising questions over the point of keeping the committee in business.

Seven Democrats joined Republicans in voting to create the @HouseBenghazi Select Committee. http://j.mp/1L8b59p 

Wine Wednesdays

The committee has not held a public hearing since January 27, but that hasn’t kept its members from meeting up on a weekly basis. They’ve formed a wine club, nicknamed “Wine Wednesdays,” in which they drink from glasses imprinted with the words “Glacial Pace,” Major Bradley F. Podliska, a committee investigator who was fired in June, told the New York Times. The customized goblets are a dig at Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), who used the term in May to complain about the committee’s lack of urgency in completing its task.

“At every turn, the Select Committee comes up with a new excuse to further delay its work and then blames its glacial pace on someone else,” Cummings said in a statement at the time.

Benghazi gun-buying club

Wine Wednesdays are not the only social aspect of the Benghazi Committee. Its members have also set up a gun-buying club. They used the committee’s conference room to discuss the 9mm Glock handguns they wanted to purchase, Podliska said. A favorite agenda item for the club was the type of monograms that they wanted inscribed on the firearms.

 

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Hillary Clinton’s campaign said the former secretary of state did not personally sign the paperwork that shifted then-Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin’s position to a “special government employee” status, allowing the longtime Clinton aide to work at the State Department at the same time she was advising a private consulting firm and the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon confirmed to CBS News that Cheryl Mills, the then-secretary’s chief of staff, was the official who signed off on Abedin’s change to SGE status.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents authorizing the title change that showed the former secretary of state listed as an “Immediate Supervisor” to Abedin. The form, in a “supervisory certification,” reads: “I certify that this is an accurate statement of the major duties and responsibilities of this position and is organizational relationships, and that the position is necessary to carry out Government functions for which I am responsible.” Hillary Clinton’s typed name and title appear in the box below it.

The documents were signed March 23, 2012, though the State Department has blocked out the signature.

 

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Huma Abedin, long-time aide of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was paid by a private firm to help stage an event with former President Bill Clinton. (Associated Press)
Huma Abedin, long-time aide of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was paid by a private firm to help stage an event with former President Bill Clinton. (Associated Press) more >
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, September 29, 2015

While still working at the State Department, Hillary Rodham Clinton confidante Huma Abedin was paid by the private consulting firm Teneo Holdings to help stage a star-studded reception that included her boss’ husband, Bill Clinton, along with George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as speakers just days after the Benghazi tragedy, The Washington Times has learned.

Ms. Abedin’s work on the Sept. 20, 2012, event at the glamorous Essex House in New York City, helped entertain potential Teneo clients, wowing them with access to three former world leaders on a single stage.

It was one of the specific projects she worked on with Teneo during a seven-month period in which she earned a $15,000-a-month consulting fee from the firm while simultaneously receiving pay as a “special government employee” advising Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, according to interviews and documents.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton personally signed the controversial deal in 2012 that let her top aide Huma Abedin simultaneously work for the State Department and a private New York firm with deep ties to the Clinton family, according to records made public Thursday. (Associated Press)
Hillary Rodham Clinton personally signed the controversial deal in 2012 that let her top aide Huma Abedin simultaneously work for the State Department and a private New York firm with deep ties to the Clinton family, according to records made … more >
– The Washington Times – Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton personally signed off on the controversial deal in 2012 that let her top aide Huma Abedin simultaneously work for the State Department and a private New York firm with deep ties to the Clinton family, according to records made public Thursday.

The State Department emails released to select congressional committees and the watchdog group Judicial Watch also show that almost immediately after Ms. Abedin got permission to work in New York for the Teneo Group, she tried to get the federal government to pay the cost of her commuting back and forth to Washington to serve as a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton, who was then the secretary of state.

“I need to come down to state tomorrow. Can state start paying for my travel since ny is now my base?” Ms. Abedin asked in an email to a top State Department administrative official on March 27, 2012, around the time her deal to become a special government employee (SGE) was struck.

 

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Huma Abedin, a longtime assistant to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been under investigation for a $33,000 payout from the State Department. (Associated Press)
Huma Abedin, a longtime assistant to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been under investigation for a $33,000 payout from the State Department. (Associated Press) more >
– The Washington Times – Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Federal investigators formally investigated top Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin for the crime of embezzlement after confirming she took a “Babymoon” vacation and maternity time at the State Department without expending her formal leave, resulting in thousands of dollars of pay she wasn’t entitled to receive, The Washington Times has learned.

The probe also gathered evidence she filed time sheets charging the government for impermissible overtime and excessive hours after she converted from a full-time federal employee to a State Department contractor.

Those time-cards were filed during a period that remains under investigation over questions about possible conflicts of interest, documents gathered by the State Department inspector general show.

 

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Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

 FAIR.org

Barack Obama (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict. This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox“explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and, most recently, the Washington Post, which—partly thanks to the Snowden revelations—detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

In addition to the CIA’s efforts, there is a much more scrutinized and far more publicized program by the Department of Defense to train “moderate rebels,” of which only a few dozen actually saw battle. The Pentagon program, which began earlier this year and is charged with fighting ISIS (rather than Syrian government forces), is separate from the covert CIA operation. It has, by all accounts, been an abysmal failure.

 

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The New American

Written by 

inside of U.S. compound in Benghazi the day after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack: AP Images

In its clumsy attempt to absolve President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from responsibility for the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, the New York Times has reignited intense scrutiny and debate over the fiasco and the administration’s lies and cover-ups in its aftermath.

On December 28, the Times opened a new chapter in the ongoing furor over “Benghazigate” with an extensive, 7,000-word article by David D. Kirkpatrick entitled, “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.” According to Kirkpatrick, his article is the result of “months of investigation by The New York Times,” which “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” Moreover, he says, the September 11, 2012 attack, which resulted in the murder of four Americans — Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods — “was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

It is not surprising that the Times, which has staunchly supported both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, would come to their aid once more, producing a piece that echoes and affirms the administration’s Benghazi talking points, even though the facts have discredited those talking points.

A number of critics have already pointed out that Kirkpatrick’s latest article is contradicted by earlier Times reports which acknowledge the al-Qaeda ties of some of the Libyan jihadist militias (that the Obama administration, incidentally, was supporting). See, for instance, Aaron Klein at World Net Daily here and here, and Thomas Joscelyn at The Weekly Standard here.

It is also contradicted by a detailed report prepared by the Library of Congress entitled, Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile, issued in August, 2012, the month before the fatal Benghazi attack.

It is also interesting that the Times would once again try to lay the blame for the attack on a spontaneous riot incited by the anti-Muslim video and protests over the video in faraway Cairo, Egypt. This, of course, is a resurrection of the Barack Obama/Susan Rice/Hillary Clinton false narrative issued immediately after the fatal attack, which was an effort to cover up the fact that the event was a highly coordinated terrorist attack carried out by some of the very jihadists the administration was arming and aiding. The spontaneous riot narrative was also aimed at diverting attention from the fact that Secretary Clinton had failed to heed repeated warnings from Ambassador Stevens and State Department security personnel about the escalating danger in Benghazi and their appeals for additional security.

However, no credible evidence has been produced to support the claim that the anti-Muslim video precipitated, or contributed to, the Benghazi attack. And an in-depth analysis by Agincourt Solutions, a prominent social media monitoring firm, could find none of the alleged Internet traffic and postings in the Benghazi region that were supposedly responsible for stirring up the attackers.

Pre-emptive Defense for Hillary’s 2016 Presidential Run

The most transparent reason for the Times’  flimsy Benghazi whitewash is that the paper was trying to divert attention from Secretary Clinton’s central role in the whole sordid affair, so that a festering Benghazigate scandal would not derail her White House hopes for 2016.

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Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile

PREFACE

This report attempts to assess al-Qaeda’s pres

ence in Libya. Al-Qaeda Senior Leadership

(AQSL) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have sought to take advantage of the Libyan Revolution to recruit militants and to reinforce their operational capabilities in an attempt to create a safe haven and possibly to extend their area of operations to Libya. Reports have
indicated that AQSL is seeking to create an al-Qaeda clandestine network in Libya that could beactivated in the future to destabilize the government and/or to offer logistical support to al-Qaeda’s activities in North Africa and the Sahel.

AQIM has reportedly formed sleeper cells that are probably connected to an
al-Qaeda underground network in Libya, likely as a way, primarily,
to secure the supply of arms for its ongoing jihadist operations in Algeria and the Sahel. This report discusses how al-Qaeda and its North African affiliate are using communications media and face-to-face contacts to shift the still-evolving post-revolutionary political and socialdynamic in Libya in a direction that is conducive to jihad and hateful of the West.

The information in this report is drawn largely from the Internet and Western and Libyan online publications. Particular attention has been given to AQSL and AQIM sources, especially propaganda videos featuring their leaders and a written essay from ‘Atiyah al-Libi, an influential
Libyan al-Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan by a U.S. drone strike in August 2011. Although a wide range of sources were utilized, including those in French a nd Arabic, as well as in English,the information found was quite limited and largely presumptive. Given the scarcity of
information, further research is needed to better penetrate the organization of al-Qaeda’s clandestine network in Libya, its leaders, areas of concentration, and chain of command. The Web addresses presented in this report were valid as of August 2012.

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile

1
1.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
x
Al-Qaeda has tried to exploit the “Arab Awake
ning” in North Africa for its own purposes
during the past year. Al-Qaeda Senior Leadersh
ip (AQSL), based in Pakistan, is likely
seeking to build a clandestine network in Libya
as it pursues its strategy of reinforcing its
presence in North Africa and the Middle East
, taking advantage of the “Arab Awakening”
that has disrupted existing counterterrorism
capabilities. Although AQSL’
s previous attempt
to co-opt the Libyan Islamic Fighting Gr
oup (LIFG) was inconclusive, the Libyan
Revolution may have created an environment
conducive to jihad and empowered the large
and active community of Libyan jihadists,
which is known to be well connected to
international jihad.
x
AQSL’s strategic goals remain restoration of the caliphate, instituting sharia, and ending the
Western presence in Muslim lands. Al-Qaeda’s
primary goal in Libya is to establish an
Islamic emirate as part of its overall
objective to reestablish the caliphate.
x
AQSL in Pakistan issued strategic guidance to
followers in Libya and elsewhere to take
advantage of the Libyan rebellion. AQSL’s strategic guidance was to:
¾
gather weapons,
¾
establish training camps,
¾
build a network in secret,
¾
establish an Islamic state, and
¾
institute sharia.
x
AQSL in Pakistan dispatched trusted senior ope
ratives as emissaries and leaders who could
supervise building a network. Al-Qaeda has esta
blished a core network in Libya, but it
remains clandestine and refrains
from using the al-Qaeda name.
x
Ansar al-Sharia, led by Sufian Ben Qhumu, a fo
rmer Guantanamo detainee, has increasingly
embodied al-Qaeda’s presence in Libya, as indi
cated by its active social-media propaganda,
extremist discourse, and hatred of th
e West, especially the United States.
x
Al-Qaeda adherents in Libya used the 2011 Revol
ution to establish well-armed, well-trained,and combat-experienced militias. Militia groups, led by Wisam Ben Hamid and Hayaka Alla have adopted similar behavior, with, however, fewer advertised grudges against the West.The only open-source materialthat has linked these groups,aside from their jihadist credentials and their defense of sharia, is their attachment to the flag that has come to symbolize al-Qaeda.

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A Deadly Mix in Benghazi

December 28, 2013

A boyish-looking American diplomat was meeting for the first time with the Islamist leaders of eastern Libya’s most formidable militias.

It was Sept. 9, 2012. Gathered on folding chairs in a banquet hall by the Mediterranean, the Libyans warned of rising threats against Americans from extremists in Benghazi. One militia leader, with a long beard and mismatched military fatigues, mentioned time in exile in Afghanistan. An American guard discreetly touched his gun.

“Since Benghazi isn’t safe, it is better for you to leave now,” Mohamed al-Gharabi, the leader of the Rafallah al-Sehati Brigade, later recalled telling the Americans. “I specifically told the Americans myself that we hoped that they would leave Benghazi as soon as possible.”

Yet as the militiamen snacked on Twinkie-style cakes with their American guests, they also gushed about their gratitude for President Obama’s support in their uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. They emphasized that they wanted to build a partnership with the United States, especially in the form of more investment. They specifically asked for Benghazi outlets of McDonald’s and KFC.

The diplomat, David McFarland, a former congressional aide who had never before met with a Libyan militia leader, left feeling agitated, according to colleagues. But the meeting did not shake his faith in the prospects for deeper involvement in Libya. Two days later, he summarized the meeting in a cable to Washington, describing a mixed message from the militia leaders.

Despite “growing problems with security,” he wrote, the fighters wanted the United States to become more engaged “by ‘pressuring’ American businesses to invest in Benghazi.”

The cable, dated Sept. 11, 2012, was sent over the name of Mr. McFarland’s boss, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Later that day, Mr. Stevens was dead, killed with three other Americans in Benghazi in the most significant attack on United States property in 11 years, since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Diplomatic Mission on Sept. 11, 2012

Four Americans died in attacks on a diplomatic mission and a C.I.A. compound in Benghazi.

As the attacks begin, there are seven Americans at the mission, including five armed diplomatic security officers; the information officer, Sean Smith; and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Both Mr. Smith and Ambassador Stevens die in the attack.

The cable was a last token of months of American misunderstandings and misperceptions about Libya and especially Benghazi, many fostered by shadows of the earlier Sept. 11 attack. The United States waded deeply into post-Qaddafi Libya, hoping to build a beachhead against extremists, especially Al Qaeda. It believed it could draw a bright line between friends and enemies in Libya. But it ultimately lost its ambassador in an attack that involved both avowed opponents of the West and fighters belonging to militias that the Americans had taken for allies.

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

A fuller accounting of the attacks suggests lessons for the United States that go well beyond Libya. It shows the risks of expecting American aid in a time of desperation to buy durable loyalty, and the difficulty of discerning friends from allies of convenience in a culture shaped by decades of anti-Western sentiment. Both are challenges now hanging over the American involvement in Syria’s civil conflict.

The attack also suggests that, as the threats from local militants around the region have multiplied, an intensive focus on combating Al Qaeda may distract from safeguarding American interests.

In this case, a central figure in the attack was an eccentric, malcontent militia leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala, according to numerous Libyans present at the time. American officials briefed on the American criminal investigation into the killings call him a prime suspect. Mr. Abu Khattala declared openly and often that he placed the United States not far behind Colonel Qaddafi on his list of infidel enemies. But he had no known affiliations with terrorist groups, and he had escaped scrutiny from the 20-person C.I.A. station in Benghazi that was set up to monitor the local situation.

Mr. Abu Khattala, who denies participating in the attack, was firmly embedded in the network of Benghazi militias before and afterward. Many other Islamist leaders consider him an erratic extremist. But he was never more than a step removed from the most influential commanders who dominated Benghazi and who befriended the Americans. They were his neighbors, his fellow inmates and his comrades on the front lines in the fight against Colonel Qaddafi.

To this day, some militia leaders offer alibis for Mr. Abu Khattala. All resist quiet American pressure to turn him over to face prosecution. Last spring, one of Libya’s most influential militia leaders sought to make him a kind of local judge.

Fifteen months after Mr. Stevens’s death, the question of responsibility remains a searing issue in Washington, framed by two contradictory story lines.

One has it that the video, which was posted on YouTube, inspired spontaneous street protests that got out of hand. This version, based on early intelligence reports, was initially offered publicly by Susan E. Rice, who is now Mr. Obama’s national security adviser.

The other, favored by Republicans, holds that Mr. Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by Al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of covering up evidence of Al Qaeda’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated, in part because of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.

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Libya Warnings Were Plentiful, but Unspecific

 

Mohammad Hannon/Associated Press

Investigators had little access to the American Mission compound in Benghazi immediately after the September attack.

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON — In the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the Obama administration received intelligence reports that Islamic extremist groups were operating training camps in the mountains near the Libyan city and that some of the fighters were “Al Qaeda-leaning,” according to American and European officials.

The warning about the camps was part of a stream of diplomatic and intelligence reports that indicated that the security situation throughout the country, and particularly in eastern Libya, had deteriorated sharply since the United States reopened its embassy in Tripoli after the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government in September 2011.

By June, Benghazi had experienced a string of assassinations as well as attacks on the Red Cross and a British envoy’s motorcade. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the September attack, e-mailed his superiors in Washington in August alerting them to “a security vacuum” in the city. A week before Mr. Stevens died, the American Embassy warned that Libyan officials had declared a “state of maximum alert” in Benghazi after a car bombing and thwarted bank robbery.

In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Benghazi compound have emerged as a major political issue, as Republicans, led by their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, have sought to lay blame for the attack on President Obama, who they argued had insufficiently protected American lives there.

Interviews with American officials and an examination of State Department documents do not reveal the kind of smoking gun Republicans have suggested would emerge in the attack’s aftermath such as a warning that the diplomatic compound would be targeted and that was overlooked by administration officials.

What is clear is that even as the State Department responded to the June attacks, crowning the Benghazi compound walls with concertina wire and setting up concrete barriers to thwart car bombs, it remained committed to a security strategy formulated in a very different environment a year earlier.

In the heady early days after the fall of Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the administration’s plan was to deploy a modest American security force and then increasingly rely on trained Libyan personnel to protect American diplomats — a policy that reflected White House apprehensions about putting combat troops on the ground as well as Libyan sensitivities about an obtrusive American security presence.

In the following months, the State Department proceeded with this plan. In one instance, State Department security officials replaced the American military team in Tripoli with trained Libyan bodyguards, while it also maintained the number of State Department security personnel members at the Benghazi compound around the minimum recommended level.

Questions at Home

But the question on the minds of some lawmakers is why the declining security situation did not prompt a fundamental rethinking of the security needs by the State Department and the White House. Three Congressional investigations and a State Department inquiry are now examining the attack, which American officials said included participants from Ansar al-Shariah, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Muhammad Jamal network, a militant group in Egypt.

“Given the large number of attacks that had occurred in Benghazi that were aimed at Western targets, it is inexplicable to me that security wasn’t increased,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the senior Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, one of the panels holding inquiries.

Defending their preparations, State Department officials have asserted that there was no specific intelligence that warned of a large-scale attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which they asserted was unprecedented. The department said it was careful to weigh security with diplomats’ need to meet with Libyan officials and citizens.

“The lethality of an armed, massed attack by dozens of individuals is something greater than we’ve ever seen in Libya over the last period that we’ve been there,” Patrick F. Kennedy, the State Department’s under secretary for management, told reporters at a news conference on Oct. 10.

But David Oliveira, a State Department security officer who was stationed in Benghazi from June 2 to July 5, said he told members and staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he recalled thinking that if 100 or more assailants sought to breach the mission’s walls, “there was nothing that we could do about it because we just didn’t have the manpower, we just didn’t have the facilities.”

In developing a strategy to bring about the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Obama walked a fine line between critics of any American involvement in Libya and those like Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who advocated a stronger American leadership role. Mr. Obama’s approach — a NATO air campaign supported by the United States — was a success.

After Colonel Qaddafi’s fall, Mr. Obama proceeded with equal caution. He approved a plan to send to Tripoli a 16-member Site Security Team, a military unit that included explosive-ordnance personnel, medics and other specialists. “Day-to-day diplomatic security decisions were managed by career State Department professional staff,” said Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

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Published time: October 23, 2013 05:35

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

A senior US National Security Council staffer has been fired for using an anonymous Twitter account to send hundreds of messages criticizing the Obama administration from inside the White House.

Jofi Joseph, a director in the nuclear non-proliferation team inside the NSC, was let go a week ago after administration officials spent months investigating who was tweeting from @natsecwonk. The account opened in February 2011 and lasted until last week, sending thousands of tweets critical of Obama’s policies, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and various high level officials in the interim.

Two sources in the administration confirmed to The Daily Beast that Joseph, 40, was behind the account. The staffer was a member of the NSC team that sat across the negotiating table from Iran in Istanbul earlier this year.

“Is it just me, or with the Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah tonight, is Twitter much quieter?” he once wrote.

What’s so disturbing about the Hillary dancing photo is the high-def resolution of Ben Rhodes’ balding pate. And Jake Sullivan behind him,” another read, referencing US President Obama’s deputy national security advisor and speechwriter as well as Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor.

 

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NSC aide admits Twitter attack on White House

A senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran’s nuclear weapons program told POLITICO he deeply regrets tweeting hundreds of anti-administration messages under the pseudonym @natsecwonk.

Jofi Joseph, 40, was fired from his job on the NSC nuclear non-proliferation team a week ago after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi.

“It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me,” Joseph told POLITICO in an email.

“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments.  I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.”

(Also on POLITICO: White House official fired for tweets)

Obama spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed that Joseph  had left the White House – and that he no longer had his top security clearances.

In the course of their investigations, officials also told Joseph they suspected he was responsible for a second anonymous Twitter account “@dchobbyist” which included racier tweets about sexual encounters, escort services – and the inner workings of the State Department.

“Wow, you look amazingly sexy in this photo!” the @dchobbyist wrote in an Oct. 5th post.

“That was him,” a person briefed on the probe told POLITICO.

Joseph didn’t respond to a request for comment on the second account.

Joseph, who was part of the White House team that opened up preliminary negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in Istanbul earlier this year, lived a double life, working with NSC officials and State Department higher-ups on the most sensitive issues while secretly tweet-bombing them with comments like: “’Has shitty staff.’ #ObamaInThreeWords.”

For months, White House and State department officials searched for @NatSecWonk, a hunt that intensified after he repeatedly expressed doubts about the official administration accounts about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi.

After a probe that included an investigation into Joseph’s travel and shopping patterns – parsed from over 2,000 tweets – lawyers from the White House counsel’s office confronted Joseph and ordered him to leave the executive complex, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Joseph had been scheduled to rotate out of White House duty to a senior job in the Pentagon, an administration official told POLITICO.

The revelation that Joseph was @natsecwonk came as a shock because Joseph was a familiar figure in the foreign policy world – as is his wife Carolyn Leddy, a highly-regarded staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin.

 

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Family Survival Protocol – Microcosm News

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The Hill

RNC warns networks: Drop Clinton movies or lose 2016 GOP debates

By Jonathan Easley 08/05/13 11:49 AM ET 
 
 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to pull the group’s partnership with NBC and CNN for 2016 GOP presidential primary debates if the networks moved ahead with plans to air films on Hillary Clinton.

“If they have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor,” Preibus said in a statement.

In individual letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Priebus called the documentaries “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”

“This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton … and to the Republican nominee should Clinton compete in the general election,” Preibus wrote.

The RNC chairman cited executives and employees from both networks who have been “generous supporters” of Clinton and the Democrats.

 

 

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Cable from Chris Stevens was chock full of reports on regional violence, concerns about local security capabilities
  January 22, 2013 | BY John Solomon
Washington Guardian
Why It Matters:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a farewell appearance before Congress to address questions about the Benghazi terror attack last Sept. 11, and likely will be confronted by the very warning her ambassador from Libya sent just hours before his death.

Just hours before he died in a terrorist attack at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Ambassador Chris Stevens sent a cable to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton painting a chaotic, violent portrait of the eastern Libya city and warning that local militias were threatening to pull the security they afforded U.S. officials.

Militia leaders told U.S. officials just two days before the attack that they were angered by U.S. support of a particular candidate for Libyan prime minister and warned “they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a critical function they asserted they were currently providing,” Stevens wrote in the cable the morning of Sept. 11, 2012.  He also cited several other episodes that raised questions about the reliability of local Libya security.

“Growing problems with security would discourage foreign investment and led to persistent economic stagnation in eastern Libya,” Stevens cautioned.

The Washington Guardian obtained a copy of the memo, a weekly summary of events in Libya dated just hours before a band of terrorists struck the unofficial U.S. consulate in Benghazi and a neaby annex building where the CIA operated, killing the ambassador and three other Americans.

Stevens’ cable is likely to become a central focus of congressional hearings that begin Wednesday — hearings where Clinton will be pressed to explain why security for diplomats in the region wasn’t increased in the weeks before the attack and why so much reliance was placed on local security forces with dubious loyalties.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee led by its new chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., is leading the investigation in that chamber, while the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee chaired by Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has its own hearing.

Among the questions lawmakers in both parties are likely to probe is why the State Department turned down a request in August that a special military security team extend its stay in the region, and why U.S. officials relied so heavily on local security tied to militias, a concern Stevens himself had flagged.

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Hillary Clinton Testifies at Benghazi Attack Hearing: Cites Lack of Funding in Global Outposts

Bombshell: Clinton Ordered More Security In Benghazi, Obama Denied Request

Published on Oct 26, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered additional security for the U.S. mission in Benghazi ahead of the terrorist attack but the orders were never carried out, according to “legal counsel” to Clinton who spoke to best-selling author Ed Klein. Those same sources also say former President Bill Clinton has been “urging” his wife to release official State Department documents that prove she called for additional security at the compound in Libya, which would almost certainly result in President Obama losing the election.

OBAMA CONFRONTED ON BENGHAZI – Stutters Through Response

Chaffetz: State Dept Hiding Benghazi Survivors

Published on Dec 14, 2012

Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R- UT) says he has been “thwarted” by the State Department from seeing any Americans who survived the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Many people forget that there were Americans who survived the Benghazi attack, some of whom were badly injured and are still recovering.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/12/12/Chaffetz-Benghazi-State-Dept

Only Suspect Held for Benghazi Consulate Attack Released

Published on Jan 8, 2013

Dozens of people may have been involved in Sept. 11 attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but authorities have been unable to identify them from the security tapes. Gwen Ifill talk to McClatchy Newspapers’ Nancy Youssef about efforts in Libya to find the attackers.

Beyond Benghazi: Partisan Rift over Susan Rice Ignores Record on War, Africa and Keystone XL

Published on Dec 12, 2012

DemocracyNow.org – We look at the ongoing debate surrounding the potential appointment of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as the successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. For weeks, Republicans have campaigned against Rice, accusing her of misleading the public about the deadly September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. We’re joined by Ray McGovern, a former senior CIA analyst who argues Rice’s nomination should be opposed not over Benghazi, but for her record while serving under the Clinton and Obama administrations, as well her financial interests in the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

To watch the entire weekday independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, search our vast archive, or to find more information about Democracy Now! and Amy Goodman, visit http://www.democracynow.org.

Susan Rice: Keystone pipeline Secretary of State?

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has been under fire lately over the Benghazi attacks and many critics claim she mislead the American people with the details of the incident. There are reports alleging that Rice might be appointed the Secretary of State and many have questioned her ability to handle the job. But is the mainstream media focusing on the wrong thing? Will her investments pose a conflict of interest? Michael Brooks, producer for The Majority Report, brings us more on Rice.

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