Idiotic Backlash: "Of the 41 percent of Republicans who consider Benghazi to be the worst political scandal in American history, 39 percent are unaware that Benghazi is located in Libya. 10 percent said it's in Egypt, 9 percent in Iran, 6 percent in Cuba, 5 percent in Syria, 4 percent in Iraq, and 1 percent in North Korea and Liberia."

41 percent of Republicans believe Benghazi is the worst political scandal in American history, but nearly half don’t know where it is.
Standing His Ground: Democratic Congressman Refuses To Let Republicans Ignore GOP Security Budget Cuts In New Benghazi Hearing

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) blasted Republican efforts to renew questions into the Benghazi embassy attacks this week. As a member of the committee that will once again be hearing testimony on the attacks, Lynch categorically dismissed the persistent claim that the White House failed to provide adequate security at the Benghazi embassy. In a heated […]

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) blasted Republican efforts to renew questions into the Benghazi embassy attacks this week. As a member of the committee that will once again be hearing testimony on the attacks, Lynch categorically dismissed the persistent claim that the White House failed to provide adequate security at the Benghazi embassy.

In a heated exchange on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Lynch pointed out that Republicans voted against additional funding for embassy security when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested it:

LYNCH: When Secretary Clinton and the State Department asked for additional funding for embassy security, [Republicans] all voted no. They all voted no.

WALLACE: We’re getting a little bit off track now. I understand there’s an issue about security. It’s a little bit off the track. I want to stay on course here –

LYNCH: No, this is the point. They’re complaining about a lack of security at the embassies after they voted against funding for security at the embassies. Is that not related?

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a primary driver of these new hearings, was one of the lawmakers who voted to cut nearly $300 million from the embassy security budget. Chaffetz shot back that funding had “nothing to do” with security. In the past, Chaffetz has defended his vote to cut funding by saying it wasn’t a priority.

Republicans who voted against funding have tried to claim that the Department of Defense was responsible for security, not the State Department. However, a State Department review of the attacks emphasized the need for more funding to prevent new security threats.

Clinton repeated her call for more funding during Benghazi hearings in January. Belatedly, House Republicans announced support for restored embassy security funding in order to off-set sequestration budget cuts.

Police Leader Who Smeared Black Lives Matter Tied to ‘White Power’-Related Biker Gang

Lt. Bob Kroll stands accused of wearing “white power” badge and brutally beating people of color.

June 2 2016

The head of the Minneapolis Police Officer’s Federation has claimed that activists from the city’s Black Lives Matter movement comprises a “terrorist organization.” But a closer look at Lieutenant Bob Kroll’s record indicates that he is the one who poses a danger to the public, with a past marred in accusations of racist violence and attitudes, including charges from fellow police officers that he once wore a “white power” badge on his motorcycle jacket.

Kroll’s outrageous statement about local civil rights protesters is part of a wider of pattern of incorporating war on terror-style rhetoric to demonize local African-American activists and politicians, even comparing them to the Islamic extremists who attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Such devices have also been routinely used across the country to criminalize Muslim-American communities, which face suspicionless surveillance, profiling and entrapment at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Kroll described Black Lives Matter as a band of terrorists. He made the remarks in reference to public outrage and protest over white police officers’ killing of unarmed 24-year-old African-American man Jamar Clark on November 15, 2015. Clark was shot by police in the head while handcuffed, according to numerous eye-witnesses. The Department of Justice accouncement on Wednesday that it will not bring civil rights charges against the officers involved, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze.

Read More
13 Benghazis That Occurred on Bush’s Watch Without a Peep from Fox News

Where was your inquest after the Karachi attacks, Mr. Graham? Where were you after the Sana’a attacks, Mr. Hannity? What about all of the embassy attacks in Iraq that I didn’t even list here, Mr. McCain?

The Republican inquisition over the attacks against Americans in Benghazi has never really gone away, but it appears as though in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the House Oversight Committee’s Benghazi hearings this week there’s renewed psycho-histrionics over Benghazi.

Lindsey Graham and Fox News Channel in particular are each crapping their cages over new allegations from an alleged whistleblower, while they continue to deal in previously debunked falsehoods about the sequence of events during and following the attacks. Fox News is predictably helming the biggest raft of hooey on the situation — turning its attention to Hillary Clinton in an abundantly obvious early move to stymie her presidential run before it even begins.

So I thought I’d revisit some territory I covered back in October as a bit of a refresher — especially since it appears as if no one, including and especially the traditional press, intends to ask any of these obnoxious, opportunistic liars about why they’re so obsessed by this one attack yet they entirely ignored the dozen-plus consulate/embassy attacks that occurred when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were allegedly “keeping us safe.”

The Benghazi attacks (the consulate and the CIA compound) are absolutely not unprecedented even though they’re being treated that way by Republicans who are deliberately ignoring anything that happened prior to Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009.

January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.

June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.

October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.

February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.

May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.

July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.

December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.

March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)

September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.

January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.

March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.

July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.

September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.

A few observations about this timeline. My initial list was quoted from an article on the Daily Kos which actually contained several errors and only 11 attacks (the above timeline contains all 13 attacks). Also, my list above doesn’t include the numerous and fatal attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during the Iraq war — a war that was vocally supported by Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Fox News Channel.

Speaking of Graham, I ran a search on each attack along with the name “Lindsey Graham” in the hopes of discovering that Graham had perhaps commented about the attacks or raised some questions about why the administration didn’t prevent the attacks or respond accordingly to prevent additional embassy attacks. No results. Of course. Now, this could mean the search wasn’t exhaustive enough. But one thing’s for sure: neither Graham nor any of his cohorts launched a crusade against the Bush administration and the State Department in any of those cases — no one did, including the congressional Democrats, by the way.

This leads us to the ultimate point here. Not only have numerous sources previously debunked the Benghazi information being peddled by the Republicans and Fox News (for example, contrary to what the Republicans are saying, yes, reinforcements did in fact arrive before the attack on the CIA compound), but none of these people raised a single word of protest when, for example, American embassies in Yemen and Pakistan were attacked numerous times. Why didn’t the Bush administration do something to secure the compounds after the first attacks? Why didn’t he provide additional security?

Where was your inquest after the Karachi attacks, Mr. Graham? Where were you after the Sana’a attacks, Mr. Hannity? What about all of the embassy attacks in Iraq that I didn’t even list here, Mr. McCain? Do you realize how many people died in attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates when Bush was supposedly keeping us safe, Mr. Ailes? Just once I’d like to hear David Gregory or George Stephanopoulos or Wolf Blitzer ask a Republican member of Congress about the above timeline and why they said nothing at the time of each attack. Just once.

Nearly every accusation being issued about Benghazi could’ve been raised about the Bush era attacks, and yet these self-proclaimed truth-seekers refused to, in their words, undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were in harm’s way (a line they repeated over and over again during those years).

So we’re only left to conclude the obvious. The investigations and accusations and conspiracy theories are entirely motivated by politics and a strategy to escalate this to an impeachment trial. In doing so, the Republicans have the opportunity not only to crush the president’s second term, but also to sabotage the potential for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Even if they never arrive at that goal, they have in their possession a cudgel formed of horseshit — a means of flogging the current administration with the singularly effective Republican marketing/noise machine, including the conservative entertainment complex. Very seldom does this machine fail to revise history and distort the truth. Ultimately, they don’t even need a full-blown impeachment proceeding when they have a population of way too many truthers and automatons who take all of these lies at face value — not to mention dubiously sourced chunks of “truth” proffered by radio and cable news conspiracy theorists who, if nothing else, are masters at telling angry conservatives precisely what they want to hear: that the probably-Muslim president is weak on terrorism. And so they’ll keep repeating “Benghazi-Gate, Benghazi-Gate, Benghazi-Gate!” without any regard for history or reality. Like always.
Hillary Clinton And George Bush’s Testimony On Terrorist Attacks, Compared
There's a surprising disparity between the amount of time spent asking questions about Benghazi and 9/11.

The Select Committee On Benghazi ran all day Thursday, until 9:00 p.m. Former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton spent just over eight hours of the day fielding questions about Sidney Blumenthal, her emails, and the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

“Benghazi mom” Patricia Smith, and how the Trump campaign is exploiting her, explained
External image
Floundering in the polls and desperately searching for a way to rattle his rival, Donald Trump has invited Patricia Smith, the grieving mother of one of the Americans killed in the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to attend tonight’s presidential debate as his guest and sit where Hillary Clinton is likely to see her. Smith has accused Clinton of lying about the Benghazi attack and said she holds the former secretary of state personally responsible for her son’s death. Trump has also reportedly invited Lydie Denier, a model and actress who was briefly engaged to Ambassador Chris Stevens (who was also killed in Benghazi) back in 1995. Read more

the same people who keep hillary paid also arm and fund al qaeda

Benghazi Bonanza: Three Whistleblowers Testify Before House Committee & Recount Events Surrounding Terrorist Attack At Libya Consulate

The No. 2 diplomat in Libya during the Benghazi attack testified Wednesday that he and many others knew the Sept. 11 assault was terrorism from the moment it happened, and he was shocked when the Obama administration said otherwise.

“I was stunned,” said Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya. “My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed.”

Hicks was referring to statements by his own State Department and the White House, which insisted for days afterward that the attack emerged from a spontaneous mob angry over an anti-Islam video.

Hicks was the first person who was in Libya during the attack to testify publicly before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the Obama’s administration’s handling of security in Libya and response to the attack.

Hicks said he felt he was subject to retaliation for criticizing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s appearances on talk shows five days later in which she insisted the attack emerged from a protest against an anti-Islam video gone awry. Several days later, the State Department acknowledged there was no protest and it was a terrorist attack.

Under Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones “told me I had to improve my management style and that some people were upset,” Hicks testified

When Hicks returned to Washington for the funeral of ambassador Chris Stevens, who died along with three other Americans in the attack, Jones “gave me a blistering critique of my management style,” he said.

Hicks, who now works as a State foreign affairs officer for government affairs, says has been “effectively demoted from deputy chief of mission to desk officer.”

“I am a career public servant,” Hicks said. “Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job.”

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the families of the victims “deserve answers.” But Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the oversight committee, accused Republicans of using the witnesses for “political purposes.”

He challenged some of their claims, such as that the U.S. military could have responded sooner to the attack.

“Our top military commanders have already testified they did everything in their power, they did the best in their capacity,” Cummings said.

The testimony included an emotional retelling by Hicks of the night of the attack. Hicks had to halt his testimony mid-sentence when discussing the death of Stevens. As soon as he heard of trouble in Benghazi he called back a previous incoming call on his phone he did not recognize. Stevens answered and told him, “We are under attack.”

Hicks never heard from the ambassador again.

Another witness, Eric Nordstrom, the former regional security officer in Libya, said he came forward to get the truth out.

“It matters to me personally and it matters to my colleagues at the Department of State,” he said. “It matters to the American public for whom we serve, and most importantly it matters to the friends, the family” of those killed.

Hicks said he called the State Department in Washington at 10 p.m. to tell them what was happening and that diplomatic security agents were trying to mount a rescue.

Hicks, who was Stevens’ second in-command in Libya and was left in charge after Stevens’ death, testified about a night of chaos while he and other embassy staff tried to rescue, locate and extract the missing ambassador and to defend and evacuate all U.S. personnel from Benghazi.

WHITE HOUSE: Benghazi hearing covers old ground

Hicks quickly learned that the consulate had been breached and there were at least 20 armed men in the compound. The person in charge of a second U.S. compound in Benghazi, known as the annex, said he was putting together a response team to go to the compound and repel the attack.

A series of phone calls followed to seek help from Libyan politicians and military officials, and to the State Department in Washington to inform officials there of what was going on.

“I also spoke to the annex chief about organizing a Tripoli response team and we agreed to charter a flight to send a response team from Tripoli to bring reinforcements,” Hicks said.

Before long, embassy workers learned that “the ambassador was in a hospital controlled by Ansar al-Sharia, the group whose twitter feed said it was leading the attack on the consulate,” Hicks said.

Hicks said he received several phone calls about the ambassador saying “you can come get the ambassador, we know where he is,” but Hicks was worried about “wading into a trap.” Then he said they saw on the same twitter feed as before that Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda-linked terror group, “was calling on an attack on our embassy in Tripoli.”

Embassy personnel in Tripoli started making preparations to protect themselves, he said.

Hicks told committee staffers prior to Wednesday’s hearing that he pushed for a stronger military response to an attack. He said he was rebuffed by Washington, according to excerpts of interview transcripts provided by the House oversight committee.

Hicks said he asked twice whether an F-16 or some other “fast-mover” aircraft could fly over the battlefield with hopes it would scatter the attackers.

“I talked with the defense attache, Lt. Col. Keith Phillips, and I asked him, ‘Is there anything coming?’

According to Hicks’ account, Phillips said the nearest fighter planes were in Aviano, Italy, and it would take two to three hours to get them airborne, and there were no tanker assets close enough to support them. Hicks said when he asked again, before the 5:15 a.m. mortar attack that killed State Department former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. But the answer was no again. Also killed was State Department employee Sean Smith.

A four-man team of military Special Forces was in Tripoli was organized, geared up and about to drive to a C-130 aircraft, to help those in Benghazi when its commander, Lt. Col. Gibson, was ordered to stop by his superiors, Hicks said.

"He got a phone call from SOCAFRICA (Special Operations Command Africa) which said, you can’t go now, you don’t have authority to go now,” Hicks said. “They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

Hicks said Gibson told him: “I have never been so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger balls than somebody in the military.” DC OK’D

Maj. Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday there was never any kind of stand-down order. Firman said the military is trying to assess the incident Hicks is referring to, but the aircraft in question wound up evacuating a second wave of Americans from Benghazi to Tripoli, not transporting rescuers to a firefight.

The Department of Defense “responded in every way it could as quickly as it could and we were coordinating with the Department of State every step of the way,” he said.

Hicks repeated that the troops “were told not to get on that airplane” to Benghazi.

“My reaction was OK, we’re going to have to pull this off with the resources we had available,” Hicks said.

Committee member Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he expected the witnesses to show how the country was mislead by the Obama administration about the events leading up to the attack in Libya and the handling of it afterward.

“Hopefully we’ll get closer to the truth,” Chaffetz said Wednesday.

But the State Department said the allegations are refuted by the report of an Administrative Review Board appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to investigate the attack and its aftermath.

“The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time given the speed of the attacks for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference,” according to a statement released by State, citing the report. “Senior-level interagency discussions were underway soon after Washington received initial word of the attacks and continued through the night.”

A Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) that has been activated in past threats to diplomats was not done in the case of Benghazi. Chaffetz suggests it was not activated because the Obama administration did not want to publicly acknowledge that the U.S. consulate was under attack by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

The attack happened just weeks before the re-election bid of President Obama, whose campaign had been making the claim that al-Qaeda had been largely defeated. The State Department statement released Wednesday says the FEST was not activated because it would not have arrived in Libya in time to make any difference.

“These witnesses have information that has not previously come forward because the administration has tried to suppress it,” said Frederick Hill, spokesman for the oversight committee. “The testimony of the former deputy chief of mission directly contradicts statements made by high-ranking officials.”

Recent memos obtained by the Weekly Standard say that the CIA informed the White House the attack on the U.S. consulate was a coordinated assault by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists, but the White House and State Department publicly blamed the attack on a spontaneous mob angered over an anti-Islam video and claimed the reports of terrorists was not learned until later.

While it was clear from the start that terrorists were involved, Hicks said, that information was scrubbed from talking points memos distributed by the White House, according to the witnesses and investigations conducted by various Republican-led committees in the House.

We Basically Knew What The “Whistleblowers” Said Months Ago

Sorry, Michelle Malkin, this is not part of Operation Smear Benghazi Whistleblowers, but one particular line of questioning in Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on last year’s Benghazi attacks may represent just what happens when you keep travelling down the same rabbit hole. During an emotional day on the witness stand that otherwise went pretty much as expected — the first ground-level witness to testify had been expected to say that he was bullied into staying quiet, in addition to offering a tick-tock of that violent evening, when forces were told to stand down — Gregory Hicks got more or less forced into a corner.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) asked the former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Libya about a conversation Hicks had with ambassador Chris Stevens while the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under siege. That conversation took place, as Hicks testified, during the attack on Stevens’s villa and was one of the last phone calls of Stevens’s life; Hicks described it before the committee as the saddest of his.

Hicks described Stevens’s words during the call:

Greg, we’re under attack.

Gowdy then presented Hicks with with a speculative line of questioning, clearly in reference to the now-famous Susan Rice Sunday talk-show talking points. Gowdy asked about the reported demonstration at Stevens’s villa and how the State Department initially connected it to violence that spurred from protests in Cairo, which were spurred by the Innocence of Muslims film. So Gowdy tied it all together around a frantic phone call while “under attack.” Indeed, Gowdy posed quite the hypothetical:

Gowdy: Would a highly decorated career diplomat have told you, or Washington, had there been a demonstration outside his facility that day?

Hicks: Yes, sir, he would have.

Gowdy: Did he [Amb. Stevens] mention one word about a protest?

Hicks: No, sir, he did not.

Of course, that’s all speculation and opinion from a former officer in charge of the embassy in Tripoli — a whistleblower whose advice apparently went unheeded back in Benghazi and, apparently, in Washington. But it’s spinning a lot of plates at once for a man who, at that point in the hearing, was trying to recount a lethal incident, a sad phone call, an important moment. The idea that Stevens, in what Gowdy called “a dying declaration,” would have misreported something that happened earlier in the day, or what was up with that YouTube video — or even bothered to rattle off that information — well, it’s not exactly wrong. As the State Department said in the month following the attack, there was no evidence of a protest. But it does make you wonder if this hearing, titled “Benghazi: Exposing Failure and Recognizing Courage,” is a little more focused on the exposing part than the courage part.

External image

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) made very clear his displeasure with Congressional Republicans for airing out these “whistleblower” testimonies in the media — and then airing them out some more when it came time for actual questioning. Those remarks garnered him a side pretty great side eye from Darrell Issa (R-California), the committee chair.

But none of the speculation, or the grandstanding, or the careful and emotional testimony from Hicks and his fellow chief whistleblower Mark Thompson taught us much of anything new about what’s been out there for the last six months or so: that Republicans are very concerned with Susan Rice’s talking points, that conservatives are concerned that the administration didn’t just do a bad job telling us what happened last September 11th but willfully misled the public (also: Hillary). The dramatic questioning of Hicks over the sad phone call didn’t shed any light on other new realities — like how Hicks missed two calls from Stevens during the attack, or why the defense official Hicks was speaking to had a completely different timeline over reinforcements than did the U.S.’s top military officials. And maybe that’s the saddest part of all: True sadness was, today on Capitol Hill, trumped by ignorance of sadness and the willful stuffing of words into a dead man’s mouth.

GOP Star Witnesses Debunk Right-Wing Benghazi Propaganda

The “whistleblowers” at today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on what really happened in Benghazi, Libya last September were supposed to break the dam that would lead to President Obama’s eventual downfall, in the eyes of conservatives. Instead, these witness actually served to debunk several theories that the right-wing has pushed on Benghazi, leaving the hearing a fizzle for the GOP:

1. F-16s could have been sent to Benghazi

Part of the prevailing theory surrounding the events the night of the Benghazi attacks is that the Obama administration did not do enough militarily to respond to the crisis. Gregory Hicks — a Foreign Service Officer and the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya — claimed during his pre-hearing testimony that fighter jets could have been flown over Benghazi, preventing the second wave of the attack from occurring.

Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) questioned that statement, asking Hicks whether he disagreed with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey’s assessment that no air assets were in range the night of the attack. Hicks didn’t disagree, saying he was “speaking from [his] perspective” and what “veteran Libyan revolutionaries” told him, rather than Pentagon assessments.

2. Hillary Clinton signed cables denying additional security to Benghazi

House Republicans came to the conclusion in their interim report on Benghazi that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to them about what she knew and when during her testimony this January. This includes her statement that at no time was she aware of requests for additional security at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi prior to the attack.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) used her time to take issue with this claim, asking all three witnesses about standard protocol for cables leaving the State Department. All three agreed with Maloney, that the Secretary of State’s name is placed at the bottom of all outgoing cables and telegrams from Foggy Bottom, whether the Secretary has viewed them or not, shooting down the GOP claim.

3. A Special Forces Team that could have saved lives was told to stand down

One of the most shocking reveals in the lead-up to today’s hearing was that a team of Special Forces in Tripoli were told not to deploy to Benghazi during the attack. That decision has led to an uproar on the right, including claims of dereliction of duty towards Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey for not taking actions that could have saved lives.

During questioning, Hicks confirmed that the team was ready to be deployed — not to join the fighting at the CIA annex — but “to secure the airport for the withdrawal of our personnel from Benghazi after the mortar attack.” Hicks also confirmed that it was the second such team to be readied for deployment, with the first having proceeded to Benghazi earlier. Despite the second team not deploying, the staff was all evacuated first to Tripoli, then to Germany, within 18 hours of the attack taking place.

4. The State Department’s Accountability Review Board isn’t legitimate

Republicans have been attacking the State Department’s official in-house review of the shortcomings seen before, during, and after the assault in Benghazi. That criticism prompted House Republicans to write their own report. When asked point blank about the recommendations of the Board, however, the witnesses didn’t cooperate with the GOP narrative. “Absolutely,” Eric Nordstrom, the Regional Security Officer for Libya prior to the assault in Benghazi, answered when asked if he believes implementing the recommendations would improve security. “I had an opportunity to review that along with other two committee reports. I think taken altogether, they’re fairly comprehensive and reasonable.” Hicks, when questioned, said that while he had some issues with the process by which the Board gathered its information, he demurred on criticizing the report itself.

[USA Today / The Atlantic Wire / ThinkProgress]

It's Official: Those Bogus Email Leaks On Benghazi Came From Republicans

It’s not as if we didn’t know this already, but today Major Garrett made it official: last week’s leaks that misquoted the Benghazi emails came directly from Republicans. Here’s the report on the CBS Evening News:

On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes: “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. But it turns out that in the actual email, Rhodes did not mention the State Department.

….Republicans also provided what they said was a quote from an email written by State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland. The Republican version quotes Nuland discussing, "The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.” The actual email from Nuland says: “The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.”

The CIA agreed with the concerns raised by the State Department and revised the talking points to make them less specific than the CIA’s original version, eliminating references to al Qaeda and affiliates and earlier security warnings. There is no evidence that the White House orchestrated the changes.

So here’s what happened. Republicans in Congress saw copies of these emails two months ago and did nothing with them. It was obvious that they showed little more than routine interagency haggling. Then, riding high after last week’s Benghazi hearings, someone got the bright idea of leaking two isolated tidbits and mischaracterizing them in an effort to make the State Department look bad. Apparently they figured it was a twofer: they could stick a shiv into the belly of the White House and they could then badger them to release the entire email chain, knowing they never would.

But it was typical GOP overreach. To their surprise, the White House took Republicans up on their demand to make the entire email chain public, thus making it clear to the press that they had been burned. And now reporters are letting us all know who was behind it.

This has always been the Republican Party’s biggest risk with this stuff: that they don’t know when to quit. On Benghazi, when it became obvious that they didn’t have a smoking gun, they got desperate and tried to invent one. On the IRS, their problem is that Democrats are as outraged as they are. This will force them to make ever more outrageous accusations in an effort to find some way to draw a contrast. And on the AP phone records, they have to continually dance around the fact that they basically approve of subpoenas like this.

A sane party would take a deep breath and decide to move on to other things. But the tea partiers have the scent of blood now, and it’s driving them crazy. Thus the spectacle of Michele Bachmann suggesting today that it’s time to start impeachment proceedings.

The GOP’s adults can’t keep their lunatic fringe on a leash, which means it’s only a matter of time until they make fools of themselves on all three of the pseudoscandals that are currently lighting up the airwaves. The Republicans have met the enemy, and it is them.
Oh, Come The Fuck On: GOP Senator: Hillary Clinton Faked Emotional Outburst At Benghazi Hearing

On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an emotional testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Benghazi terror attacks, tearing up as she described the “flag draped coffins” of the victims. Clinton lost patience when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) pushed her on whether or not she had immediately determined the motivation of the attacks, leading the senator to accuse her of ducking questions with “theatrics.”

In an instantly viral outburst, Clinton shot back, “The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”

After the hearing, Johnson complained to Buzzfeed that Clinton had planned to become emotional as a way to avoid answering questions:

I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question. I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.

Johnson also gave an interview on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ after the hearing, blasting Clinton’s “theatrics.” He speculated that “she didn’t want to answer questions so she makes a big show of it.”

Many Republicans, including former UN envoy John Bolton, accused Clinton of faking a concussion last month to avoid testifying about Benghazi. Clinton was hospitalized for several days after doctors discovered a blood clot induced by her concussion. A full 40 percent of Republicans believed Clinton’s illness was fabricated.
They Love The Way They Lie: Right-Wing Media Invents New Benghazi Conspiracy Theory: Top Intelligence Official Is A Liar

The Republicans’ new focus of attack in the faux “Benghazi-gate” scandal is Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, claiming that he lied about the source of changes to talking points on the Benghazi attack given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Yesterday, a DNI spokesperson debunkedaccusations made by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and other Republicans that the White House changed Rice’s Benghazi talking points, saying that it was the intelligence community that made the “substantive” changes to the talking points. Moreover, former CIA head David Petraeus and other top intelligence officials have said there was no politicization of the process and that the talking points were not altered to minimize the role of extremists but to reflect the best intelligence at the time.

McCain appeared to accept the new information but wondered why Clapper and other DNI officials did not provide this information during closed door hearings last week. And now that all their earlier attacks on Rice have fell apart, Republicans and conservative media figures are directing their attacks at Clapper, a George W. Bush appointee:

– BILL O’REILLY: Now it’s James Clapper, President Obama’s national security guy who is saying, “Oh, it’s me. I sent Rice out there and I took out all the al Qaeda stuff.” I’m not buying it. None of this adds up. … All right so there’s a lot of lying going on here.

– CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I’m not buying it because the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said that a week ago in classified testimony that same Clapper said that they had no idea who changed the talking points and now a week later he seems to say he did? That’s kind of strange. I mean I’ve seen amnesia in my day in my clinical days and that one is pretty quick, one week.

– TUCKER CARLSON: I hate to think that the director of National Intelligence lied, is a liar. But I’m not sure I see an alternate explanation. Apparently, he’s contradicting what he testified to just last week. Is there another explanation for this?”

– FOX NEWS’ STEVE DOOCY: They did say it is out of the [DNI] office. It’s not him per se, so we’re supposed to believe that a Clapper aide changed what Petraeus had said? That’s very, very curious.

– REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): This is the head of our national intelligence and he changed his mind within the course of 24 hours. So how are you possibly going to have any confidence in what he says?

And while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) didn’t call Clapper a liar, he told Fox News’ Stuart Varney that he now might be involved in the alleged cover up:

GINGREY: Now have you got someone who basically can trump the CIA, especially if the president says to him — I am not suggesting that he did, but he could have — look, James, we need to kind of clean this up a little bit.. We are doing really well. We’re right about time for the election and we are doing very well on national security and this could blow our cover.

Watch the video compilation of the attacks against Clapper:

The right wing has spent months trying to bring down the Obama administration in politicization the attacks in Benghazi that left four Americans dead and after all of theirconspiracy theories and baseless attacks have been debunked, the rabbit hole appears to have led to Clapper and who knows where it will end.

The Benghazi Show: A Show In Need of Cancellation

House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa knows how to put on a show. Issa teased his Wednesday congressional hearing on Benghazi like a movie, tweeting movie poster-style photos with the hearing date and his face, as if he were an action star (right). The hearing was packed with emotional testimony from former State Department officials who were there the night the American consulate was attacked. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz even started crying (below left) late in the afternoon as he questioned the witnesses, who, at that moment, were not crying. The Washington Post’s Ernesto Londoño describes it as “a riveting account of that frantic night." Politico’s Ginger Gibson said the "dramatic and personal stories… injected real emotion” into the hearing. “Do you hear the pain and the sadness?” Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday. However, the hearing offered little to prove a coverup of nefarious acts by the Obama administration. We already knew an anti-Islam movie did not inspire the attack. We already knew the consulate had requested more security.

External image
That is not to say there was no new information in the hearings. Gregory Hicks, who was deputy chief of mission at the time of the Benghazi attack, provided new details about what happened that night and the struggle to find Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died of smoke inhalation after the safe house was set on fire. Hicks spoked with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. the night of the attack — she asked if they needed more resources, and Hicks said yes. He said he could not remember if Clinton asked who caused the attack. Hicks explained Clinton wanted to make the Benghazi consulate converted into a permanent constituent post, and so Stevens had to go there before the start of the fiscal year September 30, 2012, he said. Even though the British closed their diplomatic post, Hicks believes “we needed to stay there as a symbolic gesture to a people we saved” during the Libyan revolution. 

But the two most potentially damning parts of Hicks’s testimony did not give House Republicans clean blows. First, Hicks was “furious” the military would not send a team of four Special Operations soldiers from Tripoli to Benghazi after the attacks. The Pentagon says “there was nothing this team could have done to assist during the second attack in Benghazi,” The Washington Post reports. The American mission was attacked in two waves — the first at 9:45 p.m., after which a six-man security team was sent from Tripoli. The second attack was at about 5:15 a.m., and in it, two members of the security team were killed by mortar fire.

Second, Hicks made the case for why Susan Rice’s claim that the attacks were “spontaneous” on September 16 matters. On September 25, Libyan president Mohammed Magarief called the Benghazi attack an “act of terrorism” in an interview with NBC News. Hicks said this was “a gift for us from a policy perspective,” yet Obama administration officials undercut Magarief by saying the assault was inspired by an anti-Islam video that had inspired protests in Cairo the same day. Hicks said:

President Magarief was insulted in front of his own people, in front of the world. His credibility was reduced. His ability to govern was [damaged]. He was angry… He was still steamed about the talk shows two weeks later. I definitely believe it negatively affected our ability to get the FBI team quickly to Benghazi.

But Clinton had called Benghazi a “terrorist attack” for the first time four days earlier, on September 21. As Mother Jones explains, on September 27, two days after Magarief’s interview White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called it a “terrorist attack.” However, it took until October 9 for the State Department to explicitly say the attack had nothing to do with the video.

External image
At times on Wednesday, it was clear the questioners wanted more show than the witnesses. Eric Nordstrom, who was the regional security officer in Libya, had said he felt like the “Taliban” was in the State Department when requests for extra security were denied. When Rep. Jim Jordan asked him about the statement, Norstrom laughed uncomfortably and looked down. It was late in the afternoon, and the questions had stopped being real questions, and started becoming more like speeches. “This hearing is closed, but this investigation is not over,” Issa said at the end. He should hope not — he still hasn’t delivered the smoking gun.
When All Else Fails, Talk About Benghazi: The GOP Has No Ideas on Anything, So They Continue To Talk About Benghazi Like A Broken Record

Congressional Republicans have had little luck convincing anyone other than Fox News and its viewers that there’s something scandalous about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazie. But to keep the story’s momentum going a feedback loop has emerged in which Fox reports something, the House holds hearings on it, and then Fox reports on those hearings.

The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on Benghazi next week that promises to tell us what really happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The hearing appears to be based, at least in part, on Fox News reports claiming the Obama administration is preventing whistleblowers from revealing what really happened. What really happened in Benghazi is a fascinating question – between dozens and hundreds of people attacked the American mission twice with mortar fire, killing four Americans, and maybe did it on the orders of al Qaeda. The initial reports of the incident were full of errors. One such falsehood, that the incident began as a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam YouTube video, was repeated by Susan Rice on Sunday news shows, which ultimately cost her the nomination to be Secretary of State.

But no one thinks (or is saying) that any scandals are lurking in the details of what happened during the attacks. The questions the Benghazi-obsessed among the GOP think are scandals are all about what happened before and after Benghazi. The House GOP’s main questions are whether the Obama administration should have anticipated the attack and done more to stop it and then, after the attacks, used spin to prevent America from freaking out about a terror attack in the final weeks of a presidential election. 

The problem is that while Congressional Republicans are sure that there’s something scandalous about Benghazi, they’ve had little luck convincing anyone other than Fox News and its viewers.  But to keep the momentum going — nothing sinks an agenda-driven story more effectively than when nothing new happening — they have created a feedback loop, in which Fox reports something, the Republican-controlled House holds hearings on it, and then Fox reports on those hearings. Here’s this week’s cycle:

On April 29, Fox reported that four officials at the State Department and CIA were being prevented from whistleblowing on Benghazi. Their lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said “people have been threatened… And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA." Toensing is half of a power couple known for leading investigations into Democrats.

On April 30, a reporter asked Obama at a press conference whether the whistleblowers had been blocked. ”I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody’s been blocked from testifying,“ Obama said. On Fox News that night, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy demanded to know why Obama hadn’t taken action based on the Fox report. Gowdy said:

The president now has known for 12 hours that there was an allegation that whistleblowers are being thwarted or being silenced. So what’s he done in the last 12 hours? Did he call the State Department? Did he call the CIA? …

I know he made a phone call yesterday to a basketball player. Did he make a phone call to the whistleblowers who are trying to expose the murder of four fellow Americans?

External image
On May 1, the House Oversight Committee announced there would be another hearing into Benghazi, apparently based on the Fox report. Committee chair Darrell Issa posted a movie poster-style photo advertising the hearing, at right. (Yes, that is Issa’s blurry face, with his name featured like he’s the Tom Cruise of the Benghazi hearings.) The mystery witnesses would be revealed! Maybe. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz was reluctant to say who would speak when asked by Fox News’s Bill Hemmer. ”We’ll hear from people people who’ve got personal, first-hand knowledge about what actually did happen in Benghazi,“ Chaffetz said, but wouldn’t say who that was. The whistleblowers? Hemmer asked. "I think they will be appearing – some of them, some of them. Again there’s a host of them…. there are different processes, there are different levels at which they’ve come in and spoken with us.”

None of this has clarified what happened in Benghazi. If the whistleblowers feel free to leak their existence to Fox News, why don’t they also leak what they know? So far, the results have been disappointing. Fox reported Tuesday that the “mastermind” of the Benghazi attacks “is walking free in Libya.” The secret source says the U.S. is “sitting on” the information, and that the family of those killed would be really mad if they knew that. But it doesn’t explain why the U.S. would sit on that info. For fun? It’s not like the government has stopped investigating the case. The same day, the FBI released photos of three men who were on the ground during the attacks. CNN reported that law enforcement thinks three or four members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were involved, though it’s not clear whether they were sent to Libya or were already there and saw an opportunity.

Another expose fails to hold up under scrutiny this week. Fox reported that an anonymous “special operations member” claiming that the Obama administration could have saved at least two lives in Benghazi if it had only called a special operations team in Croatia to respond to the attack. The first attack happend at 9:30p.m. Benghazi time, and the second was at 5:45a.m. “We have the ability to load out, get on birds, at a minimum stage,” the source told Fox. “C110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in 4 to 6 hours from their European theater to react. They would have been there before the second attack.”

At Foreign Policy on Friday, Billy Birdzell, a former Marine Corps infantry officer and special operations team leader, explains in a delightfully thorough debunking of that claim. "C-110,“ he explains,  is Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, which is trained as a Commander’s in-Extremis Force to respond to threats in their area. Birdzell gives a detailed explanation for why, even in the most outrageous Hollywood-style scenarios – transporting troops by Avis rental cars, parachuting in to the Benghazi zoo – C-110 could not have gotten there in time to stop the second attack. And if the 40-man team had gotten there in time, they still couldn’t have saved the two lives, because they would have been armed with rifles and light-machine guns, which do not stop mortars.

"The person in the interview is a clown and I am incredibly disappointed in the news for not using Google,” Birdzell writes. The military is huge and complex. Knowing a few good acronyms can take you a long way on Fox News.
BREAKING: GOP House Intelligence Committee Report Finds No Obama Administration Wrongdoing

The House Intelligence Committee just concluded a nearly two-year investigation on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and finds no wrongdoing by the Obama Administration – destroying all claims by Tea Party and conservative activists.

In a stunning rebuke to its base, the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted to declassify on Thursday the results of its nearly two-year, $3.3 million taxpayer-paid investigation on the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, finding no intentional wrongdoing by President Barack Obama, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or by the Obama administration. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, a Democrat, “said the report ‘confirms that no one was deliberately misled, no military assets were withheld and no stand-down order (to U.S. forces) was given.’”

Among the Intelligence Committee’s findings, according to Thompson:

– Intelligence agencies were “warned about an increased threat environment, but did not have specific tactical warning of an attack before it happened.”

– “A mixed group of individuals, including those associated with al Qaeda, (Moammar) Khadafy loyalists and other Libyan militias, participated in the attack.”

– “There was no 'stand-down order’ given to American personnel attempting to offer assistance that evening, no illegal activity or illegal arms transfers occurring by U.S. personnel in Benghazi, and no American was left behind.”

– The administration’s process for developing “talking points” was “flawed, but the talking points reflected the conflicting intelligence assessments in the days immediately following the crisis.”

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the attacks.

The Tea Party, Republicans, and conservatives have spent nearly two years claiming the Obama administration committed treason, were at the center of a massive cover-up, and have propagated many other falsehoods and conspiracy theories that have been officially rebuked by this report and several other official government investigations, most led, ironically, by Republicans.

Meanwhile, Republicans will start yet another series of hearings, led by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, trying g once again to prove that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were somehow to blame for the deaths of four Americans.

For a look at Tea Party memes of Benghazi, including Obama hang nooses, see our compilation on Storify.

Watch on

Not An Onion Video of the Day: Saturday Night Live Airs Sketch That Offends The Four Families of The Victims of the Benghazi Libya Consulate Attacks, The Family of Jodi Aria’s Murder Victim Travis Alexander, and The Three Victims of the Cleveland OH Kidnappings And Their Families In A Sketch That Lasts Less Than Five Minutes

I’ll let this one speak for itself…I am speechless!

-Hillary is ‘Dead Broke’

-Rakes in Big Money from Two Goldman Sachs Speeches in One Week - $200k/per speech

-Paid $450,000 to give the keynote address for the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

-CIA ‘running arms smuggling team in Benghazi(, Libya) when consulate was attacked’

-Report: US Allowed Arming of al Qaeda Militants During Benghazi

-US special forces oversee shipment of military weapons from Benghazi to al Qaeda in Syria

-CFR: Thankful for al Qaeda assistance in attempted overthrow of Assad in Syria

-When asked about Benghazi incident:  “What difference does it make??”

-Libya thrown into ‘lawlessness and ruin’ since US intervention..

-IG Report: $6 Billion Misplaced..

-Struggles to list accomplishments during tenure as Secretary of State