Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 17 May '13 07:55
    From Time Magazine, May 16, 2013

    Three Lessons from the Benghazi Emails

    The 100 pages of emails about Benghazi released by the White House on Tuesday evening provide a fascinating glimpse at the machinations of national security officials working under stress. The exchanges, which hashed out a set of talking points intended for members of Congress to use a few days after the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans, tell us virtually nothing new about the now well-excavated story. But they do underscore a few important points:

    No one doubted a demonstration Every version of the talking points–which were first crafted by the CIA–asserted that a demonstration had occurred at the U.S. compound in Benghazi. “We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault” on the U.S. facilities, read the talking points. (Those facilities included a State Department post and a nearby CIA annex.) Throughout two days of exchanges that involved the CIA, FBI, State Department, and White House, no one ever challenged that claim, and that language survived to the end, even as many other phrases were deleted. It’s worth remembering that demonstrations against a notorious anti-Islamic amateur film actually had occurred in 20 other countries, a likely source of the early confusion. That undercuts the charge that the Obama administration ginned up a narrative about a nonexistent demonstration in Benghazi for political purposes–namely, to avoid explaining why al Qaeda-affiliated radicals were killing Americans in a country where the president had intervened militarily with apparent success. It is true that the final talking points were stripped of references to al Qaeda. But there may have been a reason for that. Early in the process, on the afternoon of Friday, September 14, the CIA’s general counsel warned colleagues about “express instruction” from law enforcement officials that “in light of the criminal investigation, we are not to generate statements about who did this.”

    The CIA made the big changes It’s true, as has been widely reported, that State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland raised the strongest objections to the draft talking points. A charitable interpretation is that Nuland objected to CIA language that cast unfair blame on the State Department for inadequate security at a site which mainly conducted CIA business. Less charitable is that Nuland was reflexively covering for her department, and perhaps for her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (although as a former aide to Dick Cheney, Nuland is no Hillaryland footsoldier). Either way, it was the CIA’s deputy director, Michael Morell, who struck language from the talking points which had detailed his agency’s past warnings about growing security threats in Benghazi. Some press accounts, and skeptical conservatives, focused on the unhappy reaction to the final product by then-CIA Director David Petraeus, who concluded: “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this.” But Petraeus’s lone, brief email doesn’t imply he finds the talking points misleading or outright objectionable. Instead, by noting that a senior member of the House committee that requested them will be unsatisfied, he suggests the document has been watered down to the point of uselessness. (“[T]his is certainly not what Vice Chairman [Dutch] Ruppersberger was hoping to get,” he wrote.) Why Petraeus would not have overruled Morell, however, or overseen the final edits before they were made, remains unclear.

    Susan Rice got hosed The emails show that Obama’s United Nations Ambassador played no role in crafting the talking points that she followed when she appeared on five television talk shows on Sunday September 16. Republicans fixated on that notorious day of TV interviews as evidence that Rice was part of an administration effort to cover up the facts about Benghazi. And when it became clear late last year that President Obama was preparing to tap Rice as his next Secretary of State, Republicans cited Rice’s performance that day as grounds for a promised battle against her nomination. Rice ultimately withdrew her name from consideration for the post, although she may wind up with an even more powerful one as a result.

    http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/16/three-lessons-from-the-benghazi-emails/
  2. Standard member sasquatch672
    Don't Like It Leave
    17 May '13 13:18
    Here's the factual account, liberal fantasies and spin removed, to counter your idiotic posts:

    Redacted truth, subjunctive outrage

    By Charles Krauthammer, Published: May 16

    Note to GOP re Benghazi: Stop calling it Watergate, Iran-contra, bigger than both, etc. First, it might well be, but we don’t know. History will judge. Second, overhyping will only diminish the importance of the scandal if it doesn’t meet presidency-breaking standards. Third, focusing on the political effects simply plays into the hands of Democrats desperately claiming that this is nothing but partisan politics.

    Let the facts speak for themselves. They are damning enough. Let Gregory Hicks, the honorable, apolitical second-in-command that night in Libya, movingly and grippingly demolish the president’s Benghazi mantra that “what I have always tried to do is just get all the facts” and “every piece of information that we got, as we got it, we laid it out for the American people.”

    On the contrary. Far from assiduously gathering and releasing information, the administration was assiduously trying to control and suppress it.

    Just hours into the Benghazi assault, Hicks reports, by phone to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself, on the attack with absolutely no mention of any demonstration or video, later to become the essence of the Susan Rice talking points that left him “stunned” and “embarrassed.” “My jaw dropped,” he testified last week to Congress.

    But Hicks is then ordered not to meet with an investigative congressional delegation — the first time in his 22-year career he had been so ordered. And when he speaks with them nonetheless, he gets a furious call from Clinton’s top aide for not having a State Department lawyer (and informant) present. His questions about the Rice TV statements are met with a stone-cold response, sending the message — don’t go there. He then finds himself demoted.

    Get the facts and get them out? It wasn’t just Hicks. Within 24 hours, the CIA station chief in Libya cabled that it was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous mob. On Day Two, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Near East wrote an e-mail saying the attack was carried out by an al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia.

    What were the American people fed? Four days and 12 drafts later, a fiction about a demonstration that never was, provoked by a video that no one saw (Hicks: “a non-event in Libya&rdquo, about a movie that was never made.

    The original CIA draft included four paragraphs on the involvement of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists and on the dangerous security situation in Benghazi. These paragraphs were stricken after strenuous State Department objections mediated by the White House. All that was left was the fable of the spontaneous demonstration.

    That’s not an accretion of truth. That’s a subtraction of truth.

    And why? Let the deputy national security adviser’s e-mail to the parties explain: “We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities” — fancy bureaucratese for “interests of the government agencies involved.” (He then added — “particularly the investigation.” But the FBI, which was conducting the investigation, had no significant objections. That excuse was simply bogus.)

    Note that he didn’t say the talking points should reflect the truth — only the political interests, the required political cover, of all involved. And the overriding political interest was the need to protect the president’s campaign claim, his main foreign policy plank, that al-Qaeda was vanquished and the tide of war receding.

    But then things got worse — the coverup needed its own coverup. On Nov. 28, press secretary Jay Carney told the media that State and the White House edited nothing but a single trivial word. When the e-mail trail later revealed this to be false, Carney doubled down. Last Friday, he repeated that the CIA itself made the edits after the normal input from various agencies.

    That was a bridge too far for even the heretofore supine mainstream media. The CIA may have typed the final edits. But the orders came from on high. You cannot tell a room full of journalists that when your editor tells you to strike four paragraphs from your text — and you do — there were no edits because you are the one who turned in the final copy.

    The Clintonian wordplay doesn’t stop with Benghazi. Four days after the IRS announced that it discriminated against conservative organizations, Carney said repeatedly in his daily briefing that, if true, the president would be outraged.

    If? By then, the IRS had not only admitted the grievous misconduct but apologized for it — and the president was speaking in the conditional.

    This could be the first case in presidential history of subjunctive outrage. (It turned into ostensibly real outrage upon later release of the Inspector Generalreport.) Add that to the conditional truths — ever changing, ever fading — of Benghazi, and you have a major credibility crisis.

    Note to the White House: Try the truth. It’s easier to memorize.
  3. 17 May '13 17:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Here's the factual account, liberal fantasies and spin removed, to counter your idiotic posts:

    Redacted truth, subjunctive outrage

    By Charles Krauthammer, Published: May 16

    Note to GOP re Benghazi: Stop calling it Watergate, Iran-contra, bigger than both, etc. First, it might well be, but we don’t know. History will judge. Second, overhyping w ...[text shortened]... a major credibility crisis.

    Note to the White House: Try the truth. It’s easier to memorize.
    "I happen to believe that the preemption school is correct, that the risks of allowing Saddam Hussein to acquire his weapons will only grow with time." --Charles Krauthammer


    Being a good writer or good at distortions does not make an honest man or a good analyst or a valid policy expert, that's for sure. The wheel-chaired bound neocon has no idea what he talking about, or if he does have some sense of the truth, he is intentionally lying and distorting. Fluff words. Lies. Distortions.

    As for policy and understanding the world, there are so many necons that blow him away. Besides his ability to write, Charles Krauthammer is a joke. Everyone knows that. Your cite to him weakens your position.
  4. 18 May '13 17:25 / 1 edit
    UPDATE

    With regard to talking points, White House had neutral role and State Department had appropriate role, and CIA was dominant and in control of talking points and revisions.

    No matter how many times the unAmerican right-wingers cry wolf, there is no wolf.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/benghazi-emails-white-house-briefing-intelligence.php

    http://www.businessinsider.com/benghazi-emails-cbs-abc-republicans-obama-hillary-clinton-2013-5
    CBS Calls Out Republicans For Debunked Benghazi Emails

    . . . it's clear that Republican-leaked emails portraying bombshell revelations about the White House's involvement are misleading.

    CBS' Major Garrett called out Republicans for those emails in a report Thursday, saying the GOP-leaked versions of the emails clearly try to downplay the CIA's role in shaping the talking points and place more emphasis on the State Department. . . .

    This aligns with a CNN report from Jake Tapper on Tuesday, which purported that an ABC report of the emails seemingly "invented the notion" that members of the State Department wanted their concerns specifically addressed.

    CBS' Major Garrett calls out GOP over doctored Benghazi emails

    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.... 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.

    http://theweek.com/article/index/244363/watch-cbss-major-garrett-calls-out-gop-over-doctored-benghazi-emails
  5. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    18 May '13 17:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sasquatch672
    Here's the factual account, liberal fantasies and spin removed, to counter your idiotic posts:

    Redacted truth, subjunctive outrage

    By Charles Krauthammer, Published: May 16

    Note to GOP re Benghazi: Stop calling it Watergate, Iran-contra, bigger than both, etc. First, it might well be, but we don’t know. History will judge. Second, overhyping w ...[text shortened]... a major credibility crisis.

    Note to the White House: Try the truth. It’s easier to memorize.
    If the video was a "non-event in Libya" why did the people at the scene cite it as the reason for the attack on the night it happened? Perhaps Mr. Hicks in Tripoli was not aware of the feelings of extremist Muslims in Benghazi. One more time:

    To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/world/africa/election-year-stakes-overshadow-nuances-of-benghazi-investigation.html
  6. 18 May '13 17:52
    I thought it was a consulate. Guess they were running guns instead. Maybe they will blame the second amendment like the Mexicans did.
  7. 21 May '13 07:52
    Originally posted by joe beyser
    I thought it was a consulate. Guess they were running guns instead. Maybe they will blame the second amendment like the Mexicans did.
    At most barely a consulate.