People who haven't been paying attention were surprised to learn of this week's debate moderator's (Martha Raddatz) close connection to the President. He was a guest at one of her three weddings and a she was invited to his wedding and a visitor to the vice-president's home just months ago. Other bloggers have made lists of the substantial number of media figures married to Administration appointees and Democratic Party figures. I don't know why this should be surprising. The incestuous relationship between the media and the Democrats is of such longstanding that you could say the Capitol is like Deliverance with better clothes and haircuts.
In this week's dueling banjos (vice presidential debate) she played her role, working in tandem with vice President Biden to block Congressman Paul Ryan from having an uninterrupted sentence of consequence. Still, Biden could not exercise even a modicum of restraint and his constant heckling, inappropriate laughing and smirking, certainly brought to mind Lonnie, the inbred banjo playing boy in the movie.
Despite the best efforts of these two, Congressman Ryan held his own and suggested a maturity and gravitas no one in the present administration has.
The bigger news of the week, it seems to me, is that the Administration's recounting of what happened in Benghazi has been proven to be a pack of lies, the intelligence community is refusing to take the fall for the Administration's disregard for the lives of its own representatives abroad, and the media is continuing to do its best to divert public attention away from this major foreign policy debacle.
The Gaffe that Wasn't
On September 11, crowds in Cairo breached the U.S. embassy walls and our consulate in Benghazi was attacked resulting in the murder of our Ambassador, a Marine and two navy SEALs. The next day, Mitt Romney was openly critical of a U.S. State Department official in Cairo who apologized for the provoking the riots, blaming them on "Innocence of the Moslems," a video produced in the US. Which few if any had seen.
Noemie Emery, recounts the media response and why it led the Administration to even further fantastical lies and a disastrous presidential debate performance:
For days after, Romney's "mistake" was the story. On Sunday, after a week in which Obama was burned in effigy on several continents and his Middle Eastern policy exposed as a failure, he lost his best (perhaps his sole) campaign issue, and questions were raised about criminal negligence. But Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post said that Mitt Romney had had "the worst week in Washington." Obama's failures had turned out to hurt Romney, most of the press corps agreed.
Obama had seen that his friends would protect him, and so he believed he could mail it in Wednesday [the day of the Presidential debate], but this was the venue that could not be spun. No filter. No edits. No choosing what to put in or leave out. No shaping of the story. Just the story itself, rolled out in real time, sans narration, before 70 million American voters, undoing six years of hype and hysterics. It revealed one small, not all that keen academic, having been inflated by the narrators beyond all recognition, dissolving before everyone's eyes.
The intelligence community fights back
Shortly after the murders of the Ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi , Susan Rice, the cabinet level U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. took to the airwaves stating that the attack was a "spontaneous reaction" to the same video, "Innocence of the Moslems," The rest of the White House spin machine went into overdrive, making sure the film's producer was taken into custody in full view of media photographers. The idea, I suppose, was either to pull off a false narrative or, at least, to set this as a first impression in voters' minds, an impression, which they hoped later, contrary information would not fully shake.
The contrary information has started rolling in, and it appears that even a lapdog press cannot completely hide it. The alternative media and the bumbling of the Administration's own spokespersons are making it impossible for the dominant media to completely ignore the debacle in Benghazi and the utter failure of the President's erstwhile jewel in the crown, his faux foreign policy accomplishments.
The Washington Free Beacon details the unraveling by the intelligence community of the Benghazi "cover up" by the Administration:
Intelligence held back from senior officials and the public includes numerous classified reports revealing clear Iranian support for jihadists throughout the tumultuous North Africa and Middle East region, as well as notably widespread al Qaeda penetration into Egypt and Libya in the months before the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
...Intelligence officials pointed to the statement issued Sept. 28 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) that raised additional concern about the administration's apparent mishandling of intelligence. The ODNI statement said that "in the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo."
Officials say the ODNI's false information was either knowingly disseminated or was directed to be put out by senior policy officials for political reasons, since the statement was contradicted by numerous intelligence reports at the time of the attack indicating it was al Qaeda-related terrorism.
Officials with access to intelligence reports, based on both technical spying and human agents, said specific reporting revealed an alarming surge in clandestine al Qaeda activity months before the attack in Benghazi. [snip]
"The Obama Administration is afraid to admit al Qaeda is running rampant throughout the region because it would expose the truth instead of what President Obama so pompously spouted during the Democratic Convention" said the official.
Indeed, as Eli Lake reported, before the attack the Administration had intercepted a message from an Al Qaeda group saying they were going ahead with their attack in Benghazi.
... the intercept was one of several monitored communications during and after the attacks between members of a local militia called Ansar al-Sharia and AQIM, which, taken together, suggest the assault was in fact a premeditated terrorist attack, according to U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials not authorized to talk to the press.
In one of the calls, for example, members of Ansar al-Sharia bragged about their successful attack against the American consulate and the U.S. ambassador.
It's unclear why the talking points said the attacks were spontaneous and why they didn't mention the possibility of al Qaeda involvement, given the content of the intercepts and the organizations the speakers were affiliated with. One U.S. intelligence officer said the widely distributed assessment was an example of "cherry picking," or choosing one piece of intelligence and ignoring other pieces, to support a preferred thesis.
Callous Disregard for Security in Benghazi
In scantily reported hearings before the House Government Oversight Committee, it appeared that the administration had repeatedly, callously ignored pleas from our people in Libya for greater security.
During a hearing of the House Government Oversight Committee: The Former Security Officer for the embassy in Libya says that as far as he was concerned, the Taliban were inside the [State Department] building (October 10, 2012).
For its part the State Department was also walking away from Ambassador Rice. Maybe Secretary Clinton hoped that would make voters forget she taped an idiotic video shown in Pakistan apologizing for the film or that she continued this charade while standing next to the caskets of those men murdered by her department's brutally cold disregard for their safety.
Perhaps there was no other choice but to throw Rice under the bus now that the lid was off.
In an unusual display of disunity, State Department officials have disowned remarks by one of their top officials, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, regarding her explanation of the deadly terrorist assault on U.S. diplomats in Libya in September. Not only did they say Rice's characterization of those attacks as "spontaneous" was wrong, but also, they said that assessment was never the conclusion of the State Department at any point in time.
In a conference call to reporters on Tuesday, senior State Department officials said they couldn't explain why Rice went on a Sunday talk show blitz last month describing the Benghazi attacks as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam film in the U.S. "That was not our conclusion," the officials said. "That is the question you'd have to ask others."
Everyone at State seemed to be pointing fingers at others and none of their testimony appeared coherent:
Ambassador Patrick Kennedy defended UN Ambassador Susan Rice's claim on September 16 that the attack was part of a spontaneous protest that erupted over an anti-Islam video, saying that anyone at the State Department would have said the same thing as Rice based on the intelligence available at the time. "If any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, September 16, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had at that point from the intelligence community is the same that I had at that point," said Kennedy.
But, as Republicans on the Oversight Committee pointed out, that appears to contradict Kennedy's comments from a September 12 unclassified briefing, when he reportedly called it a terrorist attack.
Another State Department official, Charlene Lamb, wrote in her prepared testimony (but did not read aloud) that she was able to monitor the attack "in almost real-time" once a Diplomatic Security agent activated the imminent danger notification system. Yet she didn't explain why the State Department and other administration officials initially said spontaneous protests were responsible for the attack, if there had been officials monitoring it in real-time.
Both Kennedy's and Lamb's comments also contradicted the State Department's latest official position. In a conference call last night, senior State Department officials told reporters that the department had never believed the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest.
Moe Larry and Curly
Before the week was out, administration and party spokespersons were imitating the Three Stooges .
White House Spokesman Jay Carney offered up that it is an "editorial judgment" to say the Administration was wrong on the "crisis" in Libya.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Party said just because the Administration's statements about what happened in Libya were wrong, it doesn't mean they were "false."
Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, offered up this: "...the entire reason [the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans] has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan..."
It really is time we had some new blood in the Capitol, the gene pool is badly polluted with mendacious numbskulls.