(‘Troubling' Surveillance Before Benghazi Attack - By Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa | Foreign Policy)-----(via daledamos.blogspot.com)Election day is five days away. Particularly because the hurricane distracted Americans from the political issues at hand, and gave Obama a chance to appear "presidential," I think it is exceedingly important to refocus on those issues. Here, I want to share a few articles:My subject is Benghazi. Not a new issue, but a critical one we dare not forget if we are intent on properly assessing the Obama administration.First this is from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, headed by Steve Emerson, an exceedingly reliable and credible source. The article, "Benghazi Rescue Force Told to Step Down," was written by Daniel E. Rogell on October 26:"A CIA team a mile away from America's besieged consulate in Libya was told to stand down and was denied reinforcements, Fox News reported in the latest revelation of intelligence failures surrounding the September 11th attack. Despite military drones in the air above the incident and military forces on alert at nearby bases, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that the administration lacked the necessary information to deploy a rescue force.
"CIA operators at a nearby safe house were told to "'stand down' twice rather than try to help the ambassador's team after initial shots were fired at the consulate, the Fox report said...
"As mortars fell on the CIA building, a rooftop operative identified their source and called for air support. But American military forces refused to send in a Spectre gunship, despite more than sufficient time for forces to arrive from the Navy's Sigonella Air Station in Italy. Two separate Tier One Special Operations forces were also told to wait, included Delta Force troops...
"Panetta defended the administration's response Thursday, despite the continuing revelations. '(The) basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place,' Panetta told Pentagon reporters. 'And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.'
"He did not address the presence of two military drones providing live video feed of the attacks as they took place."~~~~~~~~~~But wait! There's more. Catherine Herridge, writing for FoxNews yesterday, reports on a secret cable:"The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an 'emergency meeting' less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.Read: Exclusive: Classified cable warned consulate couldn't withstand 'coordinated attack'
"Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked 'SECRET' said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.
“'RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,' the cable said.
"According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed 'on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi...'
"...In addition to describing the security situation in Benghazi as 'trending negatively,' the cable said explicitly that the mission would ask for more help. 'In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.'
"...While the administration’s public statements have suggested that the attack came without warning, the Aug. 16 cable seems to undercut those claims. It was a direct warning to the State Department that the Benghazi consulate was vulnerable to attack, that it could not be defended and that the presence of anti-U.S. militias and Al Qaeda was well-known to the U.S. intelligence community."~~~~~~~~~~Michael Walsh, writing in PJMedia, says of this disgrace (emphasis added):"As we hopefully approach the end of the Barack Hussein Obama II administration, cowardice is just one of the many possible explanations of its catastrophic failure at Benghazi last month, a failure that cost the lives of four Americans, the loss of valuable intelligence assets, the burning of countless Libyan collaborators, whose lives are now forfeit in that wretched land and elsewhere, and the needless handing to the ascendant jihadists of a propaganda victory that might have been avoided and has yet to be avenged...
"It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of what Obama’s handling of what is sure to go down as one of the most disgraceful episodes in American political and military history tells us about him, his administration, the ethos of the modern Democratic Party, and the state of our nation. The short answer: nothing good.
"Understanding the implications of the Benghazi story...the MSM (except for Fox News) has done its best to ignore it. They know that, rightly presented to the American people, the fiasco — in which our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three others who died fighting like men instead of like politicians – rightly should spell the end of the Obama administration...
Because, let’s face it, the president of the United States — for no apparent legitimate reason of state or military doctrine — let those four men die on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, a clear and present dereliction of duty that, were he an officer in the services, would have gotten him court-martialed, stripped in rank, and sent to the brig. Instead, Obama’s decision (or, more likely, indecision) was a result of purely political calculations: the Slayer of Osama, having tamed the savage Islamic breast and declared the War on Terror over, chose to ignore any evidence to the contrary. And the media, ever eager to please, ignored the story because it didn’t fit the narrative."Read: Benghazi, American Honor, Little Caesar, and the False Dmitri
~~~~~~~~~~This is so, my friends: those who look to main stream media sources for their information are not likely to hear about all of this. And so it falls to each of us to spread the word about what went on before and during the murder of four Americans in Benghazi and to be certain that every voter has the information he or she needs to make an informed decision about Obama.Do all you can to make sure this information goes viral, without delay.~~~~~~~~~~© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
What exactly happened that night is still a mystery. Libyans have pointed fingers at Ansar al-Sharia, a hard-line Islamist group with al Qaeda sympathies, if not ties. Ansar al-Sharia has denied involvement, but some of its members were spotted at the consulate.
The document also suggests that the U.S. consulate had asked Libyan authorities on Sept. 9 for extra security measures in preparation for Stevens' visit, but that the Libyans had failed to provide promised support.
"On Sunday, September 9, 2012, the U.S. mission requested additional police support at our compound for the duration of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens' visit. We requested daily, twenty-four hour police protection at the front and rear of the U.S. mission as well as a roving patrol. In addition we requested the services of a police explosive detection dog," the letter reads.
"We were given assurances from the highest authorities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that all due support would be provided for Ambassador Stevens' visit to Benghazi. However, we are saddened to report that we have only received an occasional police presence at our main gate. Many hours pass when we have no police support at all."
The letter concludes with a request to the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look into the incident of the policeman conducting surveillance, and the absence of requested security measures. "We submit this report to you with the hopes that an official inquiry can be made into this incident and that the U.S. Mission may receive the requested police support," the letter reads.
A number of other documents were found on the floor inside the TOC building. They are partly covered with ash, but legible.
A second letter is addressed to Benghazi's police chief and also concerns the police surveillance of the U.S. consulate on the morning of Sept. 11. The letter also requests an investigation of the incident, and states that the consulate "takes this opportunity to renew to the Benghazi Police the assurances of its highest consideration and hopes for increased cooperation." Benghazi's head of police, Brigadier Hussain Abu Hmeidah, was fired by the government in Tripoli one week after the consulate attack. However, Abu Hmeidah refused to step down and is still serving as the head of police. He is currently on sick leave, according to his office manager, Captain Seraj Eddine al-Sheikhi, and was unavailable for comment.
The man who officially was appointed to succeed Abu Hmeidah as Benghazi's police chief, Salah Doghman, said in a Sept 19 interview with Reuters: "This is a mess ...When you go to the police headquarters, you will find there no police. The people in charge are not at their desks. They have refused to let me take up my job."
The concerns about police surveillance exhibited in the letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Benghazi police chief cast further doubt on early reports that a spontaneous protest was to blame for the attack on the U.S. consulate -- reports that the State Department has disavowed. They also appear to contradict an Oct. 9 State Department briefing on the consulate attack, during which a senior State Department official claimed that there had been no security incidents at the consulate that day. "Everything is calm at 8:30 p.m," the official said. "There's nothing unusual. There has been nothing unusual during the day at all outside."
These letters were found a month and a half after the attack, despite a visit to the compound by FBI investigators. Other documents found at the TOC building include a printout of an unclassified Sept. 9 email between Stevens and David McFarland, the head of the U.S. Embassy's political and economic section, inquiring about meetings for the ambassador's upcoming visit; telephone numbers and names of embassy staff; and a hotel bill from Stevens' 2011 stay at the Tibesti Hotel in Benghazi.
The continued threat to U.S. personnel in Benghazi may be the reason these documents escaped the FBI's attention. With suspected militants still roaming the streets, FBI investigators only had limited time to check the consulate compound. According to a Benghazi resident who resides near the consulate, the FBI team spent only three hours examining the compound.
The FBI declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Labels: Ambassador Chris Stevens» Ansar al-Sharia» Barack Obama» Benghazi» Hillary Clinton