Fox "news" Sunday added a special guest to their "Power Panel" yesterday, famed investigative reporter (and self-described Republican) Bob Woodward, in (what appeared to me) a deliberate ploy to try and get him to compare the Benghazi incident (and the imagined "cover-up" they are fake-outraged over) to Woodward's own famed "Watergate" scandal. Unfortunately for them, Woodward did not see the Benghazi incident as being anything close to the magnitude of the Watergate break-in & sub-sequent coverup:
CHRIS WALLACE: "Where do you think the so-called Libya scandal is now?"
BOB WOODWARD: "Well I think there are some serious unanswered questions, but the suggestion that they should have Watergate-style independent special committees to investigate this... I don't see that yet because the question seems to be: 'What did Susan Rice know and when did she know it?' which falls not very high on the scale of: Do we really need to get to the bottom of this?"
Woodward dismisses "What did Susan Rice know and when did she know it?" as insufficient cause for a sweeping investigation (or rises to the level of Watergate) because in the Watergate scandal, the question was "What did THE PRESIDENT know and when did he know it?", which is several hundred magnitudes more serious than what one lowly Ambassador knew & when.
"Benghazi" is "the scandal that wasn't there." General Petraeus already testified last week that, while they immediately suspected terrorism, they did NOT want that information made public for fear of tipping off the attackers, and the fact is the anti-Islam video behind the riots in Egypt WERE used as cover for the Libya attack, so the idea the attack was connected to the famed YouTube video was indeed the truth.
But Republicans have never let "facts" get in the way of a good argument. Thank your lucky stars the Senate didn't fall into GOP hands this election because we all know what happened the last time a successful Democratic president won reelection with a Republican Congress (endless partisan investigations culminating in impeachment).
Sorry Fox. Following an investigation into the embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya last September, U.S. Intelligence has revealed in their report that the CIA was dispatched from their Benghazi office within just 25 minutes, followed soon after by a second team sent from their Tripoli office (in Western Libya) to the embassy in Benghazi (in Eastern Libya, 400 miles away), quashing Republican accusations that the Obama Administration ignored the embassy's pleas for help and whose "delayed response" cost the lives of four Americans.
From McClatchy News:
WASHINGTON — A CIA security team rushed to the U.S. consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi less than 25 minutes after receiving the first call that the mission was under attack, while a second squad was dispatched by air from the capital, Tripoli, according to a timeline released on Thursday by U.S. intelligence officials.
The timeline is the most detailed accounting to date of the U.S. response to the attack on the consulate and was released to rebut news reports that U.S. officials had delayed a rescue.
“The officials on the ground in Benghazi responded to the situation . . . as quickly and as effectively as possible,” said a senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”
The timeline also revealed that a nearby CIA annex came under attack twice during the events, with the second assault coming more than seven hours after Islamist extremists first stormed the consulate.
[detailed timeline follows]
Naturally, Republicans will scoff at this report, asking "why did it take so long to release the report?" and dismiss it outright as being devised simply to help President Obama. And indeed, I know such a report would carry more weight with additional sources to corroborate it, but I wanted to get the report out there while it is still news.
A little reminder that Republican accusations of The Obama Administration being slow to respond is nothing new. Barely one year in the Obama presidency, following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Republicans accused the White House of failing to respond right away, when in fact, as I documented in a video I created at the time, the Coast Guard was on the scene "within minutes" of the explosion. Then, as now, Republican accusations that the Obama Administration was slow to respond were pure fantasy and made up of whole cloth.
During yesterday's Fox "news" Sunday, host Chris Wallace started off with the tearful soundbite of Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods killed in the Benghazi embassy attack last September, questioning why the White House appeared to be less honorable about the events surrounding his son's death, than his son was risking his life to save the 30 people in that embassy.
"My son violated his orders to protect the lives of at least 30 people. He risked his life to be a hero [sic]. I wish that the leadership in the White House had that same level of moral courage and heroism that my son displayed with his life."
Wallace, after arguing with Senate Intelligence Committee member Mark Udall (D-CO) over whether or not the embassy attacks (which took place over six weeks ago) are being "politicized", then asks Udall if drones reportedly in the area were armed and if so, might they have stopped the attack? (a supposition based on a supposition.)
Naturally, Udall explains that he can not reveal our defense capabilities on national TV, and should not be making guesses about what our drones can and can not do prior to completion of the investigation.
But on a personal note, can I just point out how distasteful this entire exchange is? First exploiting a fathers' grief to score cheap political points, then denying you're doing it, then accusing The President of the United States of failing to protect American citizens by not using using weapons that some drone may or may not of had that may or may not have even been in the area?
Every time I hear these Cretins run for the pitchforks and light the torches over whether or not President Obama is guilty of a "massive intelligence failure on September 11th that resulted in Americans losing their lives, and then tried to cover it up", I want to smack them across the head with a 2x4.
During Sunday's Meet the Press, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman pointed out the under-reported story of the Benghazi embassy attack in Libya was the outpouring of support for the United States in the immediate aftermath:
This morning, Joe Scarborough channeled George W. Bush's "they hate us because we're free" nonsense, except his version was laced with bigotry.
SCARBOROUGH: You know why they hate us? They hate us because of their religion. They hate us because of their culture. And they hate us because of peer pressure.
Uh---peer pressure? Then he doubled down on this hateful rant.
SCARBOROUGH: Give me a break. You know, it's just like oh, you know, they hate us because of waterboarding. No, they hate us because they hate us. They hate us because of Obama's drone attacks. No, they don't -- they hate us because they hate us. They hate us because someone burned a Koran. No, they don't -- they hate us because they hate us.
Yeah, the fact that we've spent the past sixty years toppling their democratically-elected regimes while propping up brutal ones, the fact that we've invaded and occupied their countries, bombed and droned them practically non-stop for three decades, tortured them, unconditionally backed their nuclear-armed rival, and built military installations all over their lands -- none of that has done anything whatsoever to cultivate Muslim anger and resentment against us.
No, they hate us because they're a bunch of ignorant, savage bigots.
Mitt Romney is such a pathetic candidate that we're now forced to watch Fox News contort itself into a tiny wretched pretzel in order to "suppose" that there might have been warnings leading up to the embassy attacks in Benghazi, Libya last week.
This spin comes on the heels of a devastating poll for Romney, showing that the people in countries that are our strongest allies feel rather strongly that he should not be elected in November. I share those sentiments. However, Pakistanis seem to think he might be a good choice.
Here's how the Fox spin goes, and I noticed it was on all three of the primetime shows tonight too, so plan on seeing it spill over into next week's news cycles until they clean up this week's Romney droppings on the international landscape.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.
The world is a big place. There are hundreds of embassies and consulates in it. A vague warning about "something" happening on the anniversary of September 11th is hardly tantamount to a specific warning about a specific place.
But Fox will flog this so-called "warning" because it gives them a chance to draw some kind of weird and bizarre equivalence between what happened in Libya and George W. Bush's failure to heed a far more specific warning more than a month before the 9-11 attacks occurred.
Prediction: Republicans will go up with an ad within three weeks of the election claiming that President Obama is a weak leader because he allowed the attack on the Benghazi consulate to occur. They will ignore the seven embassy attacks during his 8-year tenure in the White House. They will ignore the 20 people who died in that time span, because Fox News has a sworn duty to prop up a failing Republican candidate by the name of Mitt Romney.
By the way, as long as we're on the subject of Mitt Romney, he flip-flopped yet again Friday and -- wait for it -- apologized to the terrorists. I guess that means they won?
I yearn for the day when Mitt Romney is just a dim memory in the annals of history. This has to be the most lie-laden, inept, incompetent campaign ever run by any party.
It turns out now that the amateurish hate film that sparked the lethal riots in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen -- or at least, in the case of the Libya murders, provided a pretext -- is a product of the fetid, far-right underbelly of American politics. And it seems that not only did the Islamophobic far-right militiamen behind the movie make it with the explicit intent of sparking riots abroad, but they even attempted to pin the blame for its production on Israeli Jews.
The person who identified himself as Bacile and described himself as the film's writer and director told the AP on Tuesday that he had gone into hiding. But doubts rose about the man's identity amid a flurry of false claims about his background and role in the purported film.
Bacile told the AP he was an Israeli-born, 56-year-old Jewish writer and director. But a Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, told the AP on Wednesday that Bacile was a pseudonym and that he was Christian.
Klein had told the AP on Tuesday that the filmmaker was an Israeli Jew who was concerned for family members who live in Egypt.
While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.”
Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.
It appears Klein (or someone who shares his name and views) is an enthusiastic commenter on Geller’s website, Atlas Shrugged, where he recently complained about Mitt Romney’s “support for a Muslim state in Israel’s Heartland.” In July 2011, Spencer’s website, Jihad Watch, promoted a rally Klein organized alongside the anti-Muslim Coptic extremist Joseph Nasrallah to demand the firing of LA County Sheriff Lee Baca, whom they painted as a dupe for Hamas.
Indeed, Klein's activities as a "Christian militiaman" were the focus of an astonishing SPLC report filed this spring by C&L's own Leah Nelson:
In a 22-acre compound at the southern edge of Sequoia National Park in California, a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists is preparing for war. One of the men helping train the flock in the art of combat, a former Marine named Steve Klein, believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can.”
“I know I’m getting prepared to shoot back,” Klein says.
Today's media mission: Rehabilitate Mitt Romney's amazing set of gaffes with regard to the Libya and Egypt protests by reinforcing a false narrative and timeline while allowing his surrogates to claim the president was "apologizing" for America. From the Washington Post to broadcast media, full counterspin is now in effect with the usual players and their candidates assisting.
In the video clip, Andrea Mitchell brings Romney surrogate Vin Webber on to discuss the firestorm over Romney's opportunistic grab at a chance to slam the President at the very time a US Ambassador has been killed. Here's what Mr. Webber had to say, right out of the gate:
Well, Governor Romney wrote a book called "No Apologies" and his first response was to the terrible things that happened in Egypt were a sense of outrage at American statement of apology. So I think that was his first reaction. I think it was a correct reaction, we don't want to change it. As you pointed out, he's not campaigning on this for the rest of the campaign but it was an appropriate first reaction to what he thought was a mistaken response from our government which the administration itself nine hours later disavowed.
Once again, Mr. Webber forgets to admit that the statement came from the embassy before the protests heated up. It was a pre-emptive statement and it was not an apology. Even if it were an apology it wouldn't have been unwarranted, given the heinous nature of that schlocky video.
To her credit, Mrs. Greenspan hit back mildly on that point, but didn't really push it like she should have, which means that the balance of his idiotic argument stood.
However, it's not just MSNBC. Yesterday the New York Times published a pretty thorough article that hit Mitt hard on his opportunism. Just hours later, that article mysteriously vanished and a new article replaced it, removing this paragraph entirely: whitewashing statements made by a Romney senior advisor:
Originally, the Times reported that a Romney "senior adviser" explained how the candidate and his team "saw what they believed was an opportunity to underscore a theme Mr. Romney had sounded often about his Democratic rival."
“We’ve had this consistent critique and narrative on Obama’s foreign policy, and we felt this was a situation that met our critique, that Obama really has been pretty weak in a number of ways on foreign policy, especially if you look at his dealings with the Arab Spring and its aftermath,” one of Mr. Romney’s senior advisers said on Wednesday. “I think the reality is that while there may be a difference of opinion regarding issues of timing, I think everyone stands behind the critique of the administration, which we believe has conducted its foreign policy in a feckless manner.”
The later version only included the second sentence, attributing it not to a "senior adviser" but "one senior strategist, who asked not to be named."
The original quote in the Times was also included in an AP factcheck article about how the campaign used a tragedy to capitalize politically, but somehow disappeared in the span of hours. John Aravosis wrote up the original within an hour of its publication, calling it a "devastating portrait." The original report said this, quoting a "Republican official advising Romney's campaign on foreign policy and national security issues":
This official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering Romney's campaign, said that as word of violence spread, campaign aides late Tuesday watched tweets coming out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that were criticizing the filmmaker rather than condemning the attackers, and saw an opportunity to criticize Obama.
As criticism mounted from all quarters, including Senator John McCain, journalists around the nation on TV and in print, and others, Romney's campaign advisors were looking at a way to mitigate the damage. Breitbartians jumped right into the fray by making a huge, irrelevant fuss about the fact that Marines were not guarding the "embassy" in Benghazi, while conveniently forgetting to actually find out that it wasn't an embassy. It was a consulate, and consulates do not typically have Marine guards. It was easy enough to find out.
Obama's not engaged! He's an appeaser! He's harder on Republicans than he is on terrorists? WHY AREN'T WE BOMBING ANYONE?!?!?!
The irony here, of course, is that Teabaggers and Islamic fundamentalists* have a lot in common. Both groups are freaked out by female sexuality, believe that God's law should be the law of the land -- and hate the gays.
*Note: as opposed to violent Islamists or Islamic terrorists. Just to pre-empt the faux outrage.
Jon Kyl needs to shut up and sit down because he's really not making things better for Mitt Romney. After Romney's gaffes with regard to the attack on our Libya embassy, Kyl just made them worse. In the process, he inadvertently slammed one of Jan Brewer's appointed judges.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved in victims’ rights, but this is like a judge telling the woman that got raped, ‘you asked for it because of the way you dressed,’ ” Mr. Kyl said. “That’s the same thing. ‘Well America, you should be the ones to apologize. You should have known this would happen’,” he said. “For a member of our State Department to put out a statement like that, it had to be cleared by somebody. They don’t just do that at the spur of the moment.”
Just last week, a judge in Senator Kyl's home state told a woman who was groped by a drunk policeman that the policeman wasn't all that guilty, but she was because she dared to be in a bar. Seriously. Here's what she said:
"If you wouldn't have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you," Hatch said.
Every time I think Republicans won't surprise me, they do.