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Belmont Club

The Secret Annex

August 2nd, 2013 - 2:49 pm

“Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans” — Otto von Bismarck.

“Benghazi” is now shorthand for three things.  An attack on the US consulate on September 11, 2012, the coverup of the true events or the scandal of making it a scandal. Mother Jones knows who is guilty of making a big noise of it. David Corn writes, “as Mother Jones revealed last week, Groundswell, the hush-hush right-wing strategy group partly led by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, wanted to hype the Benghazi tragedy into a full-fledged scandal for the Obama administration, as part of its “30 front war” on the president and progressives.”

As to muddying the waters around the actual events, the list reads like a who’s-who of Washington. There’s Hillary asking “what difference does it make?” when asked by Congress to explain.

And certainly there’s the CIA which has apparently muzzled all the survivors of the attack and subjected them to regular polygraph checks to make sure they haven’t been talking to Congress.

Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.

CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency’s Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings.

The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.

Then there was the misdirection provided by Susan Rice. She claimed the whole attack was started by a video. And whoever put her up to it expected everyone to believe it too. When poor Mitt Romney failed to buy that unlikely story he was set straight on national TV by Candy Crowley, who jumped into the Presidential debate to correct him.

The men who did the actual burning, or some of them at least, are lounging about Libya. CNN interviewed the actual muscle of the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattala, who is described as the “mastermind” of the attack.  But tagging him the brains of the operation is probably a stretch. The Bengazi CIA facility, we are told by the Telegraph, was really a hub of an arms smuggling operation. Telegraph says CNN will reveal that “a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.” That is altogether above Ahmed Abu Khattala’s pay grade. Besides, he was affiliated with Ansar al Sharia who would be unlikely to  object to arms being supplied to what is roughly their side in Syria, though  as Long War Journal points out, allegiances in that region are a little convoluted.

But in any event, the attack on the consulate itself is unlikely to be the brainchild of a local Benghazi warlord or thug. For one thing it was apparently coordinated with a cover operation in Egypt, where a demonstration occurred inspired by the very video Susan Rice decried, even though no one had likely seen it. From these circumstantial clues, it unlikely to have been planned by Ahmed Abu Khattala, but a regional or great power.

I advanced this hypothesis only a few days after the attack in a post, writing ”one of the reasons why the administration clung to the story that an anti-Muslim video sparked the attack for so long was because it could not admit to itself the more catastrophic alternative: that the attacks on the embassies were part of a big counterintelligence operation against the US.”

The biggest possible can of worms would be that the CIA had its “eyes poked out” to prevent it from seeing some dangerous operation that is even now hatching in the intelligence shadow of the ‘Arab Spring’: the possibility that there is something out there which has to be kept secret from US intelligence. How better to do it than to disrupt a major center of US intelligence operations in the area?

So it’s better for the public to think that an unknown video producer was the cause it all. The alternative, explanation: that the enemy intelligence agencies destroyed the CIA’s efforts to recover from the ‘Arab Spring’ and that America is now flying blind in the Middle East would be a hard thing to admit.

I did not imagine that it might involve something possibly much larger: an arms smuggling operation, if that is what it is. Very little has been settled at this point. At this writing it is unclear what actually happened on the night of the attack in Benghazi and who was behind it. In light of the information that has become available since it seems ever more likely that we are glimpsing an exchange between combatants in an unacknowledged secret war, similar to those in the Cold War. During that conflict, a number of brushes between the US and the USSR were minimized or suppressed in order to keep the Cold War “cold”.

Who is the other side? Iran? Russia? Someone else? The obvious difference between the secret battles of the Cold War and whatever happened in Benghazi was that during the Cold War there was a broad national consensus on who the enemy was. Therefore covert operations conducted by US presidents has tacit political legitimacy.

What is fundamentally disturbing about Benghazi, as one friend put it, is that “we are involved in secret wars with secret enemies for secret reasons.” Actually they are  known to Obama. But that is unacceptably narrow to the point of being fundamentally illegitimate. The reason only Congress has the power to declare war is that the voters need to sign off, in at least general terms, on all acts of war or belligerence being committed in their name and funded by their tax dollars.

Andy McCarthy argued the NSA scandal shows the tension between granting the executive great power — which can be abused — and the undoubted need to defend the country.

National security powers are not constitutionally vested in the office of the president on the condition that we trust whoever happens to be the occupant of that office. They are vested unconditionally because they are necessary to protect our lives, liberty and property. If the occupant of the office proves himself unworthy to be so endowed, the remedy is to remove him from office, not to nullify the powers of the office. We need the powers – what we don’t need is him.

The framers were not so naïve as to give us a system that depends on trustworthy politicians (to say nothing of radicals). Instead, they wisely assumed that power is corruptive and thus gave us a system that relies on dividing and dispersing it….

To focus on trust, though, is to focus on the wrong thing. The focus should instead be on separation of powers: Does the framework of program in question divide power so that it is not fully concentrated in the executive branch? Does it give the other branches the authority and motivation to check potential executive abuse?

In McCarthy’s view, the government will always have enough power to establish a tyranny. But what stands between the people and tyranny is checks and balances — the separation of powers. And that is precisely what is being undermined in the Benghazi case. It’s not that President Obama has a policy — that is alright. It is that he is keeping that policy secret even from Congress, let alone the voters.

What is the war? Who is the enemy? What is the reason? Unless these are revealed, at least in general terms, then the biggest scandal of Benghazi is in Washington.

(Readers who wish to suggest a topic for my next book or pamphlet can enter their ideas in the forum of my author’s homepage.)


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Top Rated Comments   
Crowley's argument was that the word "terrorism" had appeared in the President's speech (read the transcript she said). But Romney's substantive point, that the President had not been forthcoming, was undoubtedly correct. And it is still correct.

The President lied. Romney doubted him. Crowley corrected him. But it's still a lie. You call the readers of this blogs LIVs. But that is wrong. That would be Crowley and perhaps one other person.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
it's because they're ideologues. "We're on the same side as the Muslim Brotherhood! We even have Muslim Brotherhood operatives on our staffs! How come we're getting attacked!" They can't comprehend that Muslims would hate them for being Outsiders, for being not-Us.

Look at their Iranian prat-falls, their Turkey stumbles, Egyptian doofishness, Libya lame-brainery, etc. It should be clear that they are operating from a set of assumptions long-proven to be wrong, yet they cannot stop dopily pursuing them. Kerry's obsessive insistence that Palestinian-Israeli peace talks are the key to the intra-Muslim tribal and sectarian blood feuds driving the Middle East conflicts in der Gegenwart, is a prime example of the triumph of ideology over intelligence in the Obama crew.

Why keep it to themselves? For the same reason that parents keep things from the children. "We are wiser, we are the elite, they are the children, they don't need to know. Besides we are snakebit afraid, and we can't let the children know this ... Instead tell them it is all under control, we have it under control; a nasty video man that we caught was responsible ..."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What scares you the most? Something in plain sight or something hidden in the dark that you can't see?

Maybe Obama, Hilary SRice, Kerry etc., don't really know who's behind the attacks? Like the blindfolded man being struck by assailants he can't see, the U.S. strikes out ineffectually, landing no blows on its assailants. Obama's crew has lead the U.S. into a blind alley, then blindfolded itself ... U.S. Intelligence is at its limpest right now due to ideological blindfolds imposed on the services by Obama's crew.

Maybe they invented the video-culprit because they had no clue who had masterminded the coordinated attacks in Cairo and Benghazi. They were snake-bit afraid, unable to respond. They still have not responded to the events, but simply ignored them. Just as they have done little or nothing that corresponds to reality in the Middle East.

This Obama crew: Snake-bit ideologues out-of-touch with the realpolitik of the situation, waiting for the hammer to come down.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (87)
All Comments   (87)
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"This is a small excerpt, but its a good example of the problem with y'all's messaging on "Benghazi"" - General Tso

You know, I have to admit that I've got a few of these folks in my extended family. San Francisco liberals, a Ph'D in education, etc.. No fact ever sways them, because they have a whole world of other "facts" irrelevant to the target topic (Non sequitu) to broaden the conversation to a whole new set of topics. Their goal is distraction, obfuscation, and in general, the goal of never being held to account for anything.

So, Tso can manipulate this conversation, or try to, he will challenge us for being non-factual, when he in fact brings not one single objective fact to the conversation about Benghazi.

Basically, I've stopped talking to progressives because they a prior do not accept truth or logical absolutes. To simply. They lie, and they lives that are lies, but otherwise, they are all just "good people".

With that invective past, about Benghazi let me simply state: The President and Secretary of State were accountable and responsible for ever act. Yet America does not know what they did to support or rescue Americans in Benghazi during the embassy attack. We know they personally put out lies about the root cause of the attack. We can assume that they did it for the political benefit of the Obama Administration (no? what were they trying NOT to be elected? who benefits from the lie?). We KNOW that no help arrived for at least 8, and as much as 20 hours after the event. We KNOW that help was available. We DON'T KNOW what Stevens was doing in that high risk area that night. We DON'T KNOW why appropriate security was not in place on a 9/11 anniversary, when the Ambassador himself requested it. We've seen NO ONE disciplined in the Benghazi f*ck up, for stupidity before, after, or during the event. The cover up in progress is clearly orchestrated by the Executive branch, as the public is learning by trickles and spurts of facts by non-official sources. Obama and H. Clinton have all the facts, are capable of making them public - hell, Obama IS the CINC on duty - he HAS the Constitutional obligation and his willfully evading it.

The same applies to all of the other "phony scandals" as Obama calls them. NO ONE has been criminally charged for IRS political crimes. NO ONE has been criminally charged for the "Fast and Furious" debacle. And so on and so on. "Accepting responsibility" when crimes occur under color of authority, which is the consistent thread in all of Obama's "phony" scandals, means people being fired and moreover, people going to jail. When the chief executive fails to enforce the laws, to protect the Constitution, I don't really give a flying f*ck WHAT he was doing the night of Benghazi, he was 100% accountable, and he's the bastard who should be impeached and jailed. That's how true "accountability" works. You do your job, you insist those who report to you do their job, and you hold them responsible for crimes they commit, or YOU face the dock in their place.

None of these "phony scandals" bother Tso in the least, just those awful conservatives who complain about them. Our dear "General Tso" states that he absolutely pained by our "messaging" here at Belmont. No, we don't do "messaging", that's terminology of the progressive left. Tso's real problem is with reality and truth. He's a dishonest "troll". He fits right in with the Obama team, and Obama's corrupt government.

Old Salt
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What difference would it make if terrorists killed a former Secretary of State?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kinuachdrach

A good rule to follow.

All the problems with the "improved" comment system would go away if the comments were numbered. I wonder if it's practical for us to number the comments as we make them? The first one to comment begins his/her comment with #1, the second with #2 and so on.

Then we could reply to a numbered comment or comments as we did before we were improved.

Not sure if this would work but it might be worth a try.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah--I'm using the reply button here just to keep in together with your post, but one thing that can be done to implement your suggestion is to
(1) before posting, open another separate tab or window in your browser to the BC
(2) It always states the number of comments that are posted
(3) set the beginning of your post as #(one more than the number of existing comments)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment


Kinuachdrach:

Include me in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kinuachdrach:

I agree, starting right now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In this Youtube video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUQIkqfghZg

Rand Paul questions Queen Hillary ( at about 2:26) about " whether we were involved in the sales or transfer of arms from Libya to Turkey ,,,,, ( and later on ) any other nation?

The Queen's answer: to paraphrase-

"Well, no one has ( dared) ask me that question before! Blah, blah blah, .. you'll have to ask the people responsible at the CIA.......I just don't know"

Well, we'll see if the Queen really did know or not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gentlemen & Ladies -- a modest suggestion: Let's all ignore the "Reply" button and return to the way the Belmont Club used to be. If we want to reply to a comment, we do a bit of copy & paste and post it as a new post.

The comments & discussion stimulated by Wretchard's original topic are a very worthwhile part of the Belmost experience. But when those replies (& replies to replies) get buried deep down the chain, they get lost & the value is degraded.

Just because the Power That Be gave us a "Reply" function does not mean we have to use it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Al Qaeda seems to be succeeding in chasing the US out of all of dar al-Islam. With Obambus' concurrence, call it what you will.

Of course wretchard is correct and "General Tso" is fact-challenged. The narrative of Obambus' actual words, and per Susan Rice, was that this dastardly video had stirred up the righteous wrath of the ummah, and this IT WAS OUR FAULT. Now, Obambus did use the word "terrorism" in the same speech in some general way, "... and we don't ever give in to terrorism", but the context was secondary, THIS was our fault but he wanted to remind everyone that counterfactually IF IT HAD BEEN TERRORISM then we WOULD HAVE BEEN TOUGH WITH IT. And nobody should even *think* of trying some terrorism with us IN THE FUTURE. But this, alas, we were so, so sorry about.

General Tso, if you want to go with the facts, then get the facts. Claiming to be fact-based is otherwise not factual. Stick with the chicken, it's sweet and it's greasy but I like it as well as the next guy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps in all the argument about "what happened in Benghazi on Sept 11, 2012", we have lost sight of why this is important, besides the tragic death of our Ambassador and three other valued Americans.

There was and is a Narrative afoot about WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE MIDDLE EAST! Many educated people have been debating this since I was a child 50+ years ago, and it seems to be a cottage industry for thoughtful and educated pundits who could otherwise be engaged in something productive.

I don't know what happened that night. I have read conflicting stories. It was a video on You Tube that enraged Muslims (har-de-har -har!) although Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN actually said this several times. It was al-Qaeda. It was the Muslim Brotherhood. It was elements of the Iranian Qods force. It was militant Seventh Day Adventists trying to give them copies of "The Watchtower" (Okay, I made that up).

But in the ongoing saga of messed up countries, disasters, death, war, murder and intrigue, our present President, himself an allegedly highly educated man (which makes me suspicious) has tried to tell his own story, mostly about him, as to WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE MIDDLE EAST!

For the life of me, it looks like chaos, stupidity and incompetence, mainly by Arabs who can't seem to get the hang of governing themselves in the 20th or 21st century.

Some would say "Nuke them all". I've read that here on occasion.
Some would say "Let's by them a Coke".

I say that these are both false choices. What they really need is something productive to do, so they don't spend all their copious amounts of "free time" listening to crazy people who are preaching revolution. And that Revolution is coming to town, and gonna fix everything this time.

People with nothing and nothing to lose kind of want to believe that. And frankly, Barack Obama has done next to nothing to provide an alternative to that, but not that it is actually his responsibility to do that.

So Barack Obama has a story about the Middle East, and it frankly doesn't match the simple facts you can find in 30 minutes puttering around the Internet. What happened in Benghazi on that tragic night is a big public flaw in that story, and that is frankly what the Obama Regime is fighting about. Getting people to believe a story that isn't true, so that it will prop up his ability to carry out his domestic agenda.

It's all a pack of lies, but when did that ever stop most politicians?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Agree.

General Tso, do you have a problem with the preceding, either whole or in part?

I am unaware of the Obama administration providing a comprehensive official account of what happened in Benghazi. Why hasn't such an account been released?

I don't think we can even begin to know what happened until we hear from the people who were there--namely, the CIA operatives who have, evidently, been muzzled.

General Tso, do you agree with this assessment? Do you agree that the CIA operatives who survived the attack have been prevented from telling their stories? If so, would you care to speculate as to why they have not been allowed to talk?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I too would be interested to hear from General Tso concerning what really happened in Benghazi and why. So far all he has given us in this regard are statements of contempt and disdain concerning the views of others posting in this forum.

How about it general? Make it clear, concise, and succinct. Just the facts as you see them. Treat us as the LIVs you think we are: enlighten us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tangentially: I don't care who killed JFK. I truly don't. I am curious, however, about what happened to Judge Crater.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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