Is the Obama administration suppressing intelligence that shows the president’s boasts about al-Qaeda being “on the path to defeat” to be campaign propaganda?
Weeks before the presidential election, President Barack Obama’s administration faces mounting opposition from within the ranks of U.S. intelligence agencies over what career officers say is a “cover up” of intelligence information about terrorism in North Africa.
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.
According to these officials, the statement released by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, where the director placed the blame for erroneous statements about the Libya attack on intelligence agencies, “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.
Among the obvious signs of terrorism was the arms used by the attackers, who were equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
Bottom line: Libya may be just the tip of the iceberg in this coverup scheme. The real coverup involves trying to mask the gigantic failure of Obama’s middle east policy that has seen radical Islamists rise to power and threaten American interests:
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.
Yet the Obama administration sought to keep the information from becoming public to avoid exposing what the officials say is a Middle East policy failure by Obama.
Officials said that the administration appeared to engage in a disinformation campaign aimed at distancing the president personally during the peak of the presidential election campaign from the disaster in Benghazi, where numerous warning of an attack were ignored, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other officials.
The final element of the campaign involved comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was the first to give a partial explanation of the intelligence when she said al Qaeda terrorists operating from Mali were possible culprits in the Benghazi attack.
“What she failed to mention was the cooperation of Iran and Egypt in supporting jihadists in Libya,” the official said, who added the events would be investigated in an apparent effort to stave off internal critics in government.
That has led to delays in getting FBI and other U.S. investigators into Benghazi, raising concerns that some in the White House wanted to delay the FBI’s efforts to uncover evidence about the attack.
The FBI did not reach Benghazi until Thursday, ostensibly over concerns about the lack of security to protect them.
“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.
They may also be trying to cover-up the security problems that they failed to address prior to the attack in Benghazi. CBS News reports that the former head of a 16-man security team was pulled out of Libya just weeks before the attack:
Lt. Col. Wood has told CBS News and congressional investigators that his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, just one month before the Benghazi assault. Wood says that’s despite the fact that US officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.
Wood says he met daily with Stevens and that security was a constant challenge. There were 13 threats or attacks on western diplomats and officials in Libya in the six months leading up to the September 11 attack.
A senior State Department official told CBS News that half of the 13 incidents before September 11 were fairly minor or routine in nature, and that the Benghazi attack was so lethal and overwhelming, that a diplomatic post would not be able to repel it.
Wood, whose team arrived in February, says he and fellow security officials were very worried about the chaos on the ground. He says they tried to communicate the danger to State Department officials in Washington, D.C., but that the officials denied requests to enhance security.
One must be careful in making an assumption and then trying to make the facts fit the theory. What Gertz has written cannot be confirmed by an independent source — yet. A Congressional hearing has a knack of bringing forward all sorts of interesting people.
But in truth, what we have so far is a cover-up with a few dots that can be connected and a few facts that fit the scenario. What is absolutely certain, however, is that there was a massive, tragic breakdown in the State Department’s security regime and that Ambassador Stevens and 3 others paid for this incompetence with their lives.