Feinstein: Benghazi Confusion is DNI James Clapper’s Fault
October 18, 2012 - 10:19 am
If this is true, shouldn’t Director of National Intelligence James Clapper be fired?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday told the local CBS station in San Francisco that Obama initially called the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three Americans an “act of terror” in the days after the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She suggested the administration initially linked the attack to an anti-Islam video based on the assessment of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Clapper — a “very good individual” according to Feinstein — “put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment,” she said. “I think that was possibly a mistake.”
Possibly a mistake?
Let’s go back and review the possible origins of the movie meme. US intelligence intercepted communications among al Qaeda, in which the terrorists said they were going to go ahead with the Benghazi attack and use the movie protests in Cairo and elsewhere as cover. That intercept itself proved that the attack was mounted by terrorists, and that the movie was a pre-text. The Obama administration seized on the mention of the movie and played it up into a central role. That decision was political: An al Qaeda attack exposed a core Obama message on terrorism as false.
Clapper’s performance as DNI has not been a strong one. In addition to this “possible mistake,” he described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “mostly secular” organization as that group rose to power in Egypt. We can debate why Clapper might believe and say that, but the fact is, he is tragically wrong. The Muslim Brotherhood is the font of Islamist doctrine and ideology. It gave rise to al Qaeda, and now that al Qaeda’s commander is an Egyptian alum of the Muslim Brotherhood, there is every chance in the world that Egypt and al Qaeda will work more closely together now than ever.
If the Director of National Intelligence does not see this, if he really believed that the Benghazi attack resulted from a movie, he has no business remaining in his position for another second. His ignorance is a threat to the nation.
On the other hand, Clapper could have been selling the movie meme for political reasons to assist the Obama campaign. If that’s the case then he still needs to be removed, and the position of Director of National Intelligence revisited. The DNI position stovepipes the intelligence that presidents receive (when they’re attending their Presidential Daily Briefings, anyway), and for that reason alone the DNI was always a bad idea. There was always a risk that it would become politicized. Clapper’s performance indicates that it has.
More: Here is video of Feinstein’s remarks. She says security was “inadequate” and then plays forward the new Obama spin, that he actually did call Benghazi “terrorism” on Sept 12. Mission accomplished, Candy Crowley!