Averted Vision

The recent post A-Haunting We Will Go described the reported “revolt of the spooks” against the public line on Benghazi being pushed by the Obama administration. It followed an earlier post which speculated that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was actually an operation directed on US intelligence.


That speculation had been given further impetus by Bill Gertz’s report that al-Qaeda was rising in the North Africa and the Middle East and the Obama administration was reluctant to admit it.

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 administration, in particular, wants to keep hidden solid intelligence showing that the terrorist group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans is now flourishing under the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Ironically Washington Post’s Dana Milbank gave further support to this thesis ironically while denouncing the congressional hearings into Benghazi. He says the hearings are exposing secret CIA facilities. Milbank wrote:

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks. “Point of order! Point of order!” he called out as a State Department security official, seated in front of an aerial photo of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, described the chaotic night of the attack. “We’re getting into classified issues that deal with sources and methods that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this.”

A State Department official assured him that the material was “entirely unclassified” and that the photo was from a commercial satellite. “I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz continued. He went on to say that “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted. “I would direct that that chart be taken down,” he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN. “In this hearing room, we’re not going to point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.”


Without realizing he had underscored that Al-Qaeda had been “poking out the eyes” of US intelligence in Benghazi. They were not reacting to a video rental which did not meet their expectations. They did not simply  pick a random facility out of the Bengazi directory  to attack, they planned to hit American intelligence purposely, intentionally an alas, successfully.

Just today Reuters reports that masked gunmen in Yemen have just assassinated the head of the Yemeni team in charge of security at the US embassy in Sanaa.

SANAA (Reuters) – Masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man on his way to work at the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Thursday, a security source said, the latest in a wave of assassinations in the Arab state where Washington is battling al Qaeda militants.

The attackers on a motorcycle opened fire on a car carrying Qassem Aqlan – who headed an embassy security team – in the center of Yemen’s capital, the source told Reuters.

What does that suggest? Why it proves that people in Yemen watch videos doesn’t it? But to others the danger is now manifest. Al-Qaeda like groups are now positioning themselves to drive US facilities out of the Middle East. They are taking down American eyes, ears and allies.


And in the meantime the Administration is talking about a video, Big Bird and criticizing Romney for not appearing on Nickelodeon. Well they are the ‘adults in the room’ after all. Just ask Andrew Sullivan.

The likelihood is that no matter who wins the November Presidential elections there will be a crisis in the Middle East early next year. As Spengler put it at the Asian Times ‘the horizon in the middle east is collapsing’.

The bad news is that none of the major countries in the region can be kept from falling, and once fallen, they cannot be put back together again. The good news is that the bad news is not so bad. As long as the calamity is restricted to the region, and prospective malefactors are prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, the impact on the rest of the world will be surprisingly small.

Only if it is managed successfully. For good or ill, Obama has “lost” the Middle East or a large part of it, though as perhaps as Spengler points out it would have been lost in any case. In the coming years the rest of the world will have to deal with the sputtering sparks and explosions from that flaming wreck of the region. At best with wise American leadership, but at worst case in the care of Mister Leading From Behind.


Modern Leadershp

But there’s another image from Milton, less comic perhaps a truer one.

Betray’d, Captiv’d, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task
With this Heav’n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas’t
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.

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