“Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes in the gripping chapter, “Benghazi: Under Attack.”
– Maggie Haberman [Politico]
THE MOST important teaser from Secretary Hillary Clinton’s book Hard Choices is revealed today in Politico, in a chapter titled “Benghazi: Under Attack.” It will be irresistible to Clinton’s critics, with “Fox & Friends” today characterizing the chapter as HRC “doubling down.”
“Until the book is released, there’s nothing to say. And once it’s released, it will speak for itself.” – Nick Merrill, Hillary Rodham Clinton spokesperson
HRC has no intention of ignoring her critics on Benghazi, proving it further by already scheduling appearances on Fox News Channel in interviews with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren on June 17, according to The Hill.
From Haberman’s exclusive, the primary reason there is so much furor still around the Benghazi tragedy, which is “misinformation,” as Clinton rightly labels it.
The 34-page chapter is Clinton’s most complete account to date of the attack and its aftermath. Her tone is less defensive than defiant: Clinton takes responsibility for the “horror” of the loss of life in Benghazi, but puts it in the context of “the heartbreaking human stakes of every decision we make” “” and she accuses adversaries of manipulating a tragedy for partisan gain.
There has been, she writes, a “regrettable amount of misinformation, speculation, and flat-out deceit by some in politics and the media,” but new information from “a number of reputable sources continues to expand our understanding of these events.”
As I’ve proved from the very beginning of the Republican campaign to tar President Obama and Secretary Clinton on Benghazi, a prime center for misinformation as been some of those at Fox News Channel, beginning with a report from Fox’s Jennifer Griffin who was the first to allege there was a military stand down order, which was proven false by Secretary Leon Panetta, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Dempsey. From Griffin’s report on October 26, 2012, just days before the November presidential election.
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials “” who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out.
They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”
The rebuttals from Secretary of Defense Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dempsey were unequivocal in a hearing captured on CNN, C-SPAN, as well as an exchange during Senate testimony. Â I recount the exchanges, including video and verbatim quotes of the testimonies, in this post:
In his remarks, Panetta said the initial reports of the attack were given “almost immediately” to the U.S. Embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Within 17 minutes, Panetta said, an unarmed, unmanned surveillance aircraft was dispatched to give U.S. officials a better idea of what was happening. It arrived at the site about 70 minutes after the attack, he said.Â Soon, Panetta and Dempsey met with President Barack Obama, the secretary told lawmakers.Obama ordered that the Defense Department respond to the attack with “all available DOD assets” and try to protect U.S. personnel, Panetta said.Â ““Panetta, Dempsey defend U.S. response to Benghazi attack
“We didn’t have an official DOD presence in Libya. [Ayotte interrupts, asks again about “chartering a plane”] I would just reiterate, we didn’t have an official DOD presence in Libya.”
““ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey
Even after this answer, Ayotte again asks about the plane, saying if we’d had aviation assets we could have gotten to Benghazi sooner.
General Dempsey tries not to be incredulous, answering if they’d had a plane, “sure they could have gotten there sooner.”
Senator Ayotte continues, questioning the quickness of the action from DOD, refusing to accept the facts on how fast the Benghazi terrorist attack spun out of control.
“The forces were moving”¦ “¦ There was no time or space available to be able to respond in time.”
““ Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
Ayotte continues pressing that military was preparing, but no order to go was given, which wasn’t the case. She didn’t understand the obvious protocols.
“There’s a list of prepare to deploy, prepare to deploy, prepare to deploy,” Ayotte continued, further stepping in it by adding that the forces didn’t perceive the dangers or that quick action was required.
“Yeah, if I could just help with that one. The process is you tell a unit to prepare to deploy. When they report readiness you tell them to move. That’s just a piece of the process. There is nothing that held them up.”
““ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Dempsey
Seasoned at how the media and partisan attacks work, Clinton’s team has enlisted former National Security Council spokesman and President Barack Obama loyalist Tommy Vietor to assist in responding to the GOP Benghazi brigade, which begins on Fox News Channel.
“Many of these same people are a broken record about unanswered questions. But there is a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers.”
– Hillary Rodham Clinton in Hard Choices
Clinton also pulls no punches defending Ambassador Susan Rice‘s Sunday show talking points, writing, “Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time.” This has been proven.
In classic Hillary Clinton style, she also doesn’t shirk from taking on critics of her statement in front of the House committee investigating Benghazi, “what difference at this point does it make.”
“In yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy, many have conveniently chosen to interpret” that phrase “to mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi. Of course that’s not what I said,” she writes. “Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don’t care.”
She adds, “My point was simple: If someone breaks into your home and takes your family hostage, how much time are you going to spend focused on how the intruder spent his day as opposed to how best to rescue your loved ones and then prevent it from happening again?”
If you’re marking events in your smartphone calendar, ready June 10, which is the unofficial starting point to the 2016 election, where the potential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton is concerned.