Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya. – Eli Lake, Daily Beast
SUNDAY SHOW spin is coming back to bite the White House. First it was U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who got caught up in her own explanations, making what was seen as a potential audition for secretary of state a debacle. Then it was Robert Gibbs, who maintained on Fox News Sunday last weekend that the Administration was learning “more information every single day about what happened.”
It’s not clear to me how Eli Lake’s report today adds much on the facts of what was evident, though it does illustrate the dissatisfaction across the political and reporting world with the answers coming from the Obama administration so far, which includes myself.
Conservative blogs are jumping on Lake’s reporting because of election year politics and the hopes any narrative can save Republicans from Mitt Romney. But it’s fueled by the continuing problems with the answers to questions coming out of the White House.
This is why questions continue to be asked, with Congress now getting aggressive about it.
Josh Rogin is reporting that Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have asked for all of Ambassador Stevens’s cables.
“While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks,” wrote Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Johnny Isaakson (R-GA) in a letter to Clinton Tuesday.
They acknowledged that Clinton is in the process of setting up an Accountability Review Board, although its chairman former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering said Monday that the panel hasn’t started it work yet. But the senators don’t want to wait for the board to finish its report, which might not be transmitted to Congress until next spring.
“To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens,” they wrote.
President Obama hasn’t helped.
Yesterday in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, the President opined about the answer to propaganda like the anti-Islam YouTube film that sparked violence in Egypt and beyond was “more speech.” However, this came after the Administration asked YouTube to review the film after violence erupted, which Spencer Ackerman has reported on as well over at Danger Room.
However, the anti-Islam YouTube film was quickly removed as a cause of what happened in Benghazi.
Right now this seems to be a case of trying to keep the voters focused on November, while not doing your job.
Is there some reason President Obama and the administration can’t be transparent about events in Benghazi?
And once again I’ll ask, what happened to intelligence inside Benghazi, with a focused group of C.I.A. agents stationed nearby and why isn’t someone asking Director David Petraeus for answers? I know I’ve ask that before, but no one has answered this unspoken question sufficiently to make me quit asking it.