As when I wrote about "Actionable Intelligence," I want to make sure not to rat out some of my friends in State and CIA, or violate my oath to protect classified information and procedures.
With that qualifier, the attack on the US facility in Benghazi is a scandal of--literally--murderous proportions. The lack of concern for even basic security procedures, the mishandling of intelligence information, the willful blindness towards the causes of the attack, and the outrageous and outright lying to cover up the incompetence by Carney, Rice, Clinton, Obama, and now Clapper is breath-taking.
The late Ambassador Stevens, I am sorry to say, has a share of the blame for the failure to use common sense and to behave in a manner that would have protected him and his people. This failure cost him his life and those of three other Americans, and apparently produced a catastrophe for US interests.
I will be criticized for criticizing a murdered Ambassador, but he was the man in charge. His greatest apparent shortcoming, and I would gladly retract this and apologize if the evidence points elsewhere, was allowing that facility, which apparently played a key role in our intel efforts in the region, to operate with nothing that approximated even basic security standards. In addition, he drew attention to the facility by announcing that he would go to Benghazi, and that he would inaugurate an "American Corner" there. He did this although, apparently, he had concerns about the security of the facility in Benghazi, as well as his own safety, i.e., he worried that he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list. That seems irresponsible behavior. Again, if I am wrong I will apologize. What had he told Washington about his concerns? What actions had he recommended? What, if any, was the response?
The facility in Benghazi was not a regular consulate despite what the press has been saying. It is not clear what exactly that facility was--it does not appear on the Embassy Tripoli website or in the State Department's list of consulates--but appears to have been operated on the bureaucratic sly to enable it to avoid expensive and time-consuming security requirements. The Near East (NEA) head, the Diplomatic Security (DS) head, the Undersecretary for Management (M), the Deputy Secretary (D), and the Secretary of State (S), and, of course, the CIA Director, and the head of the NSC, knew this, or should have, and should be fired--if they did not, they also should all be fired. Any investigation must focus on what functions the facility performed, and what risk assessment had been made; in other words, what were the pros and cons of running this place? Was it worth the risk of operating it under the conditions it did? Maybe the answer is "yes," but it sure does not look that way.
I see there is now a concerted effort to blame the Republican Congress for cutting the State Department's budget for security. Nonsense. Quite aside from the fact that State is overfunded, and wastes lots of money, if this facility was so important to a variety of agencies and at such risk, the money could not be found in somebody's budget? If it could not, then we are back to basic questions: Why was the facility there? Why was the ambassador, who had his own security concerns calling attention to it by visiting on, of all dates, 9/11?
The DNI statement put out yesterday in which the intel community seeks to shield the administration is one of the stupidest such statements I have read,
“In the immediate aftermath (of the assault), there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. . . . We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly. . . .
As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. . . . It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. . . However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to, al Qaida.”
If this is true about the DNI's initial analysis, then the DNI chief, political appointee General Clapper, needs to be fired, as well. The DNI must be incredibly incompetent. In the past, let us not forget, DNI analysis of the Iranian nuclear program was a joke. This statement, designed to give the administration cover, ignores that the great administration lie blitz came days after the attack and has continued to this day. This statement also has some blatant stupidity, to wit, "it remains unclear" if somebody directed the attack. What utter rubbish!
What we are seeing is more than a failure of intelligence. It is a monstrous example of an unforced error. The Obama misadministration and the compliant bureaucracy convinced themselves that things were now different. They were certain that with the election of Obama, of Nobel Laureate Obama, the Middle East and the Muslim world no longer would be the Middle East and the Muslim world. That thanks to Obama's Third World connections, soaring rhetoric, good intentions, and loud "mea culpas" on behalf of Western civilization, all of America's past sins had been forgiven. We had entered the Golden Age of Peace, Love, Democracy, and Equality. I am not exaggerating. I saw this same mentality at work, for example, in the misadministration's policies towards Latin America, where groveling and self-flagelation were the orders of the day. There was a persistent disbelief in the evil of the Castro, Chavez, etc., regimes, and in their commitment to destroying the US. "Everybody loves President Obama," we were told.
We saw this self-delusion in action in the statement by White House spokesman Carney that the violent attacks on our embassies and facilities in the Muslim world were merely the result of a silly 14-minute video clip and not aimed at America or the Obama administration. We saw it in the insistence by Rice and others that the Benghazi attack was not a pre-planned terrorist action (we still see that in the DNI statement.) It was just "folks" who got a bit out of hand.
The next step will be, as predicted earlier, to blame it all on some small group of extremists that are not with the democracy wave now "sweeping" the Middle East. We will see some drones or SEALs in action, and some bad guys will die, and deservedly so. To see, however, Al Qaeda or other terrorists as some sort of alien graft onto the Muslim world ignores the basic issue: the nature of modern Islam, a totalitarian ideology that resorts to violence and the constant threat of violence to hold sway. Today's Islam provides the perfect environment for the terrorists.
The practitioners of the Islamic ideology hate us; they want us either as their servants or dead. No speech, no apology, no arrest of a film-maker, no sporadic killing of this or that terrorist will do. This is a long, long struggle in which the West must remain true to its core beliefs, and be ready, willing, and able to inflict defeat after defeat on the jihadis until there is a drive from within the Muslim world to reform and to adopt a more enlightened attitude toward the rest of humanity.
Obama is not up to that task.