Friday, May 03, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 5/03/13: The Benghazi Scandal Continues -- And Hillary is Not Clear of It Yet

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) The innocence of the Obama administration

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on September 14, 2012:

Remarks by #SecClinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, #Libya
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 14, 2012
This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.
Ttransfer of remains of victims of Benghazi attack at ceremony at Joint Base Andrews
President  Obama with Secretary of State Clinton during the transfer of
remains ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on 14 September 2012,
 marking the return to the United States of the remains of victims killed
 in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. White House photo

Mr. Romney’s rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign - Washington Post editorial - September 12, 2012
At a news conference, Mr. Romney claimed that the administration had delivered “an apology for America’s values.” In fact, it had done no such thing: Religious tolerance, as much as freedom of speech, is a core American value. The movie that provoked the protests, which mocks the prophet Muhammad and portrays Muslims as immoral and violent, is a despicable piece of bigotry; it was striking that Mr. Romney had nothing to say about such hatred directed at a major religious faith.
What's striking is how incurious the Washington Post was about what really happened.

As Barry Rubin noted a day later:
What happened in Libya has nothing to do with an obscure video from California, it has everything to do with the question of which side rules Libya. And the relationship between the attacks and the September 11 anniversary was meant to show that the Libyan terrorists supported September 11 and wanted to continue that battle.
The date of the embassy attacks, including Benghazi, should have told anyone with a modicum of understanding that the attacks were premeditated and not the result of some uncontrollable rage against a video.

There a few news stories out about Benghazi that ask and answer and analyze the question of what the administration knew and when did it know it.

Stephen Hayes writes about The Benghazi Talking Points in the Weekly Standard:
The White House provided the emails to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees for a limited time and with the stipulation that the documents were available for review only and would not be turned over to the committees. The White House and committee leadership agreed to that arrangement as part of a deal that would keep Republican senators from blocking the confirmation of John Brennan, the president’s choice to run the CIA. If the House report provides an accurate and complete depiction of the emails, it is clear that senior administration officials engaged in a wholesale rewriting of intelligence assessments about Benghazi in order to mislead the public. The Weekly Standard sought comment from officials at the White House, the State Department, and the CIA, but received none by press time. Within hours of the initial attack on the U.S. facility, the State Department Operations Center sent out two alerts. The first, at 4:05 p.m. (all times are Eastern Standard Time), indicated that the compound was under attack; the second, at 6:08 p.m., indicated that Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group operating in Libya, had claimed credit for the attack. According to the House report, these alerts were circulated widely inside the government, including at the highest levels. The fighting in Benghazi continued for another several hours, so top Obama administration officials were told even as the fighting was taking place that U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives were likely being attacked by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. A cable sent the following day, September 12, by the CIA station chief in Libya, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and made clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this fact, along with several others, that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure.
CNN is reporting:
Yemeni men belonging to al Qaeda took part in last year's #Benghazi attack, sources tell CNN.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 2, 2013
On September 10 -- at least 18 hours before the attack -- al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a video timed for the anniversary of 9/11, called for attacks on Americans in Libya to avenge the death of al-Libi. 
In March, Libyan authorities detained a man called Faraj al-Shibli in Libya on suspicion of links to the attack, according to several officials. The FBI was able to interview him in the presence of Libyan officials, according to one Libyan source. It appears al-Shibli was detained after returning from a trip to Pakistan, sources said. 
It remains unclear exactly whether al-Shibli was present at the U.S. compound at the time of the attack. It's also unclear whether his detention is likely to lead to charges in connection with the attack. Investigators have learned that al-Shibli has had contact with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as well as al Qaeda members in Pakistan, sources said.
This doesn't make any charges, as Hayes does, about what the administration knew at the time. Still it shows that this wasn't a spontaneous demonstration.

Finally, Secretary Clinton was exonerated by a State Department review. Now that report is coming under scrutiny.
Wow. Great reporting by @jamesrosenfnc -> "State Dept's Benghazi review panel under investigation, Fox News confirms"
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) May 2, 2013
The IG's office notified the department of the "special review" on March 28, according to Doug Welty, the congressional and public affairs officer of the IG's office. 
This disclosure marks a significant turn in the ongoing Benghazi case, as it calls into question the reliability of the blue-ribbon panel that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened to review the entire matter. Until the report was concluded, she and all other senior Obama administration officials regularly refused to answer questions about what happened in Benghazi.
But State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell disputed the characterization of the review, saying it is "simply false" to assert the panel is being investigated.
State Dept investigates State... More scandal, unprecedented developments for MSM to ignore…
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) May 3, 2013  
Hillary's State Dept hired alqaeda linked group to protect Chris Stevens in Benghazi >…
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 3, 2013
At some point you have to ask when will a tipping point be reached with Hillary Clinton's reputation?
RT @instapundit AS I SAY, IT’S ALL A PLOT TO MAKE HILLARY LOOK BETTER IN RETROSPECT:John Kerry, Secretary of Gaffe……
— David Gerstman (@soccerdhg) April 25, 2013

2) The world's most incompetent ethnic cleansing

AP reports Abandoned by parents, disabled Gaza baby lives with grandfather in Israeli hospital (h/t GS):
Born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease, Mohammed’s hands and feet were amputated because of complications from his condition, and the 3 ½-year-old carts about in a tiny red wheelchair. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government won’t pay for his care, so he lives at the hospital with his grandfather. 
“There’s no care for this child in Gaza, there’s no home in Gaza where he can live,” said the grandfather, Hamouda al-Farra. 
“He can’t open anything by himself, he can’t eat or take down his pants. His life is zero without help,” he said at the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the Tel Hashomer complex in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan.
The article focuses on the problem of the handicapped among the Palestinians and, how, in some way their treatment is improving. The story of Mohammed, though, is the focus of the article.

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