Posted in America, World, tagged 2012 Presidential Election, America, Benghazi, Libya, meet the press, Obama Administration, President Obama, Susan Rice, World on November 4, 2012 |
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Every day, new revelations come out about what happened at the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11. Each revelation makes the incident more troubling and paints the Obama Administration is an increasingly disturbing light.
We now know that, in the months before the September 11 attack, there were multiple warnings and incidents, at the consulate itself and elsewhere in Benghazi, that made it clear that the area was dangerous and that consulate lacked sufficient security. Why didn’t our government take steps to either significantly beef up security at the compound or remove our Ambassador and the consulate staff from the unsecure area? Given the turmoil in Libya, protecting the security of Americans serving there should have been a high priority, but it obviously wasn’t. The failure to act in response to repeated warnings and prior terrorist activity is astonishingly irresponsible. Why hasn’t anyone in our government been held responsible for the failure to protect our people against a painfully obvious threat?
In addition, the information that has been dribbling out about the incident makes the initial “spontaneous mob” explanation offered by the Obama Administration especially inexplicable. The people involved in the incident itself — from the State Department people who were following the incident in real time, to the people who received the frantic phone calls and messages from consulate personnel, to the military personnel and intelligence operatives who apparently tried to respond — understood that the incident was a planned and coordinated terrorist attack, not a reaction to a YouTube video about Mohammed. Indeed, there was no apparent factual basis for believing the attack was an angry response to an obscure video. So why did the YouTube video ever get blamed for the incident? Who pushed the YouTube video story, instead of telling us the truth?
Today Kish and I watched Meet the Press, and we shook our heads when the Obama Administration spokesman tried to reassure us that the investigation of the incident is proceeding. Really? It’s been two months since four Americans were murdered, apparently needlessly. Does it really take so long to figure out why warnings weren’t heeded, and who made the decision to ignore them? And how can it possibly take two months to determine who came up with the phony YouTube video explanation for the carnage? If our government can’t move more nimbly than this, what does it tell you about the capabilities of our government?
I hate to think that, with the election now only two days away, the Obama Administration is stonewalling and trying to run out the clock on a terrible failure that produced four dead Americans. However, I’ve heard no other reasonable explanation for the fact that the Administration has not moved aggressively and quickly to figure out what happened, tell the American people the truth, and take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Is there another explanation?
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Posted in America, World, tagged Al Qaeda, Ambassador Chris Stevens, America, Benghazi, Democrats, Libya, Obama Administration, Republicans, U.S. State Department, United States Senate, World on September 28, 2012 |
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I’m glad to see reports that Senate Democrats are joining their Republican colleagues in asking the Obama Administration to answer questions about what happened in Libya that led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
As the story from The Hill linked above shows, the Obama Administration’s story about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi remains vague and unfocused; today Administration aptly described the Administration position as “evolving.” The Administration seems to have backed away from its initial position that the attack was the result of unplanned demonstrations about a YouTube video, and has begun to use words like terrorism and even, apparently, al Qaeda to describe the attack. It’s long past time that full disclosure should be made, including communications between Ambassador Stevens and the U.S. State Department about security and terrorism issues in Libya and planning related to security at U.S. installations.
As the participation of Senate Democrats indicates, what happened in Benghazi is not a partisan political issue. Instead, it is a national security issue, a sovereignty issue, and also an issue of fairness to American diplomatic personnel across the world. We need to ensure that our people are adequately protected and that our government is reacting prudently and appropriately to threats and warnings. As far as I am concerned, meaningful congressional hearings into the disastrous Benghazi incident cannot begin soon enough.
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Posted in America, World, tagged Ambassador Chris Stevens, America, Benghazi, CIA, CNN, FBI, Libya, Obama Administration, President Obama, The Innocence of Muslims, U.S. State Department, World on September 24, 2012 |
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We continue to get news about the murderous attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and its aftermath — and none of the news is good.
The Obama Administration now concedes what seemed obvious from the outset: that the attack in Benghazi was not a mob action but instead was a terrorist attack. That leaves the question of why the Administration and its spokespeople, like the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, insisted for days that the attack was purely a response to The Innocence of Muslims YouTube video.
It’s also become clear that the burnt-out shell of the consulate was left unprotected for days, making the place ripe for loss of intelligence information. Three days after the attack, for example, CNN found a journal kept by murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on the floor of the consulate. The U.S. State Department has criticized CNN’s use of the journal, but the fact that it was found days after the attack by people wandering through the consulate raises serious issues about the competence of the State Department and its security arrangements. Weren’t procedures in place to destroy sensitive information? Why wasn’t the area secured more quickly? If CNN was able to find the journal by rummaging around the site, what classified information might have been acquired by the terrorists who plotted the attack?
Finally, the New York Times has an article about the catastrophic effect of the Libyan attack on U.S. intelligence gathering activities in the Middle East. As a result of the attacks a number of CIA operators and contractors had to bug out, leaving the U.S. as if it had its “eyes poked out.” The large CIA presence in Benghazi puts the inadequate security arrangements in sharper focus, and heightens concerns that the names of confidential informants and sources, tentative conclusions reached by our agents, and other significant intelligence information may have been acquired by al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations. If Benghazi was a major intelligence-gathering center, shouldn’t the security arrangements for the U.S. operations have been far more robust?
The State Department has created a “review board” to examine the attacks, and the FBI is apparently investigating. That’s all fine, but Congress needs to get involved and begin prompt hearings into the incidents in Libya and Egypt — and, particularly, the many apparent failures in U.S. operations there. We need to determine whether advance warnings were ignored, why our security arrangements were so woefully inadequate, why we were unable to secure the area for days after the attack, and what we need to do to ensure that such planned attacks on U.S. installations cannot happen again.
Many Questions To Be Answered, Publicly And Quickly
Many Questions To Be Answered, Publicly And Quickly (II)
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Posted in America, Politics, World, tagged America, BBC, Benghazi, CNN, Jay Carney, Libya, New York Times, News media, Obama Administration, Politics, United States State Department, World on September 16, 2012 |
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While the Obama Administration and the State Department are trying to keep a lid on what really happened in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — because they are treating it as a “crime scene” — the news media is doing its job.
CNN has an article about warnings that purportedly were given to U.S. officials in Libya about the deteriorating security situation there. The New York Times reports on the “problem of Libya’s militias,” which indicates that since the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi Libya has become a fractionalized, lawless place dominated by heavily armed, autonomous “miliitias” with little sense of central control. A BBC story quotes the president of the Libya’s interim assembly as saying that the Benghazi incident was carefully planned by foreigners who came to Libya months ago and have been plotting the attack since then. The latter story, of course, undercuts the notion that the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory internet video. And the photos of the burnt-out remains of the consulate, published in newspapers and on websites across the globe, demonstrate how devastating the attack was.
These reports raise obvious questions about the real cause of the Benghazi attack and whether the Obama Administration, the U.S. State Department, and the intelligence community ignored clear danger signs — or even explicit advance warnings — about the security situation in Libya. These questions can’t be adequately answered by spin-oriented flacks like White House press secretary Jay Carney. Instead, those questions need to be asked, in a public forum, and answered under oath by knowledgeable Administration officials whose jobs involve collecting intelligence, ensuring that our diplomatic outposts are adequately safeguarded, and communicating with host countries about embassy security. We deserve to know how this fiasco happened.
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Here’s is an interesting article which points out reasons why the Keystone pipeline was a bad deal all along. Of course this is contrary to Bob’s article and point of view expressed in his blog earlier today, but in an effort to be fair and balanced I thought it was worth posting. This decision was clearly not an easy one for the president.
If you don’t have time to read the article here is a brief recap.
TransCanada made it known that most if not all of the extracted and refined oil from the pipeline would be exported and sold over seas not kept in the United States.
Currently their are Canadian oil reserves stored in the midwest and part of the pipeline deal was that TransCanada could drain these reserves and export them which would raise gas prices in the United States especially in the Midwest.
The original TransCanada permit application stated there would be a peak workforce of 3,500 temporary jobs.
The current Keystone pipeline in Canada leaked twelve times last year.
Nebraska Republican Governor Heineman opposed the pipeline because the proposed route of the pipeline was to run through an aquifer in the state that supplies clean drinking water to 2 million Americans plus water for the agriculture industry. His reasoning was does it make since to create 3,500 temporary jobs when even a minor spill near the aquifer would jeopardize more jobs not to mention the health of the citizens of his state.
I’m not saying the pipeline is a bad idea, but I have no problem with the Obama administration taking their time to consider this project carefully. Have we already forgotten our frustrations watching video day after day of the Gulf Oil spill releasing oil into the ocean ?
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Posted in America, crime, Politics, tagged America, Attorney General, BATF, crime, Department of Justice, Eric Holder, Mexican Border, Mexican Drug Wars, Mexico, Obama Administration, Operation Fast and Furious, Politics, The Fast and The Furious, Vin Diesel on July 8, 2011 |
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Let’s ponder, for a moment, “Operation Fast and Furious,” an ill-conceived, botched initiative that apparently was the brainchild of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) during the Obama Administration. The fact that the effort was named after a hyper-macho, testosterone-laden Vin Diesel movie probably tells you all you need to know about the wisdom and thoughtfulness underlying the operation.
Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to help the BATF track and stop arms trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. As part of the operation, the BATF not only allowed loads of guns to be purchased and delivered into the hands of Mexican drug cartels but also, according to testimony from agents, prevented American agents from stopping the flow of arms across the border. Unfortunately, the BATF couldn’t keep track of the guns, and they have ended up at crime scenes along the U.S.-Mexican border — including the scene where a U.S. border agent was murdered. A recent letter from congressional investigators to Attorney General Eric Holder states, in part: “The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in those activities.”
The stench surrounding Operation Fast and Furious is exacerbated by the fact that congressional investigators are claiming that the federal government is not being forthcoming about who knew about and approved the operation. Recently the acting director of the BATF came forward, with his personal attorney, to testify before congressional investigators about apparent efforts by the Justice Department to block his testimony. The DOJ denies any cover-up or wrongdoing.
With respect to the cover-up allegations, we’ll just have to see where the congressional investigation leads. What does seem to be undisputed, however, is that this hare-brained operation involved U.S. agencies facilitating criminal activities that resulted in violence and death, including — apparently — the death of an American border agent. How could any federal agency (or agencies, if more than one in fact was involved) have thought that injecting even more guns into the Mexican drug wars along the border was a good idea, and then been so careless in keeping track of the guns involved?
We should all keep the foolish riskiness of “Operation Fast and Furious,” and the unbelievably bad judgment exercised by those who approved and implemented it, in mind the next time we hear that the federal budget can’t be cut, or that we should just trust federal agencies and bureaucrats to make decisions on our behalf.
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Posted in America, Politics, sports, tagged America, BCS, Bowl Championship Series, college football, Obama Administration, Politics, sports, Unemployment on January 30, 2010 |
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Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Justice Department is considering whether to take some kind of action to determine if the Bowl Championship Series violates federal antitrust laws.
I don’t know whether the BCS violates antitrust laws, and frankly I don’t care. Whether the college football national champion should be determined by a playoff as opposed to the current BCS process should be at the very bottom of the list of issues confronting our country. The fact that people are still losing their jobs is important; the fact that TCU, Boise State, Cincinnati, and other teams did not have a chance to compete for the national championship is not.
I imagine that the letter described in the SI story is a political sop to those people who think the BCS is some kind of significant problem, and I doubt whether the Administration really will spend much time on this issue. Still, perception is important. If voters believe that the Administration is thinking about college football when it should be thinking about jobs, or that the Justice Department is focusing on sports playoffs when it should be focusing on terrorism, they won’t be happy come November.
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Recent congressional testimony has shed some interesting light on the treatment of Omar Abdulmutallab, the U-Trou Bomber, after his failed attempt to blow up a Northwest flight to Detroit on Christmas Day. Various intelligence officials testified that they were not consulted on how best to deal with Abdulmutallab, who was promptly charged with a crime, read Miranda rights, and provided with a court-appointed lawyer. Although the Obama Administration claims that Abdulmutallab provided some intelligence information, no effort was made to have him questioned by intelligence officials to see whether he could provide even more information. Even the Washington Post, in an editorial published yesterday, has criticized that approach.
From the standpoint of constitutional rights and protections, a foreign national clearly is different from an American citizen, and an attempted terrorist attack undertaken pursuant to instructions from an entity that is at war with the United States is different from a criminal act. Moreover, national security considerations related to getting fresh, actionable intelligence from the failed attacker may trump whatever minimal constitutional protections might apply at the point the terrorist is first detained. If Abdulmutallab could have provided immediate intelligence on the whereabouts of the al Qaeda operatives who trained and equipped him for his mission, such that we could promptly target and respond to those operatives, that possibility should have been incorporated into the analysis of how to deal with him. For all of these reasons, simply equating a foiled terrorist with a common criminal and treating them in the same way seems foolish and dangerous, unnecessarily hamstringing our ability to fight a shadowy organization committed to doing us harm.
I hope that the Obama Administration revisits its procedures and at least involves its intelligence agencies in the decision-making process the next time a failed terrorist is caught. Unfortunately for all of us, these kinds of opportunities aren’t commonplace. The U-Trou Bomber failed only because his ignition device misfired. How often will we have the chance to obtain fresh intelligence from a shaken, unsuccessful terrorist? Let’s hope that, if there is a next time, we take better advantage of that opportunity.
The U-Trou Bomber (Cont.)
The U-Trou Bomber (Cont.)
The U-Trou Bomber
What Do Bureaucrats Do, Anyway?
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