published Monday, May 13th, 2013

Smith: COVER-UP: Benghazi now a textbook example

By Robin Smith
  • photo
    Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.
    File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Columbine. School tragedy. 9/11. Terrorist attack on America. Pearl Harbor. Japanese attack on America. Newtown. School shooting tragedy. Watergate. Presidential scandal and cover-up.

Certain words and phrases now take our minds and memories, not to their original meanings, but to the tragedies, the attacks that now define them.

Benghazi should now join this list.

On Sept. 11, 2012, the consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked.

The response from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama following the consulate attack was anything but firm and clear that there was a link to al-Qaeda.

Instead, our two “leaders” generated headlines like this one from the New York Times during the evening of Sept. 11, 2012: “Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt.”

To understand Benghazi, a few key events prior to the consulate attack must be acknowledged:

• From 2011 to July 2012, a security report logs 234 “security incidents” in the Benghazi area that included “car-jackings, kidnappings, assassination attempts and gun battles.”

• On June 4, 2012, Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al-Qaeda “mastermind,” was killed by a U.S. drone.

• On June 5, 2012, an al-Qaeda affiliate released a video claiming credit for an explosion at the Benghazi consulate in response to the drone assassination the day prior. The hole created in the consulate wall was broad enough for “40 men” to enter. Leaflets promising future attacks against the U.S. were left.

• On June 10, 2012, the British ambassador to Libya survived an assassination attempt as his convoy was attacked by a “rocket-propelled grenade 300 yards from their consulate.”

• June 18, 2012, the Tunisian consulate in Benghazi was attacked by the same Al-Qaeda affiliate group.

• By the end of June, the British consulate had closed with all staff removed.

• Three days prior to the Benghazi attacks, The Independent reports that American diplomats were warned and an “alert was issued 48 hours before the attacks by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but was not made public.”

• On the day of the terror attacks against America, Sept. 11, 2012, a video was released by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri titled “The Lion of Knowledge and Jihad: Martyrdom of al-Sheidh Abu Yahya al-Libi,” referencing the U.S. drone assassination in June. This video called “people to flock even more to his writings and call, Allah willing.”

Despite these facts and the reality of four dead Americans, we witnessed a YouTube video receiving the blame even as our commander-in-chief and secretary of state stood before flag-draped coffins eulogizing these brave men who were operating in danger’s lap and were ultimately abandoned.

There is an overlooked fact that Ambassador Chris Stevens was specifically in Benghazi to establish a permanent embassy at the orders of Secretary of State Clinton on the day of the attack, even among all the violence, danger and failed security assessments.

Now America gets to watch “textbook tactics of a cover-up of a scandal” as noted by the editor of National Review, Rich Lowry, in describing the Obama administration’s response to Benghazi: “1. Stonewall, 2. Don’t answer questions, 3. Let time pass, 4. Then, call it ‘old news.’”

All of these actions and decisions were painted on the landscape of the November 2012 presidential election. Between Sept. 11, 2012 and Nov. 1, 2012, Barack Obama claimed no fewer than 32 times on his re-election campaign trail that Al-Qaeda “is decimated” and “on the run.”

Where’s the anger? We’ll see if America has the spine and the congressional leadership to demand justice.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner in the Smith, Waterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm.

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nucanuck said...

Poor Robin! She is trying to make something big out of something sad. The US embraced and supported the radicals in Benghazi to do the dirty job of over-throwing Gaddafi. By dancing with the devil, we should not be surprised that we got burned. The Benghazi rebels were never US allies, just momentary allies of convenience. The heavy CIA presence and the US residence/consulate made an opportune target in a city that was already a radical stronghold.

The US had almost no need for consular services in Benghazi, but fronts for the CIA were needed/wanted to conduct out-of-sight US foreign policy. The four deaths in Benghazi were blowback from an interventionist foreign policy...from being where we should not have been...from doing what we should not have done.

Obama and Clinton were wrong in their actions in Libya and their policies cost four American lives. They should be held accountable. How the night in question was handled was, however, a judgment call, good or not, but not a scandal.

Robin is strangely silent on the US alliance with these same rebels, months earlier and also on the hush hush CIA arms shipments from Benghazi to Syrian rebels. Is Robin one of our war-hawk neocons? Or is she just trying to stir the political pot for partisan advantage? Either way, we don't see many politicians speaking out against extra-legal sovereign interventions and that is the real issue.

May 13, 2013 at 2:39 a.m.
Facts said...

Exactly how do Obama supporters define a scandal and a cover up?

The facts are out and the disgrace of bad decisions were covered up by blaming a video instead of the terrorists that they knew, they knew were attacking Benghazi.

I get it. You take the same approach that Hillary did. "What difference does it make?!"

May 13, 2013 at 9:20 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Facts, Former Defense Secretary Gates was interviewed about the options that would have been available for immediate response to the Benghazi attack and he made the case that the Monday morning quarterbacking was cartoonish in its analysis of real and prudent options.

Libya is today in a state of complete chaos because of the NATO/US intervention into an internal struggle within Libya. Obama and Clinton are responsible for that intervention and that chaos. By any reasonable definition, that intervention was a war crime. I think that they should be tried and punished for that crime.

Sending planes or troops into a flash emergency, on the other hand, may well have endangered even more troops rather than preventing what happened. Doing what we were doing in Libya was the scandal, not the response to an unknowable situation emerging rapidly in Benghazi.

May 13, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.
Facts said...

I appreciate your defense of jailing a film maker to cover up terrorists' actions. Thanks for your honesty.

Having four family members in the military in the last 10 years I hear firsthand the commitment of never leaving fellow military members behind.

May 13, 2013 at 10:08 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

There, nucanuck, may be the real issue, as the CIA was running that "consulate", not the state department, and although I can understand not revealing too many details about the events because you may blow your cover, just why the CIA had such a presence there may be the scandal, not the supposed cover-ups. It also makes me wonder how often this has happened where Americans didn't even know enough to ask. CIA loses people all the time and Americans never know-these folks simply vanish until (if ever) their particular mission is unclassified decades later.

May 13, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Facts, it sounds like you would send troops into an unknown situation, risking losing even more lives. Maybe the residence/consulate should have been better garrisoned and that is a fair observation.

I would imagine that the US has literally hundreds of lightly guarded outposts in questionable locations. Would you heavily arm and fortify each and every one?

Mixing spooks and diplomats definitely puts our diplomats at higher risk. The CIA has become a fighting force in it's own right, mercenaries and all...and all hidden from view...and off budget. When you bathe in a septic tank, it's hard to get clean.

May 13, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Everyone knows a government cover-up involves the government divulging the truth of the situation over 2 months before the election and less than a month after said "lies" we told.

I mean who could keep a lie up for so long?

Everyone knows 4 American deaths in 2012 are a lot more substantial than 4,000+ American deaths from 2001-2013.

May 13, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.
Facts said...

Whether it's information before the attacks in Benghazi, during the attacks that were watched live by drone, or afterward, there was a deliberate effort to blame anything other than Islamic terrorists. The scandal is more about allowing events to get to such a boiling point and then covering it up.

Again, you're defense is to keep the focus off of the scandal during an election year that protects Obama, Hillary and the terrorists.

May 13, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
Leaf said...

If this is a textbook coverup, then I assume Tennessee Republicans will want to study it thoroughly. Because so far the political corruption in this state has been really obvious.

May 13, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.
klifnotes said...

The truth is there were many protests going on that day in Benghazi outside the consulate, and protest over the film was one of many taking place. But when all you have is faux news as your source, your worldview can be quite limited.

Here are some myths that's been spread by the right and then REAL FACTS about Benghazi:

media matters/weekly standard:

MYTH: CIA Never Linked Benghazi Attack To Anti-Islam Video

Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes: "There Is No Mention Of Any 'Video' In Any Of The Many Drafts" Of CIA Talking Points. In a post on the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes claimed that the CIA talking points about the Benghazi attack made no reference to an anti-Islam YouTube video which was mentioned as a possible cause for the attacks by members of the Obama administration:

FACT: Intelligence Community Believed Link Existed At The Time

CIA Talking Points Linked Attack To Protests In Cairo. The first bullet point from what The Weekly Standarddescribed as "Version 1" of the CIA talking points says that "based on currently available information," the attacks were "spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo." The final version of the document made the same link:

The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.

Cairo Protests Cited By CIA Talking Points Were Sparked By The Anti-Islam Video. The "protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo" mentioned in both versions of the CIA talking points were part of a global reaction to the anti-Islam video. A September 14 New York Times article reported "Anti-American rage that began this week over a video insult to Islam spread to nearly 20 countries across the Middle East and beyond on Friday, with violent and sometimes deadly protests."

The article went on to note that protesters "had penetrated the perimeters of the American Embassies in the Tunisian and Sudanese capitals, and said that 65 embassies or consulates around the world had issued emergency messages about threats of violence." [The New York Times, 9/14/12]

May 13, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.
klifnotes said...

No one can say for sure if the people pushing these myths are ignorant, evil or both or if they just have so little regard for their followers that they believe they are too stupid to check out the facts for themselves.


Huffing Post/Evans:

Republicans are on a non-stop witch hunt about lack of security at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi and yet no one in the media (except Soledad... why was she let go again?) seems to be questioning the indisputable fact that it was Republicans who insisted on cutting the funding for embassy security right before the embassy in Benghazi was attacked. Absolutely no one seems to be holding the Republicans feet to the fire that they helped set!

What's even more outrageous is that absolutely NO ONE is discussing the fact that it was the House Republicans who cut $300 million from the Obama administration's U.S. embassy security budget not long before the embassy attack in Benghazi took place. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is one of the Republicans "bravely"{sarcasm} leading the Benghazi charge, didn't seem too concerned about the embassy in Libya last year when he made the following statement on CNN in an interview with Soledad O'Brien (which is definitely worth taking a look!)

"O'BRIEN: Is it true that you voted to cut the funding for embassy security?"

"CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have -- think about this -- 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad."

"And we're talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you're in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this."

May 13, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.
nucanuck said...


What difference does where the blame is placed, on the video or on the radicals? They are interrelated and don't change a thing either way. Why aren't you concerned with a fake consulate and sub-rosa CIA arms dealing? That's the dirty scandal...and you can still blame Obama/Clinton, which seems to be your obsession.

May 13, 2013 at 4:45 p.m.
Facts said...

"What difference does it make" if the Justice Dept sells weapons to Mexican Cartel? if the IRS targets Jewish groups & constitutional groups? if the Dept of Justice monitors the phone records of the Associated Press? if the Dept of Agriculture pays billions of dollars to farmers never meeting criteria for discrimination in the Pigford farming suit? if a terrorist attack is called "workplace violence" at Fort Hood?....What does it matter? It matters because one man has been the most corrupt president and you all keep defending him.

May 13, 2013 at 6:31 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

I can't wait for Ms. Clinton to win the next Presidential election just to see the apoplectic response nu Ms. Smith and the letters to this column.

May 15, 2013 at 8:34 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Facts, why should the fort hood killings be called an act of terrorism when several other similar killings were not? OH! The accused had a Muslim sounding name?

From: Army News/military . com

"JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington - A military judge found Army Sgt. John Russell guilty of premeditated murder Monday in the 2009 killings of five fellow service members at a combat stress clinic in Iraq.

Russell now faces a sentencing phase of his court martial to determine whether he will face life in prison with or without the possibility of release.*

The 14-year veteran had previously pleaded guilty to unpremeditated murder in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table. Under the agreement, prosecutors were allowed to try to prove to an Army judge at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state that the killings were premeditated. {snip}

The truth is, military persons losing it over the stresses of several deployments and other matters were long shooting up fellow soldiers on military bases long before the Ft. Hood tragedy. In another instance before the Ft. Hood one, a soldier actually chased several soldiers through the base where he was stationed, shooting and killing one (maybe two) and wounding several others. The shooting took place around 2006 at a base a family member was stationed at the time.

Facts said... "What difference does it make" if the Justice Dept sells weapons to Mexican Cartel?

You forget. That operation selling arms to Mexican carterls actually began under the* Bush. It was known as OPERATION WIDE RECEIVER.

And since you suddenly have such luv for the Jewish people, what if the Ft. Hood shooter had a Jewish sounding name instead a Muslim one? Would you still want it considered an act of terrorism?

May 15, 2013 at 12:12 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

You guys should watch the movie "The Fog of War"

May 16, 2013 at 9:13 p.m.
acerigger said...

OOPSIE!! Another Republican ginned-up "scandal" bites the dust.

What now Robin?

"Republicans misquoted or significantly embellished the emails officials used to draft Rice’s remarks, the CBS Evening News reported Thursday.

CBS News’ Major Garrett confirmed that it was a GOP source who leaked the altered emails." ;

May 17, 2013 at 2:01 p.m.
acerigger said...

I noticed, on the link for this editorial, it said "By By Robin Smith". Was that a mis-print or someone's wishful thinking? lol

May 18, 2013 at 1:25 p.m.
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