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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Benghazi, the Story That Won’t Go Away — and Shouldn’t


The final Morning Jolt of the week offers a lot of swing-state coverage, but also a look at that other story that keeps bubbling back up every few weeks . . .

Benghazi, the Story That Won’t Go Away – and Shouldn’t

Okay, if Obama loses his bid for reelection, does he get to move to retirement quietly without a thorough investigation of Benghazi? Or will Republicans in Congress want to lay out, in vivid detail, the awful Obama administration decisions in the months before the attack, the night of the attack, and in the days after the attack? A Romney administration may want to begin on a new page, and may not want to spend its opening months dealing with former Obama staffers claiming it’s a partisan witch hunt. On the other hand, if you want to begin a new era of accountability, don’t you need to get all of this dragged out into the light?

Either way, the mainstream media reporting on Benghazi seems to move cyclically – it gets tough for a while, fades a bit, then gets tough again. Here’s CBS Thursday:

CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).

“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”

Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

The circumstances of the attack, including the intelligence and security situation there, will be the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Nov. 15, with additional hearings to follow.

Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack.

And then Jake Tapper:

The Washington Post’s respected foreign policy columnist David Ignatius just yesterday posed “Lingering Questions about Benghazi.” One of them, pointedly, was “At a time when al-Qaeda was strengthening its presence in Libya and across North Africa, why didn’t the United States have more military hardware nearby?”

In the place of a detailed description from the Obama administration about what happened more than six weeks ago comes the drip-drip-drip of stories about the failures of the Obama administration to provide those Americans on the ground in Libya with all the security assets they needed.

ABC News broke some stories on this, ranging from a security team being denied continued use of an airplane its commander wanted to keep in country to better do his job;  to the security team leaving Libya before Ambassador Stevens wanted it to.

Fox News Channel’s Catherine Herridge last night reported on a newly discovered cable indicating that in August, less than a month before the attack, the diplomatic post in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” concerned about local Al Qaeda training camps. Said the cable: “RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”

The cable stated that “In light of the uncertain security environment, US Mission Benghazi will submit specific requests to US Embassy Tripoli for additional physical security upgrades and staffing needs by separate cover.”

The State Department’s comment to Fox: “An independent board is conducting a thorough review of the assault on our post in Benghazi. Once we have the board’s comprehensive account of what happened, findings and recommendations, we can fully address these matters.”

It was the exact same statement given to ABC News earlier in the month about a different revelation.

ADDENDA: The Las Vegas Review-Journal offers a subtle, nuanced criticism of President Obama: “To return to office a narcissistic amateur who seeks to ride this nation’s economy and international esteem to oblivion, like Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb to its target at the end of the movie ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ would be disastrous.” 

Tags: Barack Obama , Libya


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