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Tags: The New York Times

Senate Report: CIA Reported Benghazi ‘Terror Attack’ Within 24 Hours



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Big, busy Morning Jolt to close out the week. First, the depressing news that one of the Senate’s best, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, is retiring; then another roundup of news that fans of Obamacare would prefer to ignore, and Michelle Obama’s desire to “travel more” in post–White House life. But here’s the big splash . . . 

Senate Offers Bipartisan Report That’s Damning to Obama, Hillary, and the New York Times

This morning in the category of, ‘News That Is Surprising Only to Readers of the New York Times’:

A Senate report on the Benghazi attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans bolsters Obama administration critics who suspected from the start that al-Qaeda was involved and that it was not a spontaneous protest that went out of control.

The report, released Wednesday by the committee’s Democratic majority, said individuals affiliated with groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were in on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound.

Whether the attack was ordered by a high-level al-Qaeda chief or planned on short notice by people on the ground remains unclear, the report said. But the report left no doubt that it was an organized terror attack — a fact denied for days after the deaths by President Obama and former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Here’s that blockbuster report from the self-proclaimed Paper of Record back on December 28:

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

It gets worse for the Obama administration:

The White House and Clinton have said that no one was sure it was a terror attack or that al-Qaeda was involved until well after the incident. But within 24 hours the CIA station chief in Libya reported that it was a terror attack, and the CIA advised the White House that it appeared likely that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved.

The report alluded to “contradictory” intelligence accounts it said came out in the immediate aftermath of the attack that may have confused the picture of how the attack happened.

But Gen. Carter Ham, head of AFRICOM at the time of attack, said Defense officials did not believe the attack was from an out-of-control demonstration and had no evidence of it, according to declassified testimony released this week by House investigators.

Ham said a U.S. military surveillance drone was sending back to Washington real-time video of the attack within minutes of its start.

“When we saw a rocket-propelled grenade attack, what appeared to be pretty well-aimed small-arms fire — again, this is all coming second- and third-hand through unclassified, you know, commercial, cellphones for the most part, initially,” he told House Armed Services.

“To me, it started to become clear pretty quickly that this was certainly a terrorist attack and not just not something sporadic.”

The administration keeps coming back to the “it was unclear, the evidence was contradictory, the information was confusing” excuses. Except they never seem to be able to point to much evidence that led them to believe it was a protest. It’s not like there were people marching in the streets with banners and posters beforehand.

There were two explanations, one accurate, one inaccurate. The accurate explanation had all kinds of bad repercussions for the White House and State Department — a wild overestimation of the stability of post-Qaddafi Libya, a blind dismissal of security concerns on the ground, an embarrassing inability to mount a rescue in a region adjacent to a host of NATO bases, and a humiliating refutation of Obama’s reelection-year boast that “al-Qaeda is on the run.”

The inaccurate one put the blame on some YouTube filmmaker.

I guess it wasn’t much of a contest.

Tags: Benghazi , Barack Obama , Hillary Clinton , The New York Times

The Times, Green With Enzi Over a Cheney Senate Bid



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From the first Morning Jolt of a busy week:

A Cheney for Senate Bid Turns the New York Times Green with Enzi

I’m sorry, Senator Mike Enzi, but the thought of Democrats’ heads exploding upon hearing the words “Senator Cheney” is spectacularly appealing.

Naturally, the New York Times angle on this — written by Jonathan Martin, formerly of Politico and briefly with NR — is that a Liz Cheney senatorial bid means doom for Republicans:

A young Dick Cheney began his first campaign for the House in this tiny village — population 1,600 — after the state’s sole Congressional seat finally opened up. But nowadays, his daughter Liz does not seem inclined to wait patiently for such an opening.

Ms. Cheney, 46, is showing up everywhere in the state, from chicken dinners to cattle growers’ meetings, sometimes with her parents in tow. She has made it clear that she wants to run for the Senate seat now held by Michael B. Enzi, a soft-spoken Republican and onetime fly-fishing partner of her father.

But for the state GOP, that means doom! Dooooooooom!

Ms. Cheney’s move threatens to start a civil war within the state’s Republican establishment, despite the reverence many hold for her family.

Mr. Enzi, 69, says he is not ready to retire, and many Republicans say he has done nothing to deserve being turned out.

It would bring about “the destruction of the Republican Party of Wyoming if she decides to run and he runs, too,” Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from the state, said in an interview last week. “It’s a disaster — a divisive, ugly situation — and all it does is open the door for the Democrats for 20 years.”

 

Above: The New York Times Graphics Department’s depiction of downtown Jackson Hole after the Republican Ragnarok of an Enzi-Cheney primary.

You may be less than stunned to learn that most conservative bloggers believe that the state and national GOP, the nation, conservatism, and the laws of time and space can indeed survive a Cheney senatorial bid. Why, they almost seem to welcome it.

William Jacobson:

I have nothing against Enzi; I know little about him. But I don’t like the sense of entitlement being shown by Alan Simpson and others.

If Enzi deserves to be reelected, he should earn it. No free rides from now on.

Maybe the Wyoming Republican Party needs a little shaking up.

Run, Liz, Run.

Doug Brady over at Conservatives4Palin:

First, I’d take anything Alan Simpson says with a large grain of salt, and his warning that a Cheney challenge to Enzi would result in the destruction of the Wyoming Republican Party and open the door to a Democrat Senator from the state is ludicrous. Whoever wins the GOP primary — Cheney or Enzi — would be the overwhelming favorite to win the general election. Simpson, who’s most famous for the disastrous Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill in 1986, has always been an establishment guy and has always been more interested in getting on the Sunday talk shows than advancing conservatism..

Second, I think Enzi overestimates his conservative support. As you’ll recall, he teamed up with Dick Durbin to co-sponsor a Senate bill which would impose a massive new internet sales tax just four months ago.  Such a cumbersome bureaucratic mess like that would be harmful even in a good economy but, as Stacy noted at the time, it would be particularly disastrous in the Obama economy. There’s no way I can square a vote for what amounts to a national sales tax increase with a “reliably conservative record”.

Kurt Schlichter: “Liz Cheney has the potential to take the GOP in a new direction. Toward success.”

But not quite everyone is on board. At PowerLine, John Hinderaker contends the challenge would be a waste of conservative energy and activism:

I admire Liz Cheney as much as anyone, but I can’t claim to be pleased to learn that she has moved from Washington to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and has told Senator Mike Enzi that she may run against him in next year’s GOP primary. In my view, Republicans (and conservatives) spend much too much time and energy attacking each other, rather than going after the Democrats. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Republicans should never mount primary challenges.

But when do such challenges make sense? If an incumbent Republican is not a conservative (Susan Collins, say) and a more conservative challenger has a good chance of winning the general election, then a primary challenge is in order. But that isn’t the case here: Enzi is a solid conservative with a 93% lifetime American Conservative Union rating (92% in 2012). He recently voted against the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. Cheney may well be a little more conservative than Enzi, but going after a 90+% conservative is fratricide.

We have primaries for a reason, don’t we? If Cheney’s bid is so ill-considered, Wyoming Republicans (also known as most Wyoming voters) will let her know. Hinderaker concludes, “Cheney is neither significantly more conservative than Enzi nor significantly more electable; her real advantage as a primary candidate is that she is significantly more glamorous. That isn’t enough.”

Yeah, but there’s something to be said for glamour.

Tags: Liz Cheney , Mike Enzi , Wyoming , The New York Times

The Times’s ‘Magic Underwear’ Columnist Laments Bullying



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Over at the New York Times, Charles Blow, the columnist who wrote to Mitt Romney, “stick that in your magic underwear” laments the Republican party’s culture of “bullying.”

You’ll recall that the New York Times ombudsman did not find Blow’s comments worthy of coverage.

Tags: Charles Blow , GOP , The New York Times

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