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Benghazi hearings: Transcripts refute Republican theories ...

Richland, Washington (Opinion by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood) DRAFT

Benghazi: Hearings transcripts refute Republican theories,  reveal politically-motivated falsehoods, false accusations, and unwarranted calls for Presidential impeachment. When will Americans tire of the faux news?

Fox News, the Republican Party and the far right are thoroughly discredited with the release of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Review of the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012.

Their pseudo "conclusions" ignore an abundance of testimony that was recorded in their own hearings!

The right wing has been harping over the supposed mishandling of the attack on an American outpost in Benghazi for well over a year now. It turns out that dozens of serious allegations have been proven to be untrue.

Eager to discredit President Obama and his administration, and thinking they smelled "blood" on his hands, their anger and suspicion drove Republicans, from the highest party officials to lowest barroom philosophers, to insist upon a full scale, bi-partisan investigation into the matter. And they got it. A full investigation.

Earlier this month the Committee finally released transcriptions of the testimonies. What follows is a synopsis of insinuations, allegations and lies put forth by the Republican Party, Fox News or other various and sundry right-wing groups and individuals.

The false accusations will be followed with actual excerpts from the report, or the hearings, with comments on their significance.

More to follow soon .... I apologize, but I am just one person wading through all these documents ... but they are fascinating.

To be continued

Okay Continuing now at 8:42 p.m., Pacific Time, on Feb. 18, 2014

Now, after a year of investigations, including testimony from the who's who of defense, CIA, State Department (Grand, if costly, National Theater) and more, what follows is a catalog of false accusations, insinuations, bad assumptions, unwarranted conclusions, disrespect of the office of Presidency, in short, the types of anti-American activity one should never encounter among those shaping political policies for the USA.

The format will be to list myths and how they were dispelled by the Committee in question.

Republican Myth 1 – The State Department and others, including the President, knew the risks of an attack were imminent and did nothing about it.

The Truth(Findings or Rather Testimony from General ham)

 “The one individual in the U.S. Government who knew more about security and intelligence in Libya and in Benghazi specifically than anyone else was Ambassador Stevens. And … I am absolutely convinced that had he any indication that an attack was likely or imminent in Benghazi he would not have put others at risk by traveling to Benghazi that evening.” 

If the general is correct, and the one person who knew the most about security did not expect the attack, obviously the President did not have reason to expect it either.

Republican Myth 2 – That there was a "stand down order" given to a security team at an annex in the face of the attack (That brave members were wrongly detained from offering assistance to those under attack.).

The Truth – It simply was not so, as numerous witnesses including generals, State department officials, soldiers and others patiently explained. Subsequently, the Committee found no evidence of intentional delay or obstruction by the Chief of Base or any other party even after repeatedly grilling the witnesses on this matter.
Republican Myth 3 – That there was a "stand down order" given to the security team, preventing our forces from defending Americans and others in Benghazi.

Findings of the Committee – Not so. Numerous witnesses including generals, State department officials, soldiers and others, including General Ham all agreed convincingly that this was information was propagated in error..

Republican Myth 4 – That brave members were wrongly detained from offering assistance.

Findings of the Committee – Again, it just was not the case. The command involved made the correct decisions regarding whom to dispatch, when to dispatch them, and to where they were most needed. 

Republican Myth 5 – That the Department of Defense refused to provide reinforcements requested by Ambassador Stevens (who was killed in the terrorist assault).

Findings of the Committee – General Ham and others said the opposite was true, that offers of assistance were rejected by the ambassador. 

Republican Myth 6 – That The President altered or had someone alter the "talking points" that were used to inform the public.

Findings of the Committee – The talking points were changed by the CIA, not by the President. When the President addressed the public he was going by the information that he was provided all along, regardless of what you may hear from his detractors.

Republican Myth 7 – That the president knew immediately, almost at the very beginning of the attack, that this was not a spontaneous attack, implying that he made up the stories that a bad movie may have been precipitated the event.

Findings of the CommitteeThe Director of the CIA Office of Terrorism's analysis reported on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 at 11:15 a.m., two days after the event, as follows: 

"We believe ... that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently the its annex." 

So much for the Fox/Republican conspiracy theories.

In the same document, the Director wrote: "The crowd almost certainly was a mix of individuals from many sectors of Libyan society." He added that some Islamists with ties to al-Qa'ida participated ..."

Republican Myth 8 – Republicans propagated the notion that the President must have been well aware that the attack was planned ahead by well-trained fighters..

The Bipartisan Committee -- Heard a different story: According to the CIA, although the later was found to be the case, at first there was merely the possibility that this could be the case. The Director wrote: "We cannot rule out that individuals had previously surveyed the US facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks."

Such statements indicate that the President was operating on what he probably believed was the best information available at the time.

Republican Myth 9 – Republicans criticizing the President's handling of Benghazi appeared like bushmen thrashing around wildly in the grass, desperate to flush anything at all: Sometimes they implied that the President made up the stories about the possibility of a protest, other times claimed that he knew of a safety risk and did not address it, or that Hillary Clinton ignored threats, or that the President invented the bit about the jihadists (as opposed to terrorists) being behind the attack.

The Committed Heard This Instead – In one of the updates to the “talking points,” the CIA at 4:42 p.m. made the following changes, writing "On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the Embassy and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy."

Furthermore, a January 4, 2013, letter from the Acting Director of the CIA, Michael Morell noted, "The nature of the attacks suggested they did not involve significant pre-planning.” 

One more Fox Tale cut off.

Republican Myth 10 – That there was a lack of cooperation/coordination between the Department of Defense and the State Department.

Findings of the Committee

Well, obviously I am just getting started here, but I am tired now and so I am going to take a break. Please check back in a day or two and I will try to have more for you.

Those who can't wait to see what I write are welcome to read the report for themselves if they can find it. The report has apparently been taken down off the Internet. The report I am referring to is the transcripts that were released in February. I first found them on a Republican web site. Now all I find are these sensationalized accounts from various news outlets. Either I was careless and lost the link, or someone didn't want us to see it and jerked  it offline.

Okay, you should be able to find the transcripts by following the link below:

I hope that is right. It looks like the right page that I had before.

[Note added 10:16 AM, February 20, 2014: I am much relieved, as I just found the press release by the committee, which makes its conclusions clear. In my view, their conclusions do not justify the rabid reports from the right. This causes me to modify some of my assumptions. I will share the press release in my next post.]


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