Benghazi Smoking Gun Exposed

benghazi-1New evidence reveals the Obama administration’s version of the events that took place in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was based on a tissue of lies. The Weekly Standard’s Steven Hayes has obtained a timeline and a series of emails revealing the self-serving efforts made by administration officials, who heavily edited CIA talking points about the attack that cost four Americans, including ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, their lives. Also revealed is who made the changes and why they made them.

The revelations are part of a report published by the five Republican Committee chairmen that has been largely dismissed by a calculatingly indifferent media, despite the reality that it includes direct quotes from administration officials, along with footnotes indicating the times the messages were sent. Although the names of some officials have been omitted in some places, the Weekly Standard has confirmed the identity of two administration officials who authored two critical emails: one illuminating the reason for the editing itself and the other announcing a September 15 meeting of top administration officials, where the ultimate draft of the talking points would be finalized.

The two officials are State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland and White House national security official Ben Rhodes.

What they sought to obscure is the realty that while the initial attack was still taking place, the State Department Operations Center sent out two alerts, at 4:05 p.m and 6:08 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The former indicated an attack was taking place. The latter alert revealed that an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Ansar al Sharia, was claiming credit for it. According to the House report, these alerts were widely circulated among administration officials, including those at the highest levels of government. Another cable sent by the CIA station chief in Libya the following day reveals that eyewitnesses confirmed that a terrorist attack involving the participation of Islamic jihadists had occurred.

It was exactly that reality the administration sought to obscure.

The Standard reveals the three versions of the edited talking points. Version 1 was distributed internally for comment at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, September 14. Key points include:

–The initial theory that the Benghazi attacks “were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo”;

–“Islamic extremists with ties to al Qa’ida participated”;

–Members of Ansar al Sharia “were involved”;

–“Wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya contributed to the lethality of the attacks”;

–“Five other attacks against foreign interests” had taken place since April, leading to the possibility that the consulate had been “previously surveilled”;

–The U.S. is “working w/Libyan authorities and intelligence partners” to bring those responsible to justice.

After this draft’s initial distribution, the CIA amended it, adding two more points. “On 10 September we warned of social media reports calling for a demonstration in front of the [Cairo] Embassy and that jihadists were threatening to break into the Embassy,” and “The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and Libya.” They also changed two talking points: the reference to  “al Qa’ida” was removed, and Benghazi “attacks” became “demonstrations.”

An hour into the vetting process, the official confirmed by the Standard to be Victoria Nuland raised “serious concerns”–about the political impact, fearing that Congress would hammer the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.” Minor revisions followed, but they weren’t good enough for Nuland, who said the changes did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” further warning that State Department officials would directly contact National Security Council (NSC) officials as a result. In a matter of moments, the House report noted, that “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” It was then that Ben Rhodes notified the various groups working on the points that a meeting would take place on September 15 to resolve their issues.

Version two of the report was put together at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. According to officials with knowledge of what occurred at this meeting of the Deputies Committee, CIA deputy director Mike Morrel heavily edited this version, removing 148 of its 248 words. The entirety of the previous report was reduced to the “spontaneous attack” theory, followed by the idea that “this assessment may change as additional information is made available,” and that the “investigation is ongoing to help bring justice to those responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens.”

Less than two hours later, those three points became the bullet points in Version three, which became the final version of the  administration’s talking points.

On Sunday, September 16, UN Ambassador Susan Rice was sent out by the administration to pitch the Muslim video canard. The following day, Nuland rose to Rice’s defense. “What I will say, though, is that Ambassador Rice, in her comments on every network over the weekend, was very clear, very precise, about what our initial assessment of what happened is. And this was not just her assessment, it was also an assessment you’ve heard in comments coming from the intelligence community, in comments coming from the White House.”

Yet even the redacted version of the talking points never mentioned anything about a video. Despite that reality, the administration, led by Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continued to pitch that mendacious version of the events, inaugurating the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to mislead the American public in the weeks leading up to the presidential election — weeks during which we were assured that al Qa’ida and terror were “on the run.”

At a press briefing last Friday, State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell declined to comment regarding Nuland’s involvement, and why critical details were edited out of the final draft. “We regularly discuss our public messaging with our interagency counterparts, that’s part of what happens in the interagency,” said Ventrell. “We’re not going to get into the details…of our internal deliberative process on these. We continue to be transparent with the congress, and have been, and shared thousands of documents. Talking points is something that they’ve looked into.”

Yet the “most transparent administration in history” provided the emails to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees on the stipulation that they would only be available for a limited time, and not turned over to the committees. That agreement was part of a political deal whereby Senate Republicans would not hold up the nomination of current CIA Director John Brennan.

As damning as these revelations are, they are far from the only problems the Obama administration faces in a scandal that can no longer be contained. Last Thursday, it was revealed that the State Department’s Office of Inspector General will be conducting an investigation of the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report, an outrageous whitewash whose central conclusion was the idea that “the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks.” According to well-placed sources, the IG wants to determine if the ARB declined to interview critical witnesses, who wanted to provide their accounts of Benghazi to the panel whose conclusions insulated top officials–including Hillary Clinton–for the “inadequate security” at the consulate.

Two of those whistleblowers, now revealed to be Gregory Hicks, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/Chargé d’Affairs in Libya, and Mark Thompson, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism, are being represented by Washington attorneys Victoria Toensing and her husband Joseph DiGenova, respectively. Appearing on “Geraldo” Saturday night, Toensing told Rivera that “the things that her client will be saying will be contradictory to what the administration’s scenario was.” DiGenova promised that “what will come out of the hearing is that the Accountability Review Board conducted by General Pickering and Admiral Mullen will be proven to have been a cover-up–one of the worst jobs ever done in the history of governmental reporting…”

DiGenova further noted that nether Pickering or Mullen ever interviewed Hillary Clinton during their investigation, and that when Pickering was told he would have to deal with it, he became physically ill.

The third witness expected to testify is Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer and former regional security officer in Libya. Nordstrom, who was based in Tripoli until two months before the attack, is the security officer who twice requested additional security in Benghazi before the attack. Nordstrom cited a chronology that included 200 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012, including 48 that occurred in Benghazi.

An equally explosive revelation emerged a week ago, when an anonymous U.S. special operator told Fox News the administration’s contention that no forces were available to get to Benghazi in time was also a lie. “I know for a fact that C 110, the EUCOM CIF, was doing a training exercise, not in the region of northern Africa, but in Europe. And they had the ability to react and respond,” he contended. The C 110 is a 40-man special ops force reportedly capable of conducting rapid response and deployment. They were located only three-and-a-half hours away in Croatia on Sept. 11.

The operator revealed there were other members of special ops and other officials aware and involved, but that they would be “decapitated if they came forward with information that could affect high-level commanders.” The Fox source added that members of the special ops community feel betrayed, and believe that betrayal goes to the highest levels of the administration.

The administration apparently couldn’t care less. Last Tuesday at his press conference, President Obama claimed he was “unaware” of any effort to prevent whistleblowers from testifying. On the same day, Secretary of State John Kerry contended that there is “an enormous amount of misinformation out there.” “We have to demythologize this issue and certainly depoliticize it,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department. “The American people deserve answers. I’m determined that this will be an accountable and open State Department as it has been in the past, and we will continue to do that, and we will provide answers.”

Kerry had previously expressed frustration with Republicans for refusing to accept the conclusions of the ARB. “Let’s get this done with, folks,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in testimony last month. “Let’s figure out what it is that’s missing, if it’s legitimate or isn’t. I don’t think anybody lied to anybody. And let’s find out exactly, together, what happened, because we got a lot more important things to move on to and get done.”

Last Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney echoed Kerry’s indifference. “Let’s be clear,” he said. “Benghazi happened a long time ago. We are unaware of any agency blocking an employee who would like to appear before Congress to provide information related to Benghazi.”

On Saturday, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised the State Department officials who have agreed to testify at the hearings. “They have critical information about what occurred before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks that differs on key points [from the administration,]” Issa said in a statement. “Our committee has been contacted by numerous other individuals who have direct knowledge of the Benghazi terrorist attack, but are not yet prepared to testify,” he added. “In many cases their principal reticence of appearing in public is their concern of retaliation at the hands of their respective employers,” Issa said.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell took issue with that characterization. “The State Department would never tolerate or sanction retaliation against whistleblowers on any issue, including this one,” Ventrell contended. “That’s an obligation we take very seriously, full stop.”

The country will find out exactly how seriously beginning Wednesday, when the House Oversight Committee resumes its hearings. It remains to be seen how mainstream media outlets, many of which have been more than willing to dismiss the investigation into the deaths of four Americans as a Republican conspiracy theory, will handle what is likely to be some of the most explosive testimony on the attack to date history. Benghazi may have happened “a long time ago,” but it is not going away anytime soon.

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  • AdinaK

    A new commentary will be out tomorrow, but suffice it to say, a previous one reveals absolute collusion to a cover up –

    Off to the slammer they gotta go – Obama, Hill, Huma and a few others! BTW, the spokespeople from State were only doing Hill & Huma's dirty work, let us not forget that!

    Adina kutnicki, Israel

  • Obama Guy

    Yeah yeah, and 2 year-old Barack was seen at the grassy knoll in 1963. Pathetic folks.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Yeah yeah, and 2 year-old Barack was seen at the grassy knoll in 1963. Pathetic folks."

      You've got to try a lot harder if you want to be an interesting troll.

    • gerry

      Yes pathetic ,but nothing surprising coming from the guy who spent 20 years in the church of thegood reverend is mentor and heard nothing!Pathetic from the pathological liar!

    • Chezwick

      A penetrating, lucid, point-by-point rebuttal. Bravo!….(cough, cough)

    • Lan Astaslem

      You can cheerlead all you want for the affirmative action grifter in the WH, but so much of the turmoil and chaos in the world today is because b. hussein is a weak coward.

    • pagegl

      What is pathetic is your apparent adulation of what is possibly the most corrupt administration in our history,

    • Mary

      Oh, yeah, your name explains it all away

    • Knucklehead

      Obama guy, I bet you were one of the ones who yelled the loudest, "Bush lied, people died!" and now you're blowing it off that Obama TRULY DID LIE and people died? You are despicable. But so is your little tin god Obama. I can only hope this scandal takes him and his entire corrupt, treasonous and criminal administration down and he ends up in the dustbin of history where all traitors deserve to be.

  • Chezwick

    So, will Hillary Clinton's negligence and cover-up hurt her political chances come 2016? Let's not be naive. The MSM will treat it like ancient history….they will never have even heard of Benghazi.

    • Knucklehead

      Chezwick, I would give anything if this scandal did destroy Hillary's chances for 2016. But, I'm not that naive. You're right about what the MSM will do.

  • rogrdane

    "“Benghazi happened a long time ago…" THAT means, (1) we don't care who died (2) or how many. We're Obama's chosen and we don't answer to anyone, period.
    This is not negligence, this is not misinformation, this is not a mistake. THIS IS TREASONOUS behavior that lead to Americans dying at the hands of "Enemies of the United States" thru violence.
    But I would suggest that NO ONE will be held accountable. Americans have become enamored with their iPads and sound bites and have been dumbed down to a level where the word "TREASON" is just another partisan 'effect.'
    We've lost folks, fold up the tents, go back and dig a big foxhole because it will come to that sooner or later. All the chat and political efforts will, in all probability, lead to Obama lying and more people dying.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "“Benghazi happened a long time ago…"

      They were saying that already before 0'Bama even returned from Vegas.

  • pierce

    Barack Hussein Obama has gotten away with murder, plain and simple. This whole incident has been a prime example of his leadership, or lack there of. Our President is pathetic, and those that support him even more pathetic. Those followers of Saul Alinsky should be executed by a firing squad.

  • chris gleason

    Can we finally IMPEACH this sorry excuse for a president? He is totally corrupt, he has trashed our Constitution and he is driving this country into Socialism or worse. Benghazi is just one of the scandals that we know about – how many others have never made it to Fox News?

    • Guest

      Do you really want President Biden in the White House?

      • Knucklehead

        As much as I hate to admit it, he'd be a better choice. He's just an idiot who wouldn't be able to get anything done, certainly nothing as totally destructive as essentially everything Obama's done to date.

    • Knucklehead

      Chris, from your lips to God's ears.

  • BS77

    My condolences to the families of the eight US troops killed in Afghanistan recently….killed by an "insider" soldier machine gunning them to death….and others killed by yet another IED. The news barely reported this. We linger on in Afghanistan without any logical reason. Thousands of US men and women have been killed or maimed in this endless conflict……from which we will simply withdraw….no victory parades, no lofty speeches…. It is like Benghazi, but on a larger scale. No one seems to notice, there is no outrage in the shill hack media…'s just another day to ignore the sacrifices of those wounded and killed . Shameful.

  • PatEnglish

    Excellent article by Alhert. Time to expose the our Woosie Pres!

  • John Little, Sr.

    The focus here should be on the motive, and particularly on the knee-jerk response that alluded to a home made movie causing some crazy locals to rise-up in. violent protest. From where I sit, it should not be discounted that "Arab Spring" had everything to do with the Benghazi cover-up. This revolutionary movement, that spread across the Arab world, arguably was engineered by the US State Department and other US government agencies with the hopes of democratizing countries led by quasi-like dictators–a most noble idea, but it was acted upon before its induction process was completed. Similarly, the atrocious lies made on television news shows were ill-conceived and they, now, have come back to bite the hands that conceived them..

    Cordially, John little, Sr.

    • pagegl

      I doubt that the motives of the State Department had anything to do with democratizing any of the Middle East countries. Helping the Muslim Brotherhood, yes, democratizing, no.

      • John Little, Sr.

        I cannot say that Hillary is totally bad–totally stupid, yes.

        Cordially, JL

        • opie007

          totallybad-totally stupid. what is the difference- the end result is the same. hillary lied- americans died

  • Obama Guy

    You folks are all comedians, before long hollywood should come calling with offers of big bucks!

    • Mary Sue

      boy, you really don't care that this administration sold out 4 guys and sacrificed them to the gods of We Beat Al Qaeda

  • Obama Guy

    Where is the laugh track at this site?


      All the clowns and monkeys are in the white house, not much to laugh at here but stupid liberal socialists like yourself!

    • Mary Sue

      it is triggered every time you make a meaningless non sequitur.

  • fanlad

    Hillary “Benghazi” Clinton, along with Barack “Benghazi” Obama lied. Four died. THE FALSE NARRATIVE CONTINUES.

  • Chris

    Left wing filth will do anything to hang on to power or elbow their way into more power.

    Hils wants to go back to life in the house-on-the-hill with her white trash hubby in tow. In the name of common sense and decency they must be stopped.

  • nubwaxer

    so all mr hicks has is “in my opinion”, “could have”, “if”, and his own contradictory statement that there would not be air assets for several hours and his assumption of why they didn’t get on the plane, while saying out of the other side of his mouth they needed permission.
    either this guy feels remorse and thinks he is responsible or he is a disgruntled attention seeker looking to do a hatchet job to his superiors. whatever the case it is quite obvious he is serving his personal agenda above anything else.

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  • Mr Attitude

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  • CurmudgyOneJr

    As a subheading to this article, instead of the hachneyed "Obama Lied, People Died, " it would be more fitting to see "People Died, Obama Tried," impeached, censured and convicted of high chrimes and misdemeanors, along with his incompetent staff of liberal antiAmerican Alinskyites.

  • flowerknife_us

    The real question is why the C110 was not deployed. No Doubt the world of hurt they bring would have secured the CRIME Scene. Apparently nobody wanted to see that get accomplished.

    In the end, the Military NEVER did go there did they???
    Un-bombed storage bunkers.
    A video maker in JAIL for the Government promoting his work.
    Hollow words of grief and sorrow on the Bodies return.
    What difference does it make why we let them die?
    What is important now is figuring out how to keep the public from finding out anything more.
    While making sure we never get caught again!