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NYT: Libya Warnings Weren’t Specific Enough

From yesterday’s New York Times:

Libya Warnings Were Plentiful, but Unspecific

By MICHAEL R. GORDON, ERIC SCHMITT and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | Mon October 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — In the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the Obama administration received intelligence reports that Islamic extremist groups were operating training camps in the mountains near the Libyan city and that some of the fighters were “Al Qaeda-leaning,” according to American and European officials.

The warning about the camps was part of a stream of diplomatic and intelligence reports that indicated that the security situation throughout the country, and particularly in eastern Libya, had deteriorated sharply since the United States reopened its embassy in Tripoli after the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government in September 2011.

By June, Benghazi had experienced a string of assassinations as well as attacks on the Red Cross and a British envoy’s motorcade. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the September attack, e-mailed his superiors in Washington in August alerting them to “a security vacuum” in the city. A week before Mr. Stevens died, the American Embassy warned that Libyan officials had declared a “state of maximum alert” in Benghazi after a car bombing and thwarted bank robbery.

Gee, these warnings sound pretty specific to us.

In the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, the circumstances surrounding the attack on the Benghazi compound have emerged as a major political issue, as Republicans, led by their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, have sought to lay blame for the attack on President Obama, who they argued had insufficiently protected American lives there.

Interviews with American officials and an examination of State Department documents do not reveal the kind of smoking gun Republicans have suggested would emerge in the attack’s aftermath such as a warning that the diplomatic compound would be targeted and that was overlooked by administration officials.

They knew that attacks were increasing in Benghazi. They knew that September 11th was an important date. Did they want a diagram?

What is clear is that even as the State Department responded to the June attacks, crowning the Benghazi compound walls with concertina wire and setting up concrete barriers to thwart car bombs, it remained committed to a security strategy formulated in a very different environment a year earlier…

This is a blatant lie. The State Department removed the two security teams that had been there up until August.

State Department officials have asserted that there was no specific intelligence that warned of a large-scale attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which they asserted was unprecedented. The department said it was careful to weigh security with diplomats’ need to meet with Libyan officials and citizens…

So Americans died because the State Department were afraid of offending Libyan officials and citizens?

For the record, the rest of this typically longwinded Times article talks about the security of the compound. There is nothing more about the warnings, which was supposed subject of the report. But The Times got the headline they wanted.

Meanwhile, we have this flashback from the opinion pages of the New York Times back in September:

The Deafness Before the Storm

By KURT EICHENWALD | September 10, 2012

Note the date. This was published on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11. And the eve of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Also, the heading that appears on the New York Times webpage for this piece is: "The Bush White House Was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings."

IT was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, it was too vague.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed

And we believe Mr. Eichenwald, too. After all, he is a writer for Vanity Fair. And naturally he would have the access to read the President’s Daily Intelligence Briefing documents, which are the most highly classified documents in the US government.

But we will skip through all of Mr. Eichenwald’s preposterous claims to get to his supposedly damning point:

In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush officials attempted to deflect criticism that they had ignored C.I.A. warnings by saying they had not been told when and where the attack would occur. That is true, as far as it goes, but it misses the point. Throughout that summer, there were events that might have exposed the plans, had the government been on high alert

In other words, even Mr. Eichenwald admits that the pre-9/11 warning were vague. But he says there should have been enough there to put the country on high alert. Which would have meant putting the entire country on high alert, since the threat was Al Qaeda was planning an attack on the United States.

Now compare and contrast to this to the excuses that The Times and the rest of our news media are now making for Obama’s criminal negligence. When the threat was against one specific compound in one small city.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “NYT: Libya Warnings Weren’t Specific Enough”

  1. John Carter

    Would someone please make Hillary a new video .

  2. Rusty Shackleford

    The irony in a bubble is that there are those idiots who believe that Bush knew about the impending attack on the WTC in 2001 and did nothing and they scream bloody murder about that yet when faced with enough evidence to suspect the magic negro of being negligent, they sit their with their thumbs up their collective a$$es.

    This insanity will only get worse when Romney is elected. Not because Romney and his cabinet will be, in any way, as ridiculous as the current gaggle of kindergartners, but that they media will suddenly find its diligence and curiosity again. And, of course, to the point of making &%# up.

    I’m still mystified why so many people in this nation are so glued to the attraction of socialism. Obviously they cannot reason, observe or even think for that matter. You can’t create money out of thin air. You can’t cure poverty by giving poor people money. You cannot micromanage things to the point of making it all perfect. THERE IS NO UTOPIA.

    Reminds me of that scene in “Logan’s Run” where Logan is captured and subjected to a mind probe and the computer keeps asking him where “Sanctuary” is and he keeps insisting…”There is no sanctuary”.

    Utopia looks great, on paper. In a computer simulation. Oddly, the national socialists believe that people should be free to do as they please, unless that includes being conservative and living your life that way. Unreal.

    My mind is permanently boggled.

  3. Here comes the cavalcade of excuses:

    Now they are tip-toeing a little further into the realm of truth but no responsibility.

    First it was a “spontaneous” attack due to a 5 month old Youtube video shot on an iphone.

    Then it was POSSIBLY an organized attack, but only due to a 5 month old video.

    Then it seemed to be pre-planned and MAYBE due only to coincidence to 911.

    There were no calls for added security.

    There may have been calls, but it never got to the White House.

    There may have been calls, but it’s other department’s responsibility.

    Obama wasn’t personally aware of calls for security, but there were call for more security.

    NOW the calls were there, but just not specific.

    FUTURE: BLAMING THE DEAD WHO CAN’T DEFEND THEMSELVES
    (a la Bill Clinton)
    “John F. Kennedy Jr. didn’t visit the White House until I became president.”
    “But sir, JFK Jr. visited Nixon in the White House.”
    “Well, that’s what JFK Jr. told me.”

    YEP, if the democrats follow their playbook, it will be all the fault of those who died, then the buck finally stops in the graveyard.

  4. GetBackJack

    I suggest the NYT move it’s editorial staff to Libya, unarmed and unprotected ad let’s see what their first headline is the next week

  5. chainsaw

    American People: Benghazi, what a shame.
    Obama: Yea, but you know that video, that video really caused it.
    American People: Why was security lacking?
    Clinton: Funding was cut, blame the repubs.
    American People: Why was the military not used?
    Panetta: Needed to (a)ssess the situation. Didn’t want troops in harmsway.
    American People: Was there a Predator drone overhead provided real time info?
    Obama: What are you talking about, it was the video. Let’s wait and see how the investigation comes out.
    American Poeple: Did you order the military to stand down?
    Obama/Panetta: What? the video….look, you can’t handle the truth.
    American People: Did You Order The Stand Down?
    Obama: You’re dam right I did.




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