GOP pounces after news of CIA cable on Libya raid
by Kimberly Dozier, AP Intelligence Writer
October 19, 2012 08:16 AM | 2003 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
In this Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)
In this Oct. 2, 2012 file photo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
In this Oct. 2, 2012 file photo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
WASHINGTON — Sensing a moment of political vulnerability on national security, Republicans pounced Friday on disclosures that President Barack Obama’s administration could have known early on that militants, not angry protesters, launched the attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya.

Within 24 hours of the deadly attack, the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington that there were eyewitness reports that the attack was carried out by militants, officials told The Associated Press. But for days, the Obama administration blamed it on an out-of-control demonstration over an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, led Friday’s charge.

“Look around the world, turn on your TV,” Ryan said in an interview with WTAQ radio in the election battleground state of Wisconsin. “And what we see in front of us is the absolute unraveling of the Obama administration’s foreign policy.”

As a security matter, how the Obama administration immediately described the attack has little effect on broader counterterrorism strategies or on the hunt for those responsible for the incident, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. And Republicans have offered no explanation for why the president would want to conceal the nature of the attack.

But the issue has given Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney an opportunity to question Obama on foreign policy and national security, two areas that have received little attention in an election dominated by the U.S. economy. Obama’s signature national security accomplishment is the military’s killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

Ryan was teeing up the issue for Monday’s presidential debate on foreign policy.

“I’m excited we’re going to have a chance to talk about that on Monday,” Ryan said.

Obama, speaking Thursday on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” insisted that information was shared with the American people as it came in. The attack is under investigation, Obama said, and “the picture eventually gets filled in.”

“What happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up,” Obama said. “And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it.”

The report from the station chief was written late Wednesday, Sept. 12, and reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day, intelligence officials said. It is not clear how widely the information from the CIA station chief was circulated.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the information was just one of many widely conflicting accounts, which became clearer by the following week.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN that the administration didn’t understand the gravity of the situation in Benghazi and as a result bad decisions were made to promote the video as the root of the violence.

“By continuing to promote the video, by escalating the value and credibility of that video to a presidential level, by buying ads in Pakistan that actually fueled protests all across Pakistan _ and so, this is what’s so disturbing to me: Were those decisions based on intelligence? I think it’s hard to say yes. So why did they do it? That’s the question we need to get answered. “

Democrats have spent the past week explaining the administration’s handling of the attack. On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said a period of uncertainty typically follows attacks.

“In the wake of an attack like this, in the fog of war, there’s always going to be confusion,” Clinton said. “And I think it is absolutely fair to say that everyone had the same intelligence. Everyone who spoke tried to give the information that they had.”

On Tuesday, Obama and Romney argued over when the president first called it a terrorist attack. In his Rose Garden address the morning after the killings, Obama said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

But Republicans said he was speaking generally and didn’t specifically call the Benghazi event a terror attack until weeks later. Until then, key members of the administration were blaming an anti-Muslim movie circulating on the Internet as a precipitating event.

This Wednesday, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., put the blame on the director of national intelligence, James Clapper.

“I think what happened was the director of intelligence, who is a very good individual, put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment,” Feinstein said in an interview with news channel CBS 5 in California. “I think that was possibly a mistake.”

Congress is asking the administration for documents about the attack, in hopes of building a timeline of what the government knew and when.

“The early sense from the intelligence community differs from what we are hearing now,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said. “It ended up being pretty far afield, so we want to figure out why.”

Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas, a member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said: “How could they be so certain immediately after such events, I just don’t know. That raises suspicions that there was political motivation.”

Obama has weathered similar criticisms before. After both the failed bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 and the attempted car bombing in Times Square in 2010, the Obama administration initially said there were no indications of wider terrorist plots. The Christmas Day bomber turned out to be linked to al-Qaida and the Times Square bomber was trained by the Pakistani Taliban.

Nevertheless, polls have consistently showed voters trust Obama over Romney to handle terrorism. If Obama was worried that Monday’s debate would change that, he showed no signs of it Thursday night.

Speaking at a charity dinner, he offered this preview of the debate: “Spoiler alert: We got bin Laden.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Just me
October 21, 2012
Why is this Bengazi story written in this form, framing it in the political bent mentioning the GOP in the headline no less????

This story should be front page and the GOP has NOTHING to do with this story.

The AP is colluding with the Obama administration to manipulate this story, now that they finally cannot ignore it any more (after more than a month).

Where is the liberal media outrage against the torture that our ambassador and the others experienced before their deaths? Do liberals only care about torture when Americans supposedly play loud music at Gitmo or drip some water on a guy's face, covered with a washcloth (yes, that is waterboarding)???? What about when this administration makes it possible for al Qaeda to take over Libya under the auspices of some fake "Arab Spring" and then sits back and diddles while the first American ambassador in 30 years is horrendously murdered, sodomized and dragged through the streets? The bloody handprints on the walls of the U.S. compound are proof that our own were dragged from their under-secured station, into the streets. Yet our president and his people LIE to Americans and the world (six times at the U.N.). Just wow. If this guy gets elected again, we might as well kiss this country good-bye. And the pitiful AP couches the whole affair as something concocted by the GOP to win this election??? Well people, it's time to prove to the AP and to liberals all over the country that we really aren't as stupid as they think we are.
The truth
October 19, 2012
Read the novel "Brave New World". It is all smoke an mirrors now. 911 is the greatest ruse ever pulled.

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