CIA’s #2 Debunks Fox News And The Benghazisteria Once And For All

FOX NEWS BENGHAZI
Images from the May 14, 2013, episode of Fox News program “Hannity.” | Fox News

ADDICTING INFO

Benghazisteria has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? For going on three years now, Fox News and the minions of madness the right-wing adores have been harping on a single incident in Libya to keep the low-information voters that are their base focused on anything but Republican policies.

Michael Morell, former deputy director and one-time acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has finally come forward to school the ill-informed on the realities of how the intelligence community works and why the hype over Benghazi is just that: Hype.

In a scathing article for Politico, Morell takes the Benghazi boneheads to the woodshed, offering the real-world view of what so many have distorted for political gain:

“Like clockwork, every several weeks, someone discovers a new document that, to their minds, “proves” that what the administration and the intelligence community have been saying about Benghazi is a bunch of lies. But time and again these documents don’t add up. They don’t show what the pundits think they show—and the Benghazi broadsides miss their mark anew.”

Morell’s opening paragraph is a preview into what reasonable people have understood from the beginning of the FBI/CIA investigation and what conservatives refuse to acknowledge in their mission to discredit Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 presidential election:

Intelligence reports are just that, reports. When information comes in, a report is generated. That report is vetted, cross-referenced and added to other relevant reports. The end result is a conclusion, which in the Benghazi case, don’t EVER support the Fox News propaganda and speculation.

Morell gives an excellent example:

“Here is a recent example: Earlier last week a handful of number of news organizations, including Fox News, breathlessly reported that they had just gotten their hands on a Defense Intelligence Agency report—acquired through a FOIA request by Judicial Watch—that they say proves that the government knew very soon after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12 that they had been planned ten or more days in advance. These news organizations suggest that this document puts the lie to what I and other current and former intelligence officials have been saying—that there was little planning before the attacks.”

So…they lied. How unusual. Typically Fox News is so very trustworthy.

The Benghazi “outrage has built on three main points: The administration knew it was terrorism and blamed a video, they could have saved the four men who died and instead ignored them, and that Susan Rice engaged in some sort of “cover up” to hide the truth that Hillary Clinton was aware of the threat long before it happened.

All three of those points have been debunked, numerous times, including by GOP House and Senate reports. That doesn’t hinder the right from spreading more lies, every time a new “report” comes out that they can speculate on, in an attempt to take votes from Hillary’s upcoming presidential bid.

Morell again debunks the Susan Rice conspiracy theory in his article:

“They say DIA’s report was issued on September 16th—the same day that former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows, so she must have known before she went on the air, right? Wrong. The DIA report was issued hours after her final TV appearance that day. Some accounts, including the first piece written on the DIA report by Judicial Watch, erroneously say that the report was issued on September 12th, four days before Rice was on national television. They simply misread the report.”

That on bit of truth in and of itself takes most of the wind out of the conservative sails. How about the YouTube video?

While there are no shortage of new arguments on this old subject, there are also some old ones that resurface on a regular basis. One is the debate on whether an anti-Islam YouTube video played any role in sparking the Benghazi attacks. The short answer is that we still don’t know with absolute certainty. Intelligence community analysts in the days immediately after the attack said that the attackers were probably motivated by an attack that happened in Cairo earlier in the day. We know that that attack was motivated at least in part by the video. However the analysts also said that the attack in Libya might have been motivated by Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri’s call just two days before the Benghazi attack for avenging the death of the terrorist Abu Yaya al-Libi earlier in the summer.

The most strident voices on Benghazi ridicule the notion that a video might have played any role. But among those who have argued that the video may have been a factor include the FBI, who told the House Intelligence Committee in February 2014 that the attacks were ordered in response the YouTube video and to Zawahiri’s call for avenging the death of al-Libi. You can read that on page 18 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Benghazi.

So the administration citing the YouTube video as a possible cause wasn’t some sort of cover up, it was the information they were given, information that to this day is still considered valid.

In one beautiful article, with nothing but logic, reason and fact, Michael Morell, who also says Bush and Cheney lied about nukes and Al Qaeda in Iraq, puts the Benghazi conspiracy to bed.

Will that be the end of it?

Of course not. In some dark basement as we speak some conservative dimwit is pasting a picture of Hillary Clinton dragging the lifeless body of Ambassador Stevens through the streets of Benghazi.

Because they care so much about his sacrifice.

GOP Delays Benghazi Report Until 2016 Proving It’s All About Politics, Not Those Who Died

Featured Image: https://www.facebook.com/RepTreyGowdy

Addicting Info

If only the GOP was this adamant about getting to the bottom of the tragedy on 9/11/01, but wait… that was under Republican leadership, and Bush was instead made a hero. It’s always about politicizing tragedies to their favor. Always.

Republicans have no shame. None whatsoever. When the September 11 attacks happened, on American soil mind you, we were told that we were attacked… because we just were, and Republicans didn’t blame President Bush and his administration – even though they did ignore intelligence that said attacks were imminent.

However, when the attacks on an American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, occurred on 9/11/12, well that was obviously the fault of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And godammit! Republicans are going to make sure they drag out and politicize the deaths of four Americans as long as they can in an effort to derail Clinton’s attempt at becoming the next President of the United States.

They don’t give a rat’s ass that the father of United States ambassador Christopher Stephens, who perished in the attack in Benghazi, asked that his son’s death not be politicized. Or the fact that 20 committee events and hearings have been held regarding the events on that fateful day, even committees run by House Republicans, debunking theories that there was any wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration. They will not let the matter rest until they can use it to keep Clinton out of the Oval Office. At least that’s their hope.

Now, the new House Benghazi committee is delaying their supposed “new” report until 2016 — months before the presidential election where Clinton will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee. And who are they blaming for this delay?? The White House, of course.

The committee spokesman, Jamal Ware, told Bloomberg News in a statement:

“Factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations—all of which are controlled by the Executive branch—could continue to impact the timing of the inquiry’s conclusion.”

Mmmhmm, yeah. That’s it. Never mind the countless other hearings and investigations that have already happened. This dead horse hasn’t only been kicked, but it’s been sent to the glue factory and is now being used to hold together the last semblance of an argument the Republicans have. It’s pathetic… and it’s continuing to prevent the families of the dead to grieve properly.

Of course, chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), denies that this delay has anything to do with the upcoming election, saying:

“Secretary Clinton’s decision to seek the presidency of the United States does not and will not impact the work of the committee.”

Hahahahaha (hold on, need to breathe) hahahahaha! Did he say that with a straight face?

I’m sure it’s just happenstance that the release of the report will magically coincide with the presidential election. Totally.

What will likely happen, because it’s happened with every other Benghazi report, is that the Obama administration will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and this entire charade of an investigation to bury the former Secretary of State will be able to be used to her advantage.

These Republicans are pathetic and morally bankrupt when it comes to politicizing tragedy. It’s clear they don’t care about getting to the bottom of what happened, because that’s already occurred. And if they did, they’d be more focused on going after the people who attacked us, just like with 9/11/01. They only care about hurting Clinton’s chance at the presidency, and that is the God’s honest truth.

AUTHOR:

Benghazi hearing’s surprise twist: Why conservatives are starting to get antsy

Benghazi hearing's surprise twist: Why conservatives are starting to get antsy
Trey Gowdy (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Salon

The House Select Committee on Benghazi has now held two hearings into the 2012 terrorist attacks, and both have offered some informative glimpses into the State Department’s procedures for assessing security threats and weighing the importance of foreign policy goals against the risks to diplomatic personnel. That is to say that both hearings have been extraordinarily dull. And that’s not at all a bad thing – congressional hearings aren’t supposed to be entertainment. They’re the public face of congressional oversight, which is rarely exciting.

If I’m a conservative who’s had it drilled into my head that Benghazi is a perfidious cover-up, then I’m starting to get a little antsy. Trey Gowdy’s special select committee was supposed to be the investigative body that would finally find the “smoking gun” or whatever it is that would prove the Obama administration orchestrated some sort of conspiracy related to Benghazi. There was griping on the right after Gowdy’s first hearing demonstrated a lack of “passion” about the attacks, and the latest hearing was just as staid. “A low-key hearing that produced little new information,” in the words of Politico.

But take heart, you conspiracy-minded folks out there, because it looks like the outrage-inducing stuff you’re looking for is on the way. At least, that’s the impression I got from Gowdy’s opening statement, which was dotted with allusions to the standard Benghazi scandal fare.

In his opening remarks, Gowdy read from a motion the Justice Department filed against captured Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Kattalah, which described the attacks on the State Department’s diplomatic compound in Benghazi and the nearby CIA annex. Gowdy saw significance in the terminology used:

It is interesting to note the word – “terrorist” – so rarely used by those in positions of responsibility in the days and weeks after Benghazi is now the very word used in the very statute charging the very defendant accused of killing our four fellow Americans. “Conspiracy to Provide Material Support and Resources to Terrorists Resulting in Death”—that is the charge now. But in the days after the attack in Benghazi the word “terrorist” was edited out and changed. Now, the administration uses the word “attack”. But in the days after the attack in Benghazi the administration edited out and changed the word “attack”. It’s one thing to get it wrong and then eventually get it right. It was right initially. It was right the first time. Then it was edited and changed to be wrong.

What I love about this statement is that Gowdy just says that the word “terrorist” was “edited out and changed,” with no reference to what it was “edited out” of. A person with little to no knowledge of the Benghazi scandal would have a good deal of trouble figuring out what he’s talking about or why it matters. But those aren’t the people Gowdy was talking to. He was speaking to the people who are already well acquainted with the Benghazi “talking points” that lie at the center of the right’s belief that the administration engineered a cover-up of the attack’s true nature. (There’s no evidence that the administration deliberately twisted or ignored intelligence when crafting those talking points, despite Republican claims to the contrary.)

Also, none of this had anything to do with the hearing’s topic: “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel.” The witnesses brought before the panel were there to discuss progress made on implementing recommendations made by the State Department’s inspector general and the Accountability Review Board to improve security at diplomatic facilities. It’s one of the most important areas for oversight to emerge from the Benghazi tragedy and a worthwhile use of congressional resources. And yet, here’s the committee chairman talking about the White House’s communications strategy, the “editing” of things and the reluctance to use the word “terrorist.”

As for using the indictment against Kattalah to criticize the administration, that’s a bit rich on Gowdy’s part. One of the big “unanswered questions” that Gowdy offered up after the committee was first formed earlier this year was why no one had been arrested or prosecuted for the attacks. A few weeks later, Kattalah was in custody and Gowdy wasdeprived of a talking point. But Gowdy is nothing if not resourceful – if the inability to capture a suspect was proof of the administration’s failure, then why can’t the successful capture and indictment of a suspect also be proof of said failure? It’s a win-win!

Anyway, it seems clear that Gowdy was sending some reassurances to the frothing conservative masses that their patience will be rewarded, first they just have to get through the dull, forward-looking stuff. “We will have a hearings in January, February, March and until there is a full understanding of what happened in Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “We are going to answer the questions surrounding the attacks in Benghazi. We may answer some more than once. I would rather answer a question twice than risk not answering it at all.”

H/t: DB

GOP caught in own Benghazi scandal: Why they downplayed objections to House report

GOP caught in own Benghazi scandal: Why they downplayed objections to House report
Screenshot | Fox News

Salon

Ever since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Republicans and conservatives have been fuming over the fact that the GOP-led committee shot down pretty much every dark accusation of misconduct and/or deliberate wrongdoing that they’ve leveled at the Obama administration. Republicans in the Senate have been openly critical of the report and the committee members who authored it, with some (like Rand Paul) going so far as to implicate the committee in a scheme to protect the White House and cover up the “truth” about Benghazi.

Now some Republican members of the HPSCI are venting to Fox News and complaining about committee chairman Mike Rogers’ handling of the investigation. And their complaints are hilarious:

While House committee members have remained mostly silent, due to the secretive nature of the committee, some have complained to House Speaker John Boehner about the proceedings for months. Among the concerns was that Rogers was focusing strictly on the debate over the changed so-called “talking points” — the administration’s flawed narrative of the attack that initially blamed a protest over an anti-Islam film. Other Republicans on the committee, though, wanted the focus to be broader.

Anyone who’s been following the Benghazi story knows that for Republicans and conservatives, the “talking points” are the issue. The whole notion of a Benghazi “scandal” has been boiled down to whether the administration edited a series of talking points in such a way as to deliberately obscure the true nature of the attack. The conservative press has focused obsessively on them. The reason House Republicans created the special committee to investigate Benghazi in the first place was because they were angry that the White House had not turned over documents related to those talking points. Now that the HPSCI has found that there was no improper tinkering with the available intelligence, Republicans on the committee are claiming to be “frustrated” that Rogers focused on the issue.

And then there’s this fun little nugget from the Fox News report:

Frustrations with Rogers have been boiling for more than a year, but nobody wanted to openly question the chairman with a midterm election looming, fearing it would give the media the chance to focus on Republican infighting rather than the issues.

I’m sympathetic to the Republican desire to win elections, but they’ve spent the past two years describing Benghazi as Obama’s Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Teapot Dome wrapped in one. If they felt that the committee tasked with investigating this historic and earth-shaking scandal was doing a poor job of it, but sat on those concerns because they didn’t want to create a damaging media narrative ahead of an election, then they’re guilty of doing exactly what they’ve accused the administration of doing. They saw their colleagues failing at this critical task, but hushed it up owing to political concerns. My god – it’s downright scandalous!

If that is the case, then it’s incumbent upon John Boehner to form a special committee to investigate the House Intelligence Committee’s coverup of potentially damaging information ahead of an election. The truth has to come out. (Emphasis are mine: KS)

Congress Debunks Congress’s Nuttiest Benghazi Theories

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Daily Beast

The new House report is tearing apart dozens of GOP claims about the 2012 attack. From Darrell Issa’s ‘stand down order’ to Lindsey Graham’s Hillary slam, see who was discredited.
The House Intelligence Committee’s report on the 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is undermining years of GOP talking points—and some Republicans, understandably, aren’t taking it well.Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, for one, says the committee, led by outgoing Michigan Republican Mike Rogers, was “co-opted by the CIA” and produced a “fundamentally misleading “ report. Even Rogers is backtracking, saying he didn’t examine the role of the State Department and the White House in the response to the attack.Back in May, Rogers warned that his colleagues “should not let this investigation get into conspiracy theories,” and the committee seems to have avoided them. Instead the report resolves many questions about the attack that cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and discredits several of the most histrionic claims about it.

Here are five claims by current and former members of Congress about Benghazi that the report at least partially rebuts:

1. The safety of American personnel at the American consulate in Libya was undermined by a stand down order.

The report makes clear that despite what outgoing House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has insisted, there was no stand down order: “No CIA officer was told to stand down.” Instead, “there were mere tactical disagreements about the speed with which the team should depart prior to securing additional security assets,” and officers on the ground acted in “a timely and appropriate manner,” it concludes.

2. The Obama administration ignored calls for help and committedfatal errors and possible crimesin its response.

Rebutting repeated claims by fringe Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), the report finds that those on the ground in Benghazi “received all military support available…there was neither a stand down order nor a denial of air support, and no American was left behind.” Further, while the report raises concerns about the process behind writing the talking points then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice used to discuss the attack on television, the report concludes: “U.S. personnel made reasonable tactical decisions.”

3. CIA agents present were polygraphed repeatedly in an effort to determine if any of them were leaking to the media.

While Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has comparedthe Obama administration’s “coverup” of Benghazi to Watergate, the committee “found no evidence that any officer was intimidated, wrongly forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement or otherwise kept from speaking to Congress or polygraphed because of their presence at Benghazi.” Needless to say, the report also concludes that unlike Watergate, the “Executive Branch agencies fully cooperated with the Committee’s investigation.”

4. Hillary Clinton got away with murder with Benghazi.

Sorry, Lindsey Graham: “There was no intelligence failure prior to the attacks,” the report says, there was “no specific tactical warning” of any threat to the consulate in Benghazi. Despite the South Carolina senator’s claims, the committee found that while there was sufficient intelligence to discern that the security situation in Libya was deteriorating, no intelligence indicated “planning or intentions for attacks on the Benghazi facility on or about September 11, 2012.”

5. Americans begged for help at Benghazi and none ever came. The only rescuers were Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, two former Navy SEALs.

Rep.Michele Bachmann, (R-MN) said Doherty and Woods “defied orders and chose to go to the aid of their brothers” when no other help was forthcoming. The report makes clear that Doherty responded to the attack as a part of a team under orders from the CIA station chief in Tripoli and that others came immediately to the aid of the Americans in Benghazi. Resources were promptly diverted to rescue those under attack, the committee found. Bachmann’s other claim—that the Benghazi attack might be the judgment of God—was not addressed by the report.

NBC’s David Gregory Falls Silent In The Face Of Debunked Benghazi Myths

David Gregory

Media Matters

NBC’s David Gregory pointed a series of questions about Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), allowing Paul to attack Clinton with the long-debunked smear that she was aware of the need for additional security forces at the Benghazi compound yet denied the requests.

On the June 22 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press, host David Gregory posed a series of questions on Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, but failed to correct Sen. Paul’s false smears that Clinton refused requested security. While discussing the possibility of Clinton running for president in 2016, Gregory asked Sen. Paul about whether “the prosecution of foreign policy,” is “the main argument” against Clinton’s candidacy. In his response, Paul invoked the debunked myth that Hillary Clinton refused “multiple requests for more security” in the months leading up the attacks.

Later in the interview, Gregory asked whether Benghazi is “disqualifying” for Clinton’s potential 2016 candidacy, again allowing Sen. Paul to claim that Clinton “was not responsive to multiple requests for more security.” Paul concluded that the American people “want a commander in chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security,” implying for a third time that Clinton refused security she knew was necessary to the Benghazi compound:

See video here…

But Sen. Paul’s smear is based on an old, discredited right-wing media attempt to blame Hillary Clinton for the deaths of U.S. personnel in the Benghazi attacks that originated with an April 2013 Republican Report. The report claimed that an April 2012 cable, sent under Clinton’s name, was a “critical cable” that called for reductions in security in response to to the U.S. ambassador’s request for additional security resources. The report’s evidence that the cable came from Clinton was that it bore her signature, though as Media Matters noted at the time, “several news outlets reported that it is routine for outgoing messages from the State Department to be sent under the secretary’s name without the secretary’s direct involvement.”

Sen. Paul’s claims have been discredited for quite some time — Clinton’s signature was standard for every cable, and does not indicate her direct involvement in the cable. As Foreign Policy magazine pointed out:

It’s not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, “every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state’s name,” a former State Department official noted, adding, “Though they are trying to make this new, it’s not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed.”

In September, House Democrats corrected the Republican report, explaining, “The Committee has now obtained the cable referenced by Chairman Issa, and it includes a pro forma line with former Secretary Clinton’s name, similar to millions of other cables sent from the State Department.”

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, who spent nine years covering the State Department, wrote that “every cable from an embassy bears the ‘signature’ of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the ‘signature’ of the secretary of state,” concluding that “Issa has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable — any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. The odds are extremely long that Clinton ever saw or approved this memo.” Additionally, in an interview with Media Matters, a former 27-year foreign service officer and Accountability Review Board member corrected the claims, saying, “Every single cable going out is signed ‘Clinton,’ it is the normal procedure… Millions of cables come into the operation center every year, not thousands, millions. And they are all addressed Hillary Clinton.”

Fox ‘News’ Asks A Football Player About Benghazi. Here’s Some Other ‘Experts’ They Can Interview (Humor)

benghazi

Fox News has “Benghazi” on their mind 24 hours a day…

Addicting Info

In their desperation to keep Benghazipalooza going, Fox News is resorting to extreme measures. Knowing that their audience has the attention span of a brain damaged gnat, the executives at Fox have started bringing in completely random “experts” to comment on the “scandal.” How else can you explain the NFL’s Terry Bradshaw being asked to weigh in on such a serious topic? Yeah, you read that right: Terry Frakking Bradshaw.

In light of this new low in Fox News credibility, I put together a short list of other “experts” Fox can interview about Benghazi. I helpfully named the segments for them, too. Aren’t I just the sweetest?

Gordon Ramsay “Is Hillary Cooking Up A Cover Up?”

Lebron James – “It’s A Slam Dunk That Obama’s Guilty!”

Oliver Stone – “It’s A Conspiracy! You’re a conspiracy! EVERYTHING’S A Conspiracy!”

Lew Rockwell Ron Paul “Unknown” – “Is Benghazi The Beginning Of The Race War?”

Stan Lee – “Will This Be The End Of Our Friendly Neighborhood Tyrant? Stay Tuned True Believers!”

The Koch Brothers – “The Following Benghazi Expose Is Funded By Anonymous Donors Who Are NOT The Koch Brothers”

Glenn Beck – “If I Say Benghazi Enough Times, Can I Have My Old Job Back?”

Justin Beiber – Unavailable for comment after being arrested again.

Maury Povich – “Are You The Father Of This Tragedy?”

George W. Bush – “I Call Upon All Networks To Flog This Story To Death. Now Watch This Drive!”

Maybe they can toss in a few historical and fictional figures as well!

Republican Jesus™ – “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto Benghazi”

William Shakespeare – “To Benghazi Or Not To Benghazi?” 

Harry Potter – “Bengahzious Scandalous Fabricatious!”

Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod – “There Can Be Only One…Benghazi”

Captain Kirk – “BENGHAZZZZZZZZZIIIII!”

Buzz Lightyear – “To Benghazi And Beyond!”

You’re welcome Fox News. I expect my check in the mail in 6-8 weeks.

Brazen Figure May Hold Key to Mysteries

Ahmed Abu Khattala

The New York Times

Apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khattala May Begin to Answer Questions on Assault

CAIRO — Ahmed Abu Khattala was always open about his animosity toward the United States, and even about his conviction that Muslims and Christians were locked in an intractable religious war. “There is always hostility between the religions,” he said in an interview. “That is the nature of religions.”

During the assault on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, Mr. Abu Khattala was a vivid presence. Witnesses saw him directing the swarming attackers who ultimately killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Afterward, he offered contradictory denials of his role, sometimes trying to say that he did not do it but strongly approved. He appeared to enjoy his notoriety.

Even after President Obama vowed to hunt down the attackers, Mr. Abu Khattala sat for repeated interviews with Western journalists and even invited a correspondent for tea in the modest home where he lived openly, with his mother, in the el-Leithi neighborhood of Benghazi.

But for all his brazenness, Mr. Abu Khattala also holds many tantalizing secrets for the Americans still investigating and debating the attack.

Captured by military commandos and law enforcement agents early on Monday, Mr. Abu Khattala may now help address some of the persistent questions about the identity and motives of the attackers. The thriving industry of conspiracy theories, political scandals, talk show chatter and congressional hearings may now confront the man federal investigators say played the central role in the attack.

Despite extensive speculation about the possible role of Al Qaeda in directing the attack, Mr. Abu Khattala is a local, small-time Islamist militant. He has no known connections to international terrorist groups, say American officials briefed on the criminal investigation and intelligence reporting, and other Benghazi Islamists and militia leaders who have known him for many years.

In several hours of interviews since the attack, Mr. Abu Khattala was happy to profess his admiration for Osama bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda. He insisted that American foreign policy alone was to blame for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But he remained a distant admirer of Mr. Bin Laden’s organization, having spent most of his adult life in and out of jail for his extremism under Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Even by the standards of Benghazi jihadists — and even among many of his friends — Mr. Abu Khattala stands out as both erratic and extremist. “Even in prison, he was always alone,” said Sheikh Mohamed Abu Sidra, an Islamist member of Parliament from Benghazi who spent several years in prison with Mr. Abu Khattala.

“He is sincere, but he is very ignorant, and I don’t think he is 100 percent mentally fit,” Mr. Abu Sidra said. “I always ask myself, how did he become a leader?”

When the revolt against Colonel Qaddafi broke out in February 2011, however, Mr. Abu Khattala’s years in prison were an attractive credential to the young men looking for tough-talking “sheikhs” to follow into battle.

He formed a militia of perhaps two dozen fighters, naming it Obeida Ibn Al Jarra for an early Islamic general. But by the summer, Mr. Abu Khattala and his band had become notorious across Benghazi.

A group of Islamist militia leaders decided to “arrest” and investigate the main rebel commander, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, who had also become NATO’s preferred partner among the rebel leaders. His captors held him overnight in the headquarters of Mr. Abu Khattala’s brigade, and General Younes’s body was found the next day on a roadside, riddled with bullets.

Mr. Abu Khattala “became a boogeyman” across Benghazi, said Mohamed al-Gharabi, the Islamist leader of the Rafallah al-Sehati Brigade. “People started to fear him,” he said.

Mr. Abu Khattala appeared to enjoy his new infamy. When the Islamist-dominated militias reorganized into a centralized coalition, he rejected it as insufficiently Islamist. Complaining that the coalition supported the Western-backed provisional government instead of demanding a theocracy, he pulled back from the front.

“He thinks he owns God and everyone else is an infidel,” said Fawzi Bukatef, the coalition’s former leader.

President Obama said that Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected of being the ringleader in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was being transported to the United States. | Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Time

Continue reading here…

 

 

 

Maher to GOP: Go Ahead, Impeach Obama, He’ll Just ‘Kick Your Ass’ Again

Mediaite

Bill Maher issued a challenge to Republicans on Friday’s Real Time: put your money where your mouth is already and just impeach President Obama. Maher argued, “If you really believe Benghazi is that serious and Obama is that big a crook, then you should impeach him tomorrow.” And, Maher said, it would actually help the president, because a partisan attempt to impeach him would trigger a popularity surge.

Maher compared Republican “blather” on Benghazi to “trying to relate to someone who’s tripping when you’re not.” He tore into the GOP and Fox News for having a near-single-minded obsession with Benghazi above all else, in a bubble where “rational arguments don’t matter” and Fox will ignore whatever Obama says unless it’s about Benghazi.

RELATED: Bill Maher Dares GOP to Impeach Obama over Benghazi

But what Maher found most amusing is that in all the impeachment talk, no one has actually articulated a reason to do it. So Maher gave them one: Obama makes them unhappy. Yes, Maher dared the GOP to impeach Obama for the sole reason that they are angry at him. But he also warned them that impeachment backfired the last time Republicans tried it, and concluded, “Put Barack Obama back on the ballot in 2014, so he can kick your ass a third time.”

Watch the video below, via HBO:

 

 

Chuck Todd: It’s Time For Republicans To Get Over Benghazi

The Huffington Post

Chuck Todd has a message for Republicans still harping on Benghazi: it’s over, people.

The panel on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” was discussing the new House Select committee formed to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attacks. The inquiry comes after several others into the attacks, all of which led Todd to suggest that the latest investigation is not necessary and is more of a “partisan” process than anything else.

“I’ll hear from Republicans that say, ‘But there are unanswered questions!’ Well, no, all the questions have been answered,” he said. “There’s just some people that don’t like the answers, that wish the answers were somehow more conspiratorial, I guess.”

Todd said that there were a number of issues, like policy or the United States’ response to Arab Spring, worth discussing. “But to sit here and investigate talking points seems to be totally missing the larger point here,” he added. “It’s like investigating who cut down one tree in a forest that’s been burned down.”

His comments echo his remarks earlier this month that the new committee “looks nothing more than a partisan stunt.” House Speaker John Boehner recently named Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy to lead the investigation, while some Democrats who are threatening to boycott the committee.

(h/t Mediaite)