“The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya” and the Unravelling of the Obama Presidency

    Bookmark and Share   The initial crime that was Watergate might never have brought down Richard Nixon.  Were it not for the conspiracy to cover up Watergate that Nixon was proven to have orchestrated, he might have completed his second term and gone down as of one the best contemporary presidents in history.  In the case of Barack Obama while impeachment is not a consideration, at least not yet, evidence that his Administration is covering up the events leading up to, and following the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya, may now prove to be the tipping point that prevents President Barack Obama from ever getting a second presidential term.

Such is the result of 166 pages of declassified internal State Department documents that were released today by Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government  Reform Committee, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz.  The information in these documents reveal that the Obama Administration received multiple cables from Ambassador Chris Stevens which warned of security threats in Libya.   On the very day that Stevens was killed in the September 11, 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, he signed a three-page cable, labeled “sensitive,” in which he noted “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” on the part of local residents with Libyan police and security forces who  Ambassador Stevens characterized as “too weak to keep the country secure.” 

While the warning in that cable could easily be seen as coming too late to act upon in the relatively short time available between the time it was received and the time of the attack which occurred hours later, the declassified documents released today show a history of  warnings about the deteriorating security condition in Libya that went as far back as 44 days prior to those pleas for security that were expressed in that September 12th cable.   According to these documents, Ambassador  Stevens and the security officers assigned to protect him repeatedly warned their superiors in Washington about the intensifying lawlessness and violence in Eastern Libya.

The documents even  reveal that Stevens went so far as to let is superiors in Washington know that in meetings with local militia commanders,  the militia commanders bragged to him about their exercising  “control” over the Libyan Armed Forces, and even threatened that if the U.S.-backed  candidate for prime minister were to prevail in Libya’s internal political  jockeying, “they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi.”  

A  month prior to that, Stevens signed a two-page cable that he entitled, “The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya.” 

That document noted that in just a few months’ time,  “Benghazi has moved from trepidation to euphoria and back as a series of violent  incidents has dominated the political landscape.” Steven then went even further and wrote, “The individual  incidents have been organized,” and are a function of “the security vacuum that a  diverse group of independent actors are exploiting for their own purposes.” 

He added

“Islamist extremists are able to attack the Red Cross with relative  impunity” .

Stevens continued;

 “What we have seen are not random crimes of  opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks.”

His final comment on  that two-page document was;

“Attackers are unlikely to be deterred until  authorities are at least as capable.”

In other cables from Stevens notified the  Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and other agencies  about a “recent increase in violent incidents,” including “attacks against  western interests.”  He even went so far as to write;

“Until the GOL (Government of Libya) is able to effectively  deal with these key issues,” and added “the violence is likely  to continue and worsen.”

All of this is contradicting a narrative about Benghazi that the President and his Administration has been offering since the terrorist attack took place more than a month ago.

Just last night, on a comedy show hosted by Jon Stewart, President Obama told listeners that “every piece of information that we get, as we got it, we laid it out to the American people. The picture eventually gets fully filled in.”

However in the context of the newly released documents, that statement does not ring true and between that statement by the President and the evidence showing that were at least two months worth of warnings about an organized terrorist attack on American interests in Libya, there is a growing gap of doubt about exactly what went wrong and exactly how honest the President and the Administration are being with the American people about this tragedy.

According to both the President and the Vice President, neither of them knew about the need for added security in Libya.  That may very well be true.  But if it is, mounting evidence clearly shows that they most certainly should have known.  So assuming they didn’t know, what we have here is a major national security problem.  A problem that shows an inexcusable level of incompetence within the Obama Administration.  A level of incompetence which opens up an entirely devastating line of legitimate attacks on the President.  For instance, it is well known that President has consistently avoided attending his daily intelligence briefings.  The President claims that he always reviewed the multi-paged summaries that were used as the structural foundation for the agenda in those daily briefings.  But he has never quite addressed the fact that by not actually attending those briefings, he was never afforded the opportunity to ask security and intelligence experts normally in attendance,  questions and obtain detailed answers and information that might have helped the President to conclude that measures he had not before thought about, might required.

This legitimate concern points to a level of irresponsibility on the part of the President that is inexcusable and it lies at the heart of the angle to the Benghazi tragedy that could be the nail the Obama-Biden reelection coffin.   It is the motive behind what is increasingly looking like a cover-up.

To avoid being exposed to the his irresponsible practices and policies, we are seeing evidence that the President should have known about the deteriorating situation in Libya.  A situation that was pointing to not only the increasing dangers to our representatives in in Benghazi but an even more dire circumstances involving wider national security concerns … a resurgence of al Qaeda in Libya.

In an attempt to avoid undermining one of the few but still arguable strong points of the Obama Administration, the President wanted to avoid there being any impression other the one that after killing Osama bin Laden, President Obama also successfully decimated al Qaeda.  But that is a false impression and if it was revealed that al Qaeda connected elements killed our Ambassador, the President’s inflated high marks regarding the broader war on terror would have been undermined.    This is why the President and his Administration spent more than a month trying to deny the tragedy in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

In the final analysis, Benghazi is becoming Barack Obama’s Watergate.  Not simply because there is an obvious scandal behind the incompetence  behind the lack of proper coordination of intelligence, but mainly because there is an obvious coverup here involving who knew what and when. And it also involves  questions about how big a part the President’s reelection strategy has played and continues to play in preventing  the truth surrounding Benghazi from coming out.

It’s time for the President to have a prerss conference on Benghazi and it is time for him to come clean.  Continued attempts to be less than forthcoming will only result in a continued drop of his support in the polls.  Unless of course the President knows that the facts that are being hidden are even more damning than his apparent attempts to coverup those facts up.  Either way though, the President is in trouble.

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