Archive for 9/11

A Woman Scorned

CBS benched Sharyl Attkisson until she ultimately resigned.

Bad move, CBS:

Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review

Sharyl Attkisson

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

New Benghazi allegation puts spotlight on Hillary Clinton confidants, alleged after-hours document review.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

Maxwell, 58, strongly supported President Barack Obama and personally contributed to his presidential campaign. But post-Benghazi, he has soured on both Obama and Clinton, saying he had nothing to do with security and was sacrificed as a scapegoat while higher-up officials directly responsible escaped discipline.

Maxwell spent a year on paid administrative leave with no official charge ever levied against him. Ultimately, the State Department cleared Maxwell of wrongdoing and reinstated him. He retired a short time later, in November 2013.

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.

“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.

“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”

How does this make you feel, Madame Secretary?

Don’t take it too hard. As the lady said, “it’s not about you”:

Attkisson said that the White House is misleading the public about the ongoing releases of information that they’ve offered regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012 on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

She stated that one of the goals of the committee will be to investigate President Obama’s movement that night and how he reacted to the attack.

“I do think that they will reach out at some point, not in the beginning, to the White House and probably to President Obama directly, in some form, to get a timeline and an accounting of what he did that night, which has remained, mysteriously, and I think, unacceptably private when he’s the Commander-in-Chief acting on our behalf at a time when Americans are under attack on foreign soil.”

Ultimately, Attikisson confessed she has little hope that this committee will change the public narrative on what happened that night.

Allow me to elucidate, Sharyl. Obama was prepping for a fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day. Check his schedule; it’s public record.

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Project 2,996, 2014 Edition

Five years ago:

These remembrances were prompted by blogger Dale Roe, to pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were murdered by terrorists eight years ago today. I volunteered to write one, then saw that many more needed to be covered, and asked for seven more, for a total of eight—one for each year.

It wasn’t easy. These people weren’t special—or, rather, they all were. The eight, my eight, deserved their posthumous fifteen minutes of fame, and I had to see they got them.

I called these portraits “remembrances” earlier, but truthfully there’s nothing for me to remember: I didn’t know them; some I could barely relate to. But I feel came to know all of them. Through small details in their life stories, through remembrances of loved ones, through the depth and breadth of the influence they had on people they barely knew (or, like me, didn’t know at all). It would be unseemly to declare a favorite, but I can’t help smiling warmly at the thought of my first portrait, Curt (the flirt) Noel: wassup, yo!

Dale assigned a cross section of the extraordinary population of 9/11: WTC, Pentagon, UA, AA, black, white, male, female, straight, gay, old, young. They were Americans all.

I present them in the order I wrote them. I have no expectations for how these will be received, except for one. I hope the love with which these people were held by those who knew them comes through. That’s all I want, and I want it for them. It’s all any of us could really want.

Lt. Kenneth John Phelan
Cmdr. William Howard Donovan Jr.
Sgt. Tamara Thurman
Carol Flyzik
Hilda E. Taylor
Mark Bavis
Patricia Cushing

I remember “Curt the Flirt” as my first remembrance. But the record says I misremembered. He followed the next year:

Curtis Terrence Noel

For the record, I reposted twice:

2010 UPDATE:

I’ve reposted these remembrances (and this introduction) as I wrote them last year. What was there to add? Another year has passed since their lives were terminated in an instant, and their biographies remain locked in amber.

Some of the details still get to me—certain nicknames, hobbies, interests. What is clear of these eight people whom I chose to write about (from online obits and tribute sites) was that in their time they touched many lives. But as fascinating as they were to learn about, they were not unique in that regard. I think the lesson is that we all do, from the crustiest anonymous blogger to the wildest moonbat (hello, Chris, one and all). With apologies to Reverend Wright, I learned nothing about the nesting habits of fowl in researching these stories, only senseless loss.

The one detail I’d like to extract and leave as a marker comes from the remembrance of Patricia Cushing. She was fond of Debussy’s Clair de Lune, and it was played at her memorial service (see her story for the haunting details).

Let it be the soundtrack for our memories of that day nine years ago.

2011 UPDATE:

It’s all been said already. I want to run these remembrances a third (and I think final) time to let the missing of 9/11 speak for themselves. Humanity isn’t an exceptional feat, but these eight people, and their lamentably lost brothers and sister, are memorable and compelling. Still, who among them wouldn’t have traded their special status for another ten years of anonymity on this earth?

PS: Some of the images originally posted are no longer there. That’s probably my bad. The way we used to capture images stretched our storage limits, and I’ve had to cull most older pictures.

But if I hadn’t reased them, Nature might have:

Untitled

A decade after officials inaugurated it in a quiet corner of the Boston Public Garden, the muted memorial to the 206 people with ties to Massachusetts who died in the terrorist attacks appears to be deteriorating.

“It’s heartbreaking, like the names are being washed away,” said Keith Graveline, 53, of Easton, while trying to decipher the inscribed names on a recent afternoon. “This is a memorial that should be maintained.”

The Stony Creek granite, which came from a Connecticut quarry, was supposed to last between 50 and 100 years, but officials from the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund, which oversaw the creation of the memorial and endows its upkeep, fear it may have to be replaced much sooner.

“Our maintenance plan has to be reevaluated,” said John Curtis, vice president of the fund’s board. “Some of our expectations haven’t been met.”

See the name in the upper right, Carol Flyzik? See name number four, above. Haunting.

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What Could Go Wrong?

Terrorists with airplanes—where have I heard this before?

Jihadists have stolen several commercial jetliners in Libya, raising concerns with intelligence officials about 9/11-style terror strikes as the 13th anniversary approaches, some reports say.

Meanwhile, the Washington Free Beacon reports that information about stolen jetliners was circulated within the U.S. government over the past two weeks — including an ominous warning that one or more jets could be used in an attack marking the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes in New York and Washington.

“There are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing,” one unnamed official told the Free Beacon. “We found out on Sept. 11 what can happen with hijacked planes.”

Sept. 11 also will mark the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

If ISIS is the JV, I hope this crew is the Freshman team. Eight days shy of another 9/11, what difference, at this point, does it make?

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Where’s Waldo?

I know, but I won’t give it away upfront:

What was President Obama doing during the eight hours that the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was under attack? Amazingly, we still do not know 20 months later.

But there is an easy way to find out — just ask the White House diarist.

Just outside the Oval Office is a room called the Outer Oval, where the president’s secretary and personal aide sit and through which all visitors coming to see the president pass. Staff members in the Outer Oval keep track of the president’s location at all times. They carefully record the names of all individuals who walk into the Oval Office — when they entered, how long they stayed, what the topic of discussion was. They keep a record of all calls made and received by the president, including the topic, participants and duration. They even record the president’s bathroom breaks (they write “evacuating” into the log).

This and other data on the presidents’ whereabouts are collected by a career National Archives employee whose title is White House diarist. This individual preserves them as a minute-by-minute historical record of the presidency for future use by presidential scholars.

What this means is that there exists a minute-by-minute record of where the president was and what he was doing for all eight hours of the Benghazi attack.

I can’t say for sure when President Obama went to the bathroom (evacuated), if he goes to the bathroom, but I know what he was doing the night of 9/11/12.

He was preparing for 9/12/12:

1:15 pm || Departs White House
3:00 pm PT || Arrives Las Vegas, Nevada
5:25 pm PT || Delivers remarks at a campaign event; Cashman Center, Las Vegas

Before the bodies of Stevens, Woods, Smith, and Doherty were cold, he was flying off to Vegas. He remembered them, but not before giving out his signature shout-out:

The Cashman Center
Las Vegas, Nevada

6:03 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Can everybody please give Adriana a great round of applause for the wonderful introduction? (Applause.)

I also want to say it’s good to see your once and next Congresswoman, Dina Titus. (Applause.) And it is so good to see all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) I do. I wanted to begin —

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. So I wanted to begin tonight by just saying a few words about a tough day that we had today. We lost four Americans last night, who were killed when they were attacked at a diplomatic post in Libya.

I knew he’d get around to them! After Adriana and Dina, of course.

More on that “tough day”:

No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America. (Applause.)

I think he means no “spontaneous protest” against an internet video will shake the resolve of the United States of America. It would be helpful if he could keep his story straight.

Back to the original point:

So how is it that the White House has failed to give a full account of the president’s whereabouts during that eight-hour period? The White House knows precisely where he was and what he was doing, yet it is refusing to share that information with Congress and the American people. This is unacceptable. Imagine if 20 months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the George W. Bush White House had still refused to account for where the president was or what he was doing that day. There would be outrage and constant demands from the press, Congress and other investigators demanding to know the answer to a simple factual question: Where was the president?

The new congressional select committee on Benghazi should subpoena the “President’s Daily Diary” and call the White House diarist to testify before the committee. There is precedent for doing so. In 1998, the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair questioned White House diarist Ellen McCathran. Moreover, the “President’s Daily Diary” is not a classified document. It eventually becomes a publicly available record. There is no reason to withhold it from Congress.

What else might the commander in chief have been doing? There has been speculation that Obama held a campaign debate prep session as the Benghazi attack was unfolding. The White House visitors log shows that three individuals — Michael Donilon, David Ginsberg, and Ron Klain — entered the White House on September 11, 2012 for “debate prep.” The record notes “3 meet with Potus NO TIME LISTED 9/11/12.” The “President’s Daily Diary” will tell us whether the president attended this meeting and what time it took place.

The White House eagerly shared details of the president’s whereabouts during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, even releasing a photo of him monitoring the assault in the Situation Room in real time. So why not share the same details about his whereabouts during Benghazi?

Because it might look too much like this:

I have to back off here. I love putting my feet on the furniture too. I don’t own the Resolution Desk, however.

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What Difference At This Point Does It Make?

A year and a half later, it makes some difference how and why they lied—even if the answers won’t bring back Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Glen Doherty.

Sources on the ground in Benghazi during the 2012 terror attack are pushing back hard on former CIA acting director Mike Morell’s testimony on Capitol Hill, where he defended his role in shaping the administration’s narrative and claimed politics were not involved.

The account has many close to this investigation fuming. One operator watching the hearing told Fox News: “He doesn’t have any idea what happened that night. Why is he speculating? He wouldn’t have to speculate if he talked to the people in Libya that night, or others who were watching.”

Another said Morell either still has no idea what happened that night, or he is covering for someone. “Human intelligence takes precedence over everything else and he had no better intelligence than multiple reports from credible sources coming from the ground that night,” one operator said.

Multiple sources have said they could have responded sooner, while others still feel their requests to respond were ignored, and they haven’t been given a reason why. “People aren’t going to forget, people in our community are dealing with this … on a daily basis and their lives are still at risk,” one contractor said.

But one intelligence expert with close knowledge of the attack questioned those claims. “To pretend he was deferring to analytical judgment is not true,” the source said. “He changed analytical judgment. … Heck, that’s in the Senate Intelligence Report.”

Also in the hearing, Morell deflected questions about why the CIA has yet to conduct its own investigation despite more than one internal complaint filed by CIA employees about the response to the attack that night.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had a testy back and forth on the subject, saying at one point: “There are four dead — murdered — Americans. I would think when the CIA’s own personnel file complaints, the OIG should follow up and do an investigation.”

But they haven’t. What does that tell you?

Four Americans were murdered a year and a half ago, yet all we know for certain about what happened that night (a 9/11 no less) was that the Obama regime lied—on purpose—about what happened. Why?

Me, I think it’s because Obama looked so bad prepping for his Las Vegas fundraising junket on 9/12 that they had to cover up for his greedy callowness (callow greediness). But I respect all opinions. What’s yours?

What difference, at this point, do you think it makes?

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Who Was President in 1993?

Because whoever he or she was, they got some ‘splainin’ to do:

In a revelation missing from the official investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, according to court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case.

The information the FBI gleaned back then was so specific that it helped thwart a terrorist plot against a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles, the court records reviewed by The Washington Times show.

“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Edward J. Curran, a former top official in the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told the court in support of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the bureau by his former agent Bassem Youssef.

Mr. Curran gave the testimony in 2010 to an essentially empty courtroom, and thus it escaped notice from the media or terrorism specialists. The Times was recently alerted to the existence of the testimony while working on a broader report about al Qaeda’s origins.

Members of the Sept. 11 commission, congressional intelligence committees and terrorism analysts told The Times they are floored that the information is just now emerging publicly and that it raises questions about what else Americans might not have been told about the origins of al Qaeda and its early interest in attacking the United States.

“I think it raises a lot of questions about why that information didn’t become public and why the 9/11 Commission or the congressional intelligence committees weren’t told about it,” said former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 through 2007 when lawmakers dealt with the fallout from the 9/11 Commission’s official report.

“I do not recall the FBI advising us of a direct contact with Osama bin Laden,” Mr. [Lee] Hamilton told The Times in a recent interview.

Like Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Zelikow said he does not recall ever being told by the FBI about the 1993 source and that Mr. Curran’s disclosure appeared to involve “valuable intelligence gathered in 1993 and 1994.”

Okay, we get that the FBI kept mum on bin Laden’s US terrorist aspirations.

But why?

The 9/11 Commission report broadly outlines how, during the early 1990s, bin Laden was seeking to expand al Qaeda globally — an effort that included “building alliances extended into the United States,” and that “the Blind Sheikh, whom Bin Laden admired, was also in the network.”

But the report downplays the notion that bin Laden was actively plotting or seeking to finance any specific attacks inside the United States as far back as 1993 — two pieces of information that, according to Mr. Curran’s testimony and contemporaneous documents, the FBI’s Los Angeles field office corroborated at the time.

It’s one thing to keep the information to yourself at the time: you don’t want to blab to everybody that you have a confidential source placed next to Public Enemy No. 1. But the 9/11 Commission didn’t start its work until ten years later. Wouldn’t bin Laden’s interest in terrorism on US soil (or air) have been relevant to the story?

Whom were they trying to protect? If we could just get to the bottom of who was President of the United States in 1993—who it was who had the future murderer of nearly three thousand Americans in the palm of one hand, and his schlong in the palm of the other—I think we’d be on to something. Any help?

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How’s That “Million Muslim March” Going?

Not so hot:

Only a handful of people have turned out for what some have billed the ‘Million Muslim March’ on the National Mall.

FOX 5’s Paul Wagner took this picture which shows only a few people in attendance.

A motorcycle rally, called the ‘Two Million Bikers’ is being held in D.C., some say, to counter the planned Muslim rally.

Oh yes:

Brad Freitas
@NewsChopperBrad
HEADS UP #dctraffic about 3000 of these guys are headed your way via 210 Indian Head Hwy #breaking #NeverForget

They didn’t get a permit, but that’s not stopping them.

Thousands of motorcyclists from as far away as California gathered at the Harley Davidson dealership in Fort Washington, Md., Wednesday morning and prepared to set out on a memorial ride to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

WNEW’s Karen Adams reports that organizers of the 2 Million Bikers to DC event did not manage to obtain a no-stop permit for the ride, but they say they will roll anyway. First around the Capital Beltway, then in D.C. around some of the monuments.

What did the Muslims, both of them, want to march for anyway?

Organizers at the group American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC) didn’t exactly do a lot to engender sympathy for an event held on one of the most emotionally charged days of the year. The group is led by M.D. Rabbi Alam, a professed 9/11 truther who has pushed controversial anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the attacks.

Organizers of the Million Americans Against Fear rally have defended the timing of their event by noting that “Muslim[s] and Non Muslim[s] alike were traumatized” on Sept. 11, 2001. AMPAC has insisted that the march will be about civil rights, indefinite detention and countering inaccurate depictions of Islam and Muslims. It also appears, however, that trutherism will still play a significant role; the DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement and Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement are currently listed as partners.

Any response, bikers?

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12th and 1st Anniversaries

Today is 9/11. Stay thoughtful—and look over your shoulder.

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A Republic, If We Can Keep It

When I ever do get around to retiring from running the Grand Duchy of Bloodthirstan, I’ll just hang a sign on the gate: “See Mark Steyn”.

He says it better, earlier, and funnier than I ever could. (But you already knew that.)

[T]he government doesn’t build much of anything these days — except for that vast complex five times the size of the Capitol the NSA is throwing up in Utah to house everybody’s data on everything everyone’s ever done with anyone ever.

A few weeks after 9/11, when government was hastily retooling its 1970s hijacking procedures for the new century, I wrote a column for the National Post of Canada and various other publications that, if you’re so interested, is preserved in my anthology The Face of the Tiger. It began by noting the observation of President Bush’s transportation secretary, Norman Mineta, that if “a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach, Florida” and “a Muslim young man” were in line to board a flight, he hoped there would be no difference in the scrutiny to which each would be subjected. The TSA was then barely a twinkle in Norm’s eye, and in that long-ago primitive era it would have seemed absurd to people that one day in America it would be entirely routine for wheelchair-bound nonagenarians to remove leg braces before boarding a plane or for kindergartners to stand patiently as three middle-aged latex-gloved officials poke around their genitals. Back then, the idea that everybody is a suspect still seemed slightly crazy. As I wrote in my column, “I’d love to see Norm get his own cop show:

“Captain Mineta, the witness says the serial rapist’s about 5?10? with a thin mustache and a scar down his right cheek.”

“Okay, Sergeant, I want you to pull everyone in.”

“Pardon me?”

“Everyone. Men, women, children. We’ll start in the Bronx and work our way through to Staten Island. What matters here is that we not appear to be looking for people who appear to look like the appearance of the people we’re looking for. There are eight million stories in the Naked City, and I want to hear all of them.”

A decade on, it would be asking too much for the new Norm to be confined to the airport terminal. There are 300 million stories in the Naked Republic, and the NSA hears all of them, 24/7. Even in the wake of a four-figure death toll, with the burial pit still smoking, the formal, visible state could not be honest about the very particular threat it faced, and so in the shadows the unseen state grew remorselessly, the blades of the harvester whirring endlessly but, don’t worry, only for “metadata.” As I wrote in National Review in November 2001, “The bigger you make the government, the more you entrust to it, the more powers you give it to nose around the citizenry’s bank accounts, and phone calls, and e-mails, and favorite Internet porn sites, the more you’ll enfeeble it with the siren song of the soft target. The Mounties will no longer get their man, they’ll get you instead. Frankly, it’s a lot easier.” As the IRS scandal reminds us, you have to have a touchingly naïve view of government to believe that the 99.9999 percent of “metadata” entirely irrelevant to terrorism will not be put to some use, sooner or later.

I discovered Steyn soon after 9/11, when my disillusion with liberalism was but a green shoot. He was Miracle-Gro for my burgeoning conservative transformation.

First of all, who even remembers Norman Mineta—or can tell him apart from Leon Panetta? Did Panetta just slip into to Mineta’s size 9 1/2 Ferragamos when no one was looking? Does it matter?

All -etas look alike!

If you’ve read even one post of mine you know my anger and despair (and most of the other stages of grief) over our flaccid response to terrorism. We can’t name the enemy—can’t even call him an enemy—though he names us and so calls us daily. That “Muslim young man” of whom Mineta (or do I mean…?) is so enamored is statistically unlikely to be any threat—but he is infinitely more threatening than the “a 70-year-old white woman from Vero Beach, Florida”. So she gets the body cavity search while he gets a pillow and a magazine. (“The latest issue of Inspire? Why, yes we do.”)

Unless and until Aggie and I take up arms (and that’s not how we roll), our “metadata” is irrelevant to national security. Same goes for Buck, Kimmi, Kerri, Norm, Leon, Ted, and Alice. Worse than irrelevant, such searches and seizures are statistical noise, drowning out whispered plots, discreet nods and winks. Worse than irrelevant and counterproductive, they are carried out without probable cause, therefore definitively unconstitutional.

We have suspended the Constitution so as not to give offense. But offense to whom? That “young Muslim man” would presumably like to take off and land safely just like everyone else. No, the people we fear offending are ourselves, at least those who are easily offended. To spin the old sports cliche, the best defense is to give offense.

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Someone With Heart!

Albeit not his own:

‘They should have been ready before anything ever happened,’ Cheney told MailOnline exclusively during a party in Georgetown celebrating the launch of a new book by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

‘I mean, it’s North Africa – Libya, where they’ve already had major problems,’ Cheney said. ‘You know that al-Qaeda is operating there, and you have some of the other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups there like Ansar al-Sharia and others.’ …

‘When we were there, on our watch, we were always ready on 9/11, on the anniversary,’ he recalled. ‘We always anticipated they were coming for us, especially in that part of the world.’

‘I cannot understand why they weren’t ready to go,’ the former two-term vice president said of the Obama administration.

‘You’ve got units in the Defense Department that are superb. They practice for this contingency. And they didn’t have anybody in the area[.]‘

Cheney is describing the criminal malfeasance that led inevitably to the deaths of Chris Steven and Sean Smith in the first assault. Given the complete misconduct by State Department security, those two were goners from the beginning.

But Doherty and Woods died scrambling to save those under attack. They assumed they would have support from the greatest fighting machine the world has ever known. But you know what happens when you assume: you die in Libya. President Obama was due in Las Vegas the next day for a fundraiser. He stopped taking calls.

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Where’s the Outrage?

As chronicled earlier, Team Obama doesn’t hold civil liberties to be self evident. Show trials for terrorists, Hellfire missiles for Americans, justifying military killings with criminal justice excuses.

Who could be surprised by this?

A defense lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said Monday that there is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that the U.S. government is listening to privileged communications between high-value detainees accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and their attorneys.

Cheryl Bormann, who represents Yemeni defendant Walid bin Attash, said devices designed to look like smoke detectors and placed in client meeting rooms were in fact audio monitors.

The issue of eavesdropping arose two weeks ago when the audio feed from the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay was mysteriously cut. To the apparent surprise of the military judge, Army Col. James Pohl, it was revealed that an unnamed government agency, listening for the potential release of classified information, controlled a “kill switch” to the feed provided to the public gallery and media centers.

The agency was not identified, but a prosector said it was the “original classification authority” — almost certainly the CIA in the case of matters concerning defendants in the 9/11 trial. The judge ruled that in the future only he could turn off video or audio from the proceedings.

James Connell III, an attorney for Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, told the court Monday that there are two audio feeds from the courtroom: The first to the public is “gated” and filters out general noise. The second, heard by the court reporter and the “original classification authority,” is “ungated” and picks up all sounds in the courtroom.

That raises the possibility that private conversations between the lawyers and their clients could be monitored. The judge said he would allow the defense to listen to three “ungated” recordings to get a sense of what extraneous sounds might be picked up.

Hey, maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Who knows? But another report made it clear the “Executive Branch” was behind the alleged eavesdropping. This is all part of a pattern with this criminal regime: using the justice system to accomplish political goals. They’re bringing the permanent campaign to the courtroom.

Confession: KSM and the other 9/11 plotters can’t die soon enough or often enough for my liking. But don’t kill the protections of the Constitution with them. If you can’t convict these guys under the rules of military trials, replace your lawyers (and that includes Obama and Holder themselves).

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Talk About Torture!

I’m very sorry this man suffered cruelty at the hands of Al Qaeda, but is that supposed to make him some kind of expert?

Last month’s assault and massacre at the In-Amenas gas plant in Algeria by an al Qaeda battalion led by Moktar Belmoktar put into sharp focus the growing threat of Islamist jihadists in north and west Africa. It also brought back vivid memories of my own 130-day kidnap ordeal also at the hands of Belmoktar’s al Qaeda group in Niger and Mali in 2008/09. Here is an extract from my book… A Season in Hell

With some ceremony, a DVD was produced and inserted into the laptop drive and we were maneuvered around to have pride of place in front of the screen. The others pressed around, the younger ones in front. There were three or four pre-pubescent boys among them, their faces rapt with anticipation as their screen-lit faces excitedly tried to watch us and the laptop simultaneously.

Soon we heard a loud pulsing, urgent, musical beat and the screen was filled with a black flag, the lower half of which was covered with white Arabic script and in the upper portion, there was a globe surmounted by an AK-47 assault rifle; the Al Qaeda banner. Using the traditional and mandatory Islamic opening, a voice intoned in Arabic, “In the name of Allah the most merciful…” and the centre of the screen began to fill with images and vignettes of all kinds of horrors: those aircraft slamming into the twin towers. US and allied vehicles being destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan by IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices); video cameras slaved to the sights of Dragunov sniper rifles blasting the heads off GIs and then murdering those who came to their assistance; suicide bombers driving explosive-laden trucks through fences and into buildings or crowds immediately followed by massive explosions. Sometimes such scenes would carry sub-titles giving the date and location of the horror. In other instances, there would be clips of the happy, excited suicide bomber explaining his joy at the prospect of martyring himself for such a noble purpose.

There would also be clips of their “Great Emir”, Bin Laden, uttering in his quiet and reasonable sounding voice his latest threats to tear the heart out of the degenerate West. Then some stocky, heavily bearded, white robed and turbaned American, who we were told was Adam Gadahn, a Jewish Californian convert to Islam and Al Qaeda, made his first of many appearances. Gadahn was ridiculing — in English, with Arabic sub-titles — the American President and issuing dire warnings aimed at US audiences of the disasters that would befall America if the USA and her allies did not quit “Muslim lands”.

Okay, that’s pretty bad, I have to admit. Jihadist snuff films, Bin Laden, and that fat f**k Gadahn (“stocky” my a**) is more than any man should have to take.

But there was something even worse than watching thousands of people perish in fireballs or dropping singly to the ground from 100 stories up, bursting like pumpkins on the pavement below, worse even than seeing Daniel Pearl get his throat slit (most likely by Khalid Sheik Mohammed).

Are you sitting down?

[T]he scenes that elicited the strongest emotion were the all-too-familiar images of black-hooded, orange-clad figures, chained hand and foot, shuffling around those tiny cages in Guantanamo. These were indignities perpetrated by my side — the ‘good guys’. Those scenes of German Shepherds, fangs bared, straining to get at broken men cowering in corners and those piles of horrified naked bodies forced into obscene intimacy and, always, the iconic black-hooded figure, mutely perched barefoot on a box in a short black poncho with wires dangling from his outstretched fingers in the disgraceful Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, made me, in the midst of my own mental anguish, feel deep shame.

Again, with all due respect for his ordeal, he should get the [bleep] over himself. The sight of captured enemy combatants growing fat in the Caribbean sun was too much for him? Club Gitmo forfeited our our right to be the “good guys”? I’ll give him Abu Ghraib, but even the worst alleged abuse there was better than the best day in Al Qaeda’s custody. Of course, I wasn’t there—but neither was he!

And he goes on in this vein for some time, believe me. We were worse than Bin Laden, KSM, Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and Alladin combined. What utter nonsense.

His captivity ended four years ago, he has nothing to offer but the grimy details of Al Qaeda-inflicted indignities, he has no insight or perspective on the intelligence assets we held and the information we gained—and he’s Canadian. Who is he to judge America, and why should any American listen to him?

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