Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’
Tags: Benghazi, Fast & Furious
Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist. She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.
She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed. And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.
Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating. The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.
She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.
Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”
The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”
To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.
Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.
The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts. And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.
And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.
…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”
Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.
Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.
Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events. She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.
At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:
Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”
That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid. Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.
Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.
My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.
Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy. From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.
I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.
Tags: Benghazi, Libya
As a reminder, Benghazi has been hushed up since the beginning by the Obama administration, even going so far as to have the CIA was moving personnel and changing names of their people so they couldn’t be found by investigators:
Tags: Benghazi, Syria
As soon as Obama decided not to decide on Syria and passed the buck to congress, anyone looking at it could see he’d play politics with it and use congress as his scapegoat. If congress said no and he chose not to go to Syria, he could blame congress for Assad’s use of chemical weapons. If congress said no and it was a wise choice, he’d pat himself on the back for staying out. If congress said yes and the war went well, he could claim credit. If congress said yes and the war went sour, he could blame congress.
Obama has chosen to completely and 100% pass the buck in order to shift blame.
“I didn’t set a red line, the world set a red line,” Obama said. “My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’s credibility’s on the line.”
Obama set a red line a year ago. Now he’s saying he didn’t, the world did. Now he’s saying it’s not his credibility, it’s everybody else’s – everybody else who he can blame.
And he’ll blame everyone:
My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line and America and Congress’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
So, the question is, how credible is the international community when it says this is an international norm that has to be observed.
“International norms?” When the hell do we go to war for “international norms?” Are we the conformity police now? This is a very thin veneer of an excuse for war.
The question is how credible is Congress when it passes a treaty saying we have to forbid the use of chemical weapons.
So what? Syria isn’t a signatory.
If you want to lean on them with sanctions, great. But military actions against them for breaking a treaty they’re not party to is like going into your neighbor’s house and spanking your neighbor’s kid for not cleaning his room. Make all the arguments about the greater good that you want, it’s really not your place, no matter what the neighborhood “norms” are.
That is progressivism at it’s core, though. Woodrow Wilson’s desire to get involved in the Great War, and Teddy Roosevelt’s desire to get involved in all sorts of noble little wars – we belonged in none of them but there was always some great moral argument for going to war – to save Europe from the Hun or to avenge the Lusitania or the Maine.
If we’re going to be the world’s policeman, we’re two years late to the hundred-thousand conventional deaths in Syria, and we were smuggling anti-air missiles to Al Qaeda in Syria (which is why Ambassador Chris Stevens was out in Benghazi and not in Tripoli). But this isn’t about being the world’s policeman or the role that would entail, this is about the president covering his ass, using classic progressive rhetoric to say “We must act! Now now now! Action! The time for talk is over! We must act!” and force congress into a decision that gives him a scapegoat.
Obama and his willing media sycophants are phenomenal liars. They can convince people that their own words don’t mean what they say, that a war isn’t a war, and that Obama didn’t say what he said, that nations that don’t sign treaties must have military force used on them to enforce “norms”, that 1000 nerve gas deaths are worse than 100,000 conventional deaths, and that congress is to blame no matter what goes wrong.
It really is masterful propaganda.
One last bit here, from Real Clear Politics:
First of all, I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous thing that are happening on the ground there need to be answered for. And so, when I said, in a press conference, that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There was a reason for it. That’s point number one. Point number two, my credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line. And America and Congress’ credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.
Again, Syria isn’t a signatory to chemical weapons treaties. But the Syria Accountability Act is rather interesting, since it was passed in 2003, and that means Obama’s been ignoring it since 2008, and his party was ignoring it when Kerry and Pelosi were busy sitting down to dinner with Assad. It also only applies to international terrorism, not a civil war, and nowhere in the bill is there a provision for military strikes, only sanctions.
Tags: Benghazi, Libya, Russia, Syria
I’ve been reading about this and listening to this for a while, and as someone who’s had to fight in the Middle East before, I’m hearing a replay of 2002-2003, but a much worse one, with an imperial president who ignores the law as opposed to a neocon president who even his staunchest critics when confronted with the data can see at least jumped through the required hoops.
So far, it’s heavily suspected that Syria has used chemical weapons on its own rebels and population, though it’s also possible that the rebels themselves (who are affiliated with Al Qaeda) may have used them to garner international sympathy – mideast terrorist groups and their allies do use propaganda, after all. Reuters even has rebels saying it was rebels (but Reuters in the mideast isn’t exactly trustworthy, as is evidenced one link ago). The use of chemical weapons is pretty much accepted, but by whom isn’t wholly decided.
The Obama administration has attacked Bashar Assad’s credibility when asked for proof. If you’ve heard the audio (Charley Jones on 1080 KRLD played some of it last night), you know it starts off with a question asking about where the proof is that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime, and sounds even less convincing when spoken than written.
Q: But based on the President’s own criticism of the previous administration, not being able to clearly establish the use of WMD — if you’re now acknowledging the U.N. doesn’t have the mandate to determine that anyway, what will the President use to decide whether or not to take U.S. military action —
MR. CARNEY: Again, we are continuing to assess the matter of culpability. We believe, and I think the evidence is overwhelming, that there is very little doubt that the Syrian regime is culpable. But we will continue to establish, or assess the incident, and we’ll have more information for you, as Secretary Kerry mentioned, in the coming days about that matter.
But, in the meantime, we should make clear from here and from the State Department and elsewhere, and in capitals around the world, that the Syrian regime has very little credibility on this matter. If the Syrian regime had any interest, as Secretary Kerry said earlier, in proving that they were not culpable, they had the opportunity to allow that U.N. inspection team to visit the site immediately. Instead, they blocked access for five days while they shelled the neighborhood, killing more innocent civilians, in an attempt to destroy evidence.
And even today, when the inspection team began its trip to the region where the attack occurred, its convoy was attacked. They had to turn back. And then they were able to make it later into the region. After they left, the Syrian regime started shelling again. The credibility here does not exist.
Except saying Assad is an uncooperative liar doesn’t mean Obama has definitive proof. Saying “we have evidence from sources on the ground and from surveillance” would be a point. Saying “we are assessing culpability” isn’t the same. Considering the numerous resolutions against Saddam Hussein’s WMDs and ultimately action taken because of them, Obama is setting us up for the very same thing he railed against and ran on as a presidential candidate and president. But Democrats are always against terrorist regimes before they’re for giving up and abandoning the efforts against terrorist regimes:
The Syrians have allies in Iran and Russia and Hezbollah, and the rebels are allied with and often part of Al Qaeda. There are arguments by interventionists that some rebels are regionally different, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. All sides involved are villainous. There’s no reason for the US to get involved. Neither side winning is good for the US.
If Syria wins, America’s adversaries in Russia, Iran, and China as well get strengthened in the region. If the rebels win, Al Qaeda and other extremist forces will take over… just like happened in Egypt and much of Libya. Either way, non-combatants in Syria suffer.
Lawmakers also want to know about the weapons in Libya, and what happened to them.
Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.
That’s from a while ago. Realistically, we’ve probably been supporting Syrian rebels since then.
The problem is that as we’re supporing the Free Syrian Army, we’re supporting the same allies of Al Qaeda that we’ve been fighting since at least the 1993 WTC bombing, and for no particular reason.
One question that hasn’t been answered adequately is that if we intervene, who will end up with those 1000 tons of chemical weapons that Syria has? If the rebels win, are we handing Al Qaeda 1000 tons of sarin or VX?
If we act against Syria, will they use chemical weapons on their neighbors in Israel and Jordan and Turkey? Is that part of why Turkey, who got involved in Syria a bit, stopped getting involved?
So far the hypothesis has been that in a few days of air attacks, we could seriously degrade the Syrian air force and reduce Assad’s capability to fight significantly. If we were to do that, basically providing Al Qaeda the use of our air force, and ultimately leading to an AQ/rebel victory and our actions were to protect the world from chemical weapons… then what do we do once they have those chemical weapons? The answer ends up being boots on the ground.
There are only a few options in Syria:
- We don’t get involved.
- We support Syria’s government and push for stability against AQ.
- We support Syria’s rebels and push for regime change and a new stable state that magically doesn’t turn into an AQ-state or Egypt redux.
- We get involved and crush both sides, secure WMDs, and leave with them secured or destroyed.
- We get involved and crush both sides, secure WMDs, and stay and nation build.
Carl Von Clausewitz stated as his elegant definition of war:
War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.
So what is our will in Syria? To stop the use of WMDs?
There have been tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands killed in Syria’s civil war by conventional violence. Why were those deaths less important than the ones killed by a nerve agent?
To control WMD proliferation and keep WMDs out of the hands of groups that would threaten the US and our allies? Supporting Syria would lead to stabilization and keep weapons out of terrorist hands – because a regime like Syria is a nation-state with something to lose if it uses WMDs against us. A stateless organization like Al Qaeda doesn’t care.
Or is our will just so Obama can say his “red line” means something and not look like a complete weakling in front of Putin and China? Too late, they know our president is weak on US interests and more concerned with instituting self-destructive policies within the US. Any angry, self-righteous response against Syria is just going to look like Obama going “oh yeah, I’ll show you guys!” and they’ll still think him weak, because he is. Obama doesn’t care about US interests. He does care about himself, but that’s not strength, that’s vanity.
The progressive left is interventionist, though. They have been since the days when Woodrow Wilson dragged us into WWI, and before then the progressives under Teddy Roosevelt on the right dragged us all into other wars.
The latest atrocities in the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people, demand an urgent response to deter further massacres and to punish President Bashar al-Assad.
They don’t want to be the world’s policeman enforcing the law, they want to be the world’s angry disciplinarian out castigating people for things they don’t like.
But there is widespread confusion over the legal basis for the use of force in these terrible circumstances. As a legal matter, the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons does not automatically justify armed intervention by the United States.
There are moral reasons for disregarding the law, and I believe the Obama administration should intervene in Syria. But it should not pretend that there is a legal justification in existing law. Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to do just that on Monday, when he said of the use of chemical weapons, “This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” His use of the word “norm,” instead of “law,” is telling.
There’s currently a big push by the administration to say that Syria is violating international norms and must be punished. You’ll hear the word in news reports a lot as a new narrative is made. Sort of like hearing about the hun.
Syria is a party to neither the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 nor the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and even if it were, the treaties rely on the United Nations Security Council to enforce them — a major flaw. Syria is a party to the Geneva Protocol, a 1925 treaty that bans the use of toxic gases in wars. But this treaty was designed after World War I with international war in mind, not internal conflicts.
Not only will Russia and China block any UN resolutions, it doesn’t matter, because there is no authority to something Syria isn’t a signatory to. This is the very unilateralism the left railed against.
What about the claim that, treaties aside, chemical weapons are inherently prohibited? While some acts — genocide, slavery and piracy — are considered unlawful regardless of treaties, chemical weapons are not yet in this category.
Some acts are unlawful regardless of treaties? What a joke. Sudan is on the UN Human Rights Commission even though they were and are engaged in genocide.
If there is no law, they are by definition not unlawful.
…if the White House takes international law seriously — as the State Department does — it cannot try to have it both ways. It must either argue that an “illegal but legitimate” intervention is better than doing nothing, or assert that international law has changed — strategies that I call “constructive noncompliance.” In the case of Syria, I vote for the latter.
Since Russia and China won’t help, Mr. Obama and allied leaders should declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria.
This would be popular in many quarters, and I believe it’s the right thing to do. But if the American government accepts that the rule of law is the foundation of civilized society, it must be clear that this represents a new legal path.
This can be summed up simply:
There is no law in this administration, there is only what people in power feel like doing, and whatever complex mental and linguistic gymnastics they can do to justify acting out how they feel.
Under Bush, the administration went through the processes that were necessary, getting approval along the way before acting on a perceived threat, regardless of the haste or individual opinions on the wisdom of those actions. Under Obama, we have leftists actively advocating for ignoring laws they agree to with their wonderful UN-consensus ideals because it’s now magically moral to break the law, to do what feels good even though it’s illegal.
The rule of law is the foundation of a civilized society, but we have the rule of men, and of a man who feels what he’s doing is right means more than the law. I’m sure Assad would agree with the decisions to ignore legality and do what you want as a ruler.
As a final note, I heard or read this story not too long ago: A bartender saw a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting across the bar and saw the boyfriend slapping the girlfriend. The bartender decided this was wrong, and he had to get involved and separate the two. He stepped around the bar and got them apart, and the girlfriend then broke a beer bottle over the bartenders head.
As of right now, with no real evidence of a threat to the US or US interests, there’s no reason to get involved.
This is a cluster of our enemies fighting each other. It’s tragic what’s happening to the non-combatants, but unless we want to wage a massive, all out campaign to suppress the rest of the world and pacify them, we can’t change that.
Away from wartime, we can change things through trade and commerce, but in wartime, there’s little we can do unless we go all-out. And there’s while there may be some broader humanitarian desire to act, there’s really little reason to get involved, as both potential victors in the only likely outcomes are villains.