Lt. Colonel Andrew Wood, head of the Special Forces Site Security Team in Libya, is claiming that the State Department denied U.S. forces extra security in Libya in advance of the attack on the Consulate that left several people, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead. And Wednesday, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy (who will rebut the accusations of failing to provide security) and a couple of other higher-ups will testify at a Congressional hearing. Not surprisingly, the hearing is being pushed by the Committee Chairman, Republican Darrell Issa, a right-wingnut conspiracy theorist and avid hater of Eric Holder and all things Obama.
True to form, and never one to let an attack on the Obama Administration be delivered as simply a news item, a grave, solemn, sorrowful Megyn Kelly gave the following introduction to a debate between Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, and Dick Harpootlian, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair.
“Today we have a dramatic interview from the former head of the Special Forces Security Team in Libya. This guy is speaking out. His name is Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, and he spoke with CBS News, saying that there were serious worries about security in Libya in the weeks ahead of this attack, but when those on the ground asked the State Department for more help, the State Department actually cut the security staffing.” [Emphasis of Kelly’s disapproving, dramatic intonation added.]
[Cut to CBS interview with Lt. Col. Wood]:
Wood: “I felt like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire Embassy staff. I had people come and asking me that, I didn’t feel good about it . . . .”
CBS: “What were they saying?”
Wood: “They asked if we were safe, they asked if, uh, what was going to happen, and I could only answer that what we were being told is they’re working on it, they’ll get us more, but I never saw that. For the environment we had, we felt we needed more, not less.”
Kelly: “Joining me now, Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush, and Dick Harpootlian, Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Gentlemen, welcome back. So, this man’s speaking out, and now he’s been subpoenaed to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee this week, which will probe further – now we’ve had a bipartisan effort on Capital Hill to probe further into exactly what the situation was there and why our Ambassador and the others weren’t better protected. Brad, how does this man’s testimonial change this story?”
Blakeman: “Well, I think it shows that the truth eventually comes out no matter how the White House wanted to stonewall in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. It didn’t fit their political narrative months before a presidential election that somehow Osama bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is forever banished. It’s not true, al Qaeda’s alive and well and doing harm to American citizens, killing our Ambassador and three others. We now know that our Consulate in Benghazi was sub-standard and received a waiver from the State Department with regard to security, the walls were inferior, the construction, the rebar, the setback. Our Ambassador was not properly protected as he should have been when moving around that country with proper security, that was lax. So this Administration has a lot to answer for, they liked us to believe at first, Megyn, that this was all about a YouTube video when they knew that wasn’t true. And they perpetuated that lie in the U.N. when our U.N. Ambassador said that it was because of a YouTube video when she knew better. And the President certainly did. So the truth does come out, the cover-up sometimes is worse than the crime, but not in this instance when a U.S. Ambassador is dead and three other Americans as well.”
Kelly: “Brad, you know, hindsight is 20/20, and you look back, and now, with our Ambassador dead, and three others dead, we can say obviously security was not adequate in Benghazi, but it is disturbing to hear about, according to this Colonel Wood, that they were essentially begging for more security, and he claims they were told, not only are you not getting it, but we’re going to reduce what we have in place.”
Blakeman: “It, there’s no adequate answer.”
Kelly: “Dick’s thoughts on that.”
Harpootlian: “Well, you know, Megyn, there’s a couple of observations I have to make. The first is, it was just three weeks ago this happened, and certainly this serviceman has the right to speak out about what he knows. But it passes strange to me that right now, an effort’s being made to find these folks and bring ’em to justice, and it may be that disinformation – I know Brad’ll find this shocking – disinformation may assist in that effort. We don’t know, and to go and to . . . wait a second, Brad, and to rush to judgment on this simply because we’re four weeks before an election, is contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about in terms of . . . .”
Blakeman: “Wait a minute, Dick, disinformation to who?”
Harpootlian: “Wait a minute . . . Let me finish?”
Blakeman: “Disinformation to the American people, lying to the American people?”
Harpootlian: “Well, I’m sorry, when you make an announcement that you want digested by al Qaeda, sometimes when you make that publicly the American people get the same message, but Brad, let me tell you something: The proof’s in the pudding. Osama bin Laden’s in hell, most of al Qaeda’s in hell, and the five or six people they’re looking for in this will be in hell soon, so what you need to understand is this: 2000 Americans are dead in Afghanistan. This President wants to get out. Mitt Romney wants to stay. That’s the decision the American people need . . . .”
Kelly: “But this is a question about what happened in Libya, we’re trying to figure out what happened to our Ambassador, you know, as for the campaign slogan, Dick, that’s a dangerous road to go down. Andrea Tantaros who is on The Five here, said in response now to this campaign slogan of GM is alive, and bin Laden is dead, so is our Ambassador to Libya. And we have to find out how that happened and, you know, partisan stripes aside, Dick, are you, do you, does it concern you that this guy Colonel Wood, who was the head of the security forces in Libya, is coming out and saying they asked if they were safe, they asked what was going to happen, all I could say was we were being told they’re working on it, they’ll get us more but I never saw that.”
Harpootlian: “Sure, it’s a part of the picture, but do you really need to know this by November 6th, unless, unless, this is purely a political issue and really had nothing to do . . . .”
Blakeman: “You don’t want us to know by November 6th, that’s the problem. I want the American people to know the truth. You guys want to ride this out, hopefully the American people will pay attention to something else, when the White House and others were either grossly incompetent or willfully lied to the American people. And now it’s substantiated by an American military person who has no ax to grind other than to tell the truth that they weren’t properly protected, even though they begged for it.”
Harpootlian: “We don’t know what his ax is to grind, Brad. What I’m saying is, why scour this 30 days before an election, when it’s not gonna correct anything . . . .”
Blakeman: “Because the American people deserve answers.”
Harpootlian: “Oh, the American people. The American people don’t want an answer, you Republicans want to make sure this becomes an issue so that we lose focus on Afghanistan, Iraq, Mitt Romney going to London and insulting our allies there, having no foreign policy. This is about distraction.”
Blakeman: “Mitt Romney showed more initiative and acted more like a president in calling the attack for what it was, and only after two weeks did the White House say, of course, it’s evident that it was a terrorist attack.”
Kelly: “I want to tell the viewers what the State Department has said, and understandably, there’s only so much they can say on certain issues. But they came out and said that Col. Wood was not part of the security assessment in Benghazi, that’s where this attack took place, he was in Tripoli. And they say that his assignment to Tripoli means he was unfamiliar with the local situation in Benghazi. He claims, however, that our Ambassador was actually stationed in Tripoli and that the two of them met every day. He was only in Benghazi for, you know, that one trip and so he was familiar with the Ambassador’s concerns, and so on. So in the days and weeks we’ll see this play out. For what it’s worth, a bi-partisan group in the Senate that’s trying to probe into this has a return date asking for the information that does post-date the election, so it’s not necessarily all politics. Guys, thank you.”
As for the “bi-partisanship” that Kelly boasted of, well, let’s take another look at that. According to USNews.com, “Democrats feel as though they are being left in the dark as Issa and Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz take the lead. One staffer said Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the oversight committee, was unaware that Issa had sent a letter to the State Department calling for a hearing and more details about security in Benghazi until he read about it in news reports.” Darrell Issa and Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, as Media Matters reports, happens to be a Romney surrogate) are the leaders of the effort to push this investigation through quickly so as to tarnish the President in the last days before the election. And despite the fact that Congress is in recess, Issa’s “bipartisan” committee is holding an “emergency hearing” to “address the Obama administration’s failures in keeping the consulate secure.”
The facts are far from in; nobody knows if there were even protesters outside the consulate prior to the attack that left the Ambassador dead. And despite the supposedly clandestine nature of State Department business, Republican Rep. Chaffetz, Issa’s sidekick on the “bipartisan” committee, broke the “bombshell” about the alleged-but-unproven lack of security on Fox & Friends. So much for not making it political.
The Accountability Review Board (ARB), which has met twice to gather information about the Libyan attack, doesn’t appear to be attempting to rush to judgment prior to November 6th. They’re conducting an actual, you know, investigation.
But Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and former Bushie Brad Blakeman are pissing on our legs and telling us it’s raining, claiming falsely that there’s a “bi-partisan” committee, when it’s nothing more than a witch hunt run by Darrell Issa, who knows a little something about witch hunts (Eric Holder, incidentally, the target of one of Issa’s said witch hunts, was cleared of wrongdoing). And Blakeman – well, he’s a regular on Fox, and he worked for Bush, so he knows a little something about lying to the American people.
I’ll never accuse an American serviceman of lying, and I won’t accuse Lt. Col. Wood of it. What I will say is that all American service men and women are not created equal; I seem to recall some birther soldiers refusing to deploy because they didn’t recognize President Obama as qualified to be president and, hence, would not take orders from him as their Commander in Chief. If Wood is sincere, and apolitical, it’s shameful that Fox and others would use him as a tool against the Obama Administration.
As Bob Cesca wrote of Issa’s vendetta against Eric Holder, “If Democrats regain control of the House in November they should hold Darrell Issa in contempt just for being Darrell Issa. An investigation into how much time and money he has wasted on this witch hunt would also be appropriate.”
Make that two witch hunts.