Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Difference It Makes, Mrs. Clinton

Clinton At Flag Ceremony For Ambassador Rooney, Jan. 9, 2013

Many on both sides of the aisle are deflated over today's testimony in the Benghazi investigation. Some on the left were expecting full vindication with blame stuck on the penny-pinching right. Conservatives were expecting a grueling cross-examination designed to drag Clinton to confess to criminal negligence. Others were hoping she'd just walk in, ticked-off and tie the albatross to Obama's neck.

None of the above happened.

Barbara Boxer asked Clinton about financing, budgetary shortfalls, and the actual costs of private, usually local, security companies.

Let's recall Clinton's ire coming out of allegations of impropriety from the Blackwater corporation. Blackwater provided security services for various government contractors and non-military US government personnel operating in hostile areas. Somewhere in the debacle, Clinton convinced the powers-that-be to hire local and non-US security personnel to guard and secure our facilities. These include our military installations in Kuwait and other government offices in countries such as Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Qatar, etc. However, law and defense policy dictate that the US Marines have the Embassy missions as well as the spearhead for any NEO (Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations) missions.

This is something even Hollywood gets somewhat correct. Refer to movies such as "Borne Identity" and "Rules of Engagement". The plot of ROE concerns a Marine Corps (Mr. Obama, that's "corps", not "corpse") Officer put on trial for ordering his unit to fire on terrorists that were attacking an embassy during an NEO mission. That attack started as a protest over some issue or other. Sound familiar to anyone?

When it comes to the financing of security forces, the bottom line answer is that those funds should have been DoD funds for the US Marines, not State Dept. funds for private bodyguards. At that, the issue is clear and is moot. It's a tap dance.

Of course, it's part of the left's agenda to weaken our military and cut defense spending. The main reason behind doing so is that defense spending is mandated by the one document the left hates:  The US Constitution. Paying for programs such as TANF and EBT cards that keep people oppressed and enslaved are not. So, their foundational ideal is that anything mandated by the Constitution is bad and any government spending that is not are "social justice".

So, the socialists bolstered up to protect Mrs. Clinton. They attempted to put forth the meme that it was all funding and failure of underlings to follow policy and protocol.

During the hearing, a rather emotional Clinton uttered a statement that was just ludicrous. She posed the question, "At this point, what does it matter if the attack was the result of a protest over a video or a planned terrorist attack?".

Clinton is not that stupid. She is trying to obfuscate reality. She is attempting to cover her own backside while maintaining party loyalty. She knows. The simple truth is that if she admitted that it was a terrorist attack that she'd have to answer hard questions on why appropriate protective measures were not taken. It would be admitting fault, either hers or Obama's.

I used to work in intelligence. I had a role in counter-terrorism. In 2009 I was still privy to certain information. Back then, the writing on the wall was clear and legible. Al-Qaeda was still a threat. They were not defeated. They had relocated and adapted. The capture of killing of Usama bin Laden would serve as just a morale boosting symbol. Anybody who understood their organizational structure also knew that removing one leader would not defeat the organization.

Since I retired in 2011, I have not been privy to any classified information. However, anybody willing to plot data points and look at the patterns could see the same things using just "Open Source Intelligence". Open Source is simply just reading news stories and filling in the blanks. This does not mean limiting yourself to just US news sources. You have to read others such as Al-Jazeera, BBC, The Daily Mail, and others. But the information is out there. It just takes a few minutes of work to read it and put it together. The answer should be clear to anybody, especially now in hindsight:  Al-Qaeda was rebuilding and reorganizing. Another attack was imminent.

That attack happened. Looking at the news reports and published debriefings from those who survived, it is obvious that an Al-Qaeda affiliate had this attack planned. The video served as the perfect excuse. They organized the protest. It was organized before the excuse presented itself. It could have been that video. It could have been a blog written by Pam Geller. It could have been the attempted extradition of an Al-Qaeda linked imam from the UK to the US. So many excuses were available. They picked one and had that protest serve as a diversion while they attacked and assassinated our ambassador.

Why this matters is simple. The indicators were obvious to intelligence analysts. They were ignored by the powers that be. When the attack happened, they were caught with their pants down. So, they had to blame somebody. They blamed a video, then the intelligence community. The problem with being in the intelligence community is that you cannot publicly say "I told you so". You can say it in private. But publicly, you cannot admit to knowledge as it leads to attempts to compromise sources and collection capabilities. Once compromised, those become useless, lost, wasted, and in some cases, dead.

So, admitting the attack was a terrorist attack would be admitting that the intelligence  was ignored. It would admitting negligence, complacency, arrogance, or worse, being complicit. If Clinton admitted the terrorist attack and gave it credence, she would be hanging her party and their chosen messiah out on the line and pointing out the emperor's non-existent magical clothing. She would be a pariah to her own party. It would mean throwing away all she worked for from bolstering Billy-Bubba's political career to her own legacy.

Meanwhile, the conservatives fear the finger-pointing over the budget cuts and lack of spending for those private security firms. They have no backbone. They fear retribution from the Clintons, the Heinzs, The Obamas, and the Kennedys. They want to protect their own political clout. What they fail to realize is that, should it all come out eventually, that their lack of candor and personal courage will lead to their facing hard primaries as incumbents come re-election time.

Still to come, however, is Clinton's testimony in front of the House of Representatives. Granted, Boehner doesn't have the backbone to challenge Clinton. However, people such as Daryl Issa and Paul Ryan may have the gumption to ask those hard questions.