On the heels of Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, I decided to share a piece I published for the first time Oct. 24, 2012.
Click on the image above to see a screenshot of Hillary’s statement that can no longer be found on the State Department website.
Published under the headline, Emails Prove Obama Lied About Libya Attacks, the text of my article appears immediately below the video of then-Secretary of State Clinton’s televised statement about the attack at Benghazi:
Copies of official emails obtained by Reuters show that Obama Administration officials lied about what had taken place in Benghazi, Libya, following the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in the North African country.
According to those emails, senior Obama Administration officials were informed approximately two hours after attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that leaders of the Libyan terror group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed credit for the attack that left four Americans — Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and computer specialist Sean Smith — dead.
After weeks of watching Obama Administration officials change story lines, point fingers and blame the attack on a video, this news brings to mind the question of the 3 a.m. phone call made famous in ads aired by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. It also makes more chilling the words of Eric Nordstrom, a State Department Regional Security Officer who testified during an Oct. 10 meeting of the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His testimony begins after the 1:30 mark in the video below.
“It was abundantly clear that we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident,” Nordstrom said. “And the question that we would ask is, again, ‘How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?’”
Later in the video, he added what is perhaps his most disturbing commentary about the events leading up to the attacks.
After asking his regional director for 12 more agents, he said that director told him, “You’re asking for the sun, moon and the stars.”
Nordstrom went on to describe what he told that regional director was most frustrating about his assignment.
“It’s not the gunfire, it’s not the hardships, it’s not the threats; it’s dealing and fighting against the people, programs and personnel who are supposed to be supporting me,” he said, adding, “For me, it’s like the Taliban is on the inside of the building.”
It becomes even more difficult to believe Nordstrom’s request for extra agents was turned down when one realizes that State Department officials had issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens about conditions across Libya only two weeks earlier.
Vote wisely Nov. 6.
Though too many Americans failed to heed my advice in 2012, they can make amends in 2016 by NOT voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
UPDATE #1: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the panel, is calling “bullshit” on Republicans for demanding the truth. He’s the first person today to characterize the hearing as a GOP effort to derail Hillary’s presidential campaign. Shameful!
UPDATE #2: Not unexpectedly, Representative Cummings pulled the Rep. Kevin McCarthy “card,” claiming the Benghazi hearings are aimed at derailing Hillary. Says GOP accusations are baseless. Cites Democrat report saying GOP claims unsubstantiated.
UDPATE #3: Representative Cummings says hearings are waste of money, show no nefarious activities, don’t change basic conclusions of eight previous investigations.
UDPATE #4: Hillary now reading from prepared statement, beginning with fluff. Says “I knew and admired Chris Stevens. He was one of our nation’s most admired diplomats.” Cites Stevens’ mothers memories of her son. Now giving generic appreciation for others — whom she didn’t know — who were killed during firefight. Now citing how “losing any one of” 70,000 employees “during my tenure was deeply painful.” So disingenuous. Now telling story about receiving caskets at Andrews AFB.
UDPATE #5: Hillary’s saying, despite so many previous investigations, she wants to share how we can move forward, beyond “this tragedy.” Said Chris Stevens understood the dangers he faced. Says he volunteered. Says he understood we will never prevent every act of terrorism. In other words, she’s trying to get us to believe his death is the price of doing business.
UDPATE #6: Hillary says Stevens “chose to go to Benghazi because he understood America needed to be represented in Libya at that pivotal time” and he understood weapons in the Middle East “could not fall into the wrong hands.” Hasn’t mentioned the video yet. Why?
UDPATE #7: Hillary says we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats everything they need to do their jobs effectively. Now, she’s name-dropping about “accountability review board” set up after the deadly attacks at Benghazi. Cites 29 improvements needed. Says she was putting them in place. “Day late dollar short” comes to mind.
UDPATE #8: Hillary’s final observation: her “pride” while traveling the world. Sounding more like a presidential candidate than someone who’s about to have to answer tough questions. She must be hoping most Americans will tune out after she finishes her opening statement. It will be interesting to see how the nation’s news media treat this hearing. The American people “expect us to lead,” she said. Shaking my head.
UDPATE #9: Chairman Gowdy tells Hillary she’s long-winded but he’s not going to cut her off. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) takes over. I missed first question he asked. In her answer, she seems to be explaining what her State Department was doing prior to Benghazi eruption. Representative Roskam cites opposition Hillary faced within State Department. Top career diplomat said, paraphrasing, “giving weapons to those seeking to seize government control” hasn’t worked out well. Hillary laughs. Representative Roskam said Hillary persuaded Obama to go that way anyway. She puts blame on president. Wow!
UDPATE #10: Hillary says it was a “difficult decision.” Uses phrase, “at the end of the day,” many times. How many times can Hillary blame Obama for this mess? Talk about trying to distance herself from disaster — wow! Hillary says she conducted “due diligence.” Near argument ensues. Hillary cuts off Representative Roskam. Blames president again.
UDPATE #11: Representative Roskam paints picture of Hillary steering the ship of State, casts doubt on whether Obama was behind the efforts in Libya. Hillary used word “recall” for the first time!
UDPATE #12: Chairman Gowdy yields time to Representative Cummings. Predictably, he throws propaganda softballs, talks about members of Accountability Review Board, including Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullens. Hillary says she takes responsibility for what happened in Benghazi, but blames result on folks in charge of security at Benghazi. Says such issues don’t come before secretary of state. Says she took ARB findings seriously and began implementing them.
UDPATE #13: Representative Cummings blames folks at State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security for failures at Benghazi. Asks Hillary to respond to accusations by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that Hillary approved security measures. Representative Cummings hypes his honesty and integrity before saying emails his colleagues obtained confirm that Hillary did not reject security requests as Republicans claim. Hillary says she’ll try to explain how confusion may have surfaced. Blames tradition of the “stamp” at State Department for decisions being tied to her.
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) shows stacks of hundreds of Hillary’s emails — including daily and hourly updates — and asks Hillary Clinton what Ambassador Stevens was supposed to do in Benghazi and how long he was to stay.
UDPATE #14: Chairman Gowdy recognizes Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) who shows stacks of hundreds of Hillary’s emails — including daily and hourly updates — prior to September 2012 and asks why there were so few emails about Libya in 2012. Asks what Ambassador Stevens was supposed to do in Benghazi and how long he was to stay. Hillary’s answer: empty.
UDPATE #15: Representative Brooks cites emails from Hillary’s right-hand gal, Huma Abedin, and other senior staffers in 2011 and prior to Benghazi in 2012. Asks why attack on U.S. compound in Libya was not mentioned in emails. Hillary says she did not do the vast majority of her work with emails.
It’s 10:18 a.m. Central. More later.
UDPATE #16: Twelve minutes later, I’m back. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) asks Hillary about her efforts to work with Department of Defense to assess security challenges at diplomatic outposts. Hillary thanks her for her service, kisses butt, then begins spinning answer. Says it’s challenging to get military assets into countries that don’t want them there. Says Libya didn’t want any foreign military there. Says “our military did everything they could” in response to attack at Benghazi.
UDPATE #17: Representative Duckworth continues, same subject. Asks if process of State Department working with DoD has produced substantive results. Hillary says she began implementing the recommendations before she stepped down. Says process should be institutionalized.
UDPATE #18: Representative Duckworth asks Hillary about efforts to keep State Department employees informed. Hillary recalls veteran diplomats complaining about security being too tight to do their jobs. An effort to account for her slipshod handling of classified information via emails? I think so.
UDPATE #19: Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) asks Hillary about confusion and uncertainty in Libya prior to Benghazi attack and about Hillary’s drop in interest in Benghazi in 2012. Points to email in which one staffer writes about Hillary asking if we still have a presence in Benghazi. Hillary denies: “I can’t comment on what has been reported. Of course, I knew we had a presence in Benghazi….” From there, she leaps ahead to the post-Qaddafi elections in Libya and almost takes credit for the dictator’s ouster. “We did an enormous amount of work” and “the Libyans did not feel they could welcome a peace-keeping mission.” Representative Roby doesn’t buy into it, asks why her staffers would make things up about Hillary, asks Hillary to turn to Tab 31 of exhibits.
UDPATE #20: Hillary asks Representative Roby for names of staffers behind emails. Upon hearing names, Hillary says “they were not on my staff.”
UDPATE #21: Representative Roby says she’s frustrated by Hillary brushing off content of staffers’ emails, then moves on to security issues at Benghazi. Says staff of 10 security agents in 2011 reduced to only three prior to the attack at Benghazi. Asks Hillary why the cutback. Hillary explains Ambassador Stevens had two personal security members, so that made five. Said the ambassador “felt very comfortable” with the total of five security folks.
UDPATE #22: Following brief spat between Representative Roby and Hillary, Chairman Gowdy recognizes Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.). He throws softballs. “You knew we had a presence in Benghazi,” he said. “Of course, I did,” she replied. He berates GOP’s obsession with emails, including some by “junior staffers.” Criticizes spending millions of dollars to investigate Benghazi. Says “not a single solitary thing” has been produced by investigation. He sounds as if he’s bucking for a post in Hillary’s administration.
UDPATE #23: Representative Smith asks Hillary to explain what is the proper balance between providing security and making it possible for diplomats to do their jobs? Hillary replies with a lot of time-wasting.
UDPATE #24: After Representative Smith asks lame budget question, Chairman Gowdy recognizes Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) who criticizes Smith for offering inaccurate information. After that, he begins lambasting Hillary about her apparent lack of awareness of the situation in Libya.
UDPATE #25: Representative Westmoreland asks Hillary if she was aware of the volume of intelligence being generated about Libya. After she assures him she was aware, he asks her what she did in response to the intelligence. She says “there was never any recommendation by anyone… to leave Benghazi even after the two incidents you mentioned.”
UDPATE #26: Representative Westmoreland asks Hillary if she was aware of “other 18” attacks in Benghazi cited in book by former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell. She said she was not.
UDPATE #27: Representative Westmoreland asks Hillary how many instances it would have required for Hillary to decide to “protect our people” over there. Hillary blames “security professionals who made the decisions about what kind of security would be provided.” Dodges bullet (no pun intended). “They were the ones making the assessment. No one ever came to me and said we should shut down our compound in Benghazi.” Representative Westmoreland asks Hillary to explain how she expected Ambassador Stevens to do his job with inadequate security. Hillary says State Department and CIA has “an agreement,” but acknowledges it was not a written agreement. Representative Westmoreland asks Hillary why she exchanged so many emails with friend Sidney Blumenthal but her “friend” Ambassador Stevens did not. And he asked if the man who asked for additional security 20 or more times had Hillary’s email address. Hillary said she didn’t believe he did.
UDPATE #28: Chairman Gowdy recognized Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) who asked her about why “diplomatic security” was not mentioned “in any material way” in 270 pages of her report. She couldn’t really explain why anyone has been held accountable to date before saying the ARB didn’t believe anyone should be fired. “You’re telling me you had no authority to….” She says she followed the law. Representative Pompeo asks how many security requests were made regarding Benghazi. Hillary pleads ignorance. Representative Pompeo asks why she’s so quick to read Blumenthal’s emails when she ignores hundreds of emails from people working for her. She stumbles and bumbles, says Blumenthal “is a friend of mine.” She says “he had no official position in the government.” Representative Pompeo cites nature of Blumenthal emails and tells Hillary “the record does not reflect that.” In short, he calls Hillary a liar!
UDPATE #29: Representative Pompeo asks why security requests didn’t result in added security. She blames security professionals. Pompeo doesn’t buy it.
UDPATE #30: Representative Pompeo asks Hillary if she was aware that her people in Benghazi met with known terrorists in Libya less than 48 hours before the attack in Benghazi. She says “I know nothing about this” twice before asking to whom, specifically, he was referring.
UDPATE #31: Chairman Gowdy recognizes Representative Linda Chavez (D-Calif.) who asks Hillary if Blumenthal was her “primary intelligence officer.” Predictably, she says he was not before reiterating that she did not use email as her primary communications tool for discussing issues. She goes on to explain how her people were experienced and met with Qaddafi many times.
Screenshot shows Rep. MIke Pompeo (R-Kan.) and others on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
UDPATE #32: Representative Chavez asks Hillary about statements made by Representative Pompeo on NBC’s “Meet the Press” (i.e., that Blumenthal was Hillary’s chief intelligence advisor). Not surprisingly, Hillary agreed that Blumenthal was not her top intel advisor. Chavez goes on to ask Hllary what she did upon learning about the attack. In response, Hillary spins exotic tale.
UDPATE #33: Representative Chavez ends by quoting then-CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus as having said his people did everything they could. Hillary agreed.
UDPATE #34: Chairman Gowdy recognizes Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who asks Hillary about alleged video that allegedly incited protest that preceded Benghazi attack. Says Hillary was the mastermind behind effort to blame attack on “the video.” Hillary’s response: She continues to blame the video, saying it had been shown on Egyptian television viewable in Libya. Says she used the word “some” to explain the number of people who blamed the video. Jordan doesn’t buy it.
Hillary’s email to family members shows she describes Benghazi attackers as having been members of an al-Qaeda-like group.
UDPATE #35: Representative Jordan slices, dices and peels Hillary’s false statements. Shows her email to family members in which she describes attackers as having been members of an al-Qaeda-like group. Hillary rejects. Jordan shows another email 27 minutes after her “it’s a video” statement. Jordan says, 56 days before the U.S. presidential election, she talked politics instead of truth. Says “Americans can live with the fact that sometimes good people give their lives for this country, but what they can’t take is when their government is not square with them.”
UDPATE #36: Hillary responds by saying we did the best we could with the information we had. Says she explains more in her latest book. Blarney! She says she was trying to put out flames everywhere. Representative Jordan calls out Clinton for saying he “insinuated.” He says he read her words. Nothing more. She says, “I’m sorry it doesn’t fit your narrative.”
UDPATE #37: As last man to speak before lunch break, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accuses GOP colleagues of having “nothing new to tell the American people” that alters the conclusions of the investigations to date. Ends by citing long list of so-called “facts,” pointing to outside efforts that called for Hillary to testify before Benghazi committee and asks Hillary what it’s like to be subject of such a probe. Hillary responds by saying, “It’s a very painful accusation” before going on with a Hollywood-quality performance about the pain she’s endured. Give me a break!
UDPATE #38: Chairman Gowdy recognizes himself and berates Representative Schiff for his B.S. Cites concerns family members of the fallen have regarding the investigations to date. Points to Blumenthal emails as problematic. Asks Hillary who at the White House rejected Blumenthal’s interest in employment. Hillary said she didn’t know. Asks Hillary more about Blumenthal. Mentions Blumenthal was employed by Clinton Family Foundation and has worked at Media Matters and other left-wing entities. Worth noting: Just after the one-hour mark in the hearing, the woman sitting behind and to Hillary’s right writes frantically after Hillary is asked to give her definition of “unsolicited” by Blumenthal. I expect that to be a newsworthy item in days to come.
UDPATE #39: Chairman Gowdy continues to berate Hillary. Hillary continues to plead ignorance about Blumenthal’s emails and claims she doesn’t know who wrote them if not Blumenthal.
UDPATE #40: Very interesting catfight between Chairman Gowdy and Hillary. Chairman asks Hillary if President Barack Obama knew Blumenthal was advising her. She says she doesn’t know. Gowdy continues to lambaste Hillary over Blumenthal. By the way, I’m fairly certain the woman mentioned in Update #38 is Cheryl D. Mills.
UDPATE #41: When Hillary says she doesn’t know how this hearing is helping get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi, Chairman Gowdy offers to help her understand. She continues to explain before Chairman Gowdy explains why the hearing is relevant. “I think it is imminently fair to ask why Sidney Blumenthal had unfettered access to you.” Representative Cummings interrupts and asks for time. Given time, he accuses Gowdy of making false statements regarding Blumenthal. Gowdy shuts him down, explaining how his statements were NOT false. Cummings is out of control, ranting!
UDPATE #42: It’s apparent that Democrats are scared. Chairman Gowdy is not backing down. Loved how Gowdy mentioned 27 outstanding discovery requests made to the Executive Branch. The committee adjourned — for lunch, I suspect.
FYI: Sorry, but I won’t be able to follow the hearing if it resumes after the noon hour. I will, however, provide updates if any surface later.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico who served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. It comes several months after another piece raised hackles among conservatives, in part, because of it’s headline, Ted, Bobby, Marco and Rick Share Something in Common. Even if you disagree with Paul, this piece will make you think long and hard.
Click on image above to read Paul R. Hollrah’s previous piece on four prominent GOP hopefuls who are ineligible to serve as president of the United States.
As the Founding Fathers met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1778, producing word-for-word the greatest governing document in all of recorded history, they were haunted by a number of major concerns. Among their most critical concerns was the long-term sustainability of the constitutional republic they were creating. How could they prevent it from being subverted?
General George Washington, president of the Constitutional Convention, read a July 25, 1787, letter from John Jay, a member of the Continental Congress, who would later become the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It was just five years and eleven months since Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown and Jay was concerned that the administration of our federal government might one day fall into the hands of a man who might find it difficult… because of divided loyalties… to always do what was in the best interests of the country. He was especially concerned over what might happen if command of our Army and Navy should ever fall into the hands of such a man.
In his letter, Jay wrote, “Permit me to hint whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government; and to declare expressly that the commander-in-chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born citizen (emphasis added).”
John Jay, National Portrait Gallery.
In Federalist Paper No. 68, Alexander Hamilton expressed the prevailing concern of foreign influence in the affairs of government. He wrote, “These most deadly adversaries of republican government (cabal, intrigue, etc.) might actually have expected to make their approach from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the Chief Magistracy of the Union?”
Taking into account the concerns expressed by Jay and Madison, it is easy to understand why the Founders produced a constitution under which only two of the 145,400,000 jobs in the United States… public sector and private sector combined… require the incumbents to be “natural born” citizens. Those two jobs are president and vice president of the United States.
So, precisely what was it that the Founders found so worrisome about future presidents… so worrisome that they placed tight restrictions on access to the position?
The Founders rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct. Accordingly, what the Founders feared most and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment in which he would learn to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Although they were not alive to see it, their worst fears were realized 221 years later when a usurper named Barack Hussein Obama occupied the White House.
Barack Obama’s mother was a citizen of the United States. However, under the tutelage of her liberal parents she grew up to be a radical leftist, while his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was a devout Kenyan-born socialist. Obama spent most of his formative years as a citizen of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation on Earth, where his name was changed to Barry Soetoro and his school records list his religious preference as Islamic. Then, upon returning to Hawaii at age 10, he was mentored during his teen years by a card-carrying member of the Communist Party,USA, Frank Marshall Davis. It was not the sort of environment conducive to the political and intellectual development of a man who would one day follow in the footsteps of patriots such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.
Obama went into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that he would bring an end to the revolving door of lobbyists moving into and out of the White House. Instead, the revolving door at the White House has been set spinning with lobbyists coming and going, while even the most liberal media outlets insist that his is the least transparent, the most secretive, and the least responsive administration in history.
He went into office promising to depolarize American politics and government and to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans. Instead, he pokes his thumb into the eyes of Republicans at every opportunity, and what has always been a healthy mistrust between the major parties now approaches bitter animosity.
He went into office promising to reduce unemployment and to spur economic growth. Instead, he has steadily shrunk the size of the U.S. workforce, increased the ranks of the unemployed, and, with little understanding how the U.S. economy works, he has stymied economic growth.
He promised to provide healthcare insurance for some 30 million uninsured, while improving the quality of healthcare and reducing the cost of healthcare for everyone… and all of that without increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Instead, many workers have lost their insurance, doctors are giving up their practices, and employers are reducing the working hours of employees so as to avoid paying the burgeoning cost of healthcare benefits.
He went into office promising to close the budget deficit and reduce the national debt. Instead, in the six years he’s been in office, he has not produced a single balanced budget and the national debt has increased from $9 trillion to $18 trillion… more than all previous presidents combined.
By David Donar
He went into office promising to reduce poverty and to shrink the income disparity between the rich and the poor. Instead, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has gradually increased, nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps, and the wage gap between the rich and the poor has steadily widened.
He went into office promising to heal the scars of racism in America and to bring our people together. Instead, he has played the race card at every opportunity and race relations are now more tenuous than at any time since the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan.
He went into office promising to solve the illegal immigration problem by first securing our borders. Instead, millions upon millions of illegals from Mexico and Central America stream across our borders, while he uses every conceivable device to insure that the invaders can stay in the U.S. and that they will one day become reliable Democratic voters.
He went into office promising to improve relations with the Russians; to bring peace to the Middle East; to draw “red lines” in Libya and Syria that radical Islamists would not dare cross; to promote friendship and cooperation throughout the Arab world; and to heal any rifts that may have developed between us and our allies. Instead, relations between the U.S. and Russia are at an all-time low; every nation in the Middle East is either at war or about to be at war; “red lines” were crossed but Obama failed to respond as threatened; our enemies throughout the Middle East are emboldened; the most dangerous purveyor of state-sponsored terror is just weeks or months away from having a nuclear weapon; our Arab allies no longer trust us; and our long-time allies in Israel and in Europe must now face a dangerous world without our leadership.
In short, Barack Obama is precisely what the Founders feared most when they wrote Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, limiting access to the presidency only to those who are natural born citizens. In just six short years he has become the poster boy for national suicide.
Unfortunately, the intellectually lazy in both major parties, representing the entire ideological spectrum, have failed to satisfy themselves of Obama’s fitness for the presidency. Those on the left were so anxious to recapture the White House, especially with a young attractive black man as their standard bearer, that they paid no attention whatsoever to warnings that he was lacking in qualifications. While on the right, it is all but impossible to find a conservative commentator or a political leader with the courage to challenge the bona fides of a black Democrat… fearing that they may be forced to defend themselves against charges of racism.
What they have done, in fact, is to create a de facto amendment to the U.S. Constitution without going to the trouble of consulting the provisions of Article 1, Section 3; Article II, Section 1; or Article V of the Constitution.
Now, because of the duplicity of the left and the cowardice of the right, we are confronted with a potential constitutional crisis involving the candidacies of Sen. Ted Cruz (D-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)… all prominently mentioned as potential Republican presidential nominees in 2016, but none of whom are eligible for that office because they fail to meet the “natural born” requirement of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.
Will Democrats, knowing that they supported and elected a usurper in 2008 and again in 2012, allow Republicans to do the same in 2016? Are we to simply accept that two wrongs make a right? Anyone who believes that Democrats are not so duplicitous as to glorify Obama’s illegal presidency while crucifying a Republican candidate guilty of the same offense, simply does not know Democrats. The wisest course would be for Cruz, Jindal, and Rubio to do what is best for their party and their country by removing themselves from consideration. The worst fears of the Founders has been realized in Barack Obama. Republicans should not repeat the outrage.
Could untrustworthy officials at the highest levels of the Afghan government be responsible for the single-largest loss of life in the history of U.S. Naval Special Warfare? Almost a year after asking that question for the first time, I’m convinced they are. Below, I share information from an article I published Sept. 16, 2013.
Extortion 17 KIAs
On Aug. 6, 2011, a CH-47 “Chinook” — call sign “Extortion 17” — was shot down during the pre-dawn hours while on a mission to capture a bad guy in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. Among the dead, 30 Americans, most of whom were members of the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL TEAM SIX.
Because the deaths of these “quiet professionals” came only weeks after Vice President Joe Biden compromised operational security by disclosing details about their unit’s involvement in a raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Pakistan, some people — including some family members and friends of SEALs killed in the crash — believe the SEALs may have been sacrificed by the Obama Administration to appease followers of bin Laden. More likely, however, is that they were set up by unvetted or poorly-vetted Afghan officials allowed to work closely with U.S. and Coalition Forces decision-makers.
Widespread corruption in Afghanistan is a significant problem and remains a threat to the success of reconstruction and assistance programs. In 2012, Transparency International ranked Afghanistan in a tie with Somalia and North Korea as the most corrupt country in the world.NOTE: Here’s the link to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index if you want to see it for yourself.
These are likely the same kind of people who, after surviving a supposedly-thorough vetting process, have excelled at waging hundreds of often-deadly “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks against American and Coalition Forces mentors and advisors while wearing the uniforms of their country’s military, police and security agencies instead of the attire of government officials.
Exactly who are the Afghans officials who likely set up the warriors aboard Extortion 17? Based on what I read among the more than 1,300 pages that make up the Extortion 17 crash investigation report produced by U.S. Central Command, I’d say its the high-level Afghans who serve on the Operational Coordination Group (OCG).
Early in the report, I found the transcript of a briefing conducted nine days after the crash by an American intelligence officer who, at one point, describes himself as “an SF guy by trade.” His audience is a group of about 18 people assembled at Bagram Air Base as part of the investigation process that followed the crash. The topic is the OCG’s participation in the war effort. NOTE: Because the copy of the report I received was redacted, the briefing officer’s branch of service and rank remain a mystery. His words from the transcript, however, appear below:
“We made some real money with the OCG; they are the Operational Coordination Group and they assist us with the planning, and the vetting, and de-confliction of our operation,” said the intelligence officer on page 6 of one 134-page document. “Likewise, once we are done executing the operation, they are able to send the results report, the result of the operations, up through their various administrates. They are made up of the Afghan National Army, the National Director of Security, as well as the Afghan National Police Force. They are here on site, but we also have them down at the regional level in RC-South and, in September, we are going to stand up region site up in RC-North.”
“So they have visibility on every operation?” asked the deputy investigating officer.
“Every operation,” the intel officer replied.
“So they knew about the operations?” the deputy asked, apparently wanting to confirm what he had just heard.
“Oh yea,” the intel officer confirmed.
“And they were briefed on it?” the deputy followed, again seeking confirmation.
“Absolutely,” came the reply.
Further down the same page, the deputy investigating officer asked another OCG-focused question – “So they have the ability, do they have approval authority on that, to cancel an operation?” – and the conversation continued:
“Technically, they do,” the intel officer replied. “They don’t exercise it, but technically they do have (the) authority.”
“So they either task or approve the operation?” the deputy investigating officer said, seeking confirmation.
The answer: “Yep.”
More than 50 pages deeper into the document, the investigating officer — then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt before being promoted in 2012 — asked for and received confirmation from the officer representing the Joint Special Operations Task Force Intelligence Directorate (J3) that every mission is vetted through the OCG. He also received some background knowledge about the group.
“(The Operational Coordination Group),” the J3 representative told him and others in the room, “was formed over two years ago when we said we needed to have really better legitimacy in the eyes of (Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) in order to maintain our freedom of maneuver. So, these guys are high level officials from Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, and the National Directorate of Security.”
“Really the only thing we keep from them, obviously, is the (Top Secret) level how we got to the target piece of it,” he added a short time later. “They are briefed on all the targets prior to execution and, you know, technically speaking if they would come to us and say, ‘I don’t want you to execute this mission,’ we wouldn’t do it.”
So, according to transcript, members of the OCG knew about the Extortion 17 mission in advance, were involved in assigning and/or approving the mission and could have vetoed the mission, but did not.
After realizing how deeply involved OCG members are in each mission, I asked myself a question — “Did a failure to properly screen top Afghan government officials before they were allowed to serve on the OCG help bring down Extortion 17?” — and set out to answer it.
SEARCH FOR AN ANSWER
I began by searching online for accurate information about the OCG. Unfortunately, I found very little information about the group’s existence prior to the crash of Extortion 17. Even the International Security Assistance Force/NATO website contained no mentions of the OCG prior to the crash.
The only online mention of the OCG prior to the crash appeared in a Spring 2007 NATO Reviewarticle. In it, the author, British Army Gen. David Richards, described the introduction of the OCG as a “significant development.”NOTE: “Spring 2007″ is a lot earlier than the “two years ago” description (i.e., August 2009) given by the J3 officer as the approximate date of the OCG’s launch.
Eight months after the crash, a DoD news release did mention the OCG, stating that the group had been given the authority to review and approve all special operations missions and to participate in intelligence fusion, monitor mission execution and make notifications to provincial governors. Two months after that, an ISAF news release confirmed the same.
In addition to searching online, I submitted a list of questions to ISAF public affairs officers via email the morning of Sept. 11. I wanted to know when and why the OCG was established and who participates in the OCG or comprises its membership. Most importantly, I wanted to know if non-American and non-NATO individuals are vetted prior to their involvement in OCG and asked for a description of the vetting process if they are.
Two days later, the response I received from Lt. Col. Will Griffin, an Army public affairs officer assigned to ISAF Headquarters, was vague at best:
The OCG was established in 2010 to communicate ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters’ intentions to our Afghan partners in an expedient and concise manner and likewise provide a means for Afghan National Security Force to convey their concerns and intentions to ISAF SOF HQ.
The OCG is comprised of representatives from coalition forces and Afghan liaison officers. All Afghan partners are screened and certified by their ministries, as well as completing the same verification process as all liaison officers that work in secure ISAF installations.
Ten minutes after reading Colonel Griffin’s response, I replied by pointing out to the colonel that he had not included a requested description of the vetting process used to screen non-American and non-NATO members of the OCG. Then I waited for another 15 hours. Rather than receive a description of the vetting process, however, I received the following message:
The vetting process is a comprehensive look at the individual’s background, associates, personal history, etc. Operational security considerations prevent me to go into further depth.
After Colonel Griffin offered little in terms of knowledge about the process used — if, in fact, there is one — to vet OCG members, I conducted a less-than-scientific survey of other sources, including friends and acquaintances who’ve spent varying lengths of time in Afghanistan and family members of American “Green-on-Blue” casualties. The general consensus: Afghans cannot be trusted.
Does this information prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that some Afghan members of the OCG are corrupt? No.
Does it prove that Afghan members of the OCG engaged in an effort to down Extortion 17? No.
Does it prove the OCG has been comprised by Afghans who may be subject to a vetting process that’s even less stringent than that the one used to screen entry-level policemen, security guards and soldiers? No.
Do negative answers to the three questions above mean the case is closed? No! Instead, they should prompt Americans to demand answers from their elected officials about Extortion 17 in much the same way they’ve demanded answers to questions surrounding the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
As you near the end of Vaughn’s book, you’ll find references to The Clapper Memo, my latest nonfiction book in which I share in-depth details about “Green-on-Blue”/”Insider” Attacks discovered during my four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph. I hope you’ll order a copy of my book, too.