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.
Over the weekend, President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, sane Americans must wonder how government officials will screen out terrorists among the refugees entering the country through refugee processing centers in almost every state.
This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.
The transcript of a State Department background briefing for reporters Sept. 9 offers some clues about how those ostensibly in charge of the nation’s foreign affairs programs — including Secretary of State John “F’n” Kerry and other left-wing political appointees — plan to ensure no members of the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups enter the United States under the guise of being refugees. Michael Gordon of The New York Times asked the first question:
“Could you tell us, please, what the range of numbers is? You say you want to – the Secretary wants to increase the number of refugees that are admitted, so what is the range you’re looking at and what does that cost? And then it seems that part of the problem is vetting, in that the UN has submitted a list but it takes a long time to vet these people. Are you looking at committing more resources to speed up that vetting process? Thank you.”
As someone who spent four years investigating the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, I’m more aware than most of the capabilities that exist within our defense and intelligence agencies for conducting background checks and vetting (a.k.a., “screening”) foreign nationals. That awareness makes me more than a bit interested in the response of an unidentified “senior State Department official” to Gordon’s question. It appears below with acronyms deciphered by yours truly:
“The Secretary talked about a range of different numbers, but I will not be sharing them with you today. And there was varying views within the group from the judiciary committees of the House and Senate about how receptive they were to increasing the numbers of refugees coming.
“And the process to bring refugees here is careful and deliberate, and that’s – as a result, it takes a while. It takes between 18 to 24 months between when a refugee is referred to us and when they – if approved, when they end up arriving in the United States. And a big reason for this is the care that’s put into the security vetting for them. It involves several aspects. Part of it is that every refugee has their sort of case file put together with help from organizations that we fund overseas, and then those files and the refugees’ families themselves are interviewed by someone from the Department of Homeland Security, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And then we also check their names against a whole series of U.S. Government databases to make sure that they’re not already in there – some sort of derogatory information about them.
“What we’re trying to do is weed out people who are liars, who are criminals, or would-be terrorists. And this is something that slows down the process and it’s taken very seriously by everyone involved in it.”
The response, especially the description of the security vetting process having “several aspects” and being “careful and deliberate,” reminds me of what I was told repeatedly over a period of several months in 2012 by U.S. military public affairs officers speaking on behalf of the now-defunct International Security Assistance Force, precursor to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. An excerpt from a July 12, 2012, statement appears below:
“We (ISAF) have today, just as we discussed back in April, advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in assisting them to develop improvements to the overall vetting and recruitment process for the ANSF. The 8-step vetting process, which we have discussed in the past, is the result of our advising on this issue. Just like everything else that we (ISAF) advise on in Afghanistan, it is an ongoing and continuous process. We continually advise our Afghan partners on ways to improve processes. Again, the Afghans have the lead and are responsible for vetting their recruits into their security forces.”
Two months after receiving the statement above via email, I learned Afghans had not been in charge of all of the vetting taking place in that country. Instead, U.S. Army personnel were doing much of the vetting and, by September 2012, had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the eight-step vetting process that turned out to be largely ineffective at stopping so-called “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks, the often-deadly surprise attacks waged against U.S. and coalition forces by allegedly-trustworthy Afghans wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police or security agencies.
If federal government officials are not willing to subject Syrian refugees to the same highly-effective interrogation technology that was used to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) as well as hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world, then we might as well plan to see a significant increase in the number of terror attacks waged on U.S. soil.
Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.
To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, no-pain non-polygraph interrogation technology that was used with great success before its use by Department of Defense personnel was banned in October 2007 by James R. Clapper Jr., then Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and now Director of National Intelligence (i.e., nation’s top intelligence official), visit TheClapperMemo.com. There, you’ll find an overview of my second nonfiction book,The Clapper Memo, as well as several stellar endorsements the book has received. FYI: You’ll also be able to order a copy of the book!
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 and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.
DEMS by David Donar at http://politicalgraffiti.wordpress.com.
As we enter the preliminaries for the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media… including such heretofore “fair-minded” journalists as Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday… are trotting out their favorite “gotcha” questions, reserved exclusively for Republican candidates. To date, their two favorites are: “Are you personally opposed to gay Americans or same-sex marriage?” and “If you knew then what you know now, would you have sent U.S. ground troops into Iraq in 2003?”
No less a liberal icon than Bob Woodward of the Washington Post has set the record straight on the buildup to the Iraq War. In a May 25 appearance on Fox News Sunday, Woodward agreed that George W. Bush may have made mistakes, but that to say he had lied to get us into war was “grossly unfair and inaccurate.” He said, “I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq… lots of mistakes… but it was Bush telling George Tenet the CIA director, ‘Don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD.’ He was the one who was skeptical.”
Woodward continued, “And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. That war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end people were saying, ‘Hey, look, it’ll only take a week or two.’ And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or eighteen months, and so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there’s an abundance of evidence. But there was no lie in this that I could find.”
Throughout calendar year 2002, policy-makers in Washington and around the world searched for ways in which to eliminate the threat posed by the weapons development programs of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Finally, on November 8, 2002, the U.N. Security Council adopted, unanimously, Resolution 1441. Under Resolution 1441, the Security Council recognized “the threat Iraq’s noncompliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security.”
Resolution 1441 affirmed that Security Council Resolution 678 of November 29, 1990, authorized member nations to “use all necessary means (emphasis added) to uphold and implement Resolution 660 of August 2, 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to Resolution 660, and to restore international peace and security in the area.” It was the authority of the U.N. that member states relied upon in their decision to use military force against Iraq.
Few members of Congress were anxious to see American ground forces engaged in a ground war in the Middle East. Accordingly, during the summer of 2002, under the theory that no dictator can remain a dictator unless his people believe him to be both omnipotent and omniscient, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Porter Goss (R-FL), authorized funds for an “Infowar,” or SOFTWAR, offensive against Iraq… where SOFTWAR is defined as “the hostile utilization of global television to shape another nation’s will by changing its view of reality.” The goal of the SOFTWAR offensive was to remove one or both of the omnipotence/omniscience advantages from Saddam, advancing the day when the Iraqi people would find it beneficial to overthrow the dictator. (The SOFTWAR concept was the brainchild of my longtime friend, Chuck de Caro, an Information Warfare lecturer at the National Defense University and other agencies of the U.S. defense/intelligence establishment.)
The SOFTWAR offensive authorized by HPSCI, as a supplement to its FY 2003 defense authorization, read, in part, as follows:
The budget request contained $63.9 million in PE65710D8Z for Classified Programs for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence)…
The Committee notes that information operations (IO) is increasingly becoming a more significant weapon in modern military, and moreover, asymmetric operations…
The Committee is somewhat concerned that insufficient consideration is paid to developing a capability to shape the information sphere for asymmetric operations… The Committee understands that there has been proposed a concept called Infowar, in which intelligence analysis of the threat Infosphere is coupled with the knowledge management functions of television, and an offensive management plan is developed for execution. The Committee notes that this concept is different from more traditional IO approaches in that it does not “attack” the threat directly, but rather through the threat’s intended public information consumers. The Committee believes this is a worthwhile new approach and believes the Intelligence Community should pursue it vigorously.
Therefore, the Committee recommends $73.9 million in PE65710D8Z, an increase of $10.0 Million in Classified Programs-C3I, for the SOFTWAR program.
However, the U.S. Senate, comprised of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, changed from Republican to Democratic control on May 24, 2001, when Sen. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) left the Republican Party to become an Independent, aligning himself with senate Democrats. As a result, when the HPSCI authorization arrived in the U.S. Senate as a supplement to the FY 2003 Defense Appropriations bill, senate Democrats decided that it was more important for them to have a political issue to use against G.W. Bush in his 2004 reelection campaign than to avert a ground war in Iraq.
During the months of September and October 2002, when the HPSCI proposal was hopelessly stalled in the U.S. Senate, I assisted de Caro in lobbying key senators, seeking to gain their support for HPSCI’s SOFTWAR offensive. We met with senior staff aides to then-Sen. Dick Shelby (R-AL), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and then-Sen. John Warner (R-VA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And we met on several occasions with senior aides to then-Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who, along with the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, were the key players in the effort to fund the SOFTWAR offensive in Iraq. But the enthusiasm of aides to Rockefeller and Byrd were not in sync with the political games that their employers were playing.
While Democrats made impassioned speeches on the floor of the senate, insisting that the Congress could not give George W. Bush the war powers he sought, and that a way had to be found to remove Saddam Hussein through non-violent means, they were busy behind closed doors instructing the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee to kill the HPSCI SOFTWAR authorization… our last best hope of averting a ground war in Iraq. Senate Democrats were so intent upon creating an issue to use against G.W. Bush that when they were asked to fund the project for a single dollar, just to get the offensive “in the pipeline,” with supplemental funding to be added during the 108th Congress, they refused even that.
U.S. Army soldiers move down a street as they start a clearing mission in Dora, Iraq, on May 3, 2007. Soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division patrolled the streets in Dora. DoD photo by Spc. Elisha Dawkins, U.S. Army.
Thus, as coalition forces prepared for war with seeming unstoppable momentum, the Iraq War Powers Act, P.L. 107-243, passed the Republican-controlled House on October 10, 2002, by a vote of 296-133, and the Democrat-controlled Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23. Twenty-eight Democrats, including Senators Rockefeller, Clinton, Kerry, and Biden voted in favor of the war powers resolution.
But that was not the last we heard of Senator Rockefeller’s role in sabotaging the Iraq war effort. In the December 3, 2005, edition of the Canada Free Press, writer Joan Swirsky published an article describing events before and during the Iraq War, titled, “Rockefeller’s Treachery.”
Ms. Swirsky reminds us of Rockefeller’s Nov. 14, 2005, appearance on Fox News Sunday, during the period in which he served as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In that interview, Rockefeller recalled, “I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 (months before the HPSCI proposal was approved by the House of Representatives) to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that G.W. Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.” It was an entirely baseless charge.
Ms. Swirsky went on to say, “By himself, and fully armed with America’s most sensitive intelligence, Senator Rockefeller decided to go to three Arab countries – including Syria, which is on the State Department’s list of terrorist regimes and a close ally of Saddam Hussein – and literally alert them to what might befall a neighboring Arab state.” Putting this sharply into context, Ms. Swirsky reminds us that, “This was Senator Rockefeller’s judgment only four months after September 11th and a full year before President Bush expressed any intention to go to war.”
Finally, on March 20, 2003, with all multinational coalition forces in place, the invasion of Iraq commenced. And while Democrats continue to this day to try to convince the American people that G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney lied to launch the Iraq War, there is a strong case to be made that it was their own politically-motivated treachery that was most responsible for our entrance into the war. In that war, some 4,500 American men and women, and countless Iraqis, paid with their lives. Clearly, their blood is on Democrat hands, not on Bush and Cheney’s hands.
After reading today about Andrew Sullivan informing his readers about his decision “to stop blogging in the near future,” I feel obligated to offer him a belated “thank you” for the sarcastic honor he conferred upon me a few years back.Why? Because I can relate to Sullivan on at least one level.
You see, a few months after my blog had climbed to #82 on the February 2010 list of Top 100 Conservative Blogs, I gave up blogging full-time. Perhaps, it was the stress of living in a non-stop news cycle, but I decided to focus my time and attention on writing books — and I’ve finishedthree books since then. But I digress.
Anyway, Sullivan named me a Hewitt Award Nominee in April 2010. Though I never heard who, if anyone, won the award that year, I felt as if I had landed in great company after looking at the 2009 list of nominees for the award — and, of course, I wrote and published a post under the headline, “I Gladly Accept This Nomination.” The text of that post, which is no longer online, appears below:
Earlier today, after reading a post Pamela Geller published at Atlas Shrugs, I published a piece under the headline, Is State Dept Playing April Fools Joke on Israel? The difference between our posts? I videotaped my computer screen as I went through the motions and clicks on the State Department web site to show proof that, at least for a while on April Fool’s Day, the page dedicated to information about Israel was gone.
Within a few hours, Andrew Sullivan had caught wind of my post and honored me as a Hewitt Award nominee in a post published at his The Atlantic blog, The Daily Dish.
What is the Hewitt Award? According to this Sullivan post, it is “named after the absurd partisan fanatic, Hugh Hewitt (and) is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics.”
Who else has been nominated? The following individuals were finalists for the Hewitt Award 2009: