Shorter Question Everything
Gen. Petraeus spoke before a closed door meeting regarding the events in Benghazi. The fact that he showed up at all poked a stick in the eye of those in the right wing that had cooked up a corker about how he was being blackmailed into staying quiet. To follow up, Petraeus kicked over the rest of the shaky structure built up around the Benghazi myth by stating that Susan Rice had in fact spoken the truth in giving the CIA talking points, and that it was the CIA that had removed specific references to specific terrorist organizations, for national security reasons, in order to not tip off the very groups the CIA would be targeting.
Is a UN ambassador now expected to a) know more than the CIA, b) decide on her own to air what the CIA has deemed too sensitive to release to the public, and c) know all the facts on the ground for a fast moving crisis and get out a complete story that will satisfy the right wing? Of course she can’t do any of those things and, if she had chosen on her own to air information the CIA had chosen to keep quiet, she would rightly be condemned for that. It should be noted that Rep. Issa did that very thing when he leaked that the consulate had a CIA annex in the first place, and then went on to leak the names of CIA assets. But somehow Rice is the problem for NOT leaking? For not even having the information to leak in the first place?
She is owed an apology, it’s as simple as that. She has been called a liar, incompetent, and not very bright, and those are the more printable things that can likely be stated here. McCain, Graham and others look like a bunch of morons in this and they should apologize. There is a clip below from last night’s “Ed Show” where McCain is speaking to reporters after the meeting and he certainly doesn’t look as sure of himself as he did before Petraeus spoke. He looks shaken, sweaty and nervous. He has the look of a man that has just done something incredibly foolish and is trying to figure out what to do about it. One word. Apologize.
I don’t think that will happen.
The right wing has gotten so accustomed to these flights of outrage and fantasy that I don’t know what they’d do without them. Without them, they are confronted with the fact that it’s not all a big conspiracy. That it’s just a terrible thing that happened and they were on the wrong side of it. That they lost, plain and simple.
But there are moments where McCain has been known to shine, to be an honorable person. I’m hoping for one of those moments now, but I won’t hold my breath.
• Petraeus testimony bursts Republican ‘scandal bubble’
• Petraeus takes the wind from conspiracy theorists’ sails. The names of terrorists believed to be involved were removed for reasons of national security, and all of the relevant intelligence agencies signed off on the edited text. As Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) explained to the AP, “[I]n an unclassified document you want to be careful who you identify as being involved.”
• Reid to McCain: ‘I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks’. In a letter in which he denies Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte’s request for a Congressional Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi Attack, Senator Reid tore McCain and the Republicans apart. [PDF]
• Petraeus tells Congress that Susan Rice was unaware of al-Qaida ties to Benghazi: David Petraeus, the former CIA director, told congressional hearings on Friday that he had always known a terrorist group had been involved in an attack in Benghazi that left the US ambassador and three other Americans dead. According to reports from members of Congress who attended the closed-door hearings, Petraeus said the information had been included in the original set of talking points prepared by the CIA for the Obama administration. But he said it was removed from the one provided to the UN ambassador, Susan Rice, who used it as the basis for a series of interviews on the weekend after the killings. Petraeus, who gave evidence to both the Senate and House intelligence committees, said that references to the group alleged to have been behind the 11 September attack were in the CIA’s classified talking points, which were classified, but removed from the unclassified memo relied upon by Rice. The reason, he said, was not to tip off the group about what the US authorities knew.
• David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups. Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.
• Dunford Spars With McCain on Afghan Withdrawal: Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford appeared headed for easy confirmation Thursday as the new allied commander in Afghanistan, despite a few testy exchanges with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who questioned why Dunford has been left out of high-level discussions on troop withdrawals.
• The “scheduling error” that prevented John McCain from attending the Benghazi hearings was John McCain’s own press conference demanding Benghazi hearings. The man was so fixated on having Benghazi hearings that he missed the actual Benghazi hearings.
• GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham running campaign ads on Benghazi tragedy. Well that didn’t take long. For anyone still wondering why Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has taken the lead for the GOP, along with John McCain, on trying to exploit the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya two months ago, we now have our answer. Lindsey Graham is using our dead ambassador for his re-election campaign. Even Mitt Romney wasn’t this morbidly brazen. And PS, doofus. It wasn’t “our American embassy in Libya.” (Nice sentence construction, by the way.) It was our “consulate” and a CIA office. If you’re going to use the deaths of four brave Americans for your own personal gain, at least get the facts straight.
For those who were not around or do not remember, there was a pall cast over Ronald Reagan’s presidency by the Iran Contra scandal in which sales of arms to Iran were made in violation of U.S. policy in order to secretly fund right-wing Contra rebels in Nicaragua – which was also in violation of U.S. policy. One of the masterminds of the operation was none other than Oliver North, later convicted of three felonies (overturned on a technicality) and now a Fox News host. Reagan said he did not know that money from the sale of arms to Iran had been secretly diverted. But last night, on Hannity, Oliver North suggested otherwise.
In a diatribe against President Obama’s “incompetence, malevolence and misfeasance” with regard to what happened during the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, North said he thought it “entirely possible” that Obama was not paying attention to his national security briefings. When Hannity said he couldn’t believe that, North defended his view by talking about his experience working for President Reagan.
I worked for a president who, every morning at eight o’clock, he got a briefing. It took him a total of 45 minutes to make a decision to take down the aircraft that was escaping with the terrorists who had hijacked the Achille Lauro. I know what it’s like to work for a president who pays attention.
…If Reagan was a guy who paid such close attention, how did he not know what his own national security advisors, including North, were up to with the Iran Contra affair? Or has North just revealed that Reagan did know?
• Obama isn’t taking anyone’s guns away, but an Arizona gun store has decided that anyone that voted for Obama isn’t responsible enough to carry weapons and the store won’t sell to them. The irony being lost, of course.
• “There’s nothing about me that would be discriminatory. I know black people. I play basketball every Sunday with a black guy.” Charlie Webster, the head of Maine’s Republican Party, on why he isn’t a racist. And these people wonder why they are losing.
• A Bolivar, Missouri man has been charged after authorities say he admitted to planning to shoot up a movie theater screening of Twilight this weekend. Blaec Lammers, 20, was charged this morning in the 38th Judicial Circuit with first-degree assault, making a terroristic threat and armed criminal action.
• Allen West’s political career was granted a temporary reprieve on Friday, after the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of early ballots in his race against Democrat Patrick Murphy for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, NBC Miami reports. A federal judge had ruled against West’s request for a recount earlier on Friday, saying he lacked the authority to make such an order. The St. Lucie Canvassing Board then ruled by a 2-1 vote to recount early ballots in the race, although it denied West’s request to recount absentee ballots as well.
• A judge on Friday denied Rep. Allen West’s request for a recount of more than 30,000 early votes — a blow to the Florida Republican’s bid to overcome a 1,907-vote, or 0.58 percent, deficit in his race against Democrat Patrick Murphy. Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn said he lacked the authority to order the recount, and the decision now heads to the canvassing board for St. Lucie County, which is set to meet at 4 p.m. Friday.
• FLASHBACK: Israel should topple the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, if he presses ahead with a request for recognition of the state of Palestine by the United Nations general assembly in two weeks’ time, the hardline foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has urged. In a draft paper distributed to the media, Lieberman argued that overthrowing the Palestinian leadership was Israel’s only viable option, faced with the certainty of an overwhelming vote in support of the Palestinian bid. Lieberman’s extreme stance comes as the Israeli cabinet is considering a range of punitive measures it could take in response to the vote, expected on 29 November. These include the full or partial annulment of the 1993 Oslo Accords, financial penalties and an acceleration of settlement expansion. [14 Nov 2012]
• Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the IDF’s request on Friday evening to increase the maximum number of reservists it could enlist, seeking cabinet approval to mobilize up to 75,000 troops ahead of a possible Gaza ground operation. The Inner Cabinet, a group of nine senior ministers, met for over three hours to discuss the possibility of a ground operation into the Hamas-controlled enclave, but released no statements or indications as to what transpired during the meeting. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, however, told Channel 10 that toppling Hamas is not on the agenda as a goal for Operation Pillar of Defense. “We are definitely considering a ground operation, but toppling Hamas, I think that’s something that the next government will have to decide,” he said.
• Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas headquarters before dawn on Saturday, including the office of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, as conflict in the region entered its fourth day. Israeli planes shattered Haniyeh’s office building – where he had met with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil the day before – and struck the interior ministry. As the crisis escalates, Israel’s military is considering waging a ground campaign. It started drafting 16,000 reserve troops on Friday, as Israel’s Cabinet authorized the mobilization of up to 75,000 reservists. Troops were massing on the border and witnesses said they could see Israeli ships off Gaza’s coast, NBC News’ Ayman Mohyeldin reported. Officials in Gaza said 41 Palestinians, among them 20 civilians including eight children and a pregnant woman, had been killed in Gaza since Israel began operations four days ago. Three Israeli civilians were killed by a rocket on Thursday.
• Thousands of demonstrators chanted the Arab Spring slogan “the people want the downfall of the regime” in Jordan on Friday, although a day billed as the culmination of three days of occasionally violent protests passed off largely in peace.
• Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday ordered the dispatch of urgent humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, targeted by Israeli air strikes for a fourth straight day.
• Iran is ready to double the output of its underground uranium enrichment facility, the United Nations nuclear watchdog has concluded. A leaked report by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said the number of operating centrifuges at the Fordo, Iran, facility could soon double from 1,400 to 2,800. The report said Iran produced 233 kilograms (512 pounds) of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, 43 kilograms (94.7 pounds) since August.
• Burma says it will free 452 prisoners in a gesture of goodwill ahead of a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama that starts on November 19. State media in Burma, also known as Myanmar, said that dissidents would be among those freed.