Shock, horror, hatred, detestation, and sorrow. Those were the emotions many felt as they sat motionless for two hours in a movie theater watching the movie “13 Hours”. The film is the controversial true story of the events that took place in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th 2012. The film is two hours long, a mere fraction of the thirteen hours that the Americans were under attack.
Thirteen hours of gunfire, and short range missiles at both the U.S. Consulate, and U.S. CIA Annex, and no help was given from our country. Calls were made throughout the night begging for help from both the Consulate, and the Annex, and Hillary, Obama, and his administration watched. They watched in real time and gave no help. Not one F-16, not one Black Hawk, nothing. The men involved were far safer in the war on Iraq than in Benghazi. No help at all was given, and I for one am ashamed to be an American.
I was ashamed as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barrack Obama watched our men fight and die from an unmanned drone in real time. How? How is it possible that both Obama and Hillary could sit and watch Americans under attack for 13 hours and do nothing?
Not only did the President and Secretary of State do nothing, but they gave orders not once, not twice, but three times to “stand down”, and not fight. Had the men that both died and survived not disobeyed orders to “stand down”, not one American, stationed in Benghazi would have survived.
As I sat and watched the gut wrenching film I felt sheer hatred and shame. I felt hatred for both the President and the former Secretary of State. I felt shame as our country failed the men who endured the horrific attack.
While every other nation had left Libya due to the country being “unstable”, and “unsafe”, America stayed. America stayed and went so far as to send Ambassador, Christopher Stephens to Benghazi. America stayed as Obama, Hillary and this administration wanted to show Americans and the world that terrorism no longer existed.
On the night of September 11, 2012, elements of al Qaeda launched a well-coordinated attack on the poorly defended U.S. consulate in war-torn Benghazi, Libya. The attack was the culmination of the Obama Administration’s disastrous foreign policy for the region, which could best be described as democracy promotion through thoughtless regime change.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department Information Service Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods all paid with their lives for this naïve policy. As we pass the ninth anniversary of this gruesome event, the Biden Administration needs to consider a fundamental reassessment of U.S. policy in what Andrew J. Bacevich calls the “Greater Middle East.” Failure to do so will ensure that the United States is in for more Iraq-style conflicts and Benghazi-style assaults—to say nothing of another horror like the original September 11, 2001 attack.
Such an outcome is unacceptable.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be murdered by militants since 1979 when Adolph Dubs, ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped and killed.
The Benghazi attacks and their aftermath quickly became a divisive political issue in American politics. Republicans accused then-President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of intentionally misleading the public and stonewalling congressional investigators. The final report by a Republican-led congressional panel faulted the Obama administration for security deficiencies at the Libyan outpost and a slow response to the attacks. The report, however, found no wrongdoing by Clinton.
However, those allegations continued to follow Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign and they have resurfaced at times during Joe Biden’s bid for the White House.
Inexplicably, after the toppling of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the country’s subsequent collapse into anarchy, American policymakers believed they had won a major victory. With the Syrian Civil War brewing, Washington’s “Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party” sought to replicate that “success.” So, a covert plot was hatched essentially to redistribute Gaddafi’s powerful (and unaccounted for) weapons from the hands of Libyan “rebels,” through Turkey, and into the waiting, blood-stained hands of purported Syrian “rebels” (read, jihadis).
Thus, a true regional expert, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was dispatched to Libya. Once there, Stevens was supposed to use his contacts within the Libyan population to negotiate a hand-off of the massive stores of weapons to American-backed proxies. What few understood was how deeply penetrated by jihadi elements the Libyan rebel movement had already become. Stevens thought he was negotiating with friendly locals. Instead, he was being set up by al Qaeda.
Facilitating Covert Action
Following the harrowing events of the Benghazi consulate attack, many questioned how an American ambassador—the civilian equivalent of a four-star general—could have been allowed to enter into Benghazi with such a small security detachment, and to stay at the poorly defended consulate. The answer should now be apparent: the covert nature of the Stevens mission meant that he needed to maintain a low-profile.
Not only was an arms redistribution plot highly dangerous, but had the harebrained scheme been publicly revealed in the midst of the contentious 2012 presidential election, it might well have proven politically toxic for President Obama.
The Anatomy of a Cover-Up—and the Unlikely Fallout
We now know from various accounts that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as former CIA Director David Petraeus, advocated an ambitious program of arming various Syrian rebel factions in the Syrian Civil War. Theirs was not a popular policy even among the Obama national security team. In fact, it was so unpopular that the Obama team decided not to make an official determination about whether or not to arm the Syrian rebels. In this murky area of indecision they hatched a plan for a limited program to move weapons from Libya into Syria through Turkey.
The Libyan-arms-for-Syrian rebels plan lent plausible deniability to a politically besieged President Obama, while placating the foreign policy establishment, which wanted desperately to arm the Syrian rebels, and remove Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria.
This covert action explains why no aid ultimately was rendered to the stricken ambassador and his gallant-though-outnumbered defenders—despite the fact that the White House knew of the pending attack at least an hour before it began. It also explains how the Obama team had a cover-story at the ready, in the form of the much-maligned anti-Muslim YouTube video maker, upon whom they erroneously placed the blame for having inspired the terrorist attack.
What’s more, the outcome in Benghazi explains the public tarring of David Petraeus. It’s unlikely that the well-informed Obama team did not know of Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his personal biographer, Paula Broadwell, before he was nominated to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2011.
Blaming Petraeus for the Benghazi mess insulated President Obama from the full political fallout ahead of his reelection in 2012 and protected Hillary for her inevitable presidential run in 2016 (or so they thought). As an added bonus, Petraeus’s public humiliation eliminated him as a potential Republican presidential contender in 2016.
Challenging the Deep State Orthodoxy
Few in government at the time (or since) have questioned the logic of supporting either the Libyan or Syrian rebel factions. The underlying principle for supporting such groups was the questionable cause of “democracy promotion” in the Middle East. In effect, then, Obama’s foreign policy was no better than that of the much-maligned George W. Bush and his “Freedom Agenda” for the region.
Here is another sad example of the bipartisan foreign policy consensus that defines the so-called “deep state” which has a reflexive, almost sacramental, faith in the salutary benefits of “democracy” at all times and everywhere.
Unless President Trump challenges the deep state’s basic assumptions about the Middle East, the Americans are likely to find ourselves mired in ongoing conflict there, which will only further damage our credibility in the region. That is why we should never forget what actually happened in Benghazi six years ago—while continuing to demand answers from the government. It’s time to abandon the elite’s whimsical fixation on “democracy promotion” through regime change. It is also time to rein in the excesses of America’s covert intelligence agencies—before it’s too late.
White House Withholding Emails
Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign pushed back hard against the investigation being conducted by the House Select Committee on Benghazi in 2015. They claimed that its goal was to thwart Clinton’s White House presidential bid.
But as Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake asserted in report, the Clinton camp had only the Obama administration to blame for the special panel’s creation.
Despite what Democrats argue now, the special committee was created well before Clinton had announced her presidential bid. It was also created before anyone knew that she used a personal email account and private server as secretary of state. On top of that, House GOP leadership resisted the idea up until it was revealed in April 2014 that the Obama administration had withheld smoking gun emails from the House Oversight Committee.
As Lake noted, House Speaker John Boehner resisted the creation of a special panel for nearly 18 months. Five investigations had already been conducted and found no strong evidence confirming many Republicans’ belief that the Obama administration spun the Sept. 11, 2012 attack as the result of spontaneous protests sparked by an Internet video called “Innocence of Muslims.”
Republicans believed that the administration failed to heed calls for more security at the consulate and that the attackers were affiliated with al-Qaida. They claimed that the Obama team spun the story for political purposes ahead of the November 2012 election.
Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, who is now retired, pushed Boehner to create a special committee to investigate further. He even drummed up enough votes to support the special panel, but Boehner declined to move forward.
But that all changed in April, 2014 when the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained an email sent on Sept. 14, 2012 by Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes.
In the email, Rhodes provided talking points to White House press staff about an upcoming conference call to prepare Susan Rice, then the U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Rice was slated to appear on Sunday morning political talk shows to discuss the Benghazi attack, which left four Americans dead.
Rhodes urged them to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
The email undermined the White House’s claim that the CIA had provided the intelligence about the video cited by Rice during her Sept. 16 appearance on “Face the Nation.” During that interview, Rice said:
But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy — sparked by this hateful video.
When Judicial Watch released the Rhodes email last year, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said that “it demonstrates for the first time that the direction on the talking points came directly out of the White House.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called the email a “smoking gun.”
Boehner appeared to agree, issuing a press release on May 2, 2014 announcing that the House would vote on establishing a special committee.
“The tipping point was when the speaker realized outside groups were getting more information through FOIA than Congress was getting through congressional subpoenas,” Boehner’s communications director, Kevin Smith, told Lake.
The House approved the committee, which is chaired by South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy.
The investigation has yielded impressive results, including the the discovery that Clinton used a private server as secretary of state to manage emails she sent from a personal email account. The home brew email system allowed Clinton to avoid turning her emails over in response to FOIA requests and congressional inquiries. She was finally forced by the State Department to hand over the emails in December, nearly two years after leaving office.
The discovery of the private email arrangement has led to other questions that go beyond the scope of Benghazi. Many have questioned whether it was intended to allow Clinton discuss work being carried out by her family’s nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation. The security of the system has also been called into question.
Clinton no doubt rejected the timeline of the committee’s creation. She and other Democrats had seized on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s comments tying the committee’s investigation to Clinton’s falling poll numbers.
They watched, four Americans died, and somehow both Hillary and Obama are both untouched. America and Washington have failed to do right by the families of the men who died in Benghazi.
America has failed in prosecuting both Obama and Hillary for the deaths of ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
America has failed these men, in that America should have not left these men behind in not lending support.
America has also failed in that the team investigating Hillary Clinton failed to prosecute Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton came out in defense of his wife and commented on the eleven hour hearing that poor Hillary was made to endure by the Benghazi investigation team.
Perhaps the Former President and Hillary should be sent to Benghazi, Libya and be forced to endure 13 hours of attacks themselves. I am sickened at the fact that President Obama, and Hillary are allowed to be free. I fear America has been infiltrated by a government of corruption like this country has never seen.
While Obama and Hillary stood and watched the men in Benghazi fight, and die from an unmanned drone up above, we the people were lied to and are again being told more lies. While Hillary Clinton has stated “13 Hours” is untrue, the men who lived it beg to differ.
Hillary is lying to Americans. It is every American’s duty to watch this film and learn the truth. Americans need to learn the truths of the 13 hours our Americans were made to endure at the hands of both President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Those hands are bloodied. Let us also never forget Hillary Clinton’s famous words..
“What difference does it make?”