Either the CIA Is Lame or the CIA Is a Political Tool
by DIANA WEST
October 25, 2012
The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reports on a "suspect" in the Benghazi assault but his B-matter is more interesting.
The CIA's latest assessment also says once and for all that the assault didn't start as a protest against an anti-Islam Internet video. In the first eight days following the attacks, Obama administration cited that video as the primary cause of the assault.
The CIA presented its "latest assessment" to Congress on Friday, October 19. Once and for all, there was no video-inspired protest that spiralled into a terrrist attack in Benghazi, the multi-billion-dollar intelligence-gathering institution finally said 38 days after the attack.
Yet the FBI knew there was no protest as early as Sept. 14, according to U.S. officials familiar with the investigation. These people say that's when FBI agents interviewed four of the five diplomatic security officers who were at the consulate during the attack. The officers were interviewed at Ramstein Airbase in Germany, where they had been evacuated. They told the FBI that there was no protest outside the consulate on 9-11 and that the men who showed up that evening were there to assault the compound.
And State Department officials watched events in real time, and never concluded the attack grew from a video protest.
What's with the CIA? Or, better question -- what's with the White House? That's where the FBI's info ordinarily would have gone on September 14, Lakes writes.
Information like this "is ordinarily transferred back to Washington, given to John Brennan in the White House, so the president and White House would be aware of the progress in the investigation," said Fran Townsend, a former White House homeland security and counterterrorism advisor to President George W. Bush who now serves on the CIA's external advisory committee.
Like David Petraeus, John Brennan has some explaining to do to Congress. Another question that requires an answer: Who drafted the president's UN address on September 25? Was it Brennan? That speech stands as the closing bookend to the video-narrative the White House, and particularly Obama, pressed for two weeks after the attack. Why? Why did the White House continue to argue that a Youtube protest led to an attack when it was clear from Day 1 at State and the Tripoli CIA station, Day 3 at the FBI, that there was no Youtube protest.
White House reasons could include the following:
1) admitting that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists had launched an attack on 9/11/12 on an American outpost in Libya would undercut the President's campaign claim that al Qaeda is dead because Obama killed OBL;
2) admitting that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists had launched an attack on 9/11/12 on an American outpost in Libya would cast grave doubt on the administration's "Arab Spring" policies supporting al Qaeda-linked and Muslim Brotherhood revolutions throughout the Middle East;
3) peddling the Big Lie that a video-inspired riot spun out of control into a violent attack helped advance the administration's rationale for appeasing the Islamic world via the " Istambul Process" to censor free speech about Islam.
This last reason draws a measure of support from the logic of the timeline: On September 25, fourteen days after Benghazi, President Obama cited the video six times in his United Nations address in which he scandalously declared (but no MSM coverage): "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." After that, talk of the video by the administration drops off, or stops altogether (I can't find any). The narrative shifts to deflecting blame to the intelligence community or "taking responsibility." It is as if the president's mission had been accomplished.
Lake's piece concludes:
It's unclear when the FBI related this information to the White House, and both the FBI and the White House National Security Council declined to comment for this story. Two U.S. intelligence officials, however, say the FBI's information didn't make it into the intelligence community databases used by analysts until September 20.
I guess that's when the FBI's carrier pigeons arrived back in DC.
Diana West is a journalist and columnist whose writing appears in several high profile outlets. She also has a website: DianaWest.net.