By Joseph Curl
Call it “Oval Office Couch Syndrome.”
By their second term “inside the bubble,” presidents have completely lost touch with reality: Aides and confidants conspire to keep the chief executive insulated from the real world — the bad news, the worse press coverage. They think it’s their job, and lounging on the Oval Office couches, they nod along with the president’s every musing.
But this presidency has taken OOCS to new heights. Mr. Obama has only a few trusted aides, and occasional leaks from the West Wing show a paranoid president suspicious of nearly everyone around him. Supremely confident, convinced by the fawning minions at his feet that he is untouchable, the president dismisses all controversy as partisan attacks by an overzealous opposition. A pliant press corps of stenographers follows in lockstep.
Not surprisingly, every president in the past 60 years has had a major scandal in Term 2: Dwight Eisenhower had the U-2 “incident”; Richard Nixon had Watergate; Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra; Bill Clinton had Monica (literally); George W. Bush had Katrina (and let’s not forget those WMDs that never turned up); and now, this president has Benghazi.
For months before, there were warnings about weak security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya; no one paid attention. During the attack, when Americans were begging for help, the White House ignored their pleas, sent no help.
And after? That’s when the Obama scandal falls into the predictable second-term pattern his predecessors all learned the very hard way. Faced with a crisis, the Obama White House panicked. “We can’t have a terrorist strike two months before Election Day, so … let’s not have a terrorist strike two months before Election Day.” Cue the Cover-Up.
So little is known about what happened in Benghazi: Where was the commander in chief that night? No pictures from the Situation Room this time. Why didn’t the Pentagon authorize a quick-response team to swoop in? Members of the military say they were ready — burning — to go. The call came in: Stand down. Let them die. There were dozens of witnesses to the attack that night: Where are they? What do they know? What really happened that night?
And who forced the heavy-handed redactions of those infamous “talking points,” the ones that sent Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations onto the Sunday talk shows to declare that the attack was just the culmination of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube?
Carnival barker Jay Carney looked almost ashen Friday as he took the podium to face a suddenly invigorated press corps. Of course, the public briefing came after a private session with “reporters who matter,” a sure sign the White House is in full hunker-down mode — and, more precisely, terrified.
“Again,” one newly curious reporter asked, “what role did the White House play, not just in making but in directing changes that took place to these?”
“Well,” the carney said, “thank you for that question. The way to look at this, I think, is to start from that week and understand that in the wake of the attacks in Benghazi, an effort was underway to find out what happened, who was responsible. In response to a request from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to the CIA, the CIA began a process of developing points that could be used in public by members of Congress, by members of that committee. And that process, as is always the case — again, led by the CIA — involved input from a variety of …”
Enough. You get the point: Full Spin Cycle.
For the record, this is what the CIA “generated”:
“Since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants.” That line was stricken: Everything was fine there — fine fine fine.
And: “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to Al Qaeda participated in the attack.” That line, too, was deleted by … someone. Instead, this was inserted: “There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”
Despite protestations by the White House, this scandal is just beginning. And the White House has picked a very bad scapegoat: the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA follows RFK’s edict: “Don’t get mad, get even.” And when the CIA gets even, it isn’t pretty.
With the White House putting all blame on the agency, expect push back this week — nuclear push back. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former director forced to resign after a sex scandal, is a dangerous man to the Obama administration. Mad and intent on getting even, he’s already talking, telling one reporter the talking points were “useless” and that he preferred not to use them at all. The floodgates will open this week, and by the end of business Friday, the scandal will be full blown.
A warning to those West Wing sycophants suffering from acute OOCS: Don’t walk down any dark alleys.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and @josephcurl.
Written by William F. Jasper
An awful lot of America’s top military brass have been taking hits lately. Is it just a coincidence that several four-star generals and a two-star admiral get the axe or resign in disgrace within the space of less than a month? Do any of these have anything to do with the administration’s Benghazigate scandal? Or are they, as some military observers suspect, only the first installment of the Obama agenda to decimate the military services?
General David Petraeus, of course, has been at the center of a media storm since his resignation as CIA director on November 9, amid revelations of an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer.
Here is a timeline of recent casualties in the highest echelons of the U.S. military services:
- • General Carter Ham — On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that Gen. Ham was being replaced as the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Panetta gave no explanation for Gen. Ham’s removal.
- • Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette — On October 28, the commander of the John C. Stennis carrier strike group in the Middle East, was abruptly removed from command and returned to the U.S.
- • General David Petraeus — On November 9, General Petraeus, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- • General John Allen — On November 13, news stories reported that Gen. Allen, who was Gen. Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan and a top nominee for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was embroiled in a potential scandal involving emails with Jill Kelley, a socialite at McDill Air Force base. Allen has insisted that there was no improper relationship between himself and Mrs. Kelley, but his career path to the top NATO post has been scotched, and the ongoing investigation could potentially lead to his resignation.
- • General William “Kip” Ward — On November 13, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demoted Gen. Ward, the former head of U.S. AFRICOM, stripping him of his fourth star, following a lengthy DOD Inspector General probe that found Ward guilty of lavish spending and extravagant travel.
The removal of General Ham and the resignation of General Petraeus have particularly stirred widespread concern that both cases may be driven by White House efforts to smother exposure of the administration’s handling of the deadly September 11, 2012 “consulate” debacle in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed (see here and here).
The timing of the resignations, removals, revelations and demotions were bound to spark suspicions of a Benghazi connection, particularly in the case of Gen. Petraeus, who was scheduled to testify this week in congressional inquiries into the deadly Libyan attacks. His resignation put his appearance before the committees in doubt. However, members of Congress have let it be known they expect him to testify.
In a November 12 interview with NBC News, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the Obama administration is behaving in an “unacceptable” manner and she is ready to subpoena information it is denying her committee.
“I believe that Director Petraeus made a trip to [Libya] shortly before this became public,” Feinstein said. “I believe that there is a trip report. We have asked to see the trip report. One person tells me has read it. And then we try to get it, and they tell me it hasn’t been done. That’s unacceptable. We are entitled to this trip report, and if we have to go to the floor of the Senate on a subpoena, we will do just that.”
Director Petraeus went to Capitol Hill on September 14 for a closed-door, classified briefing of legislators. During that briefing, it has been reported, he upheld the now-debunked false story that the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi had resulted in response to popular outrage over an anti-muslim Internet video.
However, it has also been reported that Petraeus privately stated to one member of Congress, “Do you want the official line or do you want the real truth?”
Today Senator Feinstein announced that Petraeus will be “talking to the committee,” but was unclear as to whether that meant he would be testifying publicly and under oath or just briefing committee members in closed session. “He is very willing and interested in talking to the committee,” Feinstein told reporters today. “It’s just on Benghazi. Our hearings are on Benghazi and the intelligence that preceded Benghazi and the intelligence that determined the security.”
Another big question that has not yet been answered is whether Gen. Carter Ham will be testifying. In defending the administration’s decision not to send aid to the besieged “consulate,” Secretary Panetta claimed that Ham had “very strongly” backed Panetta’s assessment that since the situation on the ground in Benghazi was so uncertain, no attempt should be made to send military assistance to the American personnel who were under attack. However, according to unconfirmed reports, Ham, instead of backing the Obama/Panetta order to “stand down” and let Americans die, had decided to go ahead and launch a rescue effort. Reportedly, he was immediately arrested by his second in command and prevented from initiating the rescue.
If this account is true, then obviously that would be a huge story, with enormous ramifications. Gen. Ham should definitely be called to testify publicly and placed under oath to determine precisely what did transpire the night of September 11-12.
Spiking Benghazi: The Media Fix
There is little doubt that Team Obama was fully aware that the Benghazi disaster could blow up in their faces just as the neck-and-neck presidential was headed into the closing stretch. A CBS News national telephone poll of likely voters conducted October 25-28 did not portend well for Obama. Locked in a dead heat with Mitt Romney, and with the economy in shambles and sliding toward a fiscal cliff, the Obama White House could ill afford a late-inning foreign policy disaster, especially when Obama propagandists were touting foreign policy and national security as their candidate’s great strength.
According to the CBS poll, only 38 percent of voters approved of President Obama’s handling of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Over half of all voters (51 percent) disapproved. And an even higher 57 percent of the crucial independent voters disapproved of his handling of Benghazi. And those negatives had developed with all of the major media faithfully retailing the White House talking points on Benghazi and steadfastly censoring any reports that challenged the crumbling administration narrative. Genuine journalistic digging and real news reporting would have been a game changer in the tight presidential race.
The Media Research Center (MRC) reported on November 1:
- For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11. According to a Media Research Center analysis, ABC, CBS, and NBC have failed to cover this devastating story — not to confirm it, not to knock it down, and never mind do their own investigation. The story broke last Friday, long before Hurricane Sandy swamped the news cycle.
- Further, neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times has committed a single inch of their newspapers to a news story about this report.
- According to Fox News, “sources claim officers at the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi were twice told to stand down when they requested to help those at the consulate. They later ignored those orders. Fox News was also told that a subsequent request for back-up when the annex came under attack was denied as well.”
“The liberal ‘news’ media’s refusal to cover this story exposes how corrupt they have become,” declared Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. “Four Americans died in Libya in a coordinated terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. The Obama Administration has been caught in a maze of falsehoods. This reeks of a cover-up. This scandal could and would derail the Obama re-election efforts. ABC, CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and the New York Times are so vested in the re-election of Barack Obama that they are deliberately spiking this huge story. It’s sickening.”
Mr. Bozell continued:
- The Obama administration’s cover-up of their deceitful response to the Benghazi terrorist attack is without a doubt the biggest political news story of 2012. The American people have a right to know what really happened before they cast their ballots on Election Day.
- If ABC, CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and the New York Times refuse to ask the tough questions, then they no longer serve any purpose. And if they’re sitting on evidence to help Obama win re-election, they’re as guilty in this cover-up as is the administration.
As the Media Research Center pointed out in a previous analysis, while the major media were spiking the Benghazi story, they were lavishing friendly coverage on President Obama and swamping viewers with celebrity gossip and buzz on the latest consumer gizmos and Hollywood releases.
And, of course, one of the most blatant examples of the media covering for Obama was the spectacle put on by CNN’s Candy Crowley in the second Presidential debate, where she shamelessly dropped her supposedly neutral role as moderator to take over and respond to Mitt Romney’s challenges to Obama regarding Benghazi.
Decimating the Military: Obama’s “Night of the Long Knives”?
While the cashiering of CIA Director General Petraeus and AFRICOM commander General Ham certainly suggest a connection to the administration’s ongoing heavy-handed effort to keep the Benghazi disaster from developing into a post-election crisis for the White House, the other aforementioned military resignations and demotions may be signaling something even bigger.
A number of political and military analysts interviewed by The New American believe the Obama administration is in the process of “purging” the U.S. Armed Services, and that we will see a much larger number of line officers removed for various scandals, especially those deemed “politically incorrect,” or those who may be occupying a post that the Obama administration wants to open up for a more “progressive” candidate.
Some are predicting that the bloodletting in the ranks thus far is but the opening salvo in Obama’s “Night of the Long Knives,” a reference to Adolph Hitler’s murderous purge of Ernst Rohm and other Nazis, as well as non-Nazi political opponents whom he saw as obstacles to his consolidation of dictatorial power.
New Zealand researcher Trevor Loudon, author of Barack Obama and the Enemies Within, and editor of the highly acclaimed New Zeal blog at TrevorLoudon.com, told this writer during an interview two weeks before the election:
It’s very clear that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many of those around them absolutely “loathe the military,” as Hillary once put it. [Defense Secretary] Panetta, while he was a congressman, was very heavily involved with the Institute for Policy Studies, a very radical Marxist think tank, which supported the Soviet objective of subverting and eviscerating the U.S. military services. Panetta, together with David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, and others in the administration, really do see the U.S. military, as it currently is, as the enemy.
Former Navy SEAL Steve Elson echoes that assessment. “President Obama and the people running his administration really do hate the military,” Elson told The New American. “It’s not just that they ‘don’t understand the military culture,’ [as some critics claim]; they really just don’t like us. In fact they hate us.” Elson continued:
They’re fine with using us, sending us all over the world whenever it works to score political points for them. They don’t mind getting us killed, sending us out with treasonous ROEs [rules of engagement], as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where soldiers and marines were ordered stand guard, go into hostile zones without loaded weapons. Or, as in Benghazi, they cowardly sit in the Pentagon and the White House watching and doing nothing while brave men die.
- Too many of the top brass are playing the political correctness game when they should be refusing to carry out these immoral and traitorous orders. In the end, it didn’t help Petraeus either. He played their games and went along with their political correctness, and look where it got him. Fine, he deserved it, as far as I’m concerned. But the guys that are out there with their lives on the line don’t [deserve it]. As you can see, I’m anything but politically correct, but I’m only saying out loud what most active duty soldiers will tell you privately. Obama and those running his administration will destroy the U.S. military, if the American people let him, if they don’t wake up to what he is doing.
Petraeus Resignation Suggests Possible White House Cover-Up
The Other Petraeus Scandal: Accelerated Militarization of the CIA
Benghazi Backfire: Was Obama Arming Jihadists?
Did Obama Watch in “Real Time” as Benghazi Attack Unfolded?
The Trouble With Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta and the Institute for Policy Studies
- Feinstein: Petraeus to testify on Benghazi attacks (newsobserver.com)
- Feinstein: Petraeus to testify on Benghazi attacks (kansascity.com)