What Were We Fed and Why Were We Fed It?
Posted By Michael Ledeen On October 30, 2012 @ 1:51 pm
Shadowed… by Yos
(ahem. seat belts.)
UPDATE: Courtesy of Right Guy Jim…
“There’s a lot to talk about, especially when it comes to Benghazi, and I’d been trying for weeks to contact my old friend, James Jesus Angleton, the former head of CIA counterintelligence. Since he’s been dead for a long time, it’s not so easy, and I have to rely on my singularly untrusty ouija board, which has been in and out of the repair shop for years. Finally, with lots of static (maybe due to Hurricane Sandy), I got him.
“Or, rather, I got his spirit, easily recognizable by his high-pitched gravelly voice (LOTS of cigarettes) and his quizzical tone.
“JJA: If you’re calling about the weather, forget it, I don’t do hurricanes. Anyway, the intel on Storm Sandy was excellent. A bad day for mankind, a good day for computer modeling…
“ML: No, it’s an intelligence matter. Benghazi and all that.
ML: No, it’s an intelligence matter. Benghazi and all that.
(Intelligence, you say?)
“JJA: One of the most disgusting events I’ve ever seen.
“ML: Let’s start with the intel, ok? Did we have enough information to expect the attack on 9/11?
“JJA: Listen to me. Carefully. The whole point of “intelligence” is to understand the world we’re in. Sometimes you need secret information to achieve that understanding. You might need to know about foreign leaders’ real intentions, as well as their real capabilities, for example (think Iran, think al Qaeda). You can’t get that sort of information without conducting espionage. You need agents, moles, penetrations, intercepts, the whole panoply of spycraft. But sometimes you don’t need any of that, all you need is to open your eyes, nose, and mind to what is right in front of your face. Benghazi is mostly–not entirely, but mostly–that sort of thing.
(Note to Michael: Intelligence involves far more than a set of known facts. A key component is the recognition of patterns. A nose that can detect the distinct odor of the evacuations of male bovines helps, too. Trust me on this.)
“ML: Yes. There were two previous assaults on that compound, after all. Ambassador Stevens was constantly asking for increased security, and the date–9/11–was an obvious red flag.
“JJA: Indeed. Even the Red Cross had left Benghazi, and the Libyan government had warned about the bad, and worsening, security in the city. So you didn’t need “assets” inside the terrorist groups to worry about an impending attack.
“ML: But the State Department says  that, after all, there was no “specific” information that warranted greater protection for our guys there.
“State Department officials have asserted that there was no specific intelligence that warned of a large-scale attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which they asserted was unprecedented. The department said it was careful to weigh security with diplomats’ need to meet with Libyan officials and citizens.
“JJA: Of course they would say that. It shifts the blame to CIA. In essence State says that CIA did not have assets inside the terror groups, including AQ, and so it was inevitable that Stevens would be insufficiently defended. The implication was that, if only State had known it was coming, they’d have had adequate protection in place.
“ML: But they should have known it was coming, even if they didn’t have advance details.
(Really? Here’s an advanced detail: The location had been de-milled – against protest – over the previous months under orders by State. Yet this very location was apparently used to host a meeting with the Turkish Envoy – a personal contact of the President’s, note – who cleared the scene an hour before the attacks began.)
“JJA: Precisely. It should have been obvious. The key line in that quotation from State is their concern about contacts with official and “normal” Libyans. In fact, if you go back and listen to Obama’s early claims that it was all about the video trailer, you’ll hear him say things like “those demonstrations were understandable.”
“ML: You got a link to that?
“JJA: It’s in that one cloud over by my apartment…
“ML: HoHO! You made a funny….In fact, in the weeks leading up to the attack in Benghazi, State actually withdrew an American security team. As John Bolton and Andy McCarthy said right away, it looked like the administration wanted to deny the reality they should have seen, in favor of a myth they wanted to believe: that Obama’s policies had made the Middle East–indeed, the whole world–a safer and better place for good Americans.
(Gharbazh. Bolton and McCarthy know better. They both know that the erstwhile “naifs” in State understand Power (of the Samantha variety) all too well, especially at that level. (The “myth” and make-believe excuse tells us something, but it ain’t about the mindset at State.) The Secretary had to clear the security status change, and for a purpose… what?)
“JJA: No deception is as effective as self-deception, but even if they were unprepared for the assault, it is still remarkable, and disgusting, that they did not take some action to save the men on the ground. And you can’t explain that by saying “they didn’t want people to see that the policy wasn’t working very well,” since everyone was going to see that anyway, whatever the “cause” of the attack.
“ML: If we had saved the men on the ground, Obama and Hillary and Petraeus could still have claimed that the fighting was provoked by the video.
“JJA: Sure. The failure to act–apparently despite watching and hearing about the slaughter in real time, thanks to a drone with a camera and an eye witness reporting to Washington–requires a different sort of explanation.
(…and a Marine schlepping a ‘Paint by Numbers’ IR laser? Encoded digital lasers presuppose the reasonable expectation of coordinated back-up, yes? One doesn’t sparkle a mortar position because one enjoys sight-seeing.)
“At which point, as you might have expected, the static got worse.
(No kidding. We’re getting it, too.)
“ML: So why?
“JJA: Probably no short simple answer…SNARFLE! CRACK! GARGLE!…usual inability to make decisions and make them stick…RUMBLE!…afraid the attackers had anti-aircraft missiles, didn’t want a replay of Carter’s or Clinton’s failed military…ZOT!
“…and he was gone. So I’ll finish it up. The big reason is fear of failure, a big public failure. It was easier to live with tragedy and even a perception of indecisiveness-verging-on-cowardice than with an AC130 gunship going down in flames.
(What utter bravo-sierra, Michael. Spectre’s long ASM’s can take-out a painted target from well beyond the effective range of hand-held SAMs, even ours. (cough) Likely the Predator, too. We don’t invest that much data bandwidth for National Geographic specials.
You’ve offered-up a needless and ridiculous “plausible” cover excuse for a deliberate refusal to act.)
“Did we know the assailants had such missiles? I don’t know.” (YES you do. It was a freaking mortar target and grunts with (at best) a few RPGs on a kidnap/kill mission, not a mech group invested with flatbed-borne long SAMs.) “I’d guess we didn’t “know,” any more than we “knew” precisely who they were. Certainly a big part of Stevens’ mission was to recover the materiel left on the ground by Qadaffi’s troops, much of which was captured by the jihadis. It may have been reasonable to fear that the attackers had some.
(Not buying that at all. If we can run with the ‘retrieval’ objective, then we can assume the materiel could be dealt-with.
Then there’s the issue of the idea that it was Qadaffi’s toys. Really?
There were reports last week that Syrian rebels have a clutch of modern Stingers – as in… made in Schenectady or wherever. So exactly who’s toys are we discussing?
So let’s review what’s on the menu: Our *US* Ambassador… negotiates with a *Turkish* Envoy… at a soft venue… on 9/11… to ‘recover’ (Russian, French or Chinese – of course) materiel… from AQ or the MB… who might just have scary SAMs, so we can’t touch ’em nor protect the Ambassador.
Mmmm mmmm mmmm. Want fries with that?
Patterns. You know… nothing offered by Mr. Bolton, Andy McCarthy, Leon Panetta or you fits.
“Still, I wish Angleton had stayed online another couple of minutes…”
(Oh, I dunno – I’ve had about enough.)
. . .
To the memories of Ambassador Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty – we owe much.