Monday, October 26, 2015

Hillary's Worst Crime Was Against the 'Filmmaker'

By Jack Cashill
October 26, 2015

(Photo: Getty Images)

It would be as ethically bankrupt for the Democrats to nominate Hillary Clinton after Benghazi as it would have been for the Republicans to nominate Richard Nixon after the Watergate hearings.

More bankrupt actually. No one died at Watergate, and the only people who went to prison were the ones who committed the crimes. At Benghazi, of course, four Americans died, and the only American who went to prison did so to help Hillary sell a lie.

Before Hillary’s testimony Thursday in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, her supporters could take some comfort in thinking that there had been genuine confusion about the cause of the assault on the Benghazi consulate.

After all, as Ohio Republican Jim Jordan made clear, it was Hillary who first introduced the narrative that an anti-Muslim video inspired the attack. “It started with you, Madame Secretary," said Jordan.

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," said Clinton in a release posted on the evening of September 11. "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. . . . But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

To be sure, this was the same Hillary Clinton who, a year earlier, happily applauded Broadway’s “Book of Mormon,” a scandalously potty-mouthed riff on the Mormon religion with charming lyrics like “F*** you, God, in the a**, mouth, and c***.”

As Jordan also made clear, however, Hillary never believed for a moment that the video was responsible. He shared her communication that same night with the president of Egypt. "We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest," wrote Clinton. Later that night, in an email to daughter Chelsea, she pinned the attack on an “Al Queda-like group.”

In a semantic pirouette worthy of her husband, Hillary told Jordan that she never did actually blame the video. “I said some have sought to justify the attack because of the video. I used those words deliberately, not to ascribe a motive to every attacker but as a warning to those across the region that there was no justification for further attacks," she lied. 

In real life, however, Hillary sold the false video narrative hard in the weeks after the attack, most disgracefully to the families of the dead. At a small ceremony upon the return of the caskets to Andrews Air Force base, Hillary shook the hand of Charles Wood, father of Benghazi hero Ty Woods, and said, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested.”

In this rare instance, Hillary was as good as her word. She and Obama set out to identify and punish the maker of that video, and they did so with a speed and severity that the attackers themselves were spared. Scarier still, to the degree the major media noticed, they cheered.

In a phone conversation I had last year with video maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, he had one pressing question:  “Why did the government release the deal? Why did they put my life in danger?”

Nakoula was referring to a plea deal he made with the federal government after his arrest in June 2009 for his role in a check-kiting scheme. A thirty year resident of the United States and a citizen, the native Egyptian agreed to cooperate with authorities in nailing the scheme’s mastermind, Eiad Salameh.

Given that Salameh was still on the loose at the time, and a genuine threat to Nakoula if he knew the terms of the arrangement, the sentencing transcript was sealed. That transcript remained sealed at least until the trailer for the video titled "The Real Life of Muhammad" was uploaded to the Internet on July 1, 2012 and likely for the next few months thereafter.

“I owe this country my life,” Nakoula, a Coptic Christian, told me. “I don’t want to see Americans treated like Coptic Christians. If they watch my movie, maybe this won’t happen.” Although there has been speculation that Nakoula was some sort of double agent, I believe his motives for making the video are as stated. If so, the video represented the kind of political speech the First Amendment was designed to protect.

Nor did the video violate YouTube/ Google’s terms of service regarding hate speech. Said Google after the controversy erupted, “The video stays up because it is against the Islam religion but not Muslim people.”

In his Rose Garden speech on the morning of September 12, 2012, President Barack Obama reinforced Hillary’s false narrative. “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths,” said Obama in an indirect but obvious dig at the video.  “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” 

Less than 48 hours after that Rose Garden speech, federal apparatchiks leaked the key documents that the federal government would use to bury Nakoula. Key among them was the previously sealed sentencing transcript that the Smoking Gun published on September 14 under the all too revealing headline, “Producer Of Anti-Islam Film Was Fed Snitch.”

Just as troubling, the apparatchiks may have been sharing their strategy for silencing Nakoula with the New York Times. According to the Times, “Earlier in the week, federal officials appeared to be investigating whether Mr. Nakoula had been the person who uploaded the video to YouTube.” Earlier in the week? The Times reported this on September 15, just three days after the smoke had cleared in Benghazi.

By this date too, the Times was fully aware of the terms of Nakoula’s parole. Were Nakoula the one who uploaded the video, argued the Times, “He would have violated the terms of his sentencing in a conviction in a 2010 check-kiting case, which includes restrictions against his using the Internet without permission from a probation officer.”
Less than two weeks after the Smoking Gun article, a federal judge ordered Nakoula to be detained without bail for various parole violations, the most salient of them the very one that the Times had predicted, unauthorized use of the Internet.

When I called Nakoula last year, he was still confined to a halfway house in Orange County, California. Although relieved to have been sprung from a federal pen deep in West Texas where I first contacted him, Nakoula did not understand why the feds retained him six months after he was supposed to have been freed. “Why did you punish me again?” he asked angrily of the Justice Department. “Why? It was not in original judgment.”

Although the feds and their media allies insisted Nakoula was arrested for parole violations, the White House sent him to prison both to appease the Muslim world and to remove Nakoula from the reach of those very few people in the media who might want to give him a fair hearing.

“Hillary takes victory lap following performance at Benghazi hearing,” read the headline of the New York Post. I wonder what Nakoula thinks of that.

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