Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hillary’s Breathtaking Mendacity

She lied to the nation in 2012, and she’s lying again now. You don’t look surprised.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — October 24, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question as she testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015.

"We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

Those words, depraved words, were spoken by then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with President Obama by her side, on September 14, 2012. This was at Joint Base Andrews, during the most sacred of rites: the return of the remains of Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, all slain in the line of duty in Benghazi.

And all slain, it must never be forgotten, by jihadists carrying out what Clinton, Obama, and high-ranking national-security officials throughout the United States government knew full well was a planned terrorist attack, not a “protest” run amok and incited by “an awful Internet video.”
That obvious fact is now explicit after Mrs. Clinton’s galling testimony on Thursday before the House select committee investigating the Benghazi massacre.

Not only had the siege occurred on the eleventh anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 atrocities. Not only was Obama informed in the first minutes that a terrorist attack was underway. Not only had terrorist attacks in Benghazi been threatened and executed for months. Not only were mortars deployed by trained jihadists. Not only had Gregory Hicks, the senior State Department official on the ground in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed, directly briefed then-secretary Clinton about the then-ongoing terrorist attack — the same Gregory Hicks who would later testify that the anti-Muslim Internet video was a “non-event” in Benghazi.

Besides all that, we now know that, while the siege ensued, Clinton emailed daughter Chelsea to explain that Americans had been killed in Benghazi by “an al Qaeda-like group.”

This was about an hour before Clinton and Obama consulted by phone, immediately after which the State Department published Clinton’s mendacious “blame the video” announcement:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
Yes, Clinton and Obama knew it was a terrorist attack but tried to con the country into believing it was a spontaneous response to a video.

A State Department memo documents that on the very next day after her duplicitous public statement, Clinton informed Egypt’s prime minister: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. . . . It was a planned attack — not a protest.”

That was just two days before Clinton, in cold-blooded disgrace, looked Charles Woods in the eye and said, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.” That was at Andrews as they were receiving the body of Ty Woods, killed while saving American lives in the late hours of a terrorist siege during which his government made no effort to save American lives.

That was moments before Clinton blamed the “awful Internet video” for the massacre.
To repeat, Clinton and Obama knew it was a terrorist attack but tried to con the country, very much including the families of our dead, into believing our heroes had been killed by a spontaneous response to a video.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD - SEPTEMBER 14:  U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3rd R) hold their hands over their hearts during the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees at Joint Base Andrews September 14. 2012 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Stevens and the three other embassy employees were killed when the consulate in Libya was attacked September 11.   (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** Photo: Pool, Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (3rd R) hold their hands over their hearts during the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees at Joint Base Andrews September 14. 2012 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Stevens and the three other embassy employees were killed when the consulate in Libya was attacked September 11. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images) 

The lies about “an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with” were dictated by the bipartisan Beltway policy of Islamist empowerment that Obama and Clinton championed. 
Indeed, at the time it occurred, the terrorist attack was just the latest in a series of jihadist threats and strikes in Benghazi. The policy of strategically and materially supporting Islamists made such attacks inevitable.

But it was election season. Obama and Clinton needed camouflage for the catastrophic failure of their policy. Thus: Clinton’s fustian about “an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

In point of fact, Clinton and Obama had everything to do with the anti-Islamic video trailer, Innocence of Muslims. Virtually no one would have known of it had they not tirelessly publicized it in the international media and in official American government statements that were studiously linked to the Benghazi massacre.

In reality, though, it was the video that had nothing to do with the rage and violence directed at Americans, first in Egypt, then Libya, then beyond.

The violence at the U.S. embassy in Cairo had been threatened for months by al-Qaeda operatives and was clearly planned to erupt on the eleventh anniversary of the terror network’s 9/11 atrocities. The jihadists had been empowered by both the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, orchestrated by Obama and Clinton, and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt, championed by Obama and Clinton.

In the weeks before September 11, 2012, al-Qaeda saber-rattled about a potential Tehran 1979–style attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo — perhaps they’d burn it to the ground, perhaps they’d take hostages to trade for American concessions like release of the Blind Sheikh (imprisoned for terrorism convictions in the U.S.).

Administration officials knew there would be trouble on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. They also knew that, if the trouble was perceived as the foreseeable fallout of their Islamist empowerment policy, it could mortally damage Obama’s 2012 reelection bid and Clinton’s 2016 election ambitions.

So the administration swung into action. The obscure video trailer had been condemned by a fiery mufti in Egypt. Word of it began to circulate, but almost no one had seen it. Though in some small circles it was added to the endless list of Islamist grievances against America, those grievances are ideologically driven — and Islamist ideology is incorrigibly anti-American, regardless of what pretexts are cited for acting on it.

So Clinton’s opportunistic underlings pounced, seeing the video as their chance to shape a fraudulent narrative. As Muslims — including al-Qaeda operatives — began menacing the Cairo embassy, the State Department put out a series of tweets, a transparent effort to spin the inevitable rioting as incited by the video, not enabled by the administration’s own promotion of Islamic supremacists.

The Benghazi siege began a few hours later.

In the aftermath, of course, the administration edited intelligence-community talking points in order to promote the video fraud and conceal the terrorist victory — even as Obama touted al-Qaeda’s purported demise in campaign speeches. Susan Rice, an Obama confidant and a top official in Clinton’s State Department, was dispatched to lie to the public on the Sunday shows. Obama and Clinton indignantly condemned the video in public-address announcements for Pakistani television, paid for by American tax dollars. Obama took to the podium at the United Nations to proclaim to the world that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The administration then put the criminal-justice system in service of the fraud. Making good on Clinton’s deceitful vow, police raided the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the video’s producer — arresting him in the dead of night, as if he were a violent criminal, even though he had been cooperating with law enforcement.

Why was he cooperating with law enforcement? Far from a crime, the making of the video was constitutionally protected activity — the kind of activity the executive branch is duty-bound to protect. But Nakoula went to law enforcement because Obama and Clinton’s smear had put his life in danger.

They did that, willfully, because they needed a scapegoat: Nakoula could serve the dual purposes of deceiving Americans into linking Benghazi’s dead to the video while convincing Muslims of Obama and Clinton’s longstanding commitment to subordinate constitutional free-speech rights to sharia’s blasphemy standards. Nakoula, a small-time con man whose prior conviction made him susceptible to revocation of parole, was the perfect foil.

He spent nearly a year in prison while Obama celebrated his reelection, Clinton plotted her campaign to replace him, and the Democrat-media complex helped them bury Benghazi as “old news.”

Just as she looked Charles Wood in the eye three years ago, while his son’s remains and those of three other Americans killed by jihadists lay nearby, so did Hillary Clinton look America in the eye during Thursday’s testimony. Both times, she seemed earnest, composed and determined as only a pathological liar can in the execution of a high-stakes fraud.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

EDITORIAL: What Hillary Knew

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Review: John Le Carre: The Biography by Adam Sisman

Ultimatelty it's about love. In places, this is a very emotional book. John le Carré had an utterly heartbreaking childhood. When he was five, his mother – having endured enough of her husband's cheating both as a crook and a philanderer – left home. According to Adam Sisman, le Carré's emotional scars never healed: "Looking back at his childhood, he has written of the 'sixteen hugless years' that followed". As le Carré wrote in a letter to his brother: "We were frozen children, & will always remain so." Sisman says Le Carré's response "was to try and make everybody else love him."
While acknowledging "warm feelings" for his subject, Sisman also endeavours "to preserve the splinter of ice in [his] heart that every writer needs, according to Graham Greene". The splinter justifiably melts when Sisman recounts the childhood years, but freezes hard when le Carré goes to Oxford following his National Service as an officer in the Intelligence Corps. His service experience led to his being recruited by MI5 to spy on his fellow undergraduates. To do so, le Carré joined the "Socialist Club, which welcomed left-wingers of every hue, from pale pink to dark red". In later life, he expressed no regret for having done so: "Somebody has to clean the drains, and I found that I did do things that, although they were in some way morally repugnant, I felt at the time, and still feel, to have been necessary."
Le Carré's later novels and political views – expressed by joining anti-war demos to protest against Blair's invasion of Iraq – progress from what Robert McCrum describes as "seething" to "incandescent". The most startling revelation came in 2008 when le Carré admitted to Sunday Times journalist Rod Liddle that "while working for MI6 he had considered defecting to the Soviet Union". Le Carré later tried to explain his comment in a letter to The Times. It was a result of "post-prandial Calvados" and reflected "the plight of professional eavesdroppers who identify so closely with the people they are listening to that they start to share their lives". Or is there another explanation? "People who have had very unhappy childhoods", le Carré once wrote, "are pretty good at inventing themselves... I'm a liar. Born to lying, bred to it, trained to it by an industry that lies for a living, practised in it as a novelist."
There are a few writers of spy fiction, if any, who have more personal experience in the world of espionage than John le Carré. Following a brief spell as a modern languages master at Eton, le Carré joined MI5 – a service that he did not find impressive: "For a while you wondered whether the fools were really pretending to be fools, as some kind of deception, but alas, the reality was the mediocrity." He then made the upmarket jump to MI6. But few ex-colleagues in either service applauded le Carré's novels. One ranted: "I deplore and hate everything he has done and said against the intelligence services." At a diplomatic dinner in Washington he was confronted by another ex-colleague who shouted: "You bastard! You utter bastard."
This is the best biography of 2015 – a rare achievement that invites rereading.
Edward Wilson's latest novel is 'A Very British Ending' (Arcadia)
Bloomsbury, £25. Order at the discounted price of £22 inc. p&p from the Independent Bookshop

She Knew All Along

The House hearing on Benghazi reveals that Hillary Clinton’s spin about the attack was a politically expedient fiction.

Hillary Clinton at the House Benghazi committee hearing, Oct. 22. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony on Thursday, we now understand why the former secretary of state never wanted anyone to see her emails and why the State Department sat on documents. Turns out those emails and papers show that the Obama administration deliberately misled the nation about the deadly events in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.
Don’t forget how we came to this point. Mrs. Clinton complained in her testimony on Capitol Hill that past Congresses had never made the overseas deaths of U.S. officials a “partisan” issue. That’s because those past deaths had never inspired an administration to concoct a wild excuse for their occurrence, in an apparent attempt to avoid blame for a terror attack in a presidential re-election year.
The early hints that this is exactly what happened after the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans cast doubt on every White House-issued “fact” about the fiasco and led to the establishment of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s select committee.
What that House committee did Thursday was finally expose the initial deception. To understand the willful depth of that trickery, let’s briefly recall the history.
In early September 2012, at the Democratic National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden summarized to thunderous applause the administration’s re-election pitch: “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.” Translation: The president had revived the economy, even as he had put “al Qaeda on the run,” as Mr. Obama put it. Five days later, four Americans in Benghazi were dead. It appeared the White House had slept through a terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11.
The administration instead immediately presented the attack as a spontaneous mob backlash to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. At 10:30 on the night of the attack, Mrs. Clinton issued a statement about the violence, blaming the video. She repeated the charge in a speech the next day. President Obama gave his own speech that day, referring to the video and refusing to use the word “terrorism.”
The next day, Mrs. Clinton mentioned the video twice more. The day after that, Press Secretary Jay Carney said: “We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.” Mrs. Clinton promised the father of one of the victims that the administration would “make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” In his weekly address, Mr. Obama talked about the video. When the Libyan president said there was evidence the attack was planned months in advance, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice contradicted him. She instead told five Sunday talk shows—five days after the attack—that “based on the best information we have to date,” the attack “began spontaneously” in response to “this hateful video.” Mr. Obama for two full weeks continued to talk about YouTube.
Here’s what the Benghazi committee found in Thursday’s hearing. Two hours into Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan referred to an email Mrs. Clinton sent to her daughter, Chelsea, at 11:12 the night of the attack, or 45 minutes after the secretary of state had issued a statement blaming YouTube-inflamed mobs. Her email reads: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.” Mrs. Clinton doesn’t hedge in the email; no “it seems” or “it appears.” She tells her daughter that on the anniversary of 9/11 an al Qaeda group assassinated four Americans.
That same evening, Mrs. Clinton spoke on the phone with Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf, around 8 p.m. The notes from that conversation, in a State Department email, describe her as saying: “We have asked for the Libyan government to provide additional security to the compound immediately as there is a gun battle ongoing, which I understand Ansar as Sharia [sic] is claiming responsibility for.” Ansar al Sharia is al Qaeda’s affiliate on the Arabian Peninsula. So several hours into the attack, Mrs. Clinton already believed that al Qaeda was attacking U.S. facilities.
The next afternoon, Mrs. Clinton had a call with the Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil. The notes from it are absolutely damning. The secretary of state tells him: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest.” And yet Mrs. Clinton, and Ms. Rice and Mr. Obama for days and days continued to spin the video lie.
In other news Thursday, Judicial Watch unveiled a new cable, sent the day after the attack, from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the State Department Command Center. It explains that the attack was carried out by a “Salafi terrorism group” in “retaliation for the killing of an Al Qaeda operative.”
The cable says “the attack was an organized operation with specific information that the U.S. Ambassador was present.” The cable included details about the group’s movements and the weapons it used in the assault.
Count on the Obama administration to again resort to blaming “confusing” and “conflicting” information at the time for its two-week spin. That was Mrs. Clinton’s flimsy excuse at the hearing. But her own conversations prove she was in no doubt about what happened—while it was still happening.
Democrats on the committee spent most of the hearing complaining that it was a waste of time and money. Quite the opposite. It was invaluable, for the clarity provided by those three emails alone.
Write to

Putin marches, Obama watches

October 22, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. (Reuters)
Guess who just popped up in the Kremlin? Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, now Vladimir Putin’s newest pet. After four years holed up in Damascus, Assad was summoned to Russia to bend a knee to Putin, show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially bless the Russian-led four-nation takeover of Syria now underway.
Does the bewildered Obama administration finally understand what Russia is up to?
President Obama says Russia is doomed to fail in the Syrian quagmire. But Russia is not trying to reconquer the country for Assad. It is consolidating a rump Syrian state in the roughly 20 percent of the country he now controls, the Alawite areas stretching north and west from Damascus through Latakia and encompassing the Russian naval base at Tartus.
It’s a partition. It will leave the Islamic State in control in the interior north and east. Why is this doomed to failure?
Putin’s larger strategy is also obvious. He is not reconstructing the old Soviet empire. That’s too large a task. But he is rebuilding and reasserting Russia’s ability to project power beyond its borders. Annexing Crimea restores to the motherland full control of the warm-water Black Sea port that Russia has coveted since Peter the Great. Shoring up a rump Alawite state secures Russia’s naval and air bases in the eastern Mediterranean. Add to that Russia’s launching of advanced cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea to strike Syrian rebels 900 miles away and you have the most impressive display of Russian military reach since the Cold War.
For Obama, of course, these things don’t matter. “In today’s world,” he told the U.N. last month, “the measure of strength is no longer defined by the control of territory.” That he clearly believes this fantasy was demonstrated by his total abandonment of Iraq, forfeiting U.S. bases from which we could have projected power in the region (most notably preventing, through control of Iraqi airspace, the Iranian rearming and reinforcement of Assad’s weakening regime).
While Obama counts on the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice, Putin acts. As soon as the ink was dry on the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani flew to Moscow (a sanctions violation that we blithely ignored) to plan the multinational Syria campaign he is now directing. His Shiite expeditionary force is comprised of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iraqi Shiite militias and Lebanese Hezbollah fighting under the cover of Russian airpower.
They are pounding non-Islamic State rebels, many equipped, trained and allegedly supported by the U.S. and Obama’s vaunted 60-nation coalition. What a comfort to be pulverized by 60 to 90 Russian airstrikes each day but to know that Belgium is with you.
The immediate Russian objective is to retake Aleppo, the eastern part of which is the rebels’ last remaining urban stronghold.
Russia is not fighting the Islamic State. On the contrary. Its attacks on the anti-government, anti-Islamic State rebels have allowed the Islamic State to expand, capturing rebel-held villages north of Aleppo, even as the Shiite expeditionary force approaches from the south.
Apart from the wreckage to Obama’s dreams of a “reset” with Russia, think of how these advances mock Obama’s dreams for Iran, namely that the nuclear deal would moderate Iranian behavior.
What has happened since the signing of the deal in July? Iran convicts an American journalist , contemptuously refusing to offer even the most minimal humanitarian gesture. Iran brazenly tests a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that our own U.N. ambassador said violates Security Council resolutions. And now Iran’s most notorious Revolutionary Guard commander takes control of a pan-Shiite army trying to decimate our remaining allies in the Syrian civil war.
Obama’s response to all this? Nothing. He has washed his hands of the region, still the center of world oil production and trade, and still the world’s most volatile region, seething with virulent jihadism ready for export. When you call something a quagmire you have told the world that you’re out and staying out. Russia and Iran will have their way.
“60 Minutes” asked Obama: Are you concerned about yielding leadership to Russia? Obama responded dismissively: Propping up a weak ally is not leadership. I’m leading the world on climate change.
Upon hearing that, anyone in any conflict anywhere who has put his trust in the United States should start packing his bags for Germany.


Four pinocchios for the pantsuit.

October 23, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, before the House Benghazi Committee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listens while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, before the House Benghazi Committee. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony yesterday before the congressional committee formed to investigate the deadly Benghazi debacle that she allowed to happen and then tried to cover up can be summed up in two words: she lied.
Boiled down: Despite mountains of email evidence to the contrary, Clinton denied that she previously blamed the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack that took four American lives on an at-the-time unwatched anti-Islam YouTube video. She denied that left-wing slime merchant and Clinton groupie Sidney Blumenthal was her advisor. She even denied having a computer on her desk at the State Department. (The Washington Post has what appears to be a largely accurate complete transcript of the hearing.)
Hillary wants Americans to believe that her official government emails, sometimes containing top-secret classified information, that she sent around the globe through the insecure, hacker-friendly private email server created to facilitate anticipatory bribes for the would-be U.S. president funneled through the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, don't say what your lying eyes tell you they say.
Republicans made the case yesterday that foreign policy neophyte Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton crony with business interests in Libya, had easy access to Clinton while her own ambassador struggled heroically to reach her. The many requests from Ambassador Chris Stevens for extra security measures fell upon deaf ears.
Hillary effectively blamed Stevens for getting himself killed, saying he was supposed to take care of his own security. “We were really counting on Chris to guide us and give us information on the ground,” Clinton said when questioned methodically by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.).
Clinton denied Blumenthal was an advisor of hers even though he regularly barraged her with emails and their relationship goes back decades. "He was not advising me, and I have no reason to have ever mentioned that or know that the president knew that."
It's still a complete and utter mystery to Clinton why American facilities were targeted in Benghazi, Libya. Really. She said that.
"None of us can speak to the individual motivations of those terrorists who overran our compound and who attacked our CIA annex," she told the Benghazi Select Committee on Thursday. "There were probably a number of different motivations." So it's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.
None of this comes as a surprise to Clinton watchers.
New York Times columnist William Safire famously dubbed her "a congenital liar," and that very same left-wing newspaper now admits that “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s explanations about her use of a personal email account as secretary of state have evolved over time.” Evolved? That's one way of putting it.
With the acquiescence -- and at times, complicity -- of a perennially incurious media, Hillary's verbal jousting skills have saved her many times over her decades of political wheeling and dealing. Now that Clinton is campaigning to succeed President Obama, she was much more polished and composed this week than during her previous, now-infamous congressional testimony on the Benghazi saga. That was in 2013 she when she donned Coke bottle eyeglasses chosen perhaps to elicit sympathy related to her reportedly significant health problems.
Her attitude on that day two years ago could be distilled to one word: whatever.
"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans," she shouted. "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"
During the televised proceedings yesterday, Clinton, one of America’s most accomplished sociopaths, alternated largely between looking thoughtful or bored. Her pulse probably never got above 85, even at the height of the richly deserved tongue-lashing she received from Republican lawmakers. Like another famous sociopath whose surname she shares, Hillary simply adores arguing and lawyering.
She lives for it and has at least since she was fired from the House Judiciary Committee during its investigation of the Watergate scandal that eventually brought down President Richard M. Nixon in 1974. Hillary’s then-supervisor, lifelong Democrat Jerry Zeifman, said he canned the 27-year-old attorney “because she was a liar … an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”
No lie is too big or too small for Hillary, whether it’s a concocted tale of being under enemy fire at an airport in Bosnia, the existence of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to undermine her husband’s presidency, that she was named after Mt. Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary even though he rocketed to fame by accomplishing the feat when she was a six-year-old, or that the Clintons were “dead broke” when they exited the White House.
Meanwhile, at the Thursday hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demolished Clinton's apparently fresh assertion at the hearing that she didn't actually claim an obscure anti-Islam movie trailer posted on YouTube prompted the terrorist assault in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. She now takes a more nuanced, twisted-like-a-pretzel position in which maybe some non-terrorist Muslims were suddenly stirred to violence in Libya by the video, but really at the same time it was a terrorist attack, something she testified Thursday has been her position the whole time. She talked about the video publicly not to point fingers but as a warning, she testified, to those who might attack U.S. interests in the region. In other words, like a good defense lawyer, Hillary was trying to confuse the issues and muddy the waters.
Clinton, who seems able to function just fine with what must be chronic cognitive dissonance, said minutes before Jordan's question:
I referred to the video that night in a very specific way. 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.
Jordan fired back:
We want to know the truth. The statement you sent out was a statement on Benghazi and you say vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the Internet. If that's not pointing as the motive of being a video, I don't know what is. And that's certainly what -- and that's certainly how the American people saw it.
While she was informing the American public that the anti-Islam video was what caused the attack, at the same time she emailed her daughter Chelsea and the governments of Libya and Egypt to pin the blame on Muslim militants, Jordan explained. Around the same time the White House, in the closing weeks of a heated presidential election campaign, was pushing the line that what transpired in Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration turned violent, but terrorism was not a factor.
"We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film," Clinton wrote Egypt's prime minister the night of the attack. "It was a planned attack, not a protest." But in public Clinton continued to blame the "offensive" video. The U.S. government acquired $80,000 worth of commercial airtime in Pakistan to apologize for the YouTube clip.
Jordan pointed out that there was no video-inspired protest over in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, but there was one in Cairo, Egypt. The same day State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said "Benghazi has been attacked by militants. In Cairo, police have removed demonstrators."
So, in "Benghazi, you got weapons and explosions," he said. In "Cairo, you got spray paint and rocks." The congressman continued:
One hour before the attack in Benghazi, Chris Stevens walks a diplomat to the front gate. The ambassador didn't report a demonstration. He didn't report it because it never happened. An eyewitness in the command center that night on the ground said no protest, no demonstration; two intelligence reports that day, no protest, no demonstration.
The Benghazi attack, Jordan said, began at 3:42 p.m. Eastern time and ended around 11:40 p.m. that evening. He continued:
At 4:06, an ops alert goes out across the State Department. It says this, "Mission under attack, armed men, shots fired, explosions heard." No mention of video, no mention of a protest, no mention of a demonstration. But the best evidence is Greg Hicks, the number two guy in Libya, the guy who worked side by side with Ambassador Stevens. He was asked, if there had been a protest, would the ambassador have reported it? Mr. Hicks's response, "Absolutely." For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens' front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable ... and if it had been reported, he would have been out the back door within minutes and there was a back gate.
"Everything," Jordan said, "points to a terrorist attack ... and yet five days later Susan Rice goes on five TV shows and she says this, 'Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction as a consequence of a video,' a statement we all know is false." Rice was "off the reservation," according to State Department experts in the agency's Near Eastern Affairs bureau.
"So if there's no evidence for a video-inspired protest, then where did the false narrative start? It started with you, Madam Secretary," he said. At 10:08 p.m. while the attack was still in progress, Clinton released a statement insinuating that a video inspired the assault. "Some have sought to justify the vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," it read.
Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) tried to drive home the point that interest in the Benghazi saga has long been a bipartisan affair in the U.S. Congress. “The House of Representatives, including some Democrats I hasten to add, asked this committee to write the final accounting of what happened in Benghazi.”
But previous congressional investigations, he added, were a joke.
Gowdy stressed that his committee is the “first committee” to go through more than 50,000 pages of documents, “to thoroughly and individually interview scores of other witnesses, many of them for the first time,” “to demand access to relevant documents from the CIA, the FBI, the Department Of Defense and even the White House,” and “to demand access to the emails to and from Ambassador Chris Stevens.”
He added, “How could an investigation possibly be considered serious without reviewing the emails of the person most knowledgeable about Libya?”
The committee was the “first” and “only” panel “to uncover the fact that Secretary Clinton exclusively used personal email on her own personal server for official business and kept the public record, including e-mails about Benghazi and Libya, in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office.”
Gowdy impugned the motives of the Accountability Review Board that began studying the Benghazi debaclesoon after it happened, noting that Clinton name-dropped the panel an astonishing 70 times in previous congressional testimony. That sham investigation was headed by former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, a useful idiot for Islam who is spending his twilight years crusading against the so-called Islamophobia that infects the ignorant bigots and rubes across the fruited plain who irrationally fear the benign Muslim religion.
Noting that the members of the ARB were “hand-picked” by State Department leadership, Gowdy said:
The ARB never interviewed Secretary Clinton. The ARB never reviewed her emails. And Secretary Clinton's top adviser was allowed to review and suggest changes to the ARB before the public ever saw it. There's no transcript of ARB interviews. So, it's impossible to know whether all relevant questions were asked and answered. Because there's no transcript, it is also impossible to cite the ARB interviews with any particularity at all.
The ARB’s work is “not independent” and not an example of accountability, he said. It is “not a serious investigation.” And if “previous congressional investigations were really serious and thorough, how did they miss Ambassador Stevens' emails?” and “why did they fail to interview dozens of key State Department witnesses, including agents on the ground who experienced the attacks firsthand?”
On the eve of the Thursday hearing, Democratic members of the Select Committee released a so-called full transcript from an official interview with Cheryl Mills, who served as counselor and Chief of Staff to Clinton at the Department of State. Democrats claimed they acted at "to correct the public record after numerous out-of-context and misleading Republican leaks.” Democrats must have calculated that the testimony of a longtime Clinton crony would somehow have an exculpatory effect from which her presidential campaign would benefit.
But not all of the Democratic Party's press release writers -- outside the mainstream media, that is -- are gifted, antisocial, Alinskyite liars of Hillary's caliber. Clinton usually can at least keep the lies more or less straight in her head, and like her husband, treats parsing as bloodsport, while engaging in at times brutally effective misdirection and superficially plausible semantic contortions.
The press release accompanying the 307-page document boasts that it is a “full transcript of the Select Committee’s interview with former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills,” but is it really? It contradicts itself a few sentences later, describing the document as mere “excerpts of Ranking Member Cummings questioning Ms. Mills[.]” This wording suggests that only one lawmaker – a grandstanding, media-savvy, hyper-partisan Democrat on a Republican-controlled panel – questioned Mills at the hearing. It is very hard to believe not even one Republican wanted to take a shot at Mills.
But it is much easier to believe that Democratic congressional staffers aimed to score political points for releasing Mills's entire testimony when it reality they cherry-picked only the parts that put Clinton in the most favorable light.
The press release claims that the transcript provides “significant evidence that Secretary Clinton was deeply engaged during and after the attacks and took action to ensure the safety and security of U.S. personnel, even as intelligence assessments of the attacks changed more than once during this period.”
“Republicans are spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a partisan campaign to damage Secretary Clinton’s bid for president,” Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was quoted as saying.
No doubt he was referring to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Ca.) uber-gaffe earlier this month that ended his run to replace outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). Many drew an inference from McCarthy’s comments that congressional Republicans were trying to torpedo Clinton’s presidential campaign at the expense of the truth. "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable," McCarthy told Sean Hannity. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."
In the end, conservative commentator Erick Erickson shrugged, calling the Benghazi hearing "a waste of time because everything about it is politicized and nothing is going to happen. There will be no scalp collection."
He continued: "Mrs. Clinton is far too bright to be trapped in this or any questions." Although she has gotten flustered under questioning, such incidents will "make her a martyr to her own side ... Democratic voters are not going to reject Mrs. Clinton even if she were to admit that she had flown to Benghazi and joined Al Qaeda in the attack."
Given the Hillary mania that grips so much of the Democratic Party and some leftists' positively morbid craving to put a woman in the Oval Office at all costs, Erickson may have a bit of a point.
And if Republican congressional leadership continues with the same old lackadaisical, self-sabotaging approach in which the white flag is waved before the first shot has been fired, the Benghazi committee won't accomplish much apart from generating revenue for fundraising consultants on both sides of the aisle.
The disturbing likelihood that Hillary Clinton will get away with her crimes remains, regardless of how noble, inspiring, and determined to get at the truth Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy may be.
 Tags: BenghaziHillarytestimony

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In ‘The Outsider,’ Frederick Forsyth shares his life of intrigue

As 1970 began, a 31-year-old English journalist named Frederick Forsyth, out of a job and broke, set out to write a novel. Camping in a friend’s London flat, Forsyth worked nonstop for 35 days to produce the story of a plot to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle. He called it “The Day of the Jackal.”
Selling the novel took longer than writing it. The fact that de Gaulle had served out his term of office and was still alive (he died later that year) led several publishers to reject the book as patently ridiculous. Then Forsyth found an editor who understood that the story’s fascination lay not in de Gaulle’s fate but in the complex chess game between a determined assassin and the French leader’s formidable security team.
The editor surprised Forsyth with the offer of a three-book deal, whereupon the writer quickly dreamed up one novel about a search for fugitive Nazis and another about white mercenaries trying to take over an African nation. After “The Day of the Jackal” became his first best­seller, those two, “ The Odessa File  and “ The Dogs of War ,” were his second and third .
That’s an all but unprecedented story of sudden success, but “The Outsider,”Forsyth’s new memoir, doesn’t dwell on his fiction. Instead, he offers a fast-paced look back at his life, from boyhood in England during World War II to his years as a foreign correspondent, his occasional hush-hush work for British intelligence and his endless adventures as a globe-hopping writer always ready to brave some new danger zone in search of a good story.
Forsyth’s love of adventure started early. When he was 6 and living near the English Channel in Kent, his father won young Freddie a chance to sit in the cockpit of one of the Spitfire fighters that the beloved Royal Air Force had used to beat back the German Luftwaffe. At that moment, Forsyth says, he vowed someday to fly a Spitfire.
When he was a teenager, his father arranged for him to spend summers in Germany, France and Spain, where he picked up languages that later boosted his journalistic career. At 16 he learned to fly. He also excelled in school but, told that he might aspire to Oxford, shocked his headmaster by saying he intended to join the Royal Air Force when he turned 18, which he did. Forsyth loved his three years as a pilot — although no Spitfires were available to him — but when his enlistment ended, he set out to become a foreign correspondent.
Three years reporting in England led to a job with Reuters, which sent Forsyth to Paris. There he learned that elements of the French army wanted de Gaulle dead because he had granted independence to ­Algeria. Several assassination attempts had failed because the assassins were known to de Gaulle’s defenders. Forsyth reasoned that only “a complete outsider, a professional hit man with no record or dossier known to Paris” could succeed. That insight, eight years later, inspired “The Day of the Jackal.”
Assigned to East Berlin, he delighted in outsmarting the government agents who shadowed him. He also delighted in interesting women. One night, at the opera, he met and took home beautiful, mysterious Sigrid, who returned often but always insisted on departing by cab. He snooped and discovered she was the mistress of the unforgiving East German defense minister, whereupon the fearless reporter sensibly demanded a transfer back to Paris.
He made his first career mistake when he joined the BBC as a foreign correspondent, only to clash with its leaders when they backed what he saw as the British government’s cruel and senseless support of Nigeria in its mid-1960s war with Biafra, a war Forsyth blames for the starvation of 1 million Biafran children. Forsyth ends his account of this bitter episode by saying of BBC executives and the government, “That is why I believe that this coterie of vain mandarins and cowardly politicians stained the honor of my country forever, and I will never forgive them.”
Forsyth has spent the rest of his life moving between the solitude of writing and the pursuit of adventure. In middle age he took up parachuting, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing, which almost cost him his life in a typhoon off the Mauritian coast. His friends in British intelligence sent him on a secret mission to South Africa to learn the country’s plans for its atomic weapons when the white government was replaced by a black one. At age 74, he set out for Somalia, one of the most dangerous places in the world, to research a novel, reluctantly taking along a bodyguard to ease his wife’s fears. Last year, at 76, he kept the vow he’d made at the age of 6 to fly a Spitfire.
The man has lived an amazing life. Call it stranger than fiction.
Anderson regularly reviews mysteries and thrillers for Book World.
My Life in Intrigue
By Frederick Forsyth
Putnam. 332 pp. $28