Sorry, Mr. President, but your time is just about up.
ABC’s Jake Tapper wrote a post today in which he mentions that critics think the President is simply trying to run out the clock on Benghazi.
Via Political Punch:
As he left his Marine One helicopter Wednesday evening and walked to the residence of the White House, President Obama did not respond to a question shouted out by ABC News’s Mary Bruce about when he would begin to provide answers to the numerous questions building up about what exactly what went wrong in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.
The president smiled and continued walking.
Perhaps he couldn’t hear the question over the din of the chopper’s blades, but either way the smile and wave – almost Reagan-esque in style – underline the apparent strategy the president specifically and his administration in general have seemed to adopt when it comes to the myriad inquiries about the decisions that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens: they are deferring detailed answers to the investigation and – critics say –running out the clock until Election Day.
Unfortunately, the strategy of running out the clock may not be working.
More stunning details about the attack are coming forward. A Daily Beast report by Eli Lake indicates that two separate U.S. officials claimed the State Department never made a request made for military backup that night.
Additionally, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are investigating whether the Government of Libya, the one ushered into power with the aide of the U.S., may have been involved in the plot that eventually killed four Americans.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressing for answers after documents first disclosed by Foreign Policy indicate the possible involvement of Government of Libya personnel in what was clearly a preplanned assault. According to the letter sent by the two Congressional oversight leaders:“These documents paint a disturbing picture indicating that elements of the Libyan government might have been complicit in the September 11, 2012 attack on the compound and the murder of four Americans. It also reiterates the fact that the U.S. government may have had evidence indicating that the attack was not a spontaneous event but rather a preplanned terrorist attack that included prior surveillance of the compound as a target.“Given the location where they were found, these documents appear to be genuine and support a growing body of evidence indicating that the Obama Administration has tried to withhold pertinent facts about the 9/11 anniversary attack from Congress and the American people.”The documents are fully consistent with the Committee’s understanding of events that took place before and during the attack on the compound and include new details not previously released to the public. The letters ask the State Department whether the information included in the letters discussed above was memorialized in any cables, telegrams or e-mails prior to the attack or in any post-attack review.Click here for a copy of the Issa/Chaffetz letter to Secretary Clinton that includes the new documents obtained by Foreign Policy.
Worse yet, CBS is reporting that a key task force on counter-terrorism was not convened by the Obama administration.
CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).
“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”
Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
The circumstances of the attack, including the intelligence and security situation there, will be the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Nov. 15, with additional hearings to follow.
Flashback to September 10th…
On September 10, 2012, The Associated Press Reported That “President Barack Obama Has Been Briefed By His Top National Security Aides On The Government’s Preparedness Ahead For The 11th Anniversary Of The Sept. 11 Attacks.”
“President Barack Obama has been briefed by his top national security aides on the government’s preparedness ahead of the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The White House said Monday the president and his advisers discussed specific measures the administration was taking to prevent 9/11-related attacks. They also discussed steps that were being taken to protect Americans abroad and U.S. forces serving in combat zones.”
Please check out this timeline of events in Benghazi and Washington running side-by-side, as provided by Doug Ross.
The one part that stands out to me is –
9/11/2012 22:00 Hillary Clinton blames internet video for violence.
Six hours later…
9/12/2012 4:00 Doherty and Woods killed on roof of annex.
They had time to concoct the video fairy tale, but didn’t have time to take military action to possibly aide the two Navy SEALs who died 6 hours later. Unreal.
The actions of the administration – or inactions – at the very least exacerbated the success at which the terrorists carried out their attacks. The subsequent cover up was downright criminal.
And while the White House would like to run out the clock until the election, the slow drip-drip-drip of information coming out of Benghazi, provided by the few real journalists remaining in media, may cause them to bleed out.
On Monday, leaders from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (Darrell Idea and Jason Chaffetz) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking why requests for protection were denied to the consulate in Libya despite repeated attacks against U.S. personnel.
The letter outlined 13 specific security threats over a six-month timeframe prior to the deadly attack on September 11th, which claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats.
The committee also indicated that they would be holding a hearing on the security lapses next week.
Clinton’s response was to urge the committee not to be so hasty in trying to find answers as to what killed our fellow Americans.
Clinton said that the State Department’s Accountability Review Board will begin work this week and the letter revealed the names of all five board members. In addition to former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, who will lead the board, the other members will be former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen (ret.), Catherine Bertini, Hugh Turner, and Richard Shinnick.
Clinton asked Issa to withhold any final conclusions about the Benghazi attack until the review board finishes its work and reports to Congress, which could come as early as November or as late as early next year. She pledged to work with Issa’s committee and asked him to submit any requests for information or witnesses at hearings to the State Department’s Office of Legislative Affairs.
Indeed, what is the rush here gentleman? We have to hold off this scandal at least until, say … November 6th.
But trust us, there’s nothing to hide.
Fast and Furious Official Given Extended Paid Leave While Earning Six Figures at Financial Services Company
In what can only be described as a curious arrangement, a senior official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a man who has been singled out as a top official involved in the gun-running scandal known as Fast and Furious, has been earning paid leave from the bureau while simultaneously drawing an additional six figure salary with a major financial services company.
Bill McMahon was one of five officials named in an indictment that charged him with extensive involvement in the leadership failures of Operation Fast and Furious. The indictment specifically accused McMahon of giving false Congressional testimony. An additional report indicated that McMahon knew there were no safeguards in place to prevent a large number of guns from getting across the border, but he still made no effort to stop it.
Now however, two Republican lawmakers are demanding answers as to how McMahon can remain on paid leave while earning another six-figure salary working full time for the investment bank J.P. Morgan. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) have penned a letter to the Department of Justice asking how such an arrangement could be approved.
“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement,” wrote Issa and Grassley. “Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management.”
The letter continues: “ATF has essentially facilitated McMahon’s early retirement and ability to double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks—one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector. Moreover, ATF did not wait for the Office of Inspector General to complete its report on Fast and Furious before approving the arrangement. This is in sharp contrast to the posture the agency has taken with whistleblowers like Special Agent John Dodson, who is told he must wait until the Inspector General’s report is complete before the agency will even consider his simple request for a statement retracting the false statements made about him by agency leadership.”
The full text of the letter can be found here…
To this date, nobody has been punished for a botched and possibly illegal gun-smuggling operation that resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, as well as countless Mexican citizens.
This report simply indicates that the Justice Department not only feels they have nothing to answer to (a mindset facilitated by Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress and the President’s utilization of Executive Privilege), but that they are actually willing to reward those who were directly involved in the operation.
The Justice Department, Eric Holder, and the President continue to dance on the graves of those that their incompetence and corruption killed.
“The Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, and the cover-up by Justice Department officials of wrongdoing, has been a fair and fact based investigation. False and partisan allegations by the White House and some congressional Democrats about the Oversight Committee’s efforts were undermined by the votes of 17 Democrats. These Members resisted the pressure of their own leadership and the Obama Administration to support this investigation on the House floor.
“Claims by the Justice Department that it has fully cooperated with this investigation fall at odds with its conduct: issuing false denials to Congress when senior officials clearly knew about gunwalking, directing witnesses not to answer entire categories of questions, retaliating against whistleblowers, and producing only 7,600 documents while withholding over 100,000.
“I greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Senator Chuck Grassley, his staff, and other Senators on the Judiciary Committee who have pressed the Obama Administration for the full truth. Senator Grassley began this investigation and has been a full partner throughout it. I must also recognize the hard work done by many of my colleagues here in the House – without their efforts the Justice Department’s stonewalling would have succeeded.
“My message to my colleagues and others who have fought for answers: We are still fighting for the truth and accountability – for the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, for whistleblowers who have faced retaliation, and for countless victims of Operation Fast and Furious in Mexico. Unless President Obama relents to this bipartisan call for transparency and an end to the cover-up, our fight will move to the courts where we will prevail in getting the documents that the Justice Department and President Obama’s flawed assertion of executive privilege have denied the American people.”
This is what we in the business call, an understatement.
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi had this to say about the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s move to vote Eric Holder in contempt of Congress:
“They’re going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn these voter suppression initiatives in the states… This is no accident, it is no coincidence. It is a plan on the part of Republicans.”
Pelosi denied that Operation Fast and Furious is the real cause of the investigation and contempt charge. “These very same people who are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote,” she said of her congressional colleagues. “It is connected. It’s clear as can be. It’s not only to monopolize his time, it’s to undermine his name.”
“These folks want a plutocracy where instead of the choice of the many the checks of the very very few determine the outcomes of elections,” she said.
Suffice it to say, at least one member of the House strongly disagreed, and offered this epic response.
Via Think Progress:
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) yesterday called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “mind-numbingly stupid” and said that there is something medically wrong with her brain because she believes Republicans are unfairly targeting Attorney General Eric Holder.
Here’s the money quote:
… I don’t know what was wrong with her yesterday or today or whenever she said that, but I would schedule an appointment with my doctor if she thinks that we are doing this to suppress votes this fall. That is mind-numbingly stupid.
Brian Terry is the name of the man who was murdered by Mexican drug cartels armed with weapons provided by a botched gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious.
He wasn’t simply a border patrol agent – he was a son and a brother. And he lost his life with guns provided by the very nation he vowed to protect.
Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi in her displaced anger, lashed out at Darrell Issa and his attempts at holding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, rambling about some fantasy involving Karl Rove and handcuffs.
That rant made the headlines, but as All-American Blogger points out, there was another comment that showed Pelosi’s absolute lack of compassion when it comes to the murder of Brian Terry.
… the buzz about former Speaker Nancy Pelosi revolves around her statement that she could have arrested Karl Rove at any time. But if you dig deeper into the story, you come across a quote that shows just how heartless this woman really is:
Pelosi also criticized Republicans pushing for justice for Border Patrol agent Brian Terry — as House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings has on numerous occasions — as “just strictly political.”
“It’s just the irresponsibility of the Republicans,” Pelosi said. “We want jobs. Why are they spending this time doing this?”
Read it again.
“We want jobs. Why are they spending this time doing this?”
They’re spending their time on this because the American people want answers as to why our government was letting guns walk across the border, into the hands of drug cartels, and eventually used to kill American and Mexican citizens.
How bad does this Fast and Furious situation have to be for Pelosi to try and put the focus back on something that has been a hallmark administration failure – jobs. Regardless, it is clear she has no concern for the Terry family.
You know who else doesn’t seem all that concerned about Brian Terry? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who, in a press briefing earlier today could not remember the family’s name. At the presser, a reporter actually mentioned Terry’s name when prefacing his question – and Carney still couldn’t recall it in his answer!
Brian Terry deserves better than this. His family deserves better than this. And the American people deserve better.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued the following statement on the Committee’s approval of a report finding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his refusal to produce documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. The Committee yesterday approved the finding of contempt on a vote of 23 to 17.
“The Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. This was not the outcome I had hoped for and today’s proceeding would not have occurred had Attorney General Eric Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide.
“The President’s assertion of Executive Privilege this morning took us by surprise but did not alter the Committee’s conclusion that documents had been inappropriately withheld. Executive Privilege only applies to materials that directly pertain to communications with the President and his senior advisors. This assertion indicates that the White House’s role in Operation Fast and Furious and the response to whistleblower accusations has been greater than previously acknowledged. Just yesterday, the Attorney General indicated a willingness to produce a small subset of documents on the condition that the Committee end its investigation before they were described or made available for review. Today, the President asserted Executive Privilege to ensure they are never produced.
“At the heart of the Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious are disastrous consequences: a murdered Border Patrol Agent, his grieving family seeking answers, countless deaths in Mexico, and the souring effect on our relationship with Mexico. Congress has not just a right, but an obligation to do all that it can to uncover exactly what happened and ensure that it never occurs again. After the Justice Department’s earlier false denial of reckless conduct, the Committee has a duty to pursue all options to gather and evaluate key evidence.
“I still believe that a settlement, rendering the process of contempt unnecessary, is in the best interest of the Justice Department, Congress, and those most directly affected by Operation Fast and Furious. I urge Attorney General Holder and President Obama to reconsider their decision to withhold documents that would allow Congress to complete its investigation.”
Issa is trying to work with Holder but this has gone on long enough. Holder has had every opportunity to turn over the requested documents, and repeatedly ignores subpoenas, something that would have the average American in jail by now.
Speaking of jail, Nancy Pelosi yesterday made the wild accusation that she could have had Karl Rove arrested a number of times if he was spotted in the Captiol – but then couldn’t name a specific charge he could have been arrested on.
From the Huffington Post:
Pelosi has a history of spouting off at the mouth without any facts to back up her claims. Remember recently when she alleged she had some sort of secret knowledge about Newt Gingrich, that when revealed would kill his Presidential campaign? She immediately backed off, of course.
Let’s see if one single member of the media repeatedly hits her with the simple question ‘What could you have had Rove arrested for?’ They won’t, despite the fact that it would be a bombshell news story if there was an action that Rove had taken that could be considered in contempt of Congress.
The media knows Pelosi is lying, and they will not call her out on it. They know Holder is lying and they will not call him out on it. They know Obama is lying and they will not call him out on it.
I’d sure hate to see what gas prices would be like if he got science grades like, say, an Al Gore or something.
From Congressman Issa:
Secretary of Energy Chu said today that he had earned an A for controlling the price of gas at the pump. At a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, Secretary Chu had the following exchange with Chairman Issa:“In controlling the cost of gasoline at the pump, do you give yourself an A-?” – Rep. Issa“Well, the tools we have at our disposal are limited, but I would say I would give myself a little higher – in that since I became Secretary of Energy, I’ve been doing everything I can to get long-term solutions.” – Secretary ChuEchoing the sentiments of consumers, Chairman Issa said in his hearing statement, that the “Obama DOE was DOA when it came to delivering affordable energy to consumers.”Issa noted that the price of gasoline today was nearly $4.00—double its average in 2009.
Why Republicans are surprised by this is beyond me. This is a man who in 2008 said the following:
“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.”
So of course he’d give himself an A. The only thing surprising here is that he didn’t gloat about a ‘mission accomplished.’
Also note that Steven Chu works for the President, a man who wanted higher gas prices.
Remember that every time you’re paying $50, $60, $70 a pop at the gas station – this was the administration’s plan from the get go. Why? So you could drive cars with solar panels on the roof.
You mean the administration that rammed healthcare down our throats via backroom deals and a mantra of ‘we have to pass it to find out what’s in it’, isn’t the most transparent administration in history after all?
We’ve executed several FOIA requests with the White House, none of which have been answered in the proper amount of time. In fact, they’ve still not been answered, with some approaching a full year since they were executed.
Congressman Issa has continually been stonewalled by the administration regarding Fast and Furious. So why is this a surprise?
President Barack Obama set a high bar for open government, and he set it quickly.
A minute after he took office, the White House website declared his administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.” By the end of his first full day on the job, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” across the massive federal government.
But three years into his presidency, critics say Obama’s administration has failed to deliver the refreshing blast of transparency that the president promised.
“Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it,” said Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978. “This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned — I’m really stunned.”
You shouldn’t be, this is Chicago politics.
Go get ’em Mr. Issa…
From Fox News:
The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if he fails to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents.
Holder has until Feb. 9 to comply.
In a four-page letter to Holder, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claims the Department of Justice has “misrepresented facts and misled Congress,” which began its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious one year ago.
Issa claims Holder’s “actions lead us to conclude that the department is actively engaged in a cover-up” because it refuses to comply with previous subpoenas.
A copy of the letter from Issa to Holder is below…