by Fred J. Eckert
You could see the pained expression on President Obama's face worsen as a 61-year-old undecided voter told the president during the second presidential debate that he and some co-workers "were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans."
"Who was it that denied enhanced security -- and why?" he asked.
A very good question -- and one an honest news media would have so relentlessly hounded any president to answer five weeks after the Benghazi attack that no voter would need to ask it.
President Obama's answer did not include even so much as a hint about who denied the requested security or why. Instead, he:
- explained that our diplomats "serve all around the world." No kidding.
- explained that sometimes they serve "in a very dangerous situation." Which, of course, is exactly why that voter was questioning why our security was so obviously inadequate in one of the world's most dangerous spots.
- claimed that "[n]obody's more concerned about their safety and security than I am." Which, of course, does not explain why his administration had refused the requested level of security support that our diplomats serving in Libya deemed absolutely necessary for their safety and security.
- said that "[a]s soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team." This is an admission that he did not bother to summon his top intelligence and diplomatic officials to meet with him. This would have helped him determine through face-to-face cross-examination why the intelligence community was supposedly claiming that Benghazi was some spontaneous demonstration that spun out of control while the State Department was supposedly claiming that there was no such demonstration and that this was a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
- said that he ordered that his administration "beef up our security." Too late for our murdered ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi.
- said he ordered his team to "investigate exactly what happened." But State Department officials only blocks away from the White House had witnessed the entire five-hour-plus attack streamed on video in real time. Did no one Obama spoke with on the phone inform him that we already knew that, unlike Cairo, Benghazi was much more than a demonstration -- that it was a full-fledged terrorist attack? Was he told but forgot?
- said he ordered that they "make sure that folks are held accountable." And yet five weeks later he can't -- or won't -- say if anyone has been held accountable.
- attacked Mitt Romney for supposedly not acting "as a commander-in-chief operates" because of what he said on the day of the Cairo and Benghazi 9/11 attacks. Romney had pointed out that in response to the threat of and actual attack against our Cairo, Egypt embassy, the embassy had issued a statement about an internet video that Muslims found objectionable, condemning "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" and denouncing it as an "abuse of free speech." Sounding like Ronald Reagan, he said this was "disgraceful." Soon after he said this, the Obama White House asked its media allies to report that the statement that Romney took such exception to "doesn't reflect the views of the U.S. government," which was akin to claiming that the U.S. government does not reflect the views of the U.S. government.
Our U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans who served us there are dead because of insufficient security while the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, a woman named Valerie Jarrett, has been given an entourage of well-armed, highly trained protectors as she goes to and from work in Washington, goes shopping or out to dinner, and travels to political events and vacations on Martha's Vineyard.
Why is Valerie Jarrett such a high priority when it comes to security, and why are our diplomats in Libya so much less of a priority? In their eagerness to serve and protect the political interests of Barack Obama, the news media do not bother to ask and then inform the American people about this administration's particularly peculiar priorities when it comes to security at a time when security is something very much in the news and of great interest to the public.
Conservative outlets which have made inquiries about why some White House staffer merits better protection than U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was accorded are refused answers on the grounds of "security concerns." Really!
Think you might have seen a major media story -- perhaps even a great many of them -- comparing the contrast in security protection between Valerie Jarrett and Ambassador Stevens if George W. Bush were president and it were Karl Rove rather than Valerie Jarrett?
The media are well aware of what is going on here -- and they know why.
A product of Chicago's Daley political machine, Jarrett has been a political guru to Barack and Michelle Obama for the past 20 years. It is to her that Michelle owed the job she was given with the Daley political machine. The Obamas seem to see themselves as dependent upon Jarrett. When a reporter once asked Obama if he ran every important decision by Valerie Jarrett, Obama without pause answered, "Yep. Absolutely."
One former White House colleague quoted in a New York Times feature article about her called Jarrett "the single most important person in the Obama White House." And yes, in the eyes of some, that does include the president. She has full rein at the White House, able to pop in and out of the Oval Office almost at will, free to drop in on any meetings in the White House whenever she wishes. She has no significant public policy background or expertise. Yet she has power over who gets to meet with the president or first lady. She regularly dines with the Obamas in their private quarters and even vacations with them.
That New York Times profile uses the word "imperious" to describe her and mentions her once mistaking a four-star general for a waiter and ordering a drink from him.
Valerie Jarrett has no official role in anything involving national security, intelligence, or counter-terrorism. She is nothing more than a political aide and friend of the Obamas, upon whom they seem overly dependent. Yet she is living high, surrounded by a full Secret Service detail, as if she were of extraordinary importance to the nation. Presidents and their families get such protection; serious presidential candidates do; foreign leaders visiting here do -- but not even cabinet members do, and never before has some White House staffer.
Our ambassador to Libya is dead -- and Barack Obama's political guru is living the high life, making a mockery of our country's security concerns.
And our dishonest, corrupt media pretend not to notice.
Fred J. Eckert, author of the book That's a Crock, Barack, is a former conservative Republican congressman from New York and twice served as a U.S. ambassador (to the U.N. and to Fiji) under President Reagan, who called him "a good friend and valuable advisor." He's retired and lives with his wife in Raleigh, NC.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.