by Melanie Phillips
Fort Hood, Benghazi, the Boston bombings, Iran/Syria, Israel. The pattern is unmistakeable; the danger to America is exponentially increasing; the scandal is deepening into something nearer to a national crisis.
The Obama administration is playing down the Islamist threat to the US and the free world, empowering Islamists at home and abroad, endangering America and betraying its allies -- and covering up its egregious failure to protect the homeland as a result of all the above, while instead blaming America for its own victimisation.
What is coming out in the Benghazi hearings would be jaw-dropping if it had not been apparent from the get-go that the administration failed to protect its own people in the beseiged American mission where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff were murdered in 2012, then lied about the fact that this was an Islamist attack, and then covered up both its failure and its lie. (Apparent, that is, to some -- but not to the American media, most of which gave the Obama administration a free pass on the scandal in order to ensure the smooth re-election of The One).
But the administration has form on this -- serious, continuing form. After the Fort Hood massacre in 2009, in which an Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’, not only was it revealed that his radicalisation and extremist links had been ignored but the Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies classified the shootings merely as an act of ‘workplace violence’.
Weeks after the Boston marathon terrorist atrocity, there is still no explanation of why the FBI did not act against the Tsarnaev brothers, despite having had one of them on their books as a dangerous Islamic radical after a warning from Russian intelligence; and why, as the House Homeland Security Committee heard yesterday, the FBI didn’t pass on their suspicions about the brothers to the Boston police.
Even now, the US authorities are playing down or even dismissing Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s extremist Islamic views. Whether or not the brothers had links to foreign extremists is still unclear. But what is bizarre is the authorities’ belief that if they did not have any such links, they cannot have had any religious motive.
Despite evidence such as Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s outbursts at a Boston mosque, where he denounced clerics' references to Thanksgiving and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as ‘contrary to Islam’, the brothers were described by Philip Mudd, the former Deputy Director of National Security at the FBI and the former Deputy Director of the Counterterrorist Centre for the CIA, as merely ‘angry kids’. Mudd told Charlie Rose:
‘They may be disenfranchised. They may have had a bad experience at school. They may not have friends, and they say, “Look, we want to do something.” This tactic of terrorism is a tactic of the 21st century. I don’t necessarily think these are real jihadi terrorists. I think they’re angry kids.’
The wilful and perverse refusal to acknowledge the religious nature of this holy war -- and worse, to lay the blame for such terrorism on the the society that is its victim -- is what lies behind the Benghazi scandal.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings this week produced testimony from Gregory Hicks, the former deputy to the murdered Ambassador Stevens, that was simply devastating for the Obama administration and its former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton -- who infamously erupted, under questioning last January about the nature of the attack,
‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’
‘When a team of four special forces troops were about to leave Tripoli, at Mr Hicks's request, their leader had to stand them down because he was not cleared by senior military chiefs to travel. Mr Hicks said the furious officer told him: “This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has shown more balls than someone in the military.”’
After the attack, the Obama administration claimed that it had resulted from a protest that had got out of hand over an anti-islam YouTube video. But Mr Hicks testified that it was known from the start that it was a jihadi attack which had nothing to do with that video. The Wall Street Journal reported:
‘Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Tripoli, recalled his last conversation with Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who told him, "Greg, we're under attack." Mr. Hicks said he knew then that Islamists were behind the assault. In other words, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's public claim at the time that an anti-Islam YouTube video spurred the assault was known inside the government to be false when she and White House spokesman Jay Carney said it.
‘Mr. Hicks said he briefed Mrs. Clinton that night, yet the father of victim Tyrone Woods says she later told him that the YouTube video maker would be “prosecuted and arrested” as if he were responsible for Benghazi. Stranger still, Mr. Hicks says Mrs. Clinton's then chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, ordered him not to give solo interviews about the attack to a visiting Congressional delegation.’
Meanwhile, from the beginning of this affair there have also been persistent questions about quite what the US mission was actually doing in Benghazi. Now the Washington Times has reported this:
‘A U.S. intelligence official tells Inside the Ring that the hearing and congressional inquiries have failed to delve into what the official said is another major scandal: CIA covert arms shipments to Syrian rebels through Benghazi.
‘Separately, a second intelligence source said CIA operations in Libya were based on a presidential finding signed in March 2011 outlining covert support to the Libyans. This source said there were signs that some of the arms used in the Benghazi attack — assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades — ended up in the hands of the terrorists who carried out the Benghazi attack as a result of the CIA operation in Libya.
‘The unanswered questions — that appear unasked by most congressional investigators — include whether the CIA facility in Benghazi near the diplomatic compound and the contingent of agency officers working there played a role in the covert transfer through Turkey of captured Libyan weapons or personnel to rebels fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
‘“There was a ship that transported something to Turkey around the time Ambassador Chris Stevens met with a Turkish diplomat within hours of his murder,” the official said. “Was the president's overt or covert policy to arm Syrian rebels?”’
This is a President who, by persisting with the charade of negotiation with Iran over its race to manufacture its nuclear bomb, has allowed it to become the dominant power in the region.
That is why Iran’s puppet Assad, who has just accrued hundreds of Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists to help him win his bloody civil war, has been able to slaughter more than 80,000 Syrians and use chemical weapons against them -- while Obama himself may have ineptly armed al Qaeda inside Syria. For the Washington Times report goes on:
‘The official said congressional investigators need to ask whether the president indirectly or directly helped bolster al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Jabhat al-Nusrah front rebel group in Syria and whether the CIA ran guns and other weapons captured in Libya to the organization.
‘“Every troubling Middle East-Southwest Asia country — Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now maybe Syria — where the Obama administration made a significant policy push has gone over to Islamists that are now much more hostile to the United States,” the official said.’
The Benghazi attack was not just appalling in itself; nor was there merely almost certainly a catastrophic failure by the Obama administration to protect its people, and then a mighty cover-up of that failure. Benghazi also serves as a symbol of America’s tragic abandonment, under the Obama administration, of its historic mission to protect life and liberty both in its own homeland and in the free world.
Welcome to Obamastan.
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