Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why the State Department has to attack CNN

First, the State Department jumped ugly against CNN's airing information it obtained from Ambassador Stevens' journal about his concerns about the rise of jihadi groups and security in Libya. An aide to Hillary Clinton refused to answer questions from a Buzzfeed correspondent who wrote asking about the information from the diary and if there had been other materials left in the consulate such as the journal which a CNN reporter found. The exchange got ugly until Hillary's aide told the reporter to "F*** off." Of course, if that had been a Romney aide who wrote that, it would be a five-alarm story for a week in the media. It's rather ho hum to the rest of the media. As John Hinderaker writes,
There is an obvious irony in the Secretary of State’s spokesman–the diplomat’s diplomat–being reduced to this sort of profane, out of control spluttering, which one would normally expect from a left-wing blogger. One can only imagine–it is a cliche, but nonetheless true–what a sensational news story it would have been had such emails issued from Condoleezza Rice’s spokesman, or Dick Cheney’s.
What struck me in the exchange between the State Department spokesman and the Buzzfeed reporter was that the spokesman referred to the consulate as a "crime scene."
Though you might want to ask CNN if they took anything else from the crime scene that they haven't yet told anyone about.
A crime scene? This was an al Qaeda attack on American soil. Our embassies and consulates around the world are American soil. Why do you think they attacked our ambassador there? They wanted to demonstrate their power to attack us on 9/11 and the administration spent a week saying it was all because of a video and then started to refuse to answer questions because there was an FBI investigation going on.

CNN is now reporting that, despite concerns about the radical groups swarming into the reasons, the diplomatic mission in Benghazi did not have even standard security protections.
The U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was operating under a lower security standard than a typical consulate when it was attacked this month, according to State Department officials.

The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials.

There was talk about constructing a permanent facility, which would require a building that met U.S. security and legal standards, the officials said.

Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts.

"Someone made the decision that the mission in Benghazi was so critical that they waived the standard security requirements, which presents unique challenges to the diplomatic security service as you can imagine," said Fred Burton, vice president for Intelligence at STRATFOR, an intelligence analysis group.

While standards were lower at the compound, security had been enhanced at the post after a number of incidents this year that included a failed bombing attempt against the compound in June, according to sources.

Several security changes were made over the past few months, the officials said. These included additional barriers and barbed wire, increased lighting, chain link fences, additional sand bags and closed circuit television.

Every U.S. building on the compound was also fitted with a safe room with a steel door, although the officials recognize that the room was not fireproof.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Americans killed in the attack are believed to have died of asphyxiation from heavy smoke.
Well, as the NYT reports, this was a major intelligence failure. Not only did they miss the attack, but they lost the ability to report on the radical jihadist groups in the regions.
Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.

“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”
So put this together. We had intelligence officers in the area because we knew it was such a dangerous area, but we allowed our diplomats to be in the region with below-standard security protections.

No wonder the State Department is trying to shut down questions on the attack.
The State Department told reporters Friday afternoon that it won't answer any more questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans until the investigation into the incident is complete.

"I'm going to frustrate all of you, infinitely, by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this this happened -- not who they were, not how it happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it -- until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that's its got," State Department spokeswoman Victorian Nuland told reporters late Friday afternoon.

"So I'm going to send to the FBI for those kinds of questions and they're probably not going to talk to you about it," she said.

All aspects of the attack, including what led up to it, its causes, the identity of the perpetrators, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and the other three Americans,are off limits for reporters.
And if a reporter persists, they're told to f*** off.

Thisn't a crime investigation. It's a major security failure that goes right back to the State Department. No wonder CNN has become the enemy for daring to publish information they got from the ambassador's diary. No wonder they tried to blame the video for a week. Anything to distract from the failures of Hillary Clinton's State Department.

5 comments:

Ralph Gizzip said...

CNN has to be spanked, not for pressuring the State Dept for answers, but for daring to step off the plantation. I think you'll find CNN's White House reporter will be getting the cold shoulder for some time, too. This administration is so petty and vindictive that way.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"which allowed a waiver..."

It appears that to the Obama administration, the discovery of the word 'waiver' was more valuable than the whole Klondike. It is their 'get out of jail free' card - it excuses them from following any law they wish to violate, as long as the Big Man at the top issues a waiver.

This is corruption on stilts.

Pawpaw said...

I've worked a lot of crime scenes in my career, and I'd have to ask the State Department why they didn't secure the crime scene? Why were people allowed to take evidence before the scene had been scoured by trained investigators?

The answer is simple. Our State Department is incompetent. They can neither secure a crime scene, nor tell us when an act of war has occurred. And they've been lying about it for two weeks.

DiploMad said...

Good stuff. I have been writing about all this over at The Diplomad 2.0 at thediplomad.blogspot.com. I spent 34 years in the State Dept. This is the worst I have ever seen it.

C T said...

Our consulates and embassies abroad are not U.S. soil. They are given special status, but they are still considered part of the host country.
From the Wikipedia article on diplomatic missions: "Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic missions do not enjoy full extraterritorial status and are not sovereign territory of the represented state.[5][6] Rather, the premises of diplomatic missions remain under the jurisdiction of the host state while being afforded special privileges (such as immunity from most local laws) by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."