What Did the President Know About the Benghazi Attack, Petraeus Affair?

Written by David Bryson. Posted in Opinion, Politics

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Published on November 20, 2012 with 10 Comments

Former CIA Director General Patraeus.

By David Bryson

Article updated (see below).

November 20, 2012

Two coincidences are swirling around former CIA Director David Petraeus: that the Benghazi attack on September 11 had nothing to do with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 and Al Qaeda, and that knowledge of his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and his subsequent resignation, did not reach President Obama until after his re-election.

The analysis below argues that both headline items were shaped by the battle for votes on November 6.

Each of these headlines is either a convenient coincidence or a conspicuous conspiracy – conspicuous because of the boatloads of videos, emails, and reports in the media.  As I write this, the Wikipedia page about Benghazi has 231 references.

On September 14 Petraeus told Congress that the attack was akin to a “flash mob” – that is, utterly spontaneous.  UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on all five Sunday talk shows on September 16 and, like Petraeus, claimed the Benghazi attack was due to anger at the anti-Muslim video and not pre-planned.  It would appear that the White House arranged for her appearances and told her what to say.  Petraeus also was told to pitch the party line.  This is directly contradicted by eyewitness reports that the compound was quiet until about 9:30pm when heavily armed militants shouted “Allah Akbar” and blasted their way inside.

About two hours later, the US State Department released an email stating Ansar al Sharia, the Al Queda affiliate in Libya, “claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter.”

At the UN on September 25 Obama said, “There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy.”

At a press conference on November 14, Obama said Ambassador Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi.” Then why was she trotted out on the talk shows?

So Petraeus and Rice and Obama himself were spinning a story in great contradiction to obvious facts.  They never mentioned, and were never asked, about the 9/11 anniversary.  In reality it was payback from Al Qaeda for the raid on Osama, this time they killed US government employees on sovereign territory and, unlike the Twin Towers, they escaped unharmed.

President Bush kept bragging there would be no second Al Qaeda attack after 9/11; now one came on Obama’s watch just two months before the election.  The successful attack decimated Obama’s constant refrain that Al Qaeda is “on the run,” red meat for the Republicans.

Is it any wonder Petraeus and Rice were told to lie?

About two weeks before the election, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was closing the gap.  Then came Hurricane Sandy, which swept the Romney surge off the front page.  The daily tracking polls for Romney flattened as Sandy struck.  If the Petraeus matter had hit the news in the final few days before the election (US Rep. Eric Cantor called the FBI Director on October 31), this would have displaced Sandy as the top story and jeopardized his highly probable victory.  Instead of “need to know,” the Commander-in-Chief had a top-priority need NOT to know.

So we are supposed to believe that no one told the President that his CIA director had committed a four-star, ten-out-of-ten embarrassment which in his phone call Cantor characterized as something with “national security vulnerability.”

Attorney General Holder knew about Petraeus before the election, as did FBI Director Robert Mueller.  Holder and Obama are deep friends and go back a long way.  He may have whispered the Petraeus bomb to Obama before Election Day, but this we will never know.

What is different about the two contradictions – the first surrounding the attack on 9/11/12 and the second timed to surface just after Obama’s re-election was in the bag – is the massive availability of evidence to explode both.

In 1980 there was talk of an “October Surprise,” that Jimmy Carter might spring the Iranian hostages a few weeks before the election (which Reagan won). It never happened in October, and the hostages were released on Election Day.  This time there was an unpleasant September Surprise in Benghazi, which caused the White House to panic and deny the obvious.  Then there was a November Surprise, the dirty laundry of Petraeus, also timed to the victory of the front-runner.

Update, 12/2/12: Proof of White House Deception

On November 27, Ambassador Rice met with three Republican Senators (Ayotte, Graham, McCain). After the meeting, Rice released a statement to the press and public which stated that the initial talking points provided by the intelligence community “were incorrect in a key respect: There was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”

To repeatedly claim that something extraordinary happened, in broad daylight, and then to officially deny that it happened, is the easiest kind of lie to prove. The denial by Rice is a classic “smoking gun.”

David Bryson

David Bryson

David Bryson is a retired physician, intellectual polyglot, and anarcho-pacifist. He lives in Kerrville, Texas.

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  • R.E. Stone

    Mr. Bryson does not mention General Petraeus’ closed-door testimony before Congress on Sept. 14 when he stated that the attack at Benghazi began as a spontaneous protest against the film ‘The Innocence of Muslims,’ but Islamic militants who may have links to Al Qaeda used the opportunity to launch an attack.  Republicans led by Senator McCain have attempted to use the Benghazi matter to stick it to Obama and UN Ambassador Rice.  McCain had already been losing his war on Rice, at least in the media’s estimation, especially after he launched a tirade at a CNN reporter on Nov. 15 who asked him why he skipped a hearing on Benghazi while simultaneously demanding more information on Benghazi.  Bottom line, with no clear narrative emerging from Petraeus’ testimony — certainly no smoking gun incriminating anyone in the administration — Rice’s stock goes up while McCain’s goes down.  It will end as a tempest in a teapot.

  • http://district5diary.blogspot.com/ Rob Anderson

    For once I agree with Stone. This is all nothing but right-wing baloney, a desperate attempt to find something to hit Obama with. Fog City should stick to local issues instead of importing this kind of stuff. “Intellectual polyglot”? Pretentious twaddle.

  • David Bryson

    BENGHAZISCAM – storyboard of chronology

    1) Scene 1 – Sept 11, Cairo  – protest over anti-Muslim video – timing unrelated to 9/11 anniversary

    2) Scene 2 – no repeat or spread of protest to Benghazi that afternoon – nothing detected as unusual in streets surrounding the Consulate building

    3) Scene 3 – 9:30pm – militants armed with morters and RPGs attack Consulate, shouting “Allah Akbar”  – they blast there way inside from two locations – it has all the earmarks of an Al Queda attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11

    Scene 4 – Sept 14 – Petraeus testifies that the Benghazi attack grew out of a “flash mob” – a spontaneous event probably triggered by Twitter posts from Cairo

    Scene 5 -Sept 16 – Ambassador Rice speaks on five Sunday talk shows and claims that the attack was directly related to anti-Muslim video

    Scene 6 – Sept 25 – in speech at UN Obama says “there is no video that justifies an attack on an
    Embassy”

    Scene 7 – after appearing in a closed hearing, Rice releases a statement which claims that her former position was “incorrect in a key respect. There was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.” 

    By using video clips available online, this can be made into a YouTube report which proves that Rice, Petraeus, and Obama all lied to the press and public.  To repeatedly claim that something extraordinary happened, in broad daylight, and then to officially deny that it happened, is the easiest kind of lie to prove.

      

    • http://district5diary.blogspot.com/ Rob Anderson

      Much ado about nothing. Just another desperate grab by the Repugs for a stick to beat Obama with.  

  • David Bryson

    addendum to my post below..

    the date of “Scene 7″ was Tuesday, November 27 –

  • Greg

    Ben Who? I thought that guy was thrown out of power and exiled to Saudi Arabia. Whatever.

  • David Bryson

    political sub-archeology: exactly 4 years ago, after Obama beat McCain but had not yet taken office, he was trying to get old pal Valerie Jarret to be named by Governor Blagojevich to replace him in the Senate.  But Blago was peddling influence and was tape-recorded speaking with Rahm Emmaneul about this.  So Jarret’s name was withdrarwn and deep-sixed.  Amazing coincidence –
    two black women, Jarret and Susan Rice, beccome political roadkill.

    • http://district5diary.blogspot.com/ Rob Anderson

      Not “amazing” at all. What do the two instances have in common? Nothing. Rice hasn’t been “deep-sixed” at all. She just removed her name from a short list of possible nominees for Secretary of State. Rice’s possible promotion was “deep-sixed” by a moronic, substance-free attack by Senator McCain, the dim-bulb Repug candidate who introduced the country to an even dimmer bulb, his alarmingly stupid—even by Repug standards—Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.  

  • David Bryson

    the final post mortum – Clinton just testified that on the day after the attack Obama said “an act of terror” – 100% false – what he did say was “acts of terror” which is a generality and not a specificity – Clinton put quotation marks around “an act of terror” and no one accused her of this patent falsehood

    • http://district5diary.blogspot.com/ Rob Anderson

      So what? Does any of this have any political significance? It was all about Republicans desperately looking for something to use against Obama during the campaign. It failed because it was always nothing but bullshit.