Wednesday, October 24, 2012

US Drone beamed Benghazi attack live - WH doesn't respond.

Credit: various news sources/NY POST:

Inside sources say the U.S. military had Predator drone flying over the Benghazi consulate during the attack that claimed the life of ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and agent Sean Smith.

 That drone, as well as “other reconnaissance aircraft” seemingly observed what is now being characterized as the “final hours of the protracted battle.” 

How protracted? It has now been revealed that the last two Americans weren’t killed until more than six hours after the attack began.

Yet even as this information has been revealed, the State Department, White House, and Pentagon have refused to say what options might have been available. 

According to CBS News, a White House official revealed that, when the attack began, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

That’s a remarkable admission, one that reeks of a bureaucratic mindset in which the execution of four Americans is seemingly mitigated in some fashion by the fact that “established policies” were followed. Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen wasn’t buying that excuse. 

“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen contended. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”

But as Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues were killed by terrorists armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Defense Department officials were too slow to send in the troops, Berntsen said.
The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from Central Europe to Sigonella, Italy — about an hour flight from Libya — but gave no other details.
Fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships — which could have been used to help disperse the bloodthirsty mob — were also stationed at three nearby bases, sources told the network.
When the attack began, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies,” a White House official told the network.
Even as the administration continues to vow that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, the man identified by witnesses as a ringleader in the attack continues to walk the streets of Libya without fear of arrest.
Ahmad Abu Khattala has admitted being at the consulate during the horrific attack but has yet to be questioned by any Libyan authorities.
Abu Khattala spoke to a New York Times reporter Thursday from a hotel patio as he sipped a strawberry frappe and mocked the US and Libyan governments.
“These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding,” he boasted. “But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I’m even going to pick up my sister’s kids from school soon.”
Lax security at the consulate was an open secret.
Stevens wrote a cable in June that there wasn’t enough security at the consulate, and he noted there had been a recent spike in attacks against “international organizations and foreign interests,” ABC News said.
The ambassador wrote another cable in August that read, “A series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape during the Ramadan holiday.”
Stevens said that the incidents were “organized” and that the Libyan security force had “not coalesced into a stabilizing force and [provided] little deterrence.”
Several requests for additional security in Benghazi were made to the State Department prior to the attack. They were all rejected.

Successful CHAMP test means lights out for the enemy

Cruising fast over the Western Utah Desert, a lone missile makes history at the Utah Test and Training Range. The missile, known as CHAMP, or Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project may one day change modern warfare, by defeating electronic targets with little or no collateral damage.
On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor.

CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves.
Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,”
In all, seven targets were hit using CHAMP’s high power microwaves in the one-hour test that degraded and defeated the electronics inside the test buildings.
James Dodd, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, part of Phantom Works said there is a real need for a weapon that can defeat a target and not cause harm to people and structures.
“We know this has some capabilities and some impact, we’re really trying to engage the customer to see if there is a way we can actually get this fielded and implemented sooner than later,” Dodd said.
Coleman, who led the Boeing team in the historic test flight, says the team is currently analyzing data and telemetry from the test that many consider a big step in modern non-lethal warfare.
“Today we turned science fiction into science fact,” Coleman said.

Taliban spinning conspiracy theory to spark more attacks on US.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — It’s a well-known fact in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden died in 2006 and that the U.S. commando raid on his compound in May 2011 was merely a “drama” orchestrated by President Obama to help win reelection.
Of course, if that were true, Obama might have waited until after the first presidential debate of the campaign season to fake the al-Qaeda leader’s killing.
Some national newspapers and TV cable outlets routinely report that the United States is behind terrorist attacks and supports the war that the Pakistani Taliban is waging against Pakistan’s government and military. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has to regularly churn out “Corrections for the Record” that take Pakistani media to task for carrying outrageous claims.
Now, the latest conspiracy theory to gain traction is the notion that the United States was behind the Taliban attack this month on Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student who criticized the extremist group for denying girls access to education.
The purported purpose of the ruse: to make the Taliban look really bad and, thus, generate public sympathy for CIA drone strikes — and whip up support for a Pakistani army invasion of North Waziristan to rout Haqqani network militants based there.
A Taliban spokesman was quick to assert responsibility for the attack on the schoolgirl and her two classmates. Yet, the idea of U.S. involvement has spread widely, even generating its own meme on Facebook.
A photo of Obama sharing a hearty laugh with members of his staff is making the rounds, being circulated and “liked” by thousands on social media sites. Its caption reads: “Sir, they still believe that Taliban attacked Malala.”
To many Pakistanis, Yousafzai is a national hero. But others say she is a spy because she once met with then-U.S. envoy Richard C. Holbrooke — another photo shared on the Internet.
Part of the reason there’s so much conspiracy thinking is because Pakistanis live in a security state that many believe is controlled by the shadowy spy apparatus known as the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. It is widely seen — and feared — as a hidden force capable of steering domestic and foreign affairs.
A.Z. Hilali, chairman of the political science department at the University of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, said politics is also behind much of the conspiracy mongering.
“When the incident happened with Malala Yousafzai, the people thought the security establishment might be involved because there is pressure from the U.S. that they have to take action against the Haqqani network,” Hilali said. “That perception was already existing in Pakistan. Right-wing parties just exploited the situation.”
But now, Hilali said, “right-wing parties are in a great crisis because Malala has deep sympathies from the common people. . . . They believe the Taliban has crossed a boundary. Malala has become this symbol, and the right wing is losing support.”
Nasreen Ghufran, an international-relations professor at the university, said a common sentiment in Peshawar is that the horrendous deed had to serve other agendas. “They think that Taliban on their own would not do anything unless the ISI and the army is behind it,” she said.
There was good reason to think that the United States was pushing for an operation in North Waziristan. In August, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Pakistan’s military leaders “had developed plans to go into Waziristan. . . . Our understanding is that, hopefully, they’re going to take that step in the near future.”
Pakistan denied it, saying its military lacked the necessary manpower.
As for the theories that besmirch Yousafzai as an agent of the West, they will ultimately come to naught and even enhance her stature, Hilali said. The Islamists “were already against that girl, but there is not just one Malala, there are many Malalas.”

E-mails detail Benghazi attack was terrorism - doesn't bode well for Obama


 It was six weeks ago on Tuesday that terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Now, the media  has obtained email alerts that were leaked by the State Department detailing  the attack as it  unfolded. 

Four Americans were killed in the attack, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. These emails contain the earliest description so far of what happened at Benghazi the night of the attack.

 At 4:05 p.m. Eastern time, on September 11, an alert from the State Department Operations Center was issued to a number government and intelligence agencies. Included were the White House Situation Room, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI. "US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack" -- "approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven."

 At 4:54 p.m., less than an hour later, another alert: "the firing... in Benghazi...has stopped...A response team is on site attempting to locate COM (embassy) personnel."

 Then, at 6:07 p.m., State sent out another alert saying the embassy in Tripoli reported the Islamic military group "Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibilty for Benghazi Attack"... "on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

 The emails are just a few in what are likely a large number traded throughout the night. They are likely to become part of the ongoing political debate over whether the administration attempted to mislead in saying the assault was an outgrowth of a protest, rather than a planned attack by terrorists.

One of the e-mails -- sent from a State Department address to various government agencies -- specifically identifies Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attack on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

The e-mails raise further questions about the seeming confusion on the part of the Obama administration to determine the nature of the September attack and those who planned it.

The attack left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

on September 13, a senior U.S. official told CNN that the violence in Libya was not the work of "an innocent mob."

"The video or 9/11 made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective, but this was a clearly planned military-type attack," the official said.

But it wasn't until September 19 that the administration began to call the attack the work of terrorists.

The e-mails provide additional insight into the Benghazi attack.

The first one, sent at 4:05 p.m. ET, or 10:05 p.m. in Libya, describes a diplomatic mission under attack.

The subject line reads: "Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack."

The email says: "Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.

The Facebook claim of involvement was subsequently denied by the group at a news conference in the following days, but not very convincingly.

"We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the prophet," a spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia said at the time. "The response has to be firm."

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

While officials did mention the possible involvement of "extremists," they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.



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