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The State Dept’s official account of what happened in Benghazi

The State Department Obama Lying to Americahas released a transcript of a briefing that two high-ranking State Department officials gave to a number of reporters via conference call on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 — the night before the Congressional hearings on the Benghazi cover-up.

While it is impossible to know exactly what motivated the conference call, it may be part of the deepening and escalating conflict between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. From day one, Obama and Biden have tried to avoid political responsibility for the attack on the American consulate that resulted in the death of four American diplomats. Obama lied from the first moment he opened his mouth about the attack. Initially, Clinton was cooperative in the lies.

The goal was to paint the attack as an entirely unforeseeable and completely random event. The story they concocted was that an offensive YouTube video so angered Libyans that they gathered to protest outside the American consulate in Benghazi. The protest spontaneously intensified and all of a sudden the protestors attacked the consulate and killed the Ambassador and three other diplomats. While this story defied logic, team Obama determined it was their best play to avoid political responsibility. Or so they thought. And they stuck by their insane story tenaciously for about a month.

The press asked shockingly few questions and simply accepted Obama’s idiotic narrative. In truth, they wanted to believe Obama. They’ve been rooting for him. For example, when Mitt Romney asked logical and sensible questions, the media attacked him for politicizing the event. For them, getting answers to questions like what really happened was “politicizing” the event. Regardless of the lapdog media’s disinterest in getting answers, slowly facts and information dripped here and leaked there and it became clear even to the stupefied media that someone wasn’t telling the whole story. Congress scheduled hearings to look into the cover-up.

This is when I believe a divide between the Obama-Biden reelection team and Hillary Clinton began to appear. Team Obama started to blame the State Department, or in other words, Hillary, for the debacle. She was willing to help spread Obama’s lies as long as they didn’t scapegoat her. But now it was becoming clear that Obama and Biden were blaming her. So she allowed two senior State Department officials to tell all that they knew because the facts prove that Obama was lying from day one.

At first, Obama just wanted to spin a yarn that allowed him to escape responsibility. But as that became increasingly unlikely, he now wants to blame Hillary. Hillary refused to let Obama push the blame off on her. So now, Barack and Hillary are no longer allies in telling the self-evidently absurd “YouTube Movie and angry protestors” version of story.

What this entire affair reveals — beyond the fact that Obama’s foreign policy is a complete disaster and his stewardship of our national security isn’t much better — is that Obama is really only good at one thing — shifting blame. After four years in office, Obama still blames Bush for the weak economy. He claims that we’d have more jobs if it weren’t for those awful Republicans in Congress while ignoring that even in the Senate which is controlled by the Democrats, he cannot get a single vote for his budget for the past three years. Even though Obama exploded the debt, he blames Bush on that count too. The truth is, for any problem that exists, Obama has someone to blame for it. But never himself. It is always someone else. The attack in Benghazi is just more of the same. Obama blamed fictional angry protestors. Now he will blame the State Department and Hillary. There will never come a time when Barack Obama will man up and accept responsibility. He simply cannot do that. He isn’t man enough. Harry Truman once said of the presidency, “The buck stops here.” For Obama, the bucks always stops somewhere else. That’s not leadership.

Here are some excerpts from the transcript of the State Department briefing:

A few minutes later – we’re talking about 9 o’clock at night – the Ambassador retires to his room, the others are still at Building C, and the one agent in the [Tactical Operations Center]. At 9:40 p.m., the agent in the TOC and the agents in Building C hear loud noises coming from the front gate. They also hear gunfire and an explosion. The agent in the TOC looks at his cameras – these are cameras that have pictures of the perimeter – and the camera on the main gate reveals a large number of people – a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound. One special agent immediately goes to get the Ambassador in his bedroom and gets Sean, and the three of them enter the safe haven inside the building. …

They turn around immediately and head back – or the two of them, from Building B, turn around immediately with their kit and head back to Villa C, where the Ambassador and his colleagues are. They encounter a large group of armed men between them and Building C. I should say that the agent in Building C with the Ambassador has radioed that they are all in the safe haven and are fine. The agents that encounter the armed group make a tactical decision to turn around and go back to their Building B and barricade themselves in there. So we have people in three locations right now.

And I neglected to mention – I should have mentioned from the top that the attackers, when they came through the gate, immediately torched the barracks. It is aflame, the barracks that was occupied by the 17th February Brigade armed host country security team. I should also have mentioned that at the very first moment when the agent in the TOC seized the people flowing through the gate, he immediately hits an alarm, and so there is a loud alarm. He gets on the public address system as well, yelling, “Attack, attack.” Having said that, the agents – the other agents had heard the noise and were already reacting.

Okay. So we have agents in Building C – or an agent in Building C with the Ambassador and Sean, we have two agents in Building B, and we have two agents in the TOC. All – Building C is – attackers penetrate in Building C. They walk around inside the building into a living area, not the safe haven area. The building is dark. They look through the grill, they see nothing. They try the grill, the locks on the grill; they can’t get through. The agent is, in fact, watching them from the darkness. He has his long gun trained on them and he is ready to shoot if they come any further. They do not go any further.

They have jerry cans. They have jerry cans full of diesel fuel that they’ve picked up at the entrance when they torched the barracks. They have sprinkled the diesel fuel around. They light the furniture in the living room – this big, puffy, Middle Eastern furniture. They light it all on fire, and they have also lit part of the exterior of the building on fire. At the same time, there are other attackers that have penetrated Building B. The two agents in Building B are barricaded in an inner room there. The attackers circulate in Building B but do not get to the agents and eventually leave.

A third group of attackers tried to break into the TOC. They pound away at the door, they throw themselves at the door, they kick the door, they really treat it pretty rough; they are unable to get in, and they withdraw. Back in Building C, where the Ambassador is, the building is rapidly filling with smoke. The attackers have exited. The smoke is extremely thick. It’s diesel smoke, and also, obviously, smoke from – fumes from the furniture that’s burning. And the building inside is getting more and more black. The Ambassador and the two others make a decision that it’s getting – it’s starting to get tough to breathe in there, and so they move to another part of the safe haven, a bathroom that has a window. They open the window. The window is, of course, grilled. They open the window trying to get some air in. That doesn’t help. The building is still very thick in smoke. …

Okay. We’ve got the agent. He’s opening the – he is suffering severely from smoke inhalation at this point. He can barely breathe. He can barely see. He’s got the grill open and he flops out of the window onto a little patio that’s been enclosed by sandbags. He determines that he’s under fire, but he also looks back and sees he doesn’t have his two companions. He goes back in to get them. He can’t find them. He goes in and out several times before smoke overcomes him completely, and he has to stagger up a small ladder to the roof of the building and collapse. He collapses. …

The agent in the TOC, who is in full gear, opens the door, throws a smoke grenade, which lands between the two buildings, to obscure what he is doing, and he moves to Building B, enters Building B. He un-barricades the two agents that are in there, and the three of them emerge and head for Building C. There are, however, plenty of bad guys and plenty of firing still on the compound, and they decide that the safest way for them to move is to go into an armored vehicle, which is parked right there. They get into the armored vehicle and they drive to Building C.

They drive to the part of the building where the agent had emerged. He’s on the roof. They make contact with the agent. Two of them set up as best a perimeter as they can, and the third one, third agent, goes into the building. This goes on for many minutes. Goes into the building, into the choking smoke. When that agent can’t proceed, another agent goes in, and so on. And they take turns going into the building on their hands and knees, feeling their way through the building to try to find their two colleagues. They find Sean. They pull him out of the building. He is deceased. They are unable to find the Ambassador. …

At this point, the quick reaction security team and the Libyans, especially the Libyan forces, are saying, “We cannot stay here. It’s time to leave. We’ve got to leave. We can’t hold the perimeter.” So at that point, they make the decision to evacuate the compound and to head for the annex. The annex is about two kilometers away. My agents pile into an armored vehicle with the body of Sean, and they exit the main gate. …

[T]hey take fire almost as soon as they emerge from the compound. They go a couple of – they go in one direction toward the annex. They don’t like what they’re seeing ahead of them. There are crowds. There are groups of men. They turn around and go the other direction. They don’t like what they’re seeing in that direction either. They make another u-turn. They’re going at a steady pace. There is traffic in the roads around there. This is in Benghazi, after all. Now, they’re going at a steady pace and they’re trying not to attract too much attention, so they’re going maybe 15 miles an hour down the street.

They come up to a knot of men in an adjacent compound, and one of the men signals them to turn into that compound. They agents at that point smell a rat, and they step on it. They have taken some fire already. At this point, they take very heavy fire as they go by this group of men. They take direct fire from AK-47s from about two feet away. The men also throw hand grenades or gelignite bombs under – at the vehicle and under it. At this point, the armored vehicle is extremely heavily impacted, but it’s still holding. There are two flat tires, but they’re still rolling. …

As the night goes on, a team of reinforcements from Embassy Tripoli arrives by chartered aircraft at Benghazi airport and makes its way to the compound – to the annex, I should say. And I should have mentioned that the quick reaction – the quick reaction security team that was at the compound has also, in addition to my five agents, has also returned to the annex safely. The reinforcements from Tripoli are at the compound – at the annex. They take up their positions. And somewhere around 5:45 in the morning – sorry, somewhere around 4 o’clock in the morning – I have my timeline wrong – somewhere around 4 o’clock in the morning the annex takes mortar fire. It is precise and some of the mortar fire lands on the roof of the annex. It immediately killed two security personnel that are there, severely wounds one of the agents that’s come from the compound.

At that point, a decision is made at the annex that they are going to have to evacuate the whole enterprise. And the next hours are spent, one, securing the annex, and then two, moving in a significant and large convoy of vehicles everybody to the airport, where they are evacuated on two flights.

For the record, about this time, Barack Obama was again skipping his national security briefing, taping an interview for 60 Minutes, and getting on a plane to attend a rally in Las Vegas and then a big fundraiser.

The full briefing might be a bit long or boring to read, but it is hard to miss that it blows huge holes in Obama’s faux narrative. While I do no know what the reporters were thinking, unless they have the cognitive abilities of a goat, they had to realize that Obama’s story was a complete fabrication and was designed to cover-up the truth to save him from political accountability during a tough re-election fight.

Here are some interesting excerpts from the question and answer portion of the briefing teleconference:

Operator: First question is from the line of Anne Gearan with the Washington Post. Please go ahead.

Question: Hi. You said a moment ago that there was nothing unusual outside, on the street, or outside the gates of the main compound. When did the agents inside – what – excuse me, what did the agents inside think was happening when the first group of men gathered there and they first heard those explosions? Did they think it was a protest, or did they think it was something else?

Senior State Department Official No. 2: The agent in the TOC heard the noise, heard the firing. Firing is not unusual in Benghazi at 9:40 at night, but he immediately reacted and looked at his cameras and saw people coming in, hit the alarm. And the rest is as I described it. Does that help?

This exchange is revealing and perhaps the best sound byte from entire briefing:

Operator: The next question is from the line of Brad Klapper with AP. Please, go ahead.

Question: Hi, yes. You described several incidents you had with groups of men, armed men. What in all of these events that you’ve described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?

Senior State Department Official No. 2: That is a question that you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion. I’m not saying that we had a conclusion, but we outlined what happened. The Ambassador walked guests out around 8:30 or so, there was no one on the street at approximately 9:40, then there was the noise and then we saw on the cameras the – a large number of armed men assaulting the compound.

There is a lot to read in the transcript, but the one unescapable fact from all of it is that Hillary Clinton is no longer part of Barack Obama’s cover-up team and the State Department unequivocially rejects the absurd story that Obama and Biden have been telling. Now Biden has deepened the rift — first, by blaming the intelligence community for telling him and Obama that there was a protest over an internet movie that got out of hand, and second, by blaming the State Department  for the fact that the Benghazi consulate wasn’t better defended — particularly on a day such as September 11th. The problem is there was no protest in Benghazi. None at all. So there is no way that Obama and Biden are telling the truth about what intelligence reports told them. Here’s the truth — Obama is lying and hoping to avoid accountability for his failed policies and his failed leadership.

And more facts will come to light and the more facts that do, the more it will be obvious that Obama and Biden were lying from the very first day and since that first lie, they’ve engaged in a grand cover-up with the aid and assistance of the shameless media who for almost a month asked no questions and attacked anyone who had the courage ask for the truth. The media wonders why fewer and fewer Americans trust them. Obama wonders why his polling numbers continue to drop. Both need only understand that no one likes to be lied to.

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The full transcript of the State Department briefing can be found here.