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article imageOp-Ed: Benghazi attack — The October surprise that backfired

By Eric Morales     Nov 17, 2012 in World
The Romney campaign was banking on the Benghazi attack making Obama the next Jimmy Carter, however it has instead blown up in the face of the American right - only problem is, they haven't realized that yet.
Conservatives thought the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was the little engine that could. President Obama was ahead in a majority of polls in swing states, and he was leading former Governor Mitt Romney hands down.
Then came reports that the consulate was under attack, after violent protests over a derisive movie entitled Innocence of Muslims which insulted the Prophet Muhammad and decent minded people the world over. Then the news came that Ambassador Stevens were killed along with two CIA security contractors and an IT specialist. The Romney campaign wasted no time issuing a statement even while the embassy staff was still in harms way. The media seemed surprised at their gung ho attitude on the attacks, why was the campaign using this moment of tragedy on the anniversary of another tragedy to attack their opponent, President Obama?
This was their plan. This was their moment. The Reagan revolution was getting a sequel.
The Stand Down
Michael Morell, the Acting CIA Director testified to the Senate that the CIA in Libya never asked for help. This is important in light of what we already know about the attacks. According to the Daily Beast, two hours after the attack on the consulate began Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had multiple plans in place to respond. The plans included sending in a Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) from Rota, Spain. More plans included two special forces units to deploy to Libya, one from Italy and another from the United States. However the CIA never requested the help, and neither did the State Department.
It's interesting to note who was in charge here. The Director of the CIA at the time as we all know was General David Petraeus. The same David Petraeus who served in George W. Bush's war in Iraq, led that war. A Republican who rose to prominence when the Neo-Conservative movement was in power. The same Neo-Conservative movement seeking to return to power under Governor Romney. You'll remember seeing Dan Senor on the Romney campaign, and talk of John Bolton being in the Romney administration.
Patrick F. Kennedy is the Under Secretary for Management at the State Department. His job in part is overseeing the physical property of the State Department, as well as Diplomatic Security. He is also no fan of Barack Obama, he called the then candidate Obama's foreign speech in Germany partisan political activity and forbade his staff from attending, he too was appointed by the Bush administration.
Of course their are numerous other Neo-Conservative left overs at both the CIA and the State Department, enough to ensure that an attack on the Benghazi consulate looks bad on their political rival boss - the President.
During opportunistic hearings on the Benghazi attack Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a Mormon like Mitt Romney, as well as Congressman Darrell Issa, who has tried to dig up something to go after President Obama with since he was inaugurated, exposed a secret CIA base near the consulate. The question I ask, why did the officers at this CIA base not respond? They were most definitely armed since they were serving in a war zone, what were they doing? The answer nothing, just as the upper echelons of the CIA and State Department refused assistance, and allowed the attack on the Benghazi attack to go on unopposed, the CIA team in Benghazi stood down.
The Movie
It wasn't a few hours after the attacks in Benghazi, that Conservative talking points began floating around that the Obama administration once again apologized to the Muslim world, and that they should have defended the Innocence of Muslim's film, as free speech. How nice, if the film had portrayed Jesus Christ, or Ronald Reagan would the far right had had the same reaction, I think not.
But, lets look at who is behind this film, Terry Jones was a vocal supporter of the film which enraged the world and provided an initial casus belli for the Benghazi attack. It was Jones whom conservatives defended when he set out to burn the Quran. It was Pamela Gellar who solicited funds for the film, she is linked by degrees of separation right back to the Romney campaign and the Neo-Conservative lobby through John Bolton who wrote the forward to her book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America. Beside being a contributor to conservative magazine Human Events Ms. Gellar is also a proponent of the far-rights continued assertion that radical, spooky Muslims are trying to make America a Muslim state subject to Sharia law.
The movie was not the issue however, it was only the red herring which distracted you from the fact that the mainly Neo-Conservative CIA stood down and allowed the attack to occur to blame the Obama administration.
The Culprit
Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu is a former prisoner of Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba who was transferred to Libyan custody in 2007. It was first reported that Qumu may have been behind the consulate attack by Fox News. However that was conveniently denied by national security officials, of course they would not admit that a former detainee of the United States had killed an American Ambassador after being released by the Bush administration, especially if this same former detainee Bin Qumu, was doing the bidding of the CIA.
My conclusion for those who think the world is black and white, that the good guys, are really the good guys, and the bad guys are just as bad as our hero figures in leadership say they are, is far fetched. However in light of the Gulf of Tonkin or the Lavon affair it is not that sordid, just the norm. It is my belief that in the very least the Benghazi attack was allowed to occur. Hence the inexplicable "do nothing" response by the CIA, in order to make the Obama administration look weak and soft on terrorism. Once again the strong, cowboyish Republican party could paint themselves as tough on terror and ride in and be the John Wayne figure snatching up the damsel in distress, saving the day.
Neo-Conservatives are all too eager to relive the days after 9/11 when the country was hawkish and George W. Bush was popular and war as American as apple pie.
So Why Didn't It Work
General Petraeus has a thing for brunettes. I believe that it is no coincidence in light of all that I have outlined here concerning the CIA, that David Petraeus has been sacked as CIA Director. Is it possible that the leaks concerning the inaction of the CIA in the early days of the Benghazi attack came from Paula Broadwell? After all the National Security Agency was outed in 2006 for spying on journalists who were exposing government secrets. One of them being Vernon Loeb, why is he important, well he is only Paula Broadwell's co-author on All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. I do not think it is merely coincidental that now everyone is concerned whether Paula Broadwell was accessing Petraeus personal data, in light of the Benghazi attack, and its fall out. The right wing's clueless thinking that they can create their own facts, concerning Obama calling Benghazi a terrorist attack did not help.
Regardless this is not over and the right wing will not give up its fight to make the Benghazi issue their main weapon to attack Obama, it has gone from an October surprise issue to one to use for Watergate style hearings.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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