CURL: You don’t mess with the CIA

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

You know who doesn’t like getting thrown under the bus? The CIA. You know what the CIA does when you try to throw it under the bus? They get even — quickly, quietly, and with fatal consequences.

That seems the most logical explanation for the torrent of information pouring out this week (unless Hillary Rodham Clinton — also thrown under the bus by President Obama — is scrapping any chance of ever running for president again and is simply setting the whole administration on fire, along with her legacy as secretary of state).

The main lesson from Watergate (after the no-brainer that you should never hire a guy named “Tricky Dick”) was this: The Cover-Up Is Worse Than The Crime. For some reason, Professor Obama seems not to know this crucial lesson. Or he’s just arrogant enough to say, “Well, that doesn’t apply to someone as brilliant as moi.”

Make no mistake, though: There is a massive cover-up under way in the White House. Nothing else can explain the endless contradictions over the attack that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead. The White House has already had to rewrite the entire narrative once, holding a late night conference call with reporters just before a House hearing two weeks ago in which State Department officials told a whole new tale: There was no “spontaneous” protest over some anti-Islam video posted on YouTube. Instead, there were dozens of heavily armed terrorists who poured over a 9-foot-high fence covered with barbed wire to attack America on 9/11.

Last week, Mr. Obama told another bald-faced lie when he declared at the presidential debate that he had termed the attack “terrorist” in a Rose Garden address the next day. He did no such thing; in fact, the White House and State Department took nearly two weeks to acknowledge it was a terrorist attack (all the while pushing the spontaneous protest and video canards).

This week’s deluge of contradictions, though, is far worse. Communications among top officials — including those in the White House Situation Room — suddenly appeared (thanks CIA!). The first, titled “US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack,” said “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador [J. Christopher] Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM [Chief of Mission/embassy] personnel are in the compound safe haven.”

The last of the released emails said: “Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.” In case you’ve never heard of them, Ansar al-Sharia is an anti-Moamar Gaddafi group made up of former rebels from the February 17 Brigade that demands the imposition of the strict Islamic Shariah law and is willing to murder to achieve its goals — what one might otherwise call a “terrorist group.”

By week’s end, still fuming over the whole thrown-under-the-bus thing, the CIA appeared to strike again, this time by leaking more information heavily damaging to the White House — and the man in charge of the Situation Room, the president. “Sources on the ground in Benghazi” told Fox News that “an urgent request from the CIA annex for military backup during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.”

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods and two others ignored the absurd order — Americans were under attack — swooped into the consulate and evacuated those stranded there. Mr. Woods and another former Navy SEAL would die seven hours later in mortar attacks.

What’s more, the sources told Fox that “at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested backup support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.”

No help was sent, even though quick-strike teams were poised an hour away in Italy.

Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, was incensed. “Apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help,” he told a radio show. “When I heard, you know, that there’s a very good chance that the White House as well as other members of the military knew what was going on and obviously someone had to say, don’t go rescue them. Because every person in the military — their first response [would be], ‘We’re going to go rescue them.’ We need to find out who it was that gave that command — do not rescue them.”

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, getting rolled by the CIA, looked the fool with his lame excuses, saying they didn’t have enough “real-time information” to send military forces to respond. “The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.” Wasn’t there a live stream in the Situation Room? He called criticism “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

But the CIA wasn’t finished with him or the White House. In one last flourish at week’s end, CIA spokesman Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

Game, set, match. The White House sought to divert blame, set up fantastical red herrings like spontaneous protesters (armed with mortars and RPGs!?) and anti-Islam videos posted on YouTube. But the CIA doesn’t like taking the fall for mistakes by the president and his top aides, and they get even quickly, quietly, and with fatal consequences.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.

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