Hayden and Chertoff Blast the Obama Administration on Benghazi

bidenbeg Hayden and Chertoff Blast the Obama Administration on Benghazi

Mistakes can be forgiven but covering them up, especially when your excuse changes from day to day, points to a much larger problem:

Michael Hayden, former CIA director, and Michael Chertoff, who served as Homeland Security chief, hit out after Biden stunned many in the intelligence community by insisting that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi did not ask for additional security before it was attacked on September 11 – directly contradicting what security officials and diplomats have testified under oath.

The tough joint statement was issued via the Romney campaign. In it they added: ‘Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs.’

‘During the Vice Presidential debate, we were disappointed to see Vice President Biden blame the intelligence community for the inconsistent and shifting response of the Obama Administration to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,’ they said in the statement.

‘Given what has emerged publicly about the intelligence available before, during, and after the September 11 attack, it is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence. Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs.’

There may be layers of failure contributing to this incident but the response from the White House is appalling. It’s not just that they have demonstrated the wrong kind of leadership. They haven’t demonstrated any leadership at all. And then there are the hints (I’m being generous) of ethical and moral failings permeating the entire affair. That is not forgivable.

Security Officer Qassim M. Aklan Killed at US Embassy in Yemen

Security Officer Qassim M. Aklan Killed at US Embassy in Yemen

yemen Security Officer Qassim M. Aklan Killed at US Embassy in Yemen

Another small victory for the enemy:

A masked gunman assassinated a Yemeni security official who worked for the U.S. Embassy in a drive-by shooting Thursday near his home in the capital, officials said, adding the assault bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

…The officials noted it was similar to a series of other recent assaults by Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, although they said it was too early to confirm the group’s involvement. Washington considers the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the most dangerous offshoot of the terror network. It has also been increasingly targeting Yemeni intelligence, military and security officials in retaliation for a U.S.-backed government offensive in the south.

AQAP sponsored or not I find the uptick in small scale attacks concerning. Granted, these are not catastrophic events that impact national power but they are still human tragedies and still disruptive (sometimes incredibly so) to our mission overseas.

Of course, al Qaeda was famous for aiming incredibly high in its attack planning – and obviously hit that mark quite a few times. Recent events seem to indicate that the strategy of a thousand cuts is on its way to being more fully realized. But is that overarching strategy really being fully embraced or is the increasing downward slide in attack scope more indicative of the enemies reduced capabilities?

I think there’s a little bit of both possibilities at play here. I don’t think there is quite enough evidence yet to suggest that al Qaeda and its affiliates can carry off a sustained and coordinated international campaign of small attacks. One thousand small cuts can bring down a giant but only if they occur in relatively quick succession and with some degree of coordination. This event is probably best viewed in a local context rather than as part of a coordinated international campaign. However, that could change at some point.

For me the possibility of emerging coordination (even if the networks themselves remain quite loose) and increasing frequency of attack raise other questions. How could we conduct our overseas diplomatic and intelligence missions in the face of that disruption? Perhaps it is even better to ask if we are too reliant on those facilities to start with. Could we operate differently and minimize the risk? Have we done enough to anticipate our enemy and negate their impact? After Benghazi I am not so confident that we know the answers to those questions. In fact, I am not even sure that we are asking them.

Benghazi Attack Fallout and Congressional Hearings Monitor

benghazimon Benghazi Attack Fallout and Congressional Hearings Monitor

With the State Department backtracking on its story, disturbing and shameful background details on the security situation continuing to emerge, and hearings on “The Security Failures of Benghazi” being held today there is going to be a flood of commentary and information on Twitter.

Fortunately, I’ve created a monitor for these issues on Covert Contact. These monitors usually require a small subscription fee but this is a critical issue and I want to help as many people follow it as possible. Just click on the start button below to launch the monitor.

start button Benghazi Attack Fallout and Congressional Hearings Monitor