New documents released as part of the congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attack on an American embassy in Libya support some claims by the Obama administration while also raising new questions about the lack of security for the embassy personnel.
After the attack, administration officials claimed that the attack was sparked by a demonstration in reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, explained it this way on five Sept. 15 talk shows. Since then, Republicans have criticized the administration for providing a misleading account of those events, arguing that it was obviously a planned terrorist attack that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
On Friday a National Counterterrorism Center document showing the talking points provided to the administration on Sept. 14 suggests the truth to be somewhere between the administration and Republican positions. The CIA believed at the time that there was limited planning involved in the attack. The attackers were watching the demonstrations in Egypt and the anti-Muslim YouTube video before deciding to attack the embassy that day, according to the talking points provided to administration officials, including Rice. more >>
A number of Jewish organizations pulled out of an interfaith meeting with Protestants on Wednesday after church leaders questioned why the United States was providing military aid to Israel in its conflict with Palestine.
The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Conservative and Reform Jewish have all said they will not be attending the annual Christian-Jewish Roundtable, which was planned to take place in New York on Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The Jewish groups explained that their decision was based on several mainline Protestant leaders asking Congress to re-evaluate the military aid it sends to Israel and accusing the Jewish state of human right abuses. more >>
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) believes that the Obama administration knew within 24 hours after the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack. President Obama and other administration officials were claiming the attack was a spontaneous demonstration in response to an anti-Muslim YouTube video for two weeks after the Sept. 11 attack.
"The coordinated attack lasted for hours with al-Qaida associated militia. My belief is that was known by the administration within 24 hours," Graham said in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Graham argued that the Obama administration promulgated incorrect information about the Benghazi attack because it is "trying to sell a narrative about the Middle East – the wars are receding and al-Qaida's been dismantled." Admitting that it was a terrorist attack, Graham continued, would show that "leading from behind didn't work" and it "undercuts that narrative." more >>
Veteran Middle East reporter Lara Logan, who works for CBS' "60 Minutes," accused the U.S. government of propagating a "major lie" about terrorism, in her keynote address at Tuesday's Better Government Association annual luncheon. The lie, Logan said, is that the Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists have softened in recent years.
There has been "a narrative coming out of Washington over the last few years," Logan claimed, "driven by Pakistani lobbying money and by Taliban apologists," that "the Taliban today is so unlike the Taliban of 2001. They are just a more moderate, gentler, kinder, Taliban that just can't wait to see women in the workplace, occupy an equal role in society ... it's such nonsense."
The U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, repeatedly requested additional security but were denied, officials who worked at the embassy testified at a Wednesday hearing before the House Oversight Committee. The U.S. State Department also now claims that it never concluded that the attack on the Benghazi Embassy was caused by an anti-Muslim video.
"The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there. The situation remained uncertain and reports from some Libyans indicated it was getting worse. Diplomatic security remained weak. In April, there was only one U.S. diplomatic security agent stationed there. The [regional security officer] struggled to obtain additional personnel there but was never able to attain the numbers he felt comfortable with," Lt. Col. Andrew Wood said.
The Benghazi embassy was attack by the al-Qaida terrorist organization on Sept. 11. The terrorists killed four Americans in the attack, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. more >>
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly referred to as North Korea, has warned that its rockets have the capability to reach the U.S. mainland, in the wake of what it sees as plans to invade its shores.
"We do not hide (the fact) that the revolutionary armed forces ... including the strategic rocket forces are keeping within the scope of strike not only the bases of the puppet forces and the U.S. imperialist aggression forces' bases in the inviolable land of Korea, but also Japan, Guam and the U.S. mainland," the KCNA said in a statement, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
North Korea was included as part of the "Axis of Evil," countries identified by former President George W. Bush as seeking weapons of mass destruction, and will likely be brought up in upcoming presidential debates between President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney. The two men recently clashed on foreign policy issues, with the former Massachusetts governor accusing Obama's administration of weakening American's leadership worldwide, therefore exposing it to more threats, while the Obama camp has tried to portray Romney as gaff-prone and unqualified to handle global conflicts. more >>