Friday, October 26, 2012
I'm not particularly familiar with Peter Ferrara's work. His bio associates him with a bunch of right-wing groups and he is listed as a Forbes contributor since March 2011.
The OP/ED piece by Ferrara that caught my attention is: Benghazi: Obama's Actions Amount To A Shameful Dereliction Of Duty. It certainly reads like a typical nutjob conspiracy theory, but since it appeared in Forbes, and not Fox News, where I would dismiss it out of hand, my interest was piqued.
Looking at the author's other contributions, it is not his first attack on the president. However, these accusations are much more serious, if any of them are true.
Everybody on the right is talking about Obama "lying" about the attack, and particularly the exchange about it that occurred in the second debate. I even drove by a "rally" of sorts today with a few handfulls of people on social security and medicare complaining about socialism and holding signs that read "Obama Lied. People Died." I have seen many right-wing stories accusing the press of lying on Obama's behalf on this and refusing to report on the "truth" that Obama's comments in the Rose Garden in September 12 did not refer to Bengazi. I've read the transcript and listened to the speech over and over and I don't see anything to back up that G.O.P. rhetoric. You can read the whole thing yourself here and I encourage you to do so. The three paragraphs in question follow:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
Ferrara refers to the exchange at the debate as follows: "This spectacle of the President lying about his own lies to a national debate audience is unprecedented in American politics." Really? Settle down.
A far more potentially serious allegation is this:
Based on documents released by the House Oversight Committee, the day of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, September 11, the White House situation room starts receiving emails at about 1 pm that the mission is under hostile surveillance. The only response was that the Pentagon sends a drone armed with a video camera so that everyone in Washington can see what transpires in real time, as it happens, at the White House, at the State Department, at the Pentagon, at the CIA.
Ferrara goes on to say an email was sent at 4pm indicating that the office was "under military style attack" and:
The attack was then fed to all of them, the White House, the Pentagon, the State Dept., the CIA, through live video feed.
I haven't really been able to fact-check this part of the conspiracy theory. Other than Fox News. White House officials say there was no video stream available. That would suggest it's either the left-controlled media doing a great job covering this all up, as the author and some of the comments suggest, or it is nothing more than a right-wing conspiracy theory with little to no basis in fact.
Related notes from news sources:
- CBS News: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies." ... Defense officials say a general alert had been issued to U.S. forces worldwide, but no special alert had been ordered for Libya because there was no intelligence predicting an attack.
- ABC News: White House officials say there was no video stream available... the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was over before there was enough good information about what had actually happened.
- New York Times: “The bulk of available information supports the early assessment that the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”
Also see: Benghazi: The Real Libya Story Is No Story