Beng­hazi: Coun­try de­serves the truth

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Pat Buchanan

The stun­ning res­ig­na­tion of CIA Di­rec­tor David Pe­traeus, days be­fore he was to tes­tify on the CIA role in the Beng­hazi mas­sacre, raises many more ques­tions than his res­ig­na­tion let­ter an­swers.

“I showed ex­tremely poor judg­ment by en­gag­ing in an ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair,” wrote Pe­traeus. “Such be­hav­ior is un­ac­cept­able ... as the leader of an or­ga­ni­za­tion such as ours.”

The prob­lem: Pe­traeus’ “un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior,” adul­tery with a mar­ried mother of two, Paula Broad­well, that ex­posed the fa­mous gen­eral to black­mail, be­gan soon af­ter he be­came di­rec­tor in 2011.

Was his se­cu­rity de­tail at the CIA and were his clos­est as­so­ci­ates obliv­i­ous to the fact that the di­rec­tor was a ripe tar­get for black­mail, since any reve­la­tion of the af­fair could de­stroy his ca­reer?

Peo­ple at the CIA had to know they had a se­cu­rity risk at the top of their agency. Did no one at the CIA do any­thing?

By early sum­mer, how­ever, Jill Kel­ley, 37, a close friend of the gen­eral from his days as head of Cent­Com at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., had re­ceived half a dozen anony­mous, jeal­ous, threat­en­ing emails.

“Back off.” “Stay away from my guy!” they said. Kel­ley went to an FBI friend who fer­reted out Broad­well as the sen­der and Pe­traeus as the guy she wanted Kel­ley to stay away from.

Yet, learn­ing that Broad­well was the source of the emails, that Pe­traeus was hav­ing an af­fair with her, and that the CIA di­rec­tor was thus a tar­get for black­mail and a se­cu­rity risk should have taken three days for the FBI, not three months.

And when Broad­well was iden­ti­fied as the source of the threats, did the Tampa FBI of­fice de­cide on its own to rum­mage through her other emails? And when Pe­traeus’ se­cret email ad­dress popped up, did the lo­cal FBI de­cide to rum­mage through his emails, as well?

Was the CIA aware that Pe­traeus’ pri­vate emails were be­ing read by the FBI?

Surely, as soon as Pe­traeus’ af­fair be­came known, FBI Di­rec­tor Robert Mueller would have been told and would have alerted At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder, who would have alerted the pres­i­dent.

For a mat­ter of such grav­ity, this is nor­mal pro­ce­dure. Yet, The New York Times says the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment kept the White House in the dark. Is that be­liev­able? Could it be that Obama and the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil were kept ig­no­rant of a grave se­cu­rity risk and a po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive scan­dal that the Tampa FBI field of­fice knew all about?

By late Oc­to­ber, with the FBI, Jus­tice and the White House all in “hear-no-evil” mode, an FBI “whis­tle-blower” from Florida con­tacted the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship in the House and told them of the dy­na­mite the ad­min­is­tra­tion was sit­ting on.

Ma­jor­ity Leader Eric Can­tor’s of­fice called Mueller, and the game was up. But the truth was with­held un­til af­ter Nov. 6.

Closed Se­nate hear­ings are be­ing held into unan­swered ques­tions about the ter­ror­ist at­tack in which Amb. Chris Stevens, two for­mer Navy SEALs and a U.S. diplo­mat were killed.

There are four ba­sic ques­tions.

Why were re­peated warn­ings from Beng­hazi about ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity in the area ig­nored and more se­cu­rity not pro­vided, de­spite ur­gent pleas from Stevens and oth­ers at the con­sulate?

Why was the U.S. mil­i­tary un­able to come to the res­cue of our peo­ple beg­ging for help, when the bat­tle in Beng­hazi lasted on and off for seven hours?

Who, if any­one, gave an or­der for forces to “stand down” and not go to the res­cue of the con­sulate com­pound or the safe house? A week be­fore Pe­traeus’ res­ig­na­tion, the CIA is­sued a flat de­nial that any or­der to stand down ever came from any­one in the agency.

Fourth, when the CIA knew it was a ter­ror­ist at­tack, why did Jay Car­ney on Sept. 13, David Pe­traeus to Congress on Sept. 14, UN Amb. Su­san Rice on Sept 16 on five TV shows, and Obama be­fore the UN two weeks af­ter 9/11 all keep push­ing what the CIA knew was a false and phony story: That it had all come out of a spon­ta­neous protest of an an­tiIs­lamic video made by some clown in Cal­i­for­nia? There was no protest. Was the video-protest line a cover story to con­ceal a hor­ri­ble lapse of se­cu­rity be­fore the at­tack and a fail­ure to re­spond dur­ing the at­tack — re­sult­ing in the slaugh­ter?

Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton has sent word she will not be tes­ti­fy­ing. And she will soon be step­ping down. Pe­traeus is a no-show this week. He is gone. Holder is mov­ing on, and so, too, is De­fense Sec­re­tary Leon Panetta.

Pres­i­dent Nixon’s At­tor­neys Gen­eral John Mitchell and Richard Klein­di­enst and his top aides Bob Halde­man and John Ehrlich­man were all sub­poe­naed by the Water­gate Com­mit­tee and made to tes­tify un­der oath about a bun­gled bug­ging at the DNC.

The Beng­hazi mas­sacre is a far graver mat­ter, and the coun­try de­serves an­swers. The coun­try de­serves the truth. Patrick J. Buchanan is the au­thor of “Sui­cide of a Su­per­power: Will Amer­ica Sur­vive to 2025?”

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