Time to play the Benghazi game of Clue

After almost nine months of stalling, it's time to play Benghazi Clue. Photo: wikicommons

After almost nine months, during which we have seen a bogus State Department press release, Rose Garden denouncements, a Treaty Room statement, Andrews Air Force base condolences, 25,000 documents, an Accountability Review Board report, a Senate report, depositions, press briefings,  Congressional hearings, and Obama administration officials trolling on Sunday talk shows, it’s time to play Benghazi CLUE!

America needs to know if Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, or any of the other suspects used a dagger, a knife, a rope, or a candlestick in the library, the conservatory, or the billiard room.

Let’s roll the dice, and look at the clues to figure out who did what when, where, and how! In this game, acts of omission are just as important as acts of commission in determining why four American heroes died on September 11, 2012.

When specifically asked who was in charge in Washington in response to the Benghazi attack, Secretary of Defense Panetta testified, “We were all in charge!”  Hillary Clinton testified that she accepted responsibility, but exclaimed, what difference does it matter as to why Americans were attacked! This past Sunday, Dan Pfeiffer, another green administrative official, arrogantly claimed that the whereabouts of the President on the night in question are “irrelevant.”  Not so.

President Obama spoke with Hillary Clinton at 10pm on September 11, 2012. What was said during their discussion? Around that same time, State Department released a press release which stated,

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

Who wrote, authorized, released, and posted this State Department press release, announced before Stevens’ body was retrieved, and Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods perished?

What was the President doing from the time he was notified of the attack until the Americans were airlifted out of Libya? Why was the Obama administration stating that Al Qaeda was on the run when intelligence knew that Al Qaeda was in their Libyan backyard?  Did anyone tell the President if the NSA overheard Ansar Al Sharia calling Al Qaeda in Benghazi? 

Mark Thompson testified that FEST – the Foreign Emergency Support Team, which, according to the State Department’s own website, is “the U.S. Government’s only interagency, on-call team poised to rapidly respond to terrorists incidents worldwide,” was ready and willing to be deployed.  Who in authority made the decision to take FEST and the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) off the game board? Did anyone ever mention FEST, FAST- the Marine’s Fleet AntiTerrorism Security Teams, or the CSG to the President? Did the President react, and if so, what did he say? Did he use the dagger, the knife, the rope, or candlestick?

Senator Lindsey Graham asked AF General Carter Ham to give Congress a list of available assets that could reach Benghazi in 12 hours. That list has been turned over to Congress. It is classified. Who made the decision to make that now classified, and why has it not been declassified? What assets were available the night of the Benghazi attack? Who on that list was ordered ready to deploy, and why were they not deployed? Who made those decisions?

General Ham testified that he would have done things differently that night. Someone needs to  ask General Ham what would he have done differently and why did he not?

 Was the President in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, the National Security staff meeting, or in the library, the billiard room, or the bedroom? Panetta testified that he “presumed” that Jack Lew, the then White House Chief of Staff, was informing the President. Is the Secretary of Defense admitting that everyone was in charge, but he was clueless as to who was informing the Commander-in-Chief? A released White House photograph shows Dennis McDonough, the Deputy National Security Advisor, briefing President Obama and Vice-President Biden, with Jack Lew and Tom Donilon present. Maybe the White House photographer knows something that Leon Panetta did not know? 

On September 12, 2012, State Department officials told reporters that the National Security Council took the lead on the response to the attack with State Department’s help. State Department released the transcript and posted it on their website.

Hillary Clinton stated she made her first phone call to Tom Donilon. He was in the meeting with the President with Panetta and General Dempsey at 5pm. What was Donilon doing the night of the attack? Was he overseeing the National Security staff meeting? Who attended the National Security meeting, and what actions were they taking?

A stand-down order was given. Hicks testified that Lt. Colonel Gibson told him that he was told to stand-down. Who gave that order at AFRICOM or SOCOM?  Was it Professor Plume or Colonel Mustard?

Panetta testified that the FAST Team in Rota, Spain was told to change from their military uniforms to their civilian clothes after they were given the “ready to deploy” order. Panetta says the order to change to civvies came from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. Who gave that order, and why?

Thompson wanted to be interviewed by the Accountability Review Board. Hicks wants to read the classified ARB report. Perhaps this week when Ambassador Pickering gets deposed, we may know who was interviewed by ARB, and more importantly, who was not interviewed, who should have been, and why not?

On March 1, 2012, Congressman Frank Wolf sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to substantiate the rumors surrounding the number of injured during the Benghazi attack. Two months later - on May 6, 2012, Mr. Thomas Gibbons, Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the State Department replied,

            The Department appreciates your interest in talking to the five State Department Diplomatic Security agents who survived the attack. At the same time, we have serious concerns about their welfare and want to be careful not to interfere with the FBI’s investigation of the attack. One agent is currently recovering at a local military hospital, and the other four have returned to duty. All are security professionals, and we are committed to ensuring their security as they return to the field. Should their identities become public, they may become targets, putting their lives, as well as those of their families and the people they protect, at increased risk.

So, State under Kerry does not want to interfere with the FBI investigation, yet it seemingly interfered with the House Oversight Committee investigation in October 2012 because one  Benghazi clue is solved.  Jeremy Freeman is the young attorney who showed up in Benghazi with Congressman Jason Chaffetz and General Ham in early October 2012. He is now assigned permanently to the State Department Office of Legal Advisors. Whose decision was it to send him to Tripoli to spy on Congressman Chaffetz’s briefings? To whom did he report his findings? Were they given to the State Department officials who were briefing reporters on October 9, 2012 right before the Oversight hearing when Eric Nordstrom, Charlene Lamb, Lt. Colonel Andy Hicks, and Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy testified on October 10, 2012? Did Freeman give his notes to Cherly Mills, whom Eric Nordstrom testified was in the room before they testified? Was Freeman sent to Tripoli because a Congressional investigation was underway? Is it obstruction of justice to tell State Department employees not to speak with a member of Congress when simultaneously there are FBI and ARB investigations in motion? How does that reflect Obama’s proclaimed  “transparency”?

Most importantly, did anyone wake up the President in the study or the bedroom, and tell him that there was a dead Ambassador, and three more casualties, and that the evacuation was completed? 

Who was manning the ship at the White House?   It is relevant! It does matter! America wants to know if it was Colonel Mustard or Mrs. Peacock!

The Obama administration seems to be doing a good job trying to chip away at the Fourth Estate, but the U.S. Constitution is still the bedrock. And, while some journalists still agree to the play the administration’s games, there are many of us, who will stand up to the Obama administration because Obama and these Chicago-style tactics of obstruction of justice, intimidation of witnesses, smearing of whistleblowers, invasion of privacy, and chipping of the First Amendment has gone too far!

Christine Dolan is an Investigative Journalist, author, and television producer. She has worked at ABC News, CNN as Political Director, served as Managing Director of an international policy series, and covered human trafficking and terrorism worldwide for the last 13 years.


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Christine Dolan

Christine Dolan is an Investigative Journalist and television producer. She has worked for ABC News, CNN as Political Director, and covered human trafficking and terrorism worldwide for the last 13 years.

Contact Christine Dolan

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