Sunday, January 17, 2016

Movie Review - 13 Hours

            There is so much disinformation about the Benghazi incident that it will be impossible to get an accurate picture of what really transpired during the attack.  This has led to all kinds of conspiracy theories.  Informed commentators frequently refer to the compound in Benghazi as a consulate.  It was not a consulate and that is significant.  There are certain requirements for a consulate that the compound did not meet.

            Only the President has “cross-border authority.”  The President had a full day planned for September 12 and did not want to be disturbed.  Can you imagine how it would go at his campaign stop in Las Vegas if he did not get a full night’s sleep.  According to Senator Lindsey Graham the President did not even bother to call any government officials in Libya until long after the attack.   He had no problem in granting the military authority to cross the border to attack Qadaffi.  The media has shown a curious lack of interest in what he was doing during the attack. 

            Much has been made of the “stand down” order.  A CIA spokesman, Ryan Trapani, has announced that there was no “stand down” order.  This brings to mind a quote from Otto von Bismarck: “Nothing is proven until it is officially denied."

            Ambassador Stevens was more than likely CIA.  He met with the Turkish Consul General immediately prior to the attack.  He was in Benghazi to oversee the arms collected by the CIA that were shipped to Syrian rebels through Turkey.

            Security in Libya was reduced prior to the attack in spite of Steven’s requests.  The movie could have stressed Steven’s concerns.  The lack of security was Bush’s fault, or maybe the Republicans who cut security spending.  However, the State Department still has enough money to purchase $5 million worth of crystal from a company owned by a campaign contributor.  Relying on the indigenous population for security, specifically the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, seems unwise: something like a bank hiring the Barrow/Parker Bank Security Company.

            One thing the movie pointed out was the sophisticated video communications between the contractors and their families.  Was the government video equipment less sophisticated than the contractors?  Could people in Washington view events in Benghazi as they were happening through the cameras in the compound?  If this is the case I suggest they hire a consultant.  Probably any 13 year old girl could fill them in.

            The movie shows that there was a conscious effort to destroy classified material at the CIA annex.  Ambassador Stevens did not have this opportunity.  He undoubtedly had classified material at the compound.  The first people to have access to any classified material were the attackers.  Pity the people who had relations with the U.S. and did not want their identities known.  Three days after the attack a CNN reporter found the ambassador’s diary in the “largely unsecured” compound. The FBI sent a team to the compound two weeks after the attack.  Understandably they did not spend much time there.  A Washington Post reporter found “sensitive document” only “loosely secured” in the wreckage of the U.S. mission over three weeks after the attack.  A television station in the United Arab Emirates, Alaan TV, reported in November that documents written by US consulate staff in Benghazi were found in the “Tactical Operations Facility” of the compound.

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