The recently-released bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi sheds new light on the role of Michael Morell, the CIA’s former deputy director, in the official “talking points” explanations put forward after the attack.
“I think, given what was said by him and others, and where they’re headed, down the political road, would justify revisiting this issue,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News.
The Senate report states that on Sep. 15, 2012, four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on Sunday talk shows blaming the assault on a demonstration over a video, Morell and others at the CIA received a critical email that reported the attacks were “not/not an escalation of protests.” Fox News was the first broadcast network to report there were no protests outside the consulate at the time of the attack on Sept. 17, 2012.
The email was from the CIA chief of station who was on the ground in Libya.
“The chief of station is the senior intelligence officer for the entire United States government,” said Sam Faddis, who writes extensively about the CIA and intelligence community. “You would really have to have some incredibly overwhelming factual evidence to disregard that and there is no indication of that in the report at all.”
Five former intelligence officials contacted by Fox News agreed with Faddis’ assessment of the importance of the chief of station’s email, but declined to speak on camera, citing personal reasons.
“The way the agency works, he’s been running 24 hours a day to nail every fact, and probably they have been sending dozens of messages a day to Washington D.C.,” Faddis said of the CIA station chief.
“And now he’s reaching out four days into this, emailed directly to the most senior levels of his organization, saying again with the big red crayon as clearly as he can, there were no protests.”
While the report does not explain when Morell read the email, it says that on the same day, September 15, he twice edited the talking points about the incident, excising about half the text– including prior warnings to the State Department.
The word “Islamic” was cut, but “demonstrations” stayed in.
The report goes on to explain that the next day, Sep. 16, the same day Susan Rice appeared on television, Morell then asked “CIA staff at Embassy Tripoli” for more information.
On Sep. 18, the CIA and FBI “reviewed the closed circuit television video from the mission facility that showed there were no protests prior to the attacks.”
But on Sep. 20, in an interview with Univision, when pressed on the Benghazi attack and whether it was an Al Qaeda-led event, President Obama responded, “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”
Sen Lindsey Graham is almost able to make a strong point.
But he backs down, apparently.
Here’s what he knew and what he asked:
Between 2012 and now Graham has been quiet.
Their families are not getting any younger.
A little urgency might have been appreciated.
Like when Sen Cruz did his non-filibuster-filibuster and finally got the answer we were waiting for: No. Obama could NOT drone kill Americans in the USA without due process, thank you very much.
Graham could have beat a drum.
He is a Johnny-come-lately namby-pamby who knows a good-sounding sound bite when one falls in his lap.
Will Obama even still be in office at the pace Graham is setting?