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Saturday, October 13

Greta Van Susteren checkmates Obama on Benghazi

There was a panic button in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. On this fact, not brought out until an October 10 hearing on Capitol Hill, much turns......

With one remark Greta Van Susteren, an attorney and the host of FNC's On the Record, has exposed that Obama administration officials were outright lying about their knowledge of the genesis of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In doing so she identified a point that had gotten overlooked in the uproar that followed startling revelations during Wednesday's congressional hearing on security in Libya.

One revelation was that a live feed could be activated between CCTV cameras at the Benghazi consulate and State Department headquarters in Washington, DC.

[Oct. 15 Update: It turns out that the information about CCTVs at the Benghazi compound came out a day earlier than the hearing, on October 9, at a State Dept. background press briefing, but the reference, which only mentioned "cameras" at the compound, was clearly lost in the shuffle of the discussion.]

This arrangement served as State's danger notification system. During the hearing Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said, after explaining the system to the congressional panel, that shortly after the attack on the consulate began, a security agent there activated the system. This meant she was able to watch the attack as it unfolded "almost in real time."

Last night on her TV show Greta mentioned the notification system, then pointed out that given the live feed, State would have known immediately if there'd been protests outside the consulate earlier in the day. By gum she's right.  Of course the live feed would have been activated in the event of protests outside the consulate!

That means President Barack Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice would have been notified by State on that same day if there had been protests outside the Benghazi consulate on September 11. They would have needed to know, particularly in light of the violent protests earlier that day outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

So, again, officials were flatly lying these past weeks. They lied every time they told the public that the administration had based its early assumptions on initial reports from the intelligence community that the attack on the Benghazi consulate had grown from protests outside the consulate over an anti-Islam video. The officials didn't need to wait for the intelligence community to do its work. Again, State would have informed them immediately if there had been protests, based on virtual real-time data.

What does it all mean? For starters, I think it means the pundits who've compared the administration's smoke-blowing about the attack on the consulate to the Watergate scandal have turned out to be right.  Only this is worse in one way than Watergate because nobody died in the Watergate break-in.

For a good backgrounders on the issues, see Bloomberg's October 10 report, State Department Followed Benghazi Attack as It Happened and Jennifer Rubin's October 12 column for the Washington Post, Obama's Libya Debacle: Willful Blindness.

"worse in one way than Watergate"

Hell it's worse in every way. Which isn't hard. Watergate was trifling. They made the trifle into High Melodrama because they wanted to unseat Nixon, to Hell with the consequences for the Nation.

Ask Hillary. She was there, and she learned her lessons well.
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