William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






CURIOSER AND CURIOSER – AT 10:57 A.M. ET:  Congress is doing its job in investigating the administration's disgraceful handling of the Libya episode, where four Americans, including an outstanding ambassador, were killed.  One issue that must be settled is whether the administration misled both the public and Congress in an attempt to help the president politically by downplaying Al Qaeda involvement.  After all, Obama's line was that Al Qaeda had essentially been decimated.  From Fox:

Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration's handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to "Al Qaeda involvement" were stripped from his agency's original talking points -- while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.

These word-processing computers.  They do such strange things, don't they?

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.

"To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. ... I'd say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out," King told Fox News. "That, to me, has to be pursued."


Petraeus's testimony both challenges the Obama administration's repeated claims that the attack was a "spontaneous" protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. Sources have said Petraeus, in that briefing, also described the attack as a protest that spun out of control.

COMMENT:  Not only were our diplomats denied the extra security they'd begged for, but the truth about the attack that murdered them was twisted by some "unknown" characters in the administration.  It's the old Washington story:  It isn't the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up. 

Playing down Al Qaeda involvement reminds me of attempts by the old State Department to play down the Nazi threat in the years before World War II.  (You might want to read "In the Garden of Beasts," by Erik Larson, a fine book on that.)  A disservice to this country was rendered, and America paid in blood.  It can happen again.  I get the feeling that it is happening again. 

November 17,  2012