Sunday, September 7, 2014

Benghazi: Marie Harf Never Had An Unprogrammed Thought In Her Life

Ostensibly the pre-requisites for working at the State Department are an adroit inability to reason, being utterly devoid of common sense, possessing the ability to be a remorseless liar and a proclivity for being a front man for the failed foreign policy of The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer.

On Friday, September 5, 2014 State Department spokeshipster Marie Harf denied that the security team was told to stand down in Benghazi, but acknowledged that they were told not to enter the battle yet because they were under-equipped.  “I don’t see a big difference between these two accounts. In any event, the security team thought it had what it needed to make a difference in the fight without waiting.”

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three others lost their lives in the brutal attack by Islamist terrorists who launched RPGs, mortars and heavy fire into both the consulate in Benghazi and its nearby annex for thirteen hours while the White House and State Department ignored their cries for help.  Harf dishonestly suggested the three CIA military contractors are lying.

From the transcript of the press briefing:
QUESTION:  Three security operators at the secret CIA annex in Benghazi claim that they were given an order from the CIA station chief to stand down and wait to save the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans during the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. What is your response to… 
MS. HARF:  Well, let’s be clear here. There was no stand-down order from anyone in Washington, in the military community, or in the intelligence community. I would point you to Congressman Ruppersberger who is the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who released a statement today that said, “Although some security officers voiced a greater urgency to depart for the compound, no evidence was ever found by the committee that CIA personnel were ever told to stand down. This finding is completely consistent with the Senate’s report as well.” Congressman Ruppersberger went on to say, “After interviewing these individuals, including those writing this book, and all of the others on the ground that night, both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded there was not, in fact, an order to stand down. No evidence was found to support such a claim.” 
I think that, again, this is one of those topics of conversation that keeps coming up. It’s a question that keeps coming up and every time it comes up it is repeatedly proven otherwise by multiple bipartisan investigations, by the independent Accountability Review Board here at the State Department as well. The Senate, the House, a number of people have looked at this and cannot find any evidence for this even after including interviewing the authors of this book. 
QUESTION:  Well, who at embassy in Tripoli was aware that there was a CIA annex in Benghazi? 
MS. HARF:  Well, it’s a different place. Benghazi is a different place than Tripoli. Obviously… 
QUESTION:  Yeah, but did—was anyone aware that this place existed, that these people were actually willing to help and that… 
MS. HARF:  Well, obviously there is a chief of mission authority under—for our embassy in Tripoli, which includes the entire country. They are aware of all of our facilities in any given country, State Department or otherwise. As I said, there—this has been looked into multiple times and found that there was no stand-down order, period. Multiple people have said that in multiple investigations. Obviously, these gentlemen wanted to go help, but it was the smart and prudent thing to do to take a short delay for very good security reasons to get additional backup and to get additional weapons. But again, there was no stand-down order, period. That has been debunked multiple times by multiple investigations. 
QUESTION:  So you’re saying that what they’re saying—their claims are false then? 
MS. HARF:  Their claims have been proven false not by me, but by the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the State Department’s independent Accountability Review Board and a number of other people as well, and including some of those committees who interviewed these same gentlemen. 
QUESTION:  Wait, Marie. There’s a difference, I think, between what you’re saying and what—are you saying that the CIA station chief on the ground did not tell them to hold off? 
MS. HARF:  There’s not a station chief in Benghazi because the station wouldn’t be there. 
QUESTION:  Well, the—whoever the—are you saying that they… 
MS. HARF:  Well, details matter. 
QUESTION:  Well, yeah, they do, which is… 
MS. HARF:  Correct, yes. 
QUESTION:  You’re saying that no one in Washington… 
MS. HARF:  No, I’m saying there. 
QUESTION:  No one—so you’re saying that their claim… 
MS. HARF:  They—wait—is wrong—is correct. 
QUESTION:  —that their boss—that their boss did not say… 
MS. HARF:  Correct. No evidence was ever found by the House Intelligence Committee that CIA personnel were ever told to stand down, period. They found no evidence to back that up. 
QUESTION:  So—and you would take issue with the—you just said, though, that they were told hold off a bit. You’re—so you’re making—you’re drawing a distinction between a stand down order and a delay. 
MS. HARF:  Correct. There was a short delay—there was a short delay so they could get backup and get additional weaponry before they went into a situation that they were unaware of what they were going to be encountering on the other side. But to be clear… 
MS. HARF:  —there was no stand down order given from anyone. There has been no evidence to support that claim throughout this entire process. It keeps coming up, and every time it does, we will keep saying there’s no evidence. 
QUESTION:  There was a wait order. They said wait up to 30 minutes before they went in, though, so you’re not disputing that. 
MS. HARF:  To get backup and additional weapons so they—when they did engage, they had additional—again, weapons and backup and resources to fight back, because they did not know the full situation they were going into, and it would be irresponsible to send our security officers into an unknown security situation without additional weapons and additional backup. But the notion that the CIA and its team in Benghazi did anything less than act heroically in the middle of a crisis, I think, is really just totally at odds with reality.\ 
QUESTION:  So just to put a fine point on this, hopefully once and for all—so you’re not disputing that the guy on the ground in Benghazi said hold off. You’re just disputing that it was a stand down order, and… 
MS. HARF:  Those are two very different things. 
QUESTION:  I know. I understand that. 
MS. HARF:  Okay. 
QUESTION:  I just want to make sure that—and—but you’re also saying that this hold off or wait 30 minutes or whatever it was didn’t come from Washington at all; it came from the local person on the ground. 
MS. HARF:  Correct, who said let’s assess the situation, let’s get you guys more weapons and more backup. 
QUESTION:  But no one in D.C. said hold off for 30 minutes, or… 
MS. HARF:  Not that I’ve found any evidence of. And I think this is just an example of what I would call sort of this stand down story that is increasingly—every time it comes up, it’s—the story changed and it keeps shrinking and what you’re saying, right? It’s—first it was Washington; it was the President, it was the Secretary. Then it was Panetta, it was Secretary Panetta. Then it was the military, then it was the guy on the ground. It’s like you can’t find evidence for any of those, so you keep moving the ball and trying to find evidence. 
QUESTION:  I mean, these guys are coming out with a book. The three guys that were there—these special operatives—said this is what happened. So—and then… 
MS. HARF:  Well, these three men were also interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan fashion, who found there is no evidence of any stand down order, period. So I think I’ll… 
QUESTION: No, I mean, you can’t—moving the ball forward, I mean, this is a new thing. This is a new claim that’s coming out, and that’s why… 
MS. HARF:  Well, it’s just this incredibly shrinking stand down story that it seems to be perpetrated by some parts of this country who want to keep this story going, but there’s no evidence to back it up. 
QUESTION:  I mean, the book, and then along—The New York Times had an article written up on that. Are you saying that they’re trying to move the ball forward and saying that—what are you… 
MS. HARF:  I’m saying that the notion that there was evidence of stand down order given by anybody, including the CIA chief on the ground in Benghazi, is false. There’s no evidence to back it up, and when we make claims, I think it behooves all of us to have evidence there. And the notion that people on the ground didn’t want to do everything to help, but do it in a responsible and safe way—that’s what happened that night, and trying to find evidence otherwise when there isn’t any is just irresponsible. 
QUESTION: Can we change topics? 
MS. HARF: Yes, we can.
Later that same evening, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren said, “Since day one of Benghazi Fox News has been aggressively investigating.  It hasn’t been easy.  It’s been more like pulling teeth to get answers from the Obama administration.  The Obama administration’s behavior post-Benghazi has been weird.  Like they’re trying to hide something.  First that silly story about that video.  Remember Susan Rice on all the Sunday talk shows?  Even President Obama kept talking about the video for weeks.  So Fox continued to press for information.  A few weeks later when Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin said she was told there was a stand-down order at Benghazi, I got a weird call from the Obama administration trying to pressure me to get Jennifer to back down on her report.  I thought the call from the Obama administration was dirty. Incidentally, I don’t control my colleagues and they don’t control me.”

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