Perhaps the most persistent phrase we heard when bringing the data from 2008 forward to show our nation’s vulnerability to economic attack was “This doesn’t fit the narrative.” It seems that neither Democrats nor Republicans were willing to consider that our nation had been the victim of financial terrorism or was even subject to attack going forward. For their part, the Democrats wanted to demonize Wall Street and blame Bush for everything bad that happened. The Republicans wanted to blame bad lending practices from the Community Reinvestment Act as the sole cause of problems. Any reader of this blog knows that we do not excuse any of the above including Wall Street, failed regulation, and forced loans to those who couldn’t afford them. But, we also shared the very real evidence that more sinister forces were at work as well. Yet, we were repeatedly told that this “doesn’t fit the narrative.”
With the recent incident in Libya, the phrase “doesn’t fit the narrative” began to be repeated on the nightly news. In this case, the political community was busy spinning the justification for the September 11th attacks on our embassies and the killing of our Ambassador by blaming an obscure YouTube video. This was despite the fact that the Intelligence Community had credible evidence within 24 hours that the attacks were 1) premeditated, 2) planned for the anniversary of 9/11, and 3) perpetrated by an al Qaeda affiliate. Despite this, for more than a week the politicians attempted to spin the circumstances to fit the narrative “bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is nearly vanquished.”
When the facts finally emerged and it was obvious that the narrative was wrong, the politicians blamed the Intelligence Community. Here is an excerpt from a Foreign Policy article quoting UN Ambassador Susan Rice who served as the Obama administration’s spokesperson on the incident:
Posted By Josh RoginFriday, October 5, 2012
“In my Sept. 16 Sunday show appearances, I was asked to provide the administration’s latest understanding of what happened in Benghazi,” Rice wrote in a Thursday letter to Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Ron Johnson(R-WI) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “In answering, I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me and other senior U.S. officials, including through the daily intelligence briefings that present the latest reporting and analysis to policy makers. This information represented the intelligence community’s best, current assessment as of the date of my television appearances, and I went out of my way to ensure it was consistent with the information that was being given to Congress.”
While not as public, the Intelligence Community fired back as noted in these excerpts from a Bill Gertz article:
Intelligence officials angered by Obama administration cover up of intelligence on Iranian, al Qaeda surge in Egypt and Libya
BY: Bill Gertz October 5, 2012
Weeks before the presidential election, President Barack Obama’s administration faces mounting opposition from within the ranks of U.S. intelligence agencies over what career officers say is a “cover up” of intelligence information about terrorism in North Africa. Intelligence held back from senior officials and the public includes numerous classified reports revealing clear Iranian support for jihadists throughout the tumultuous North Africa and Middle East region, as well as notably widespread al Qaeda penetration into Egypt and Libya in the months before the deadly Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi . . .
Officials with access to intelligence reports, based on both technical spying and human agents, said specific reporting revealed an alarming surge in clandestine al Qaeda activity months before the attack in Benghazi.
Yet the Obama administration sought to keep the information from becoming public to avoid exposing what the officials say is a Middle East policy failure by Obama.
Officials said that the administration appeared to engage in a disinformation campaign aimed at distancing the president personally during the peak of the presidential election campaign from the disaster in Benghazi, where numerous warning of an attack were ignored, resulting in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other officials.
The first part of the apparent campaign, officials said, was the false information provided to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who appeared on Sunday television shows after the attack to say the event was a “spontaneous” response to an anti-Muslim video trailer posted online.
Officials said Rice was given the false information to use in media appearances in order to promote the excuse that the obscure video was the cause of the attack, and not the Islamic concept of jihad.
Rice’s claims provoked concern inside the U.S. intelligence community that intelligence about what was going on in Libya and the region was being suppressed, and led to a series of news disclosures about what would later be confirmed as an al Qaeda attack using the group Ansar al Sharia.
After Rice’s incorrect statements, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeated the false assessment of the Benghazi attack.
The final element of the campaign involved comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was the first to give a partial explanation of the intelligence when she said al Qaeda terrorists operating from Mali were possible culprits in the Benghazi attack.
“What she failed to mention was the cooperation of Iran and Egypt in supporting jihadists in Libya,” the official said, who added the events would be investigated in an apparent effort to stave off internal critics in government.
That has led to delays in getting FBI and other U.S. investigators into Benghazi, raising concerns that some in the White House wanted to delay the FBI’s efforts to uncover evidence about the attack.
The FBI did not reach Benghazi until Thursday, ostensibly over concerns about the lack of security to protect them.
“The Obama Administration is afraid to admit al Qaeda is running rampant throughout the region because it would expose the truth instead of what President Obama so pompously spouted during the Democratic Convention” said the official.
The president said during his nomination acceptance speech that “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat,” an assertion contradicted by the group’s rise in the region.
The administration, in particular, wants to keep hidden solid intelligence showing that the terrorist group behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans is now flourishing under the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
So the question becomes whether the Intelligence Community is out of touch or if the political narrative is strangling the truth. Many will remember the warnings of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt that was sold to the world as the birth of Democracy in the region. Concerns of the Muslim Brotherhood were dismissed at the highest levels and we were told that the Brotherhood rejected al Qaeda:
Now, the same Director of National Intelligence office has stated recently that they are to blame, not the White House, for the bad information on Libya:
By Jonathan S. Landay and Lesley Clark | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON —Extremists from groups linked to al Qaeda struck the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack,” the top U.S. intelligence agency said Friday, as it took responsibility for the Obama administration’s initial claims that the deadly assault grew from a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam video.
The unusual statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence appeared to have two goals: updating the public on the latest findings of the investigation into the assault, and shielding the White House from a political backlash over its original accounts.
Most every observer was aware that the circumstances on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 were more than a spontaneous reaction to an obscure YouTube video. Yet, The President, the Secretary of State, and the UN Ambassador all told us that for more than a week, supported by the Director of National Intelligence, seemingly because it fit a political narrative. Sadly, the mainstream media for the most part let them get away with it. Note these comments from Pat Caddell, a Democrat pollster and strategist from a speech he gave on September 21st:
This press corps serves at the pleasure of this White House and president, led by people like Ezra Klein and JournoList, where they plot the stories together. The problem here is that no one will name names.
But I want to talk about this Libyan thing, because we crossed some lines here. It’s not about politics. First of all, we’ve had nine days of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this. Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya.
Twenty American embassies, yesterday, were under attack. None of that is on the national news. None of it is being pressed in the papers.
If a president of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.
It is one thing to bias the news, or have a biased view. It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know, and I choose right now, openly, and this is—if I had more time I’d do all the names for it—but The New York Times, The Washington Post, or the most important papers that influence the networks, ABC, NBC, and, to a lesser extent—because CBS has actually been on this story, partly because the president of Libya appeared on [Bob Schieffer’s “Face the Nation”] and said, on Sunday, while [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Susan Rice was out—the U.N. ambassador has no portfolio on this matter—lying, said of the secretary—you know why, notice the Secretary of State wasn’t out there doing this—was on national television, lying and promoting the White House line while the Libyan president, the very same moment, is saying “This is a premeditated attack.”
Nobody has asked that question. This morning—take a look at The New York Times this morning, it’s a minor reference. Oh, now we’ve decided that it was a terrorist incident. But this is—that would have changed, that should change the politics.
This is not without accomplices, because the incompetence of the [Mitt] Romney campaign, which I said a week ago is the—my God!—the worst campaign in my lifetime, and the Republican establishment in general’s inability to fight, has allowed these things to happen in part because they don’t do it. But I want to go through two other quick points.
[Mohamed] Morsi and Egypt: The President of Egypt, we find out now, that his whole agenda has been getting the “Blind Sheikh” [Omar Abdel-Rahman], who’s responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, out of jail. Prison. I’ve been told specifically, by a member of the intelligence community that the White House and State Department are negotiating that now.
They have now come out and denied it, but [Morsi] comes out, that they ordered—he’s the head of the Muslim Brotherhood! The American people know what they think of the Muslim Brotherhood: They are against them 11 to 1, all right? And he’s the president of the Muslim Brotherhood, giving $2 billion to the United States.
He tells them—we had advance warning because they had said they were gonna do this, attack our embassy. The president—after the incident, after 48 hours, Mr. Morsi does nothing and says nothing—picks up the phone, calls him, and demands that they call it off.
On Friday—last Friday, a week ago today—there was supposed to be a big demonstration. We thought that would be the big day—no, it disappeared, because Morsi called it off. But no press person has investigated this, just as no press person will go and ask the most obvious questions, when there are really good stories here, good media stories, and good news stories. They are in the tank and this is a frightening thing.
Fortunately, this is beginning to change albeit slowly. Very recently, Lara Logan of 60 Minutes indicated that she could take no more of the lies and misdirection for political reasons. She knows better, after seeing first-hand the outcome of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt, suffering a brutal personal attack, and witnessing the worsening situation in Afghanistan. Here is a report regarding her recent comments:
During a recent keynote address at the Better Government Association annual luncheon last Tuesday, Logan delivered what the Chicago Sun Times called “a provocative speech” to some 1,100 movers in government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. She explained that the Taliban, al Qaeda and its proxies haven’t gone away and are in fact re-energized and coming back in force. Logan also informed the crowd that a “lie” is being propagated by the American government.
“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated…” Logan announced. The lie is that the U.S. military has tamed the Taliban.
“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan began. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,“ who claim ”they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban.”
“It’s such nonsense!”
The point is this: We have been fed a narrative for political reasons that distorts the truth. We were told directly “off the record” by very senior officials that this is why the United States Government has failed to address the economic warfare threat we identified. We were told, “no one wants to go there” and that the Intelligence Community is restrained by the politics. In fact, the government failed to even conduct a proper follow-up study. That is why we wrote the book, Secret Weapon, to make the truth available to the American people before it is too late to respond. It no longer matters if it “fits the narrative.” We deserve the truth.