CNN's Jake Tapper has this today about the Benghazi attack:
... Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.The right, which has been trying to spit the phrase "phony scandals" back in the president's face ever since he used the expression in his Knox College speech, is now cackling in triumph:
... Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency's missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency's workings.
The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.
It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.
... Among the many secrets still yet to be told about the Benghazi mission, is just how many Americans were there the night of the attack.
A source now tells CNN that number was 35, with as many as seven wounded, some seriously.
While it is still not known how many of them were CIA, a source tells CNN that 21 Americans were working in the building known as the annex, believed to be run by the agency....
But wait -- wasn't the scandal of Benghazi supposed to be that Obama, who hates America and wants our enemies to win, allowed the consulate to go undefended, then covered up what happened because he was running for reelection claiming to have Al Qaeda on the run, hence the notorious talking points making reference to a spontaneous protest of a YouTube video? Doesn't this kinda blow that narrative completely out of the water?
Writing from the right but thoughtfully, Hot Air's Allahpundit sums up the new narrative (which actually isn't all that new):
Maybe the skeletal security crew at the consulate wasn't as skeletal as thought. Is that what happened here -- not so much a security vacuum as a security presence so secret that it couldn't be revealed publicly, despite the White House being pounded over its failures for months afterwards? ... maybe that helps explain why the formal security presence wasn't bigger: There was a lot of CIA in the area and maybe the White House didn't want to attract attention to what they were doing there by inserting a squad of Marines to patrol the grounds. We already had an inkling of that, in fact, per this interesting but vague WSJ story from last November....Ye --s let's go back to November for this story from Business Insider, which also cites The Wall Street Journal:
"The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation," officials briefed on intelligence told the Wall Street Journal, and there's evidence that U.S. agents -- particularly murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens -- were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to Syrian rebels.So, if this is the truth, what happened in Benghazi doesn't match the "feckless military-hater Obama failed to send troops to save Chris Stevens." It's much more complicated.
WSJ reports that the State Department presence in Benghazi "provided diplomatic cover" for the previously hidden CIA mission, which involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals. These weapons are presumably from Muammar Gaddafi's stock of about 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles, the bulk of which were SA-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.
What's odd is that a Libyan ship -- which reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7s -- docked in southern Turkey on Sept. 6 and its cargo ended up in the hands of Syrian rebels. The man who organized that shipment, Tripoli Military Council head Abdelhakim Belhadj, worked directly with Stevens during the Libyan revolution....
Is what we were doing in Benghazi appropriate or admirable? For months, the right tried to tell us that you'd say it was reprehensible if you were a rock-ribbed, military-loving American, and you'd approve if you were an America-hating hippie. But if we're shipping weapons to Syrian rebels, and that's what's being covered up, John McCain would applaud and many of his fellow Republicans wouldn't.
But hardcore Obama haters will beat him with any sick the can grab. This will do.