"What difference at this point does it make?" – Find out on Weds.

Editor’s Note – Hold onto your seats; Wednesday is shaping up to be quite the show. The House Oversight Committee will be probing deep for the answers we deserve, unlike the report from the ARB that never interviewed Clinton. Now even the ARB is being investigated.

However, damage control is already underway as we saw on the Sunday ‘talking head’ shows. The defenders of the administration, or better said, the ‘cover-up water carriers’ are already saying its just political.

After all, Jay Carney said; “the attack happened a long time ago”, and John Kerry said; “So we have to demythologize this issue, and certainly depoliticize it.”

This defense is clearly a deflection; a way to minimize the hearings; a way to keep the facts being revealed and holding people accountable. Future political ambitions are in the balance and America deserves to know the facts before certain people attempt to run for higher office. Remember Hillary Clinton’s own words:

Hillary Clinton: “What difference at this point does it make?” – It makes all the difference!

CLINTON: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they would go kill some Americans?

What difference at this point does it make?

It is our job to figure out what happened and do and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the-the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The I.C. has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out.

But, you know to be clear, it is from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it, than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Mrs. Clinton, we agree, it is time “to find them and bring them to justice.” However, it is also time to provide America answers on how you and this administration handled the situation. The “difference” is that they killed our people, but we need to know if any of the four dead Americans could have been saved. If they could have been saved, then you too, and others, may be complicit in their murders; all for political positioning.

Mr. Kerry, the only ones “politicizing” anything is you and this administration – stop the deflections and allow the truth to come forward. If it ruins someone’s political career, or better yet, lands them in prison, so be it!

Before we watch the hearings this Wednesday the 8th, it might be wise to peruse the transcript from previous testimony here.

Diplomat: U.S. Special Forces told “you can’t go” to Benghazi during attacks

By SHARYL ATTKISSON – CBS NEWS

The deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks was forbidden from doing so by U.S. Special Operations Command South Africa.

The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized. Hicks gave private testimony to congressional investigators last month in advance of his upcoming appearance at a congressional hearing Wednesday.

According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

No assistance arrived from the U.S. military outside of Libya during the hours that Americans were under attack or trapped inside compounds by hostile forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles. 

Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.

“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.

Obama administration officials have insisted that no military resources could have made it in time. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

Hicks is expected to be the first ground-level eyewitness to speak publicly in the nearly eight months since the terrorist attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. When Stevens went missing, Hicks became the Chief of Mission for the U.S. in Libya.

Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initially indicated the attacks were not planned acts of terror, but an outgrowth of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islamic YouTube video. Unidentified government officials removed references to terrorism and al Qaeda from so-called “talking points” released to the public shortly after the attacks. 

Below are the released excerpts from Hicks’ April interview with congressional investigators on the House Oversight Committee.

Q: But do you think, you know, if an F-15, if the military had allowed a jet to go fly over, that it might have prevented [the second attack]?A: Yeah, and if we had gotten clearance from the Libyan military for an American plane to fly over Libyan airspace. The Libyans that I talked to and the Libyans and other Americans who were involved in the war have told me also that Libyan revolutionaries were very cognizant of the impact that American and NATO airpower had with respect to their victory. They are under no illusions that American and NATO airpower won that war for them. And so, in my personal opinion, a fast-mover flying over Benghazi at some point, you know, as soon as possible might very well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night.

Q : The theory being, the folks on the ground that are doing these — committing these terrorist attacks look up, see a heavy duty airplane above, and decide to hightail it?

A: I believe that if — I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.

______________

Q: I just wanted to ask, you mentioned permission from the Libyans. Why is that important? What did you mean by that?

A: Well, it’s their country. And for an American military aircraft to fly over their country, we have to have permission from them to do so.

Q: So what would have been the risk of — do you think it would have been risky for us to send someone, do you think it would have been counterproductive for us to send a fighter pilot plane over Benghazi without that permission?

A: We would have certainly wanted to obtain that permission. I believe we would have gotten it if we had asked. I believe that the Libyans were hoping that we were going to come bail them out of this mess. And, you know, they were as surprised as we were that American — the military forces that did arrive only arrived on the evening of September 12. Yeah.

______________

Q: So, at this point [at approximately 10:00 pm in Tripoli], you are talking to Washington, you are talking to your RSO Martinec, you are talking to RAO. Are you talking to the Defense Attache?

A: The Defense Attache is there, and he is immediately on the phone to Ministry of Defense and to chief of staff of the Libyan Armed Forces. He also notifies Joint Staff and AFRICOM. Our SOCAFRICA lead, Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, connects with SOCAFRICA in Stuttgart, as well. And, obviously, RAO is also connected back home.

Q: Was there ever any thought at that time of the night to have an F-16, you know, fly over?

A: I called — when we knew that — I talked with the Defense Attache, Lt. Col. Keith Phillips, and I asked him, “Is there anything coming?” And he said that the nearest fighter planes were Aviano, that he had been told that it would take two to three hours to get them airborne, but that there were no tanker assets near enough to support a flight from Aviano.

______________

A: And for the second time that night [Before 5:15 AM attack], I asked the Defense Attache, is there anything coming, is there anything out there to help our people from, you know, big military? And the answer, again, was the same as before.

Q: And what was that answer?

A: The answer was, it’s too far away, there are no tankers, there is nothing, there is nothing that could respond.

______________

Q: So you had mentioned that the first team from Tripoli to Benghazi arrived at 1:15?

A: Right.

Q: And was there a second team that was organized? Could you tell us about the second team?

A: Right. The second team — the Defense Attache worked assiduously all night long to try to get the Libyan military to respond in some way. Early in the morning — sorry, after we were formally notified by the Prime Minister, who called me, that Chris had passed, the Libyan military agreed to fly their C-130 to Benghazi and carry additional personnel to Benghazi as reinforcements. Because we at that time — at that time, the third attack, the mortar attack at 5:15, had not yet occurred, if I remember correctly.

Q: So what time did the second rescue team ??

A: Well, again, they flew — I think that flight took off sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m.

Q: At that point, you are the Chief of Mission?

A: Yeah, I’m Chief of Mission effective 3:00 a.m.

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Q: Now, did any of the Special Forces folks, were they planning at any time to travel on that second aircraft?

A: On the second, on the C-130? Yes. We fully intended for those guys to go, because we had already essentially stripped ourselves of our security presence, or our security capability to the bare minimum …

______________

A: So Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, who is the SOCAFRICA commander, his team, you know, they were on their way to the vehicles to go to the airport to get on the C-130 when he got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, you can’t go now, you don’t have authority to go now. And so they missed the flight. And, of course, this meant that one of the …

Q : They didn’t miss the flight. They were told not to board the flight.

A: They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it. So, anyway, and yeah. I still remember Colonel Gibson, he said, “I have never been so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger balls than somebody in the military.” A nice compliment.

Q: Now, at this point, are you having communications with Washington?

A: I was in communications with Washington all night long. I was reporting all night long what was happening to Washington by telephone.

Q: When these Special Forces folks were told essentially to stand down, what was your next move? Did you have a recourse? Were you able to call Washington? Were you able to call anyone at this point to get that decision reversed?

A: No, because the flight was — the flight was leaving. And, you know, if they missed — you know, if the vehicles didn’t leave when they leave, they would miss the flight time at the airport. And the airport — you know, we were going all the way to Mitiga. The C-130 is at Mitiga, which is all the way on the other side of Tripoli.

Q: What was the rationale that you were given that they couldn’t go, ultimately?

A: I guess they just didn’t have the right authority from the right.

Hagel grilled, questioned on many fronts as new al Qaeda threat emerges

Editor’s Note – As we watch the confirmation hearings today on Obama’s Nominee, Sen. Chuck Hagel, questions abound, not only on his views, but on the very real threats we now face as a nation. You make the judgement on Hagel’s abilities to do the job, a job so important to the best interests of our nation, but regardless, we have new and continued threats here at home, not just abroad in so many theaters of threat.

Many high ranking officials from all walks of the military and political stripes question his bona fides, previous stances, and general tenets toward national security, our allies, our enemies, and our nation’s best interests. The following article informs us of the latest al Qaeda threats gleaned from jihadi web sites, and the world a new Secretary of Defense will face, and the very real concerns many have.

Inside the Ring: New al Qaeda threat

By Bill Gertz – The Washington Times

A jihadist website posted a new threat by al Qaeda this week that promises to conduct “shocking” attacks on the United States and the West.

The posting appeared on the Ansar al Mujahidin network Sunday and carried the headline, “Map of al Qaeda and its future strikes.”

The message, in Arabic, asks: “Where will the next strike by al Qaeda be?” A translation was obtained by Inside the Ring.

“The answer for it, in short: The coming strikes by al Qaeda, with God’s Might, will be in the heart of the land of nonbelief, America, and in FranceDenmark, other countries in Europe, in the countries that helped and are helping France, and in other places that shall be named by al Qaeda at other times,” the threat states.

The attacks will be “strong, serious, alarming, earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying.”

Under a section of the post on the method of the attacks, the unidentified writer said the strikes would be “group and lone-wolf operations, in addition to the use of booby-trapped vehicles.”

“All operations will be recorded and published in due time,” the message said. “Let France be prepared, and let the helpers of France be prepared, for it is going to be a long war of attrition.”

The reference to France appears linked to the group’s plans for retaliation against the French-led military strikes in northern Mali in operations to oust al Qaeda terrorists from the North African country.

The Ansar al-Mujahidin network is a well-known jihadist forum that in the past has published reliably accurate propaganda messages from al Qaeda and its affiliates.

U.S. counterterrorism actions over the past 10 years have prevented al Qaeda from conducting major attacks. However, U.S. officials warn that the group continues to be dangerous, despite the killing of its top leaders in drone strikes and special operations.

A U.S. official said the threat is being taken seriously by the U.S. government.

“Extremists regularly make threats online,” he told Inside the Ring. “This one is not particularly unusual, but of course should be taken seriously.”

Retired officers on Hagel

Retired senior military officers on the right and left of the political spectrum are squaring off in the confirmation fight for former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary who is set to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Conservative former officers say Mr. Hagel is the wrong person to head the Pentagon because of his soft-line views on Iran, hostility toward Israel and support for cuts in U.S. military and nuclear forces.

Liberal retirees say the decorated Vietnam War veteran will be a strong leader who will support “war fighters.”

Fourteen retired flag officers wrote to the committee this week, urging the panel to reject Mr. Hagel.

The group — including retired Pacific Fleet commander Adm. James “Ace” Lyons and former Delta Force commando Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin — said they oppose confirming the liberal Nebraska Republican for the Pentagon post because he would further cut U.S. military forces and also because he favors the total elimination of nuclear forces.

“Our nation faces enormous national security challenges as we enter 2013,” said the group linked to the conservative Center for Security Policy.

“Addressing those challenges will require leadership at the Pentagon that recognizes the gravity of the threats we face and understands the requirement for a formidable military capable of deterring and, if necessary, overcoming them. Sen. Hagel’s record on key issues indicates he is not such a leader.”

On the other side, a group of retired generals and admirals issued a statement in December supporting Mr. Hagel. They include retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser in the George H.W. Bush administration; retired Adm. William Fallon, a former Pacific command leader; and retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of Central Command.

These 11 generals and admirals said in their statement that they support Mr. Hagel for Pentagon chief because “he has stood up for what he believes are the best interests of the United States.”

Sen. Hagel has been a voice of moderation and balance in an unbalanced time, and we can think of few people better qualified to lead the Department of Defense,” these retired officers stated.

Senate end-run suggested

Newly confirmed Secretary of State-designate John F. Kerry signaled last week that the Obama administration is planning to seek more executive agreements for future arms-control deals.

The use of such agreements would avoid contentious political battles in the Senate but is raising concerns that such accords would circumvent the Senate’s constitutional duty to provided advice and consent for international treaties.

Sen. James E. Risch, Idaho Republican, told Mr. Kerry during a Jan. 24 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination:

“There are a lot of us that are becoming increasingly concerned about all this talk regarding executive agreements, as opposed to treaties that are negotiated by the executive branch, as contemplated by the Founding Fathers and ratified, if appropriate, by this committee and eventually by the full Senate.”

Mr. Kerry was asked about “bypassing” the committee. He replied with a carefully worded answer that did not rule out the use of non-ratified agreements.

“Well, every administration in its history — Republican and Democrat alike — has entered into executive agreements,” Mr. Kerry said.

“I don’t want to be commenting in some prophylactic way one side or the other without the specific situation in front of me,” he said. “But I’m confident the president is committed to upholding the Constitution.”

Mr. Obama, however, already has taken steps to use administrative power as opposed to formal legislative remedies, in seeking tighter controls on guns in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Mr. Kerry said that if Republicans and Democrats could get along better, then treaties were more likely to be submitted.

“There’s no better way to guarantee that whatever concerns you have about the president’s desire to move on an executive agreement would be greatly, you know, nullified or mollified if we could find a way to cooperate on a treaty or on the broader issues that face the nation,” Mr. Kerry said.

However, he added: “I think there’s a lot of frustration out there that some of the automatic ideological restraint here that prevents the majority from being able to express their voice has restrained people and pushed people in a way where they’ve got to consider some other ways of getting things done.”

Mr. Risch then said: “Well, and that’s exactly what concerns us, Sen. Kerry, is the fact that it’s OK to do this through the regular order if it gets done, but if it’s not going to get done, then the ends justify the means — [that] it’s OK to end-run around the Constitution.”

Mr. Risch said the nation’s founders “didn’t say do this if it’s convenient, and it’s OK to not do it if it’s not convenient. I have real difficulties with that.”

Mr. Obama last year promised unspecified “flexibility” after the election in seeking a missile defense agreement with Russia during an overheard discussion with then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

The administration is also looking to conclude an additional arms-control agreement with Russia on nuclear weapons.

Hagel on Fort Hood

Sen. Chuck Hagel told Senate Armed Services Committee members this week in written responses to questions that he will review a Pentagon panel study that concluded the Defense Department could not identify key indicators of terrorist radicalization among service personnel, as part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the mass terrorist shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, more than three years ago.

However, in response to a question about Muslims in the militaryMr. Hagel said he would seek to prevent the persecution of Muslims in the aftermath of the deadly shooting.

Thirteen people were killed and 29 wounded when a gunmen identified as Maj. Hassan Nidal opened fire on fellow military personnel on Nov. 5, 2009. Reports at the time said the gunman was shouting “Allah Akbhar” — God is great. Maj. Nidal also has been linked to al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen from emails intercepted by the FBI.

After the attack, however, the Pentagon refused to identify the shooting as a terrorist attack and labeled the incident “workplace violence” in what critics said was an example of Obama administration political correctness.

Mr. Hagel said in his written responses that a Defense Science Board was asked by the Pentagon to study ways to identify “behavioral indicators of violence and self-radicalization,” but it “could not determine a specific list of behaviors that would indicate risk of violent/extremist behavior.”

“If I am confirmed, I will review the implementation of the recommendations of the Fort Hood Review,” he said.

“The attack at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” he stated. “It is essential that the circumstances surrounding the attack not compromise the military’s core values regarding the free exercise of religion and treating every service member with dignity and respect.”

Issa letter to Holder – "lack of trustworthiness"

Editorial Note– Released on Sunday, a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, drafted by Representative Darrel Issa, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform reveals something many of us have been reporting, that Holder is and was lying to Congress. The Congressman used very strong language, but we at SUA believe he was going easy on the Attorney General. If you lied to Congress, under oath, you’d already be wearing metal bracelets.

Chairman Darrel Issa - Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Read the letter by clicking on the link below:

Letter to Eric Holder from Darrel Issa

The final paragraph of the letter sums it all up very well:

Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean with the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.