The tip of the iceberg was exposed last week when CNN reported on the journal of slain US Ambassador Christopher Stevens that one of its news crews had recovered from the smoking rubble of the former US consulate in Benghazi. One had to wonder what possessed a US ambassador to carry a paper journal outside the US embassy in this day and age and how in the name of heaven such a document was left unattended after the attack on the consulate.
Now it appears that the “safe house” where Stevens and others were supposed to find security during the attack was a treasure trove of CIA and State Department information on efforts to recover MANPADS and the identities of local nationals who were working on our behalf.
“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” said one American official who has served in Libya and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the F.B.I. is still investigating the attack. “We got our eyes poked out.”
American intelligence operatives also assisted State Department contractors and Libyan officials in tracking shoulder-fired missiles taken from the former arsenals of the former Libyan Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces; they aided in efforts to secure Libya’s chemical weapons stockpiles; and they helped train Libya’s new intelligence service, officials said.
Senior American officials acknowledged the intelligence setback, but insisted that information was still being collected using a variety of informants on the ground, systems that intercept electronic communications like cellphone conversations and satellite imagery. “The U.S. isn’t close to being blind in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” said an American official.
Spokesmen for the C.I.A., the State Department and the White House declined to comment on the matter on Sunday.
Adding to the general aura of disarray was the rather hilarious exchange between one of Hillary’s spokestoads, the French sounding Phillipe Reines, and Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings when Buzzfeed decided to try to commit a random act of journalism. (You really have to read the article at the link. Trust me your day won’t be complete without it.)
From the tenor of interview, it seems that not only does Mr. Reines have a problem keeping his hands to himself but there is a much larger compromise of intelligence than is currently been reported. In the midst of a slanging match over State’s unprecedented attack on CNN’s reporting, we get this gem:
I do agree that the media has lots of responsibilities, and CNN fulfilled its responsibility by returning the diary while still managing to inform the American public of newsworthy information. So it’s unfortunate that you are trying to make a scapegoat out of CNN. That State was forced to flee Benghazi–again, because of such inadequate security, leaving behind all sorts of sensitive information–tells us more about DoS than CNN.
This lies and dissimulation of this administration in the aftermath of 9/11/12 have been stunning in both their scope and amateurishness. It paints the picture of an incompetent and insular regime only now confronting the first actual questions by the previously stump-trained media and failing miserably in the process.