You've probably seen all the headlines about the very, very serious Al Qaeda threat that those brave folks at the NSA have uncovered. See, for example, here
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, revealed on Sunday that the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance programs uncovered information about current terrorist threats to the United States.
"These programs are controversial, we understand that," Chambliss said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But they are also very important... If we did not have these programs, then we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys."
Subtle. Real subtle.
Of course, you don't get to run an intel committee unless the spooks already have you in their collective pocket.
Also see here
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said Sunday that the terror threats, which forced the U.S. to close 22 embassies and consulates Sunday, further verify why the NSA surveillance programs need to be kept in place.
"The NSA program is proving its worth yet again," he said on "State of the Union."
"To the members of Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great," he told Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent. "If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you're putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing."
Subtle. Real subtle.
Do we need any further evidence? This whole thing is bullshit. Just look at the timing
, for chrissakes: In recent days, we've seen the rise of an unprecedented left/right (or liberal/libertarian) coalition against NSA abuses. And suddenly...this
If anything "goes boom" in the Middle East, my initial suspicions will point to a little-known terrorist called Mohammed Al-FortMeadi. Here's my message to Keithy-poo, the head of No Such Agency: Nobody with a three-digit IQ is gonna buy this crap, General. It's all just too effing convenient, and your mouthpieces are too effing obvious.
Lindsay's on a roll
Graham, who’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this was the appropriate action, compared with actions before last year’s terror attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Yeah. About Benghazi...
“The threats were real there. The reporting was real. And we basically dropped the ball,” he said. “We've learned from Benghazi, thank God, and the administration is doing this right.”
The right has been crowing, in recent days, that the recent revelation that there were (gasp!) CIA operatives
in the Benghazi consulate proves everything they've ever said about what happened there. What nonsense.
First: There are CIA guys crawling all over every U.S. embassy and consulate on the planet. Everyone knows this. It's hardly a surprise.
Second: Just because Benghazi got into the news headlines (via Jake Tapper of ABC) doesn't mean that the far right's inane theories -- which received an airing in the presidential debates -- ever had any merit.
If you will recall, the big complaint then
was that the Obama administration had tried to blame the attack on a spontaneous demonstration by locals outraged by the Innocence of Muslims
movie (a SpookWays Presentation). In fact, Obama had labeled the attack an "act of terror" early on. On the day of the attack, administration officials told newsmen
that evidence indicated that the attackers were well-equipped and had "some level of advanced planning." Yes, outraged locals did launch a demonstration; their protest offered cover to the militants.
In the real world, that's how it all went down. But the far-rightists said otherwise, over and over and over and over. They maintained their "party line" on Benghazi in total defiance of the emerging facts. Why? Because they wanted their doltish followers to think that Obama was protecting the terrorists
. And why would Obama protect the terrorists? Because, in their fevered imaginations, Obama himself is a secret Mooooooo
Needless to say, this charge was, and is, ludicrous.
That ludicrous charge has no
relationship -- none, nada, zippo -- to anything that Jake Tapper
wrote about. Tapper discovered that CIA operatives in Libya have been polygraphed repeatedly to determine whether anyone has blabbed about what the CIA was getting up to.
"Agency employees typically are polygraphed every three to four years. Never more than that," said former CIA operative and CNN analyst Robert Baer.
In other words, the rate of the kind of polygraphs alleged by sources is rare.
"If somebody is being polygraphed every month, or every two months it's called an issue polygraph, and that means that the polygraph division suspects something, or they're looking for something, or they're on a fishing expedition. But it's absolutely not routine at all to be polygraphed monthly, or bi-monthly," said Baer.
I've thought from the beginning that the right's focus on Benghazi -- an obsession continually in search of a justification -- had its origin point in a leak from a right-wing American intelligence operative.
Here's my suggested scenario: A leaker told the right-wing press that the CIA was doing something really important and really secret at the Benghazi consulate. A plan then formed around that small nugget of information. If the CIA had a super-secret project going on at that consulate, the administration would have to hide it. And once the administration went into "hide the shit" mode, the right-wing propagandists could pretend that the shit being hidden was...well, whatever nonsensical thing their feverish minds could come up with. Benghazi became a screen onto which one could project all sorts of fantasies. As in: "Obama's working with the terrorists because he's a Mooooooooo
So the polygraphs were almost certainly instituted to find out who acted as a mole for the Murdochian hordes. But we're still left with an obvious question: Just what was the CIA up to in that consulate?
In the aftermath of the attack, Wolf said he was contacted by people closely tied with CIA operatives and contractors who wanted to talk.
Then suddenly, there was silence.
"Initially they were not afraid to come forward. They wanted the opportunity, and they wanted to be subpoenaed, because if you're subpoenaed, it sort of protects you, you're forced to come before Congress. Now that's all changed," said Wolf.
Lawmakers also want to know about the weapons in Libya, and what happened to them.
Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.
It is clear that two U.S. agencies were operating in Benghazi, one was the State Department, and the other was the CIA.
The State Department told CNN in an e-mail that it was only helping the new Libyan government destroy weapons deemed "damaged, aged or too unsafe retain," and that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries.
But the State Department also clearly told CNN, they "can't speak for any other agencies."
The CIA would not comment on whether it was involved in the transfer of any weapons.
So the signs point to an arms shipment to the Syrian rebels. Which raises one point that seems staggeringly obvious -- so
staggeringly obvious that no-one has bothered to mention it: Why would jihadist groups in Libya want to disrupt those shipments?
Think about it. If arms were indeed being transferred from Libya to Syria, they almost certainly went to Al Nusrah, because that group has been the real muscle in the fight to topple Assad of Syria. Nusrah is very jihad-oriented, and very
nasty. (They killed a priest not long ago.) Compared to them, the guys in Ansar al Shariah -- the militant group which (probably) attacked the embassy in Benghazi -- are a bunch of daisy-sniffers.
Instead of burning down the consulate, the Ansar al Shariah militants should have offered to help.
As near as I can tell, the only writer who has noticed this issue is right-wing blogger John Hinderaker
It seems unlikely that the CIA mission prompted the attack: we now know that the Syrian rebels consist in substantial part of al Qaeda elements, and if arms were sent from Libya to Syria, al Qaeda probably wound up with some of them. So why would al Qaeda want to interrupt the CIA mission via an attack on the American compound in Benghazi?
I hate to link to a guy who has Brietbart on his blogroll, but the man has a point. He's also honest enough to admit that, at the time, many right-wingers supported arming the Syrian rebels. (Many still do.)