‘The fog of Benghazi’

This is getting more attention, finally. Warranted attention.

The president’s apologists are doing their best to shut down any conversation and all investigation about what happened on 9/11 in Benghazi, Libya. Or to discount it when it comes out. That doesn’t change the facts.

Speaking of facts, the Wall Street Journal editors devoted their entire editorial column to this on Saturday.

The White House says Republicans are “politicizing” a tragedy. Politicians politicize, yes, but part of their job is to hold other politicians accountable. The Administration has made that difficult by offering evasive, inconsistent and conflicting accounts about one of the most serious American overseas defeats in recent years. Unresolved questions about Benghazi loom over this election because the White House has failed to resolve them.

Why did the U.S. not heed warnings about a growing Islamist presence in Benghazi and better protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex?

From the start of the Libyan uprising in early 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency built up an unusually large presence in Benghazi. By this September, two dozen or so operatives and contractors monitored Ansar al-Shariah and other militant groups. Deteriorating security after the war was no secret. U.S. intelligence noted militant camps in the mountains near Benghazi, including “al Qaeda leaning” fighters, according to Tuesday’s New York Times.

Over the summer, the Red Cross and the U.K. closed their offices in Benghazi after attempted terrorist attacks and assassinations. A bomb went off outside the U.S. mission on June 6 but hurt no one. Ambassador Chris Stevens told his superiors in an August cable about a “security vacuum” in Benghazi. A different classified State cable sent in August, and obtained by Fox News this week, noted the growth of al Qaeda training camps and expressed concern about the Benghazi mission’s ability to defend against a coordinated attack. It said it would ask for “additional physical security upgrades and staffing.”

In a House hearing last month, career State Department officials said various requests for security reinforcements to Libya were turned down. A 16-member special security team in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, was pulled out in August. The inability of Libya’s weak central government to protect American diplomats was overlooked.These revelations came from the career staff at State.

Mr. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have claimed “responsibility” for Benghazi, without saying precisely for what. During the second Presidential debate on October 16, Mr. Obama was asked: “Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?” He changed the subject.

Next question…

What exactly happened on the day of 9/11? During the over six hours that the compounds in Benghazi were under siege, could the U.S. have done more to save lives? What was President Obama doing and ordering his subordinates to do in those fateful hours?

An October 9 State Department briefing offered the first precise timeline, nearly a month later. There was no demonstration outside the consulate the evening of the 11th—”nothing unusual during the day at all outside,” a State official said.

That may not be right. Early that morning, Embassy guards noticed a Libyan police officer in a building across the street “photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission,” according to a letter dated September 11 from the Embassy to the Libyan government, calling it “troubling.” The letter was discovered last week at the still unsecured compound by two journalists and published on Foreign Policy’s website Thursday.

Why is this so sloppy? Why so much chaos and confusion? Keep asking the questions and the answers will come out.

Some details:

At 9:40 p.m. local time (3:40 p.m. EST), a security officer at the Benghazi consulate heard “loud noises” outside the gate and “the camera on the main gate reveals a large number of people—a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound,” according to the State Department timeline.

Within half an hour, the consulate was on fire. At about 10:45 p.m., help arrived from the CIA annex about a mile away. The CIA offered its first account of that evening this Thursday night, nearly two months after the fact.

Why? Why nearly two months after the fact? Where’s the communication and coordination among our services and the administration?

A snip:

The CIA briefers said the agency did not deny aid to the consulate. But the Journal reported on Friday that the CIA and State “weren’t on the same page about their respective roles on security” in Benghazi.

So they’re all winding up on the same page in the WSJ because of this serious disconnect revealed only because of dogged pursuit by dedicated journalists other media and Obama apologists have tried to discount and demean and ridicule, to no avail.

Mr. Obama was informed of the attacks at around 5 p.m.—11 p.m. in Libya—during a previously scheduled meeting with his military advisers, and he ordered military assets moved to the area, according to ABC News. During the attacks, however, the Administration didn’t convene the Counterterrorism Security Group, which was created to coordinate a response to a terrorist attack, according to a CBS News report.

Late last week, Mr. Obama was twice asked by a local Denver television anchor whether Americans who asked for help in Benghazi were turned down by the chain of command. He didn’t answer.

Why not? What is he dodging?  The Journal editorial board considers the facts.

Yet it’s still reasonable to ask why the U.S. wasn’t prepared for such a contingency. Since 9/11 (of 2001) the U.S. has been at war with the people who attacked in Benghazi, even though many liberals don’t like to say so. One of them is the current Commander in Chief, who still refuses to talk about his Administration’s response to his 9/11.

Exactly. And it was jaw-dropping to hear him say, in a stump speech in Las Vegas this week after stopping by the storm-ravaged northeast, that “Al-Qaeda has been decimated.”


Mr. Obama has made the defeat of al Qaeda a core part of his case for re-election. Yet in Benghazi an al Qaeda affiliate killed four U.S. officials in U.S. buildings, contradicting that political narrative.

The President may succeed in stonewalling Congress and the media past Election Day. But the issue will return, perhaps with a vengeance, in an Obama second term. The episode reflects directly on his competence and honesty as Commander in Chief. If his Administration is found to have dissembled, careers will be ended and his Presidency will be severely damaged—all the more so because he refused to deal candidly with the issue before the election.

America has since closed the Libya diplomatic outpost and pulled a critical intelligence unit out of a hotbed of Islamism, conceding a defeat. U.S. standing in the region and ability to fight terrorist groups were undermined, with worrying repercussions for a turbulent Middle East and America’s security. This is why it’s so important to learn what happened in Benghazi.

Thanks to journalists who are asking the important questions, and those who know the answers speaking out, like Lara Logan, we may learn sooner rather than later.

‘Graveyard of integrity’ at highest level of leadership

Benghazi is in a few more headlines today, like it or not.

The Daily Beast:

In its seventh week, discussion about what happened in Benghazi has begun to focus on why military teams in the region did not respond to the assault on the U.S. mission and the nearby CIA annex.

This is pretty thorough, and it tries to piece together what happened, when, and who tried to do what.

But military backup may have made a difference at around five the following morning, when a second wave of attackers assaulted the CIA annex where embassy personnel had taken refuge. It was during this second wave of attacks that two ex-SEALs working for the CIA’s security teams—Glenn Dougherty and Tyrone Woods—were killed in a mortar strike.

About those former SEALs, this commentary from The Blaze speaks more clearly than most anything else.

All political drama aside, the piece of this story I choose to hang onto has nothing to do with the finger pointing or political side stepping aimed at preserving the integrity of the current administration long enough to get reelected. Men sacrificed themselves for one another and for their country. What kind of a man, in the face of overwhelming odds, knowingly and freely lays down his life for the man next to him? Glen Doherty and Ty Woods did just that. At that moment it didn’t matter that they had been Navy SEALs or that they were now contractors operating under different laws and rules of engagement. History doesn’t remember “Golgatha Gate” and the political fallout of crucifying Jesus. An entire religion was born from that simple act of suffering and sacrifice, not the reelection of Pontius Pilate…

What I’m saying is that politics and bureaucracy trend towards failure, and that individuals have the capacity to instantaneously realize divine greatness despite being captives of a flawed and broken system led by individuals who do not possess comparable character.

Take their past and future out of the convoluted story and focus on the cold hard truths people face when in combat. You either fight or you run. What makes a person stand and fight to the death? Is it an oath to a piece of paper or a paycheck? No. People fight to the death for the respect and love of the individuals next to them. It’s their common lives, shared suffering, and love for one another’s unlimited futures that keeps them in the fight.

The actions of two Americans in battle and the character they displayed in the face of overwhelming odds should be what guilts this administration into letting the truth be told…

Could this have happened under anybody’s watch? Of course. What is telling is how the administration handled the incident. There was a blatant failure in leadership somewhere in the chain and instead of admitting it, identifying it, and taking steps toward fixing it, they instantaneously moved to deflect the entire event. Since that didn’t work , they are attempting to use any and all events as a platform to move past the event.

It is not the failure and the loss of life that bothers me. That’s a cold thing to say, but anyone who has spent time working within our Government bureaucracy understands how poorly it operates and that these events will happen regardless of who is at the helm. What’s extremely troublesome is that the character and valor being displayed at the lowest levels consistantly and without exception outshines the “leaders” at the top of the chain. This is not a recipe for success. Transparency is what we need as a nation right now and we need to face some painful truths. Glen and Ty were just two Americans trying to do the right thing and in the pursuit of what they believed to be right they sacrificed their lives without concern for their own fate. Isn’t that the kind of character we should demand of our elected leaders?


Benghazi coverup

The Obama administration and a complicit batch of media have stonewalled on this as long as they could. It’s been over seven weeks now of a handful of journalists and former military and diplomats asking questions about what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. Americans deserve answers now, before the election.

They’ve been trickling out for weeks, and more are coming out now.

WaPo on the recent reports and conflicting reactions to them:

So what did happen on the night of Sept.?11, when Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two others were killed? The best way to establish the facts would be a detailed, unclassified timeline of events; officials say that they are preparing one and that it may be released this week. That’s a must, even in the campaign’s volatile final week.

The piece goes into claims and counter-claims, facts as they’re known and reactions from different players, Defense and CIA and “administration officials” among them, using info on where drones and gunships were at that time as a partial excuse.

If these rebuttals are accurate, that raises another troubling question: At a time when al-Qaeda was strengthening its presence in Libya and across North Africa, why didn’t the United States have more military hardware nearby?

Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night. Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire. But the anguish of Woods’s father is understandable: His son’s life might have been saved by a more aggressive response, had one been possible. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.

Columnist Jonah Goldberg in the Chicago Tribune:

Last week, Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that sources on the ground in Libya say they pleaded for support during the attack on the Benghazi consulate that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. They were allegedly told twice to “stand down.” Worse, there are suggestions that there were significant military resources available to counterattack, but requests for help were denied.

If true, the White House’s concerted effort to blame the attack on a video crumbles, as do several other fraudulent claims. Yet, last Friday, the president boasted that “the minute I found out what was happening” in Benghazi, he ordered that everything possible be done to protect our personnel. That is either untrue, or he’s being disobeyed on grave matters.

Important point.

This isn’t an “October surprise” foisted on the media by opposition research; it’s news.

This story raises precisely the sort of “big issues” the media routinely claim elections should be about. For instance, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last week that the “basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” If real-time video of the attack and communications with Americans on the ground begging for assistance doesn’t constitute “real-time information,” what does?

Real Clear Politics picks it up:

The ride on the Obama bus gets bumpier as more bodies are thrown under it…

The journalists went under the bus because the Foreign Service and career intelligence officers the administration tried to scapegoat refused to go there. They’ve leaked emails that reveal the White House was informed while it was still going on that the attack was the work of terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida.

To put this in the context of the Mother of All Scandals, these emails are the equivalent of a transcript of what was on the 181/2 minutes of the secret White House tapes President Nixon’s secretary erased.

“What did the president know, and when did he know it?” Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn, asked during the Watergate hearings. The answer in the leaked emails is that the president knew everything, all along.

They were sent by the Regional Security Officer in Libya to the State Department in Washington, the White House Situation Room, the Pentagon, the FBI and thedirector of National Intelligence.

The first said the consulate was being attacked by “about 20” armed men.

The third, sent two hours later, reported that Ansar al Sharia, an Islamist militia, was claiming credit for the attack.

A fourth, sent at 11:57 p.m. EDT, described a mortar attack on the consulate annex, where the Americans were killed.

About 300 watch officers at the NSC, State, Defense, the FBI and other agencies would have read these emails as soon as they were received, and informed their superiors right away. This was a crisis. Men armed with mortars, machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades were attacking a U.S. consulate. The ambassador was missing. The secretary of state, the DNI and the president would have been briefed within hours.

When the “three a.m. phone call” came (at 6:07 p.m. EDT), the president ignored it. The day after learning Ambassador Stevens had been murdered and sensitive intelligence documents were missing, he jetted off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.

And for nearly two weeks afterward, Mr. Obama and his senior aides blamed the attack on the Youtube video — even though they knew that wasn’t true.

His interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, taped the day after the attack, indicates that Mr. Obama has been lying from the get-go.

“My suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in [the attack on the consulate] who were looking to target Americans from the start,” the president told Mr. Kroft.

The fact that CBS cut this from the broadcast — airing instead Mr. Obama’s attack on Mitt Romney for criticizing his Middle East policy — indicates why the White House remains confident the “mainstream” media will continue to downplay the scandal.

This cover-up, like that in Watergate, goes right to the top. What’s being covered up is much worse than a “third rate burglary.” Why was security so lax? Why were the ambassador’s pleas for more turned down? Why did the president lie? Americans have a right to know. Few in the media have tried to find out.


Unraveling political lies

There’s a lot of dishonesty inherent in politics, sorry truth be told. It’s always there and especially in campaign season, every campaign season. But this time, distortions and twists of fact have ramped up to lying and accusing of lying.

Even while the first presidential debate was still underway and President Obama was clearly losing, his team got busy deciding how to recover. From the New York Times:

On the conference call convened by aides in Denver and Chicago even as the candidates were still on stage, there was no debate in the Obama campaign about the debate. None of the advisers fooled themselves into thinking it was anything but a disaster. Instead, they scrambled for ways to recover. They resolved to go after Mr. Romney with a post-debate assault on his truthfulness. Ad makers were ordered to work all night to produce an attack ad.

Then the vice-presidential debate aired and there was Vice President Biden boldly stating something that was demonstrably untrue.

With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.

That is a fact.

No it isn’t. And it took the US bishops no time in issuing a correction.

 Then the second presidential election, and President Obama’s insistence that he called the Benghazi a terrorist attack the day after the attack. Though he had not called it a terrorist attack. But got away with the claim anyway.

He also claimed that Planned Parenthood does mammograms, which was the second time during that debate that I talked back to the television. ‘No, they don’t.’ Even they admit that.

And then there was the third and final debate. CBS headlines that ‘Obama’s Rhetoric Shifts from Hope to Snark.’

If you’re President Obama, you know you pushed the sarcasm envelope at Monday night’s debate when even Rachel Maddow describes the way you spoke to Mitt Romney as being in “very, very overtly patronizing terms.”

Maddow probably meant it as a compliment, but there have been plenty of other observers who were critical of the president’s use of Seinfeldian set-ups and snarky punch lines  to score points about military spending and the state of U.S.-Russia relations.

Time’s Mark Halperin described the president’s style as “belittling.”  Mike Allen at Politico called it “snide derision.”

NRO’s Stanley Kurtz posted this on the president’s angry challenge to prove he’s ever undertaken an ‘apology tour.’ The key to the piece is in the second graf on the “handy list” link. Check it out.

And even comedian David Letterman expressed chagrin over the president’s performance.

Noel Sheppard picks up David Letterman’s belated realization that Barack Obama — one of his favorite guests — has misrepresented Mitt Romney’s position on GM and the auto bailout for months. 

Letterman tells MSNBCs Rachel Maddow that he finds it disappointing when a challenger proves to be more honest than an incumbent President:

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: Here’s what upset me last night, this playing fast and loose with facts. And the President Obama cites the op-ed piece that Romney wrote about Detroit, “Let them go bankrupt, let them go bankrupt,” and last night he brings it up again. “Oh, no, Governor, you said let them go bankrupt, blah blah blah, let them go bankrupt.” And Mitt said, “No, no, check the thing, check the thing, check the thing.”

Now, I don’t care whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you want your president to be telling the truth; you want the contender to be lying. And so what we found out today or soon thereafter that, in fact, the President Obama was not telling the truth about what was excerpted from that op-ed piece. I felt discouraged.

RACHEL MADDOW: Because the “Let Detroit go bankrupt” headline you feel like was inappropriate?

LETTERMAN: Well, the fact the President is invoking it and swearing that he was right and that Romney was wrong and I thought, well, he’s the president of course he’s right. Well, it turned out no, he was taking liberties with that.

Then, though Gov. Mitt Romney held back on the Libya questions of what the administration knew and when they knew it, some media didn’t. Like this Reuters revelation.

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

Exceot for some key members of the intelligence community.

If the scoop from Reuters last night surprised Americans with the knowledge that the intel community knew that the Benghazi attack was not a spontaneous demonstration that spun out of control, no one was more surprised than Senate Intelligence Committee vice chair Saxby Chambliss.  His committee has been requesting those e-mails for weeks, and Chambliss to Fox and Friends that the information in them shows why they demanded them in the first place.

“At the very least,” Brian Kilmeade asks, “this shows a massive disconnect [between the intel community and the administration], doesn’t it?”  “No question,” Chambliss answers, but he’s more concerned about how the White House handled the issue.  “We got pushback, both  from the White House and the intelligence community, early on.  We couldn’t figure it out.  I mean, that was really strange — because they never do that.”  Chambliss now wants hearings in the Senate to pursue why these e-mails, and perhaps other intel, have been held back from Congress:

This points to a few possible conclusions.  Either the White House and the intel community kept Congress out of the loop because they didn’t want to admit that terrorists had successfully attacked an American diplomatic mission for the first time in fourteen years, or because they didn’t know themselves what the data meant.  Neither is particularly commendatory, although the latter looks a lot less dishonest.  Nevertheless, despite having this detailed description of the attack and the fairly credible claim of credit for the attack from a leading terrorist network in the immediate area within two hours of the start of the attack, the White House chose to repeatedly claim that they had “no evidence” that the sacking was a planned terrorist attack for most of the next two weeks.  That looks a lot more dishonest with every revelation that comes out in this issue.

And more are unraveling every day.

Who’s investigating Benghazi?

And why hasn’t there been a more forceful call for accountability on what happened there?

Ambassador Christopher Stevens should still be alive. He should have been protected, along with the others around him assasinated on 9/11. There have been jokes on Facebook about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for Big Bird to be taken to a safe house after presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he would cut off federal funding of NPR in his administration with loans from China.

It would have been cute, if not for the deadly serious fact that Ambassador Stevens couldn’t make it to the safe house in Libya during the attack on the consulate in Benghazi and was killed somewhere in between. While the State Department and Secretary Clinton have yet to account for the lack of security.

Just two days before the 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, two leaders of the Libyan militias responsible for keeping order in the city threatened to withdraw their men. 

The brinksmanship is detailed in a cable approved by Ambassador Chris Stevens and sent on the day he died in the attack, the worst assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission since the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. The dispatch, which was marked “sensitive” but not “classified,” contained a number of other updates on the chaotic situation on the ground in post-Gaddafi Libya.

There has been much revelation of pleas for help from Stevens and the Libyan contingent, but not much transparency on where those pleas went in this nearly month since the assassinations.

Jason Chaffetz, the Republican lawmaker who has led the House Oversight and Government Reform committee’s investigation into the 9/11 attack, says the State Department actually decreased U.S. diplomatic security personnel in the months leading up to the attack…

Chaffetz, who visited Tripoli on Saturday, told The Daily Beast he has obtained documents and conducted interviews with whistle blowers that show the U.S. mission Libya did request more security from Washington in the run-up to the attack, but was denied. “Regional security officers were denied requests for more personnel and security upgrades to the four buildings and the perimeter security of the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” he told The Daily Beast on Sunday. More details on that negotiation will likely come out on Wednesday, when Chaffetz will hold his committee’s first hearing on the Benghazi attack.

It’s about time.

Media driving the narrative on Mideast violence?

They are trying.

In headline after headline, media outlets have been pushing the message that the raging violence across the Middle East in the past week and continuing to erupt in new places is due to a ‘video,’ a virtually unknown, small and stupid little 14 minute trailer that’s been out since June or July and almost nobody saw. But everybody’s heard about now. We’re expected to believe the serious street demonstrations and violent eruptions around the world that spread even to Europe are because people have seen this thing. It requires ‘the willing suspension of disbelief’, as now Sec. Hilary Clinton once famously opined about another turbulent time.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, opened her questioning of Petraeus and Crocker with the standard “I honor you for your service.” And then she let the two of them have it.

“You have been made the de facto spokesmen for what many of us believe to be a failed policy” in Iraq, Clinton said. “Despite what I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.”

And now the shoe’s on the other foot, as her State Department is reporting the outburst of violence in Libya that killed the US Ambassador and others was from a spontaneous demonstration and not a planned and organized attack. In the face of evidence to the contrary.

At first blush, it appears Libyan and Obama administration officials are offering two completely different accounts. The Libyans, including the Libyan president, say the attack was pre-planned. The Obama administration says it was spontaneous. Both sides are sticking to their version of events…

Fox News was told that the assault on the consulate came without warning, and, to strengthen the view that it was pre-meditated, the assault included RPGs and mortars — including at least one round that hit the consulate roof.

There were two waves to the assault, Fox News was told. According to the intelligence source, in the first wave, the attackers were heard to say “we got him” — a reference to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. Word spread, the attackers regrouped and the second wave went after the motorcade and support personnel.

The account relayed by the intelligence source on the ground in Libya is consistent with statements by the Libyan president that the attack was pre-mediated and the work of foreign fighters, which is code for Islamist extremists, including the Al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa. It is also consistent with an interview by McClatchy Newspapers with a purported Libyan security guard who was injured in the assault. The guard said the consulate area was quiet and “there wasn’t a single ant outside” until dozens of armed men descended on the compound.  

These accounts stand in contrast to some statements made by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday talk shows. In several separate appearances, Rice said the assault on the U.S. Consulate began as an ongoing demonstration that spiraled out of control.

On “Fox News Sunday,” she said: “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack, that what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.

And that has been the media meme all along. In spite of reports in the early going that it was a coordinated strike timed on the anniversary of 9/11, forewarned days before.

A senior administration official told Fox News they are exhaustively investigating every angle of the attack in Benghazi, and an earlier assault on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and there are early signs the Benghazi assault may have been planned. The official cautioned, though, that the administration has not jumped to any conclusions about what happened, saying it would be “premature” to do so.

But current and former U.S. lawmakers, and others, claimed Wednesday that the attack looked like a coordinated strike.

“Absolutely, I have no doubt about it. It was a coordinated, military-style, commando-type raid,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Fox News. Based on his own briefings, Rogers said “military movements” were involved.

“This was a well- planned, well-targeted event. No doubt about it,” Rogers said. He said the Al Qaeda-linked Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades is one group being looked at by officials.

However, media stayed on the point they wanted to make.

New York Times.

Facing Afghanistan’s first significant outbreak of violence over an anti-Islam film that has inflamed mobs elsewhere, the police moved swiftly on Monday to contain rampaging groups of young men who were burning tires and throwing stones along a thoroughfare leading east out of Kabul, keeping the protesters from advancing toward the city and dispersing them within hours.


Protests sparked by an online film that mocks Islam’s holy prophet entered a second week Monday, raising questions about whether the furor is isolated or a sign of broader anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.

On Monday, demonstrators took to the streets in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Answering a call from the leader of Hezbollah — deemed a terrorist organization by the United States — thousands packed the streets of Beirut’s southern suburbs and chanted “Death to America!”

Monday’s protests weren’t on the scale as those last week, nor did they provoke the same level of international crisis by endangering U.S. diplomatic missions. Still, the fact the demonstrations are continuing — and that they have occurred, now, in more than 20 countries — suggests the anti-American furor tied to the inflammatory film isn’t going away.

The BBC, too.

The leader of Lebanon’s Shia movement Hezbollah has appeared in public for the first time since December 2011 to denounce the amateur anti-Islam film which has sparked worldwide protests.

Speaking at a rally in Beirut, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said the US faces “very dangerous” repercussions if it allows the full video to be released.

New protests erupted around the Muslim world on Monday over the US-made video.

And now, a tightrope act.

The Obama administration is walking a tightrope on its explanation over what led to the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya — sticking to its claim that the attack was “spontaneous” while allowing that the situation may have been exploited by militants.

The latest clarification from the administration came in response to an intelligence source on the ground in Libya telling Fox News there was no significant or sizeable demonstration when the attacks unfolded sometime after 9:30 p.m. in Benghazi last Tuesday. That appeared to challenge the view, espoused by the Obama administration, that ongoing demonstrations over an anti-Islam film had simply spun out of control.

“There was no protest, and the attacks were not spontaneous,” the intelligence source said. “The Libyan attack was planned and had nothing to do with the movie.”

The administration can’t keep a lid on this much longer.

NBC News asks “Where was the security?” Good question.

For years, the United States has been concerned about al-Qaida’s recruiting along a coastal highway in eastern Libya. The stretch of highway, extending from Derna in the east, through Benghazi — the scene of the attack on a U.S. consulate that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last week — to Ajdabiya in the southwest, has earned a reputation as a breeding ground not just for Libya’s indigenous Islamists, but also for al-Qaida central on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Counterterrorism experts inside and outside the U.S. government argue that it is not an exaggeration to suggest that the region around Benghazi has become a crucial wellspring for al-Qaida that rivals even its historic breeding ground — Saudi Arabia.

The area has produced many members of the terrorist organization’s leadership, supplanting or at least complementing Saudi and Egyptian roles.

Following Tuesday’s deadly attack, U.S. and Libyan officials are trying to determine what role homegrown radical Islamists played in the violence. Many U.S. and Libyan officials now believe the attack was planned, possibly by Libyan jihadists who have returned to their old stomping grounds after having traveled the Islamic world in recent years.

And CNN’s Anderson Cooper pushed for answers. “U.S. was warned of threats”. Watch the video of this news report.

And consider who’s controlling what.