With each new revelation, what has always been obvious becomes more pronounced: the State Department’s self-proclaimed final word on the Benghazi Massacre, the risibly named “Accountability Review Board” investigation, is a fraud. Yet, like the rest of the Obama administration’s obstructive wagon-circling, the ARB’s report continues serving its intended purpose: to thwart efforts to hold administration officials accountable. Even on Fox News, which has been admirably dogged covering a scandal the Obamedia has done its best to bury, the refrain is heard: How could the ARB report be a whitewash when its investigation was run by such Washington eminences as Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen?
The answer is simple: Pickering and Mullen were not chosen by accident; then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tapped them because, to insulate herself, she needed a pair of Beltway careerists held in high esteem by the progressive-friendly Republican establishment. As night follows day, Pickering and Mullen produced exactly the shoddy, politicized report that was expected of them – bleaching away the malfeasance of Clinton, a central figure in the scandal whom they did not even bother to interview.
Mrs. Clinton is a master of this game.
Recall that her top advisor at State was Huma Abedin, a longtime associate of Omar Abdullah Naseef, a rabid Islamic supremacist and financial backer of al Qaeda. For a dozen years, during most of which she was also working for Mrs. Clinton, Abedin worked at Naseef’s Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs – a building block of the joint Saudi regime and Muslim Brotherhood project to promote sharia enclaves in the West, encouraging Muslims to resist assimilation.
Abedin had begun working for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton in the nineties, while a member of the executive board of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at George Washington University. Founded in the early sixties, the MSA is first building block of the Brotherhood’s American infrastructure, and its GWU chapter has quite a history: In 2001, its “spriritual guide” was Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda operative who was then ministering to some of the eventual 9/11 suicide-hijackers. As Patrick Poole has demonstrated, it was in the MSA that Awlaki first cut his Islamic supremacist teeth – as have a number of prominent Islamists, including (to name just two) Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood stalwart turned Egyptian president, and Abdurrahman Alamoudi, a now convicted al Qaeda financier who was a favorite “moderate” Muslim leader of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Abedin continued at Naseef’s journal until moving to the State Department with Secretary Clinton in 2009. Naseef, a wealthy, well-connected Saudi, was secretary general of the Muslim World League, perhaps the most significant Saudi-Brotherhood collaboration in the world. In addition to founding the journal, Naseef also started the Rabita Trust, a formally designated international terrorist organization. His partner in that venture was Wael Jalaidan, a founding member of al Qaeda who –whaddya know! – ran the MSA chapter in Arizona. The Rabita Trust that was an important funding source for Osama bin Laden. Ms. Abedin’s close tie to Naseef stems from the fact that he is the patron of her parents – Muslim Brotherhood operatives both. Abedin’s mother, Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin, is a close associate not only of Naseef but of top Muslim Brotherhood sharia jurist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In fact, Dr. Abedeen runs an organization, the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child, that is part of Qaradawi’s Union of Good. Formally designated as an international terrorist organization, the Union of Good is a major supporter of Hamas.
Five conservative Republican members of the House had the gumption to ask why a person with Ms. Abedin’s alarming connections to prominent Islamic supremacists would be given a high-echelon State Department job, performance of which requires a security clearance granting access to top-secret intelligence. Based on Abedin and other officials with disturbing Islamist ties, the five members asked for inspector-general investigations into Muslim Brotherhood penetration of our government.
In response, Secretary Clinton deftly called out the Washington establishment’s Republican guard. Senator John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and other top GOP figures obliged, dutifully lambasting the House conservatives. Nothing to see here – just “a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations,” twaddled McCain. Boehner, who conceded that he did “not know Huma” and had not read the House conservatives’ letters, nevertheless assured Americans that Abedin had a “sterling character” and that the accusations “were pretty dangerous.”
Mind you, while all this was happening, Obama administration policy, led by the State Department, was swinging dramatically in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East. Obama was even intervening in Libya on behalf of the Brotherhood and al Qaeda elements in Benghazi, toppling a theretofore American-supported regime that had been providing us with critical intelligence against anti-American Islamists. Yet, Secretary Clinton succeeded in burying the story. Thanks to the GOP greybeards, the media meme became purported conservative Islamophobia. The bullet was dodged as the manifest influence of Islamic-supremacists on Obama administration policy was ignored.
Unlike that outrage, the public’s interest has been roused by the killings of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department IT specialist Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Ty Woods and Glen Doherty on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, in virulently anti-American Benghazi – at a U.S. State Department compound of unexplained purpose which, under Clinton’s leadership, stood recklessly unprotected.
Clearly, the administration, including the President and Secretary Clinton, knew the compound was under terrorist attack from the early stages of the September 11 siege. Yet, they took no meaningful action to protect and defend the Americans there. Furthermore, there are grounds to believe the command chain may actually have prevented a forceful response, ordering special forces to stand down while the attack raged.
That remains to be established. What we do know is that, at a minimum, Obama was inexcusably derelict in failing even to attempt to overcome Libyan intransigence. At the airport in Benghazi, officials of the new Libyan government – the one Obama brought to power – obstructed the few brave Americans who desperately tried to come to the rescue, delaying them for over three hours. Put aside the commander-in-chief’s failure to deploy U.S. military assets (discussed by Jed Babbin, here); Obama never even picked up the phone to cut through the red Libyan tape. Then, in the days and weeks that followed, top administration officials serially lied to the American people. The president and his underlings repeatedly claiming the lethal jihadist attack – which, as Steve Hayes has meticulously detailed, they mendaciously downgraded to a “demonstration” – had been a spontaneous protest over an obscure video demeaning Islam’s prophet.
As the White House knew from the first, the Benghazi Massacre was a coordinated terrorist attack involving al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists who used mortars and other high-power weapons. Alas, the attack occurred in the stretch-run of the presidential campaign. Obama had staked his reelection on the claims that he had decimated al Qaeda; that he had prudently intervened against Qaddafi for the benefit of freedom-craving Muslim moderates; and that he was bringing the war on terror to a successful conclusion. An al Qaeda attack against America in Benghazi, the heart of the anti-Qaddafi jihad empowered by Obama’s heedless Libya War, puts the lie to this fairy tale. Consequently, the White House plainly decided (a) not to respond forcefully to the jihadist attack lest it look like what it was – a jihadist attack; and (b) to obscure the truth, and run out the 2012 campaign clock, with the preposterous video canard.
Even though the carnage at Benghazi stoked broader and more determined public outcry than the (closely related) issue of Islamic-supremacist infiltration of our government, Secretary Clinton reasonably figured the whitewash strategy that had worked so well before might do the trick again. Enter Pickering and Mullen.
The game here is to convince the public that two Beltway eminences, objects of bipartisan reverence, would never help blind Americans to the administration’s malfeasance – no more than would McCain & Co. when it came to Huma Abedin. The game exploited the certainty that the mainstream media would slobber over Pickering and Mullen as if they were a pair of lovable moderate mavericks who might, at any moment, unleash a “wacko bird” tirade against conservatives or inveigh against “Tea Party hobbits.”
In truth, Pickering and Mullen are a pair of reliable politicos who have drunk deep from Washington’s See-No-Islam well. Ambassador Pickering was President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the UN – hailed at the New York Times, that weathervane of transnational progressivism, as arguably the best ever in that post. He later seamlessly transitioned to the Clinton State Department, becoming ambassador to Russia and, later, undersecretary of state for political affairs. I’d give you more chapter and verse, but Diana West has already done the scut work:
Pickering is one of those Washington insiders whose public record is less a matter of what he’s done than what he’s been: U.S. ambassador to Russia, Israel, El Salvador, Jordan, India, Nigeria and the United Nations. What such postings may obscure, however, is that the man is a foreign policy establishment leftist. It’s not just that Pickering serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the International Crisis Group, a George Soros group that, for example, advocated engagement with the Shariah-supremacist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Pickering has personally explored opening relations with Hamas; pushed peace talks with the Taliban; argued for getting rid of, or removing to the U.S., all tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (and moving Russia’s to east of the Urals); and promoted bilateral talks with Iran without preconditions. And speaking of Iran, Pickering sits on the boards of two pro-Tehran groups, the American Iranian Council and the National Iranian American Council….
Pickering’s politics place him squarely inside the Obama foreign policy mainstream[.]… Pickering has expressed support for Obama’s Libya policy, “where,” as he put it in March, “we play a major role behind the scenes and … incorporate many other people in the activities we did in Libya.” Explaining the Libyan “experimentation” in “consultative leadership” that minimizes the U.S. military role, Pickering sounds as if he also endorsed the disastrous policy of relying on local jihadist militias for U.S. security.
On a panel titled “The Muslim Experience in America” at Washington’s National Cathedral, Pickering recently advocated “dialogue with the Iranians … informed by an effort to develop religious understanding and perhaps harmony,” while also bridging the “gulf” with Islam in America more generally. He also made an ominous call for “strong efforts … to deal with opinion leaders who harbor (anti-Islam) prejudices, who espouse them and spread them.”
Yes, who better than a supporter of the Obama-Clinton policy of empowering Islamic supremacists to conduct an investigation into whether that policy created the conditions that directly caused the Benghazi Massacre? Who better to probe whether the administration’s post-siege cover-up is explained by the Obama campaign’s need to conceal that policy failure?
Then there’s Michael Mullen, a four-star admiral named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Bush in 2007. Having exhibited the required cluelessness about our enemies’ ideology, Mullen was subsequently reappointed by President Obama.
Echoing Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood consultants, Mullen denies the nexus between Islamic scripture and the threat to the West. The jihad, he instead insists, is the result of “the humiliation, the hopelessness, the illiteracy and abject poverty which lie at the core of the attraction to extremist thought[.]” In fact, Mullen actually claims – I’m not kidding – that if we just taught illiterate Middle Easterners how to read, they would eschew violence because they would “understand the Koran for what it is.”
Could it really be lost on a man of Mullen’s experience and stature that jihadist leaders are frequently well-educated scions of wealthy families? That the Koran contains over a hundred verses lauding violent jihad, and that globally influential sharia jurists like Sheikh Qaradawi – who know a lot more about Islam than Mullen does – interpret Muslim scripture to endorse suicide bombings in Israel, terrorist war against U.S. troops in Iraq, the subjugation of women, and the brutalizing of apostates and homosexuals?
Naturally, it was during Mullen’s tenure on the Joint Chiefs that the Defense Department labeled the Fort Hood atrocity “workplace violence,” filing a lengthy investigative report that – in Benghazi ARB fashion – omitted any mention of “Islam” and “jihad” in analyzing thirteen murders carried out by a jihadist who, after consulting with al Qaeda’s Awlaki, screamed “Allahu Akbar!” as he pumped round after round into American soldiers. It was also during Mullen’s stint that the Defense Department purged intelligence training materials of information Obama’s Brotherhood consultants found to be disparaging of Islam (i.e., any information demonstrating that Islamic supremacist ideology is virulently anti-Western and leads, inexorably, to violence). Herb London hits the nail on the head: under Mullen, in lieu of “battlefield action based on lethality,” the armed forces have convinced themselves that “pop-psychology” will quell the enemy.
Mullen’s crack analytical skills were on full display as he oversaw the U.S.-Pakistani military “alliance” – if that word can be used with a straight face. The Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) has notoriously used U.S. aid to arm jihadists. The ISI created and sustains the Taliban, and it uses the al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network in much the same way Iran uses Hezbollah: as a forward jihadist militia. Yet, as Diana West recounts, Mullen announced in 2009 that he had no intention of dwelling on the past since he was “here to write a history for the future” and “re-establish that trust” between nations.
Mullen’s fantasy was soon punctured. It turned out that Pakistan was harboring Osama bin Laden (who was shacked up for years in a compound virtually down the block from the national military academy). The ISI was also sharing U.S. technology with China, and enabling the Haqqani network as it attacked the American embassy in Kabul, among other U.S. interests. None of this would have been remotely surprising to anyone who has been paying attention for the last 30 years. But Mullen, as he rode off into the sunset of retirement, expressed shock at the ISI’s confederation with the anti-American jihad.
So to recap: with innate Muslim sympathies and under the counsel of Islamic supremacist advisors, Obama and Clinton direct a policy designed to empower Islamic supremacists whose ascendancy, inevitably, results in violent jihadist attacks against the West, including the strike against the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. In desperation to cover their tracks after not only authoring this policy but denying security enhancements in the months prior to the siege, Obama, Clinton and their confederates concoct a fraud that – implausibly on its face – depicts the murderous attack as a protest that got out of hand over a video no one had seen. The farce allows them to rant indignantly about Islamophobia, catnip to their media allies. This is enough to cow Mitt Romney who, as a good establishment Republican, goes silent on Benghazi at the close of his inept presidential campaign – virtually endorsing Obama in the candidates’ final debate on foreign policy.
The jihadist slaughter of our ambassador and three other Americans is so grave, though, that the White House and its media cannot kill the story. As the drip, drip, drip of revelations illustrates administration malevolence and incompetence, Secretary Clinton seeks out Pickering and Mullen, two old reliable hands who, much like herself and her president, refuse to see any nexus between Muslim scripture and jihadist violence, support the policy of empowering Islamic supremacists, think the real security threat is Islamophobia, and have a history of overlooking inconvenient facts.
What a surprise that Pickering and Mullen should conduct an embarrassment of an investigation that fails to interview key witnesses (including, of course, Mrs. Clinton), and that fails to grapple with key events – like the infamous Susan Rice “talking points” that became increasingly fraudulent precisely because Clinton’s State Department kept pressing for more massaging of the facts.
What a surprise that, even as the predictably shoddy Pickering-Mullen report is now itself being investigated over its breathtaking omissions and spin, the Obama administration continues to tout it as “unimpeachable” bipartisan gospel.
It is a cynical strategy, but it’s been known to work.
Andrew C. McCarthy is the author of the New York Times bestsellersThe Grand Jihad and Willful Blindness. He is a contributing editor at National Review and co-chairs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He also writes the Ordered Liberty blog at PJMedia.com.