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  • Morning Bell: Benghazi Hearings Begin on Capitol Hill

    Today, hearings begin in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11.

    In a new Issue Brief, Heritage’s James Jay Carafano and Morgan Lorraine Roach write:

    Understanding what was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi and the tragic results is vital for preparing for future security threats to embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions. The attack in Benghazi reveals a terrorist attack profile that the U.S. is likely to see again.

    Al-Qaeda-affiliated sources have already called for additional attacks on U.S. embassies. Regardless of the motivation and organization behind Benghazi, the U.S. government should anticipate that al-Qaeda and its affiliates will aspire to more such attacks.

    They raise four questions that congressional committees need to ask:

    1. What counterterrorism and early warning measures were in place to proactively address security threats?
    2. What risk assessments were performed and what risk mitigation measures were adopted prior to the attack?
    3. What contingency planning was undertaken and exercised to respond to armed assaults against U.S. facilities in Benghazi?
    4. How is the interagency response to the incident organized and managed?

    Carafano, deputy director of The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, will testify today before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on these key questions for protecting U.S. embassies and missions. Carafano is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army and one of the nation’s leading experts on defense and homeland security issues.

    Carafano says that it is impossible to “child-proof America”—that is, to protect every single building or potential terrorist target. The better counterterrorism strategy is to tackle threats as they develop and emerge, before terrorists have the opportunity to strike a target—a strategy that has protected the U.S. from 53 publicly known terrorist plots since 9/11.

    For this reason, finding out what was being done to identify and disrupt the terrorist operations in Libya is of utmost importance. It is well known to officials that “since the fall of the Muammar Qadhafi regime, Libya’s fledgling government has been unable to stem the influence of Islamists and extremist militias,” Carafano and Roach write. Ambassador Stevens had sent a memo to the State Department identifying at least 10 known militant groups that could be threats.

    Helle Dale, Heritage’s senior fellow for public diplomacy, adds that the “State Department’s strategy of combating Islamist radicalism through strategic communication also has to come under review.” Despite a special new office focusing on “strategic counterterrorism communication,” Dale says, “we have seen the number of terrorist attacks (successful and attempted) on U.S. embassies on the rise, and we saw in September angry mobs throughout Muslim countries—such as those that gathered at the Cairo embassy—and beyond threaten American embassies.”

    Some of the hearings are public, while others are closed-door. Former CIA Director David Petraeus, who resigned last Friday citing an extramarital affair, will testify tomorrow at a closed-door hearing.

    Quick Hits:

    • Israel took out the military commander of Hamas yesterday       as fighting escalated in the region.
    • In his press conference yesterday, President Obama gave a spirited defense of Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who went on TV and said the terrorist attack in Benghazi was a protest against a YouTube video.
    • The eurozone is in a recession for the second time in four years.
    • The Senate did not move cybersecurity legislation forward yesterday, which means the President will likely push his similar executive order to regulate businesses.
    • Could a carbon tax solve global warming and the fiscal crisis? That’s what some people would have you believe. Get the facts from Heritage’s Katie Tubb.
    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Morning Bell: Benghazi Hearings Begin on Capitol Hill

    1. don says:

      like they are going to get answers..just like fast and furious…give the millions of taxpayer dollars that will be spent on this soap opera….American politica are a disgrace…Obama and the democrats have mad US the laughing stock of the world…its a damn shame

    2. Tom Kosty says:

      Isn't it true that foreign all diplomats and military attaches are made aware before being assigned that they are "expendable", and that, under no circumstances are they to create ANY kind of incident by attacking a foreign national, much less killing one, regardless of circumstances? Wasn't this the policy that resulted in the freeing of hostages without loss of one life, during the Iran hostage crisis over 30 years ago?

      • sdfultz says:

        Thanks Tom, that's why they are Patriots because they were willing!
        Not like some of these commentators.

      • charles says:

        What ??????????????????????????????
        Americans are not allowed to defend theirselves?
        If that is true, bring all America military and diplomats home and let the rest of the world gurgle on their own ignorance and barbarism.

    3. VeeDub57 says:

      And here's what you probably won't hear. It wasn't just the four Americans who were murdered that were offered up for sacrifice to "peaceful" muslims. Dozens of Americnas were offered up for sacrifice. Nobody (Valerie Jarrett) sent help for ANY of them. The others that were rescued were only saved from certain death because the Seals disobeyed orders from Valerie Jarrett to stand down and let them all die. If you want to know who that mystery person in the White House was, that gave the orders to stand down and let Americans die, you need look no further than Valerie Jarrett.

      • sdfultz says:

        Well who let all those soldiers be killed by peaceful muslims?

      • misfitmama says:

        I still want to know why 'valerie Jarrett has 24/7 security wherever she travels when, apparently, American diplomats in dangerous parts of the world don't have this level of protection…….

    4. Frank says:

      No matter 4 Americans died & that the Obama administration was caught red handed in a coverup, the MSM + the Democrats in Congress will allow this Unconstitutional, usurper President a "pass" so their plans for ever bigger government & higher taxes can go through. There will be no "Watergate" for Obama. Partly to blame also: Romney who in the final weeks of the campaign let Obama off of multiple hooks on the mistaken belief that he was going to win the election anyways.

    5. Tommi says:

      It's of little comfort that Petraeus is "testifying", which could be misconstrued as "telling the truth", when he has obviously had so much practice lying lately.

    6. sdfultz says:

      I know the facts don;t matter to some of you commentators, but do you not have the discipline to wait for the results of the current investigations?

      • Karen H says:

        I think you are right about waiting for the reults, but, because there's so much corruption in Obamas administration, most people are rightfully concerned about waiting too long to address this situation with regard to the Benghazi debacle. Will we ever know the truth? Why is Valeri Jarret still in the picture? Why is she paying such an important role?

    7. charleslabounty says:

      All we know so far is the "girl friend saga" and Mr. Obama is outraged over anyone questioning of Susan Rice's performance on TV.
      BHO was angry at McCain over comments about Rice telling the lies about the cause of the murders in Benghazi.- – more so than the 4 Americans being murdered.
      Also, note the media and political coverage of the victims of storm Sandy — not near as much outrage as there was over Katrina victims.
      Is there a racial element in these two news items? This is a question, not an accusation.
      If so, we should not be afraid of discussing, as Holder accused us of being afraid to discuss racial issues.

    8. Charles Yahn says:

      If the liberal media would spend 10% of the time, devoted to the Patraeus affair, on unanswered questions concerning the four American murders in Libya, I would at least concider some journalists.

    9. Sara says:

      How about this question – What secret mission was Petraeus carrying out for President Obama?

    10. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Hearings! So what? How many "hearings" did the hapless Republicans conduct for Fast & Furous? What good did it do? Holder was held in contempt. Yea, that did a lot of good! Fact the facts. Obama, Dems, and the media have this nation so wired, continuing to give false hope to your members and readers by suggesting something will get done, you're doing a disservice to conservatism. Only one thing will bring this country bact to America again, and it's not holding "hearings"!

    11. Margaret Paddock says:

      These comments in the article sound like a cop out to me. I hear Hillary is "too busy" to testify. Like everything else in this administration the truth will be hidden if they can find a way to do it.

      Hopefully the e mail the general sent will be made public and then maybe we will find out what really went on behind closed doors.

    12. Larry says:

      Are Heritage bloggers and scholars going PC? I am declaring freedom from that disease.
      It is time to ask:
      When did Obama know the attackers were not responding to a video?
      Who recommended rescue efforts and when? Why were those recommendations refused and who refused them?
      and last; Who is included in the entire list of liars and defenders of this fraud of the worst kind from POTUS to the last reporter /admin official WHO LIED and are still lying about this murder of 4 Americans (and maybe all that's left of integrity in our Federal Government)?
      God Bless America…we really need it now!

    13. Charles Yahn says:

      If the liberal media spent 10% of the time, squandered on the patraeus affair, finding answers on our four murdered Americans in Libya, I might concider some journalists.

    14. finishstrongdoc says:

      The Republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Why hasn't Obama been subpoenaed? Why are the news outlets playing into Obama's theater of "identity politics", and the Republicans dutifully going along/? Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) , a female, was in the spotlight with McCain & Graham yesterday, calling for a select committee on Benghazi, and now it's just McCain on news outlets responding to Buck Obama's challenge to "Come at me?" Ayotte is a former prosecutor, and has argued before the Supreme Court; she could blow a Constitutional misfit "scholar" off the board !
      "In the Soviet Union, we had a two-party system; one party was evil and the other was stupid.
      ~Yuri Maltsev, former Ag Minister in the former USSR~"

    15. toledofan says:

      At the end of the day, as long as Obama and the Democrats are in charge, we'll never know the whole truth. This is a national disgrace and to top it off the mainstream media has become complicent in the cover up. Let face the reality, without talk radio, FOX and other outlets like Heritage, we'd never even hear about this. The other disturbing part of this are the millions of Americans who voted for Obama and consider this to be no big deal; four Americans getting killed and no help was offered, sounds like something you'd hear from the Soviet Union.

    16. chyatt says:

      Let's save some time. The individuals who did this hate America, Americans and our life style. There. Now let's move on to the real questions: 1) What were our elected officials doing during the lengthy period of time OUR people were being killed? 2) Is there any truth to the report that this embassay was illegally providing and supply arms to militants to over throw the existing government in Lybia? 3) Why were requests for enhanced security ignored? 4) Why did our people not have weapons to defend themselves while being in a country that is known to hate us? 5) Who was supposed to be answering the phone at 3AM? This hearing will turn out to be a sham. The only thing that the people in America care about any more is "where do I get my free cell phone". We now live in a country where private ownership of firearms is more concerning THAN our government handing out weapons to thugs who then use them to kill federal agents. We have arrived at the point where stupidity has taken over.

    17. Petraeus has stipulated no questions about his affair with Paula. I read another term today which is the hearing "off site" and not in house or senate chambers. "Off site" is code for no sworn testimony—WTF?

    18. finishstrongdoc says:

      The Republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Why hasn't Obama been subpoenaed? Why are the news outlets playing into Obama's theater of "identity politics", and the Republicans dutifully going along/? Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) , a female, was in the spotlight with McCain & Graham yesterday, calling for a select committee on Benghazi, and now it's just McCain on news outlets responding to B H Obama's challenge to "Come at me?" Ayotte is a former prosecutor, and has argued before the Supreme Court

    19. Alfrom Fl says:

      Let the hearings begin – but with Obama and the Senate dems returned to power, don't look for justice or any change in policy.

    20. Jim says:

      What I have yet to hear one word about since the Benghazi tradgedy is WHAT IS HAPPENING IN BENGHAZI NOW with regard to our Consulate & the "Annex"??

    21. Michael Mixa says:

      Where were the Marines?

    22. dwayne says:

      Before the Presidents' showboating and bravado towards Senators McCainand Graham, perhaps he should read and respond to his mail. Especially important are letters sent directly to him and members of his administration beginning in early Oct. The questions are straightforward, and many can be answeered by a simple yes or no. He owes us nothing less.

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