On the night of September 11, 2012, a heavily armed group of between 125 and 150 gunmen attacked the American diplomatic mission at Benghazi, in Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and another diplomat. Several hours later in the early morning of the next day, a second assault targeted a nearby CIA annex in a different compound about one mile away, killing two embassy security personnel. Ten others were injured in the attacks which were condemned by the governments of Libya, the United States, and many other countries throughout the world.
The operations of secret intelligence agencies aiming at the manipulation of public opinion generally involve a combination of deception with the gullibility of the targeted populations. The Benghazi Attack fits this pattern. Benghazi is a psycho-political operation gone bad. We are now dealing with a limited hangout operation, in which part of the story is told but the people responsible for the operation are left out of the story. An insider pretends to be rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency. But the revelations turn out to have been prepared with a view to shaping the public consciousness in a way which is advantageous to the intelligence agency involved.
In his article, Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’ New Your Times Report and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member David E. Sanger writes about CFR member former deputy director of the CIA Michael J. Morell’s forthcoming book. Sanger tells us that in the book Morell asserts that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. CFR member Morell says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton.” Not only was the story spun to protect the president and Secretary Clinton but it purposely ignores all CFR connections to the story. Hillary Clinton is married to CFR member Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea is also a CFR member. Eighteen CIA directors, including David Petraeus are CFR members. Twenty-two Secretaries of State are CFR members. Nineteen NSA directors including Susan Rice are CFR members. The CFR’s Carlyle group makes billions from weapons sales due to Endless Middle East unrest.
CFR member Sanger’s article and Morell’s book are both part of the CFR Benghazi psycho-political operation and limited hangouts. They are CFR propaganda pieces meant shape public opinion and keep the CFR connection to the event out of the picture.
The recently-released bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi sheds new light on the role of Council on Foreign Relations member Michael Morel in the official “talking points” explanations put forward after the attack. The Senate report states that on Sep. 15, 2012, four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Council on Foreign Relations member Susan Rice appeared on Sunday talk shows blaming the assault on a demonstration over a video, Council on Foreign Relations member Morell and others at the CIA received a critical email that reported the attacks were “not/not an escalation of protests.” Council on Foreign Relations member Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News was the first broadcast network to report there were no protests outside the consulate at the time of the attack on Sept. 17, 2012.
Did any of you reading this know about any CFR connections to the story? How do you feel about that? It is time for the public to demand congressional and grand jury investigations of the CFR role in the Benghazi Attack. CFR member Sanger’s article follows. It had been modified to identify CFR members mentioned in the story.
Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’
By DAVID E. SANGERMAY 3, 2015
WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations run C.I.A. ( 18 CIA directors are CFR members) asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the CFR run C.I.A. ( CFR CIA Directors ) should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.
The official, Council on Foreign relations member Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the CFR run Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.
CFR member Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images
“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.
A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.
In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), CFR member Mr. Morell praises his CFR run C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other CFR run C.I.A. failings — and those of the CFR run National Security Agency (19 National Security advisors are CFR members) .
Soon after CFR member Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the CFR run National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. CFR member Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.
“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the CFR run N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the CFR run N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”
He concludes that most CFR run Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the CFR run N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the CFR run N.S.A. was doing” compared with the CFR run C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the CFR run N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.
“The CFR run N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.
The book is to be released next week.
CFR member Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s (son of CFR member & CIA director George H.W. Bush) personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.
CFR member Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired CFR member Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer CFR member Paula Broadwell, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.
CFR member Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from CFR member Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising CFR member Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the CFR’s C.I.A., CFR member Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.
But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the CFR run C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, CFR member Susan E. Rice, now the CFR’s 19th national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments CFR member Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.
The experience prompted CFR member Mr. Morell to write that the CFR run C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the CFR run State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the CFR run C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.
But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.
CFR member Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.
“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.
Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage CFR run CIA produced Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.
Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”
CFR member Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President CFR member Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the CFR run C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.
CFR member Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.
“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”
A version of this article appears in print on May 4, 2015, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: In Book, Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack . Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe
CFR CIA Directors
- Gen. Walter Bedell Smith (1950-1953)
- Allen W. Dulles (1953-1961)
- John Alex McCone (1961-1965)
- Richard Helms (1966-1973)
- James R. Schlesinger (1973)
- William E. Colby (1973-1976)
- George H.W. Bush (1976-1977)
- Stansfield Turner (1977-1981)
- William J. Casey (1981-1987)
- William H. Webster (1987-1991)
- Robert M. Gates (1991-1993)
- R. James Woolsey (1993-1995)
- Adm. William Studeman (1995) [acting]
- John M. Deutch (1995-1996)
- George J. Tenet (1997-2004)
- Porter Goss (2004-2006)
- Gen. Michael V. Hayden (2006-2009)
- Gen. David H. Petraeus (2011-2012)
CFR National Security Advisor
- Dillon Anderson (1955-1956)
- Gordon Gray (1958-1961)
- McGeorge Bundy (1961-1966)
- Walt W. Rostow (1966-1969)
- Henry A. Kissinger (1969-1975)
- Brent Scowcroft (1975-1977)
- Zbigniew Brzezinski (1977-1981)
- Richard V. Allen (1981-1982)
- Robert C. McFarlane (1983-1985)
- Frank C. Carlucci (1986-1987)
- Gen. Colin L. Powell (1987-1989)
- Brent Scowcroft (1989-1993)
- W. Anthony Lake (1993-1997)
- Samuel “Sandy” Berger (1997-2001)
- Condoleezza Rice (2001-2005)
- Stephen J. Hadley (2005-2009)
- (Gen.) James L. Jones Jr. (2009-2010)
- Thomas E. Donilon (2010-2013)
- Susan E. Rice (2013-present)
CFR U.S. Secretaries of State
- Elihu Root (1905-1909)
- Charles Evans Hughes (1921-1925)
- Frank B. Kellogg (1925-1929)
- Henry L. Stimson (1929-1933)
- Edward R. Stettinius Jr. (1944-1945)
- Dean G. Acheson (1949-1953)
- John Foster Dulles (1953-1959)
- Christian A. Herter (1959-1961)
- Dean Rusk (1961-1969)
- William P. Rogers (1969-1973)
- Henry A. Kissinger (1973-1977)
- Cyrus R. Vance (1977-1980)
- Edmund S. Muskie (1980-1981)
- Alexander M. Haig Jr. (1981-1982)
- George P. Shultz (1982-1989)
- James A. Baker III (1989-1992)
- Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1992-1993)
- Warren M. Christopher (1993-1997)
- Madeleine K. Albright (1997-2001)
- Colin L. Powell (2001-2005)
- Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009)
- John Forbes Kerry (2013-present)