Egyptian Group Behind Benghazi Attack?
In a development unreported by news media, the State Department’s lead Benghazi investigator, Thomas Pickering, apparently leaked important classified information at a House hearing last week on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack.
Pickering revealed there is evidence that an Egyptian organization was behind the attack on the U.S. mission that resulted in the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. He also refused to deny that there was a plan to kidnap Stevens.
Pickering is the author of the State Department’s 39-page Accountability Review Board report, or ARB, which largely absolved then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top State officials of wrongdoing regarding the Benghazi attack.
At a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on Benghazi last week, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.) asked Pickering whether Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may have been behind the attack. Pickering replied: “Our report indicates that one Egyptian organization which is named in the report was possibly involved. And I am not sure, I think that that’s in the unclassified. I hope it is.”
The unclassified ARB report – reviewed in full by this column – does not name any Egyptian organization as possibly being behind the attack. The only mention of an Egyptian group in the unclassified ARB is in relation to a May 18, 2012, RPG attack on the Benghazi International Committee of the Red Cross as well as a May 28, 2012, threat issued by the group on social media against the U.S.
The organization named in the ARB is the “Omar Abduurrahman group,” which was demanding the release of the so-called “blind sheik,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, held in the U.S. over the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The unclassified ARB names the Egyptian group in a section on previous attacks in Benghazi in the run up to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. The unclassified ARB does not name the organization as possibly being behind the Benghazi attack.
Pickering may have further stumbled when Lummis asked, “Is it true that they were planning to kidnap the ambassador and it went wrong?”
“I can’t comment on that,” Pickering replied, followed by a long pause. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa stepped in and changed the subject.
Later in the hearing, Pickering further commented on the kidnap issue. He stated: “Kidnapping seemed to me to be far-fetched. Because in effect in the testimony that was given and the public report, they did not make a serious attempt to go into the closed area of the villa. It is not even sure in my view that they knew the ambassador was there. So I would say, while I said I didn’t want to touch that, I would say in retrospect it doesn’t seem highly likely. It could be, but I don’t think so.”
An exchange between Issa and Pickering hinted that Pickering may have revealed classified information in his testimony. Issa told Pickering, “It was clear that you didn’t understand that she [Lummis] was asking about the public report.”
Pickering interjected, “Because I know of, put it this way, unpublic information.”
“We do not want unpublic information here today,” Issa lectured.
‘Death Panels’ To Arrive With Obamacare
As Democrats and Republicans feud over the funding of Obamacare, a widely published PolitiFact article claims it is a “myth” that President Obama’s health-care law contains rationing and “death panels.”
However, a review of the legislation found largely unreported sections with evidence of both health-care rationing and death panels.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, calls for the establishment of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The new institute’s purpose is to carry out “comparative clinical effectiveness research,” which is defined in the law as evaluating and comparing “health outcomes” and “clinical effectiveness, risks and benefits” of two or more medical treatments or services.
The purpose of the research is purportedly for the government to determine which treatments work best so that money is not spent on less effective treatments. The institute is to be governed by a board to assist in identifying research priorities and establishing the research project agenda.
Also weighing in will be an “expert advisory panel” of practicing and research clinicians, patients, and experts in scientific and health services research and health services delivery.