A crime far, far worse than Watergate must be punished or freedom dies.

Until Friday, there were two possible explanations for why the White House failed to immediately call the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism. One was incompetence, the other was worse.

Now there is only one, and it is the worse one. Based on the persuasive testimony of ex-CIA boss David Petraeus, it is clear the Obama administration made a deliberate decision to mislead Congress and the American people.

The repeated claim that the attack was spontaneous and grew out of a demonstration against an anti-Islam video — a claim made by the president and secretary of State as they stood next to the bodies of four dead Americans — was a monstrous lie. It was vile and done for the basest of reasons.

Because we now know the truth of what happened — CIA reports were edited to remove the names of al Qaeda groups involved in the attack, Petraeus said under oath — we also know the motive. It was political self-preservation, meaning the president and his team put politics first.

The timing helps tell the tale. Just days removed from his Charlotte convention, where he danced on the grave of Osama bin Laden and boasted that al Qaeda was decimated, Obama couldn’t bear to admit that affiliated groups were thriving in North Africa. And he certainly couldn’t admit they had carried out a murderous attack on our consulate on the 11th anniversary of the most awful day in American history.

To do so would be to acknowledge the failure of his decision to ignore hard-line Islamists and that his team had erred egregiously in rejecting pleas for more security from Libya Ambassador Chris Stevens.

So the president lied, including in a speech to the United Nations, where he cited the video as the reason for the attack. He sent out reams of flunkies to do the same, including his snide press secretary, Jay Carney.

Most notably, UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on five Sunday television shows to spin the nonsense about the hijacking of a demonstration — a demonstration that never existed. Rice made a fool of herself, and now, she, too is damaged goods.

Oddly, Petraeus, brought down by the reckless affair with his biographer, nonetheless looks like the only honest man in the drama.

A briefing he gave soon after the attack is now more suspect because it adhered to the party line, despite his belief that it was always a terrorist attack.

But Friday in his testimony behind closed doors, Petraeus told the truth as he knew it, even though the administration announced the day before that it was investigating his conduct at the CIA.

– MICHAEL GOODWIN   NEW YORK POST

Obama’s Disastrous Second Term begins: Scandal, cover up and war: Egypt attacks Israel.

Woman in Petraeus scandal visited White House

7:05 PM 11/16/2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The two women at the center of the David Petraeus scandal — the biographer with whom he had an extramarital affair and the socialite who received worrisome emails that led investigators to uncover the illicit relationship — visited the White House on separate and apparently unrelated occasions. Neither woman met with President Barack Obama during their visits.

Petraeus resigned as CIA director last week after acknowledging an affair with writer Paula Broadwell. In briefings Friday with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the retired four-star general was apologetic and regretful and insisted that his resignation was related only to his personal behavior.

Paula Broadwell, who was writing a book about Petraeus and eventually became his paramour, attended meetings in June 2009 and June 2011 on Afghanistan-Pakistan policy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is located in the White House complex, a White House official said.

 

Intel officials unable to say who changed CIA talking points on Libya, lawmaker says

Published November 16, 2012

FoxNews.com

Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.

“To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. … I’d say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out,” King told Fox News. “That, to me, has to be pursued.”

Petraeus left Capitol Hill around noon, after testifying in private hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees. In his wake, Republicans and Democrats battled over whether his testimony should raise more suspicions about the administration’s handling of the attack.

King and other Republicans indicated they still have plenty of questions about the aftermath of the strike.

“No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points,” he said.

Petraeus’ testimony both challenges the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the attack was a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. Sources have said Petraeus, in that briefing, also described the attack as a protest that spun out of control.

“His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack,” King said, adding that he told Petraeus he had a “different recollection.”

Still, the claim that the CIA’s original talking points were changed is sure to stoke controversy on the Hill.

“The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists,” King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague “inter-agency process.”

King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the Al Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”

A congressional source familiar with this week’s testimony also told Fox News that the language in the CIA talking points about Benghazi was changed from “Al Qaeda-affiliated individuals to extremist organizations” — which had the effect of minimizing the role of terrorists in the attack.

“It really changed the whole tone of it,” King told Fox News.

Democrats, though, suggested Republicans were taking the whole issue out of context.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said claims the talking points were changed are “completely wrong.” Besides, he said, the affiliation of Ansar al-Sharia, the militant group suspected in the attack, to Al Qaeda is still being examined.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the discrepancy can be attributed to the classified talking points that some saw versus the unclassified version that others, like U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, used.

Lawmakers are focusing on the talking points in the first place because of concern over the account Rice gave on five Sunday shows on Sept. 16, when she repeatedly claimed the attack was spontaneous — Rice’s defenders have since insisted she was merely basing her statements on the intelligence at the time.

But a source said Rice had access to both classified and unclassified information on Benghazi. King said the administration has “hidden behind” the claim that Rice was only using the intelligence community’s best assessment. But he said Petraeus’ testimony suggests their best assessment conflicted with what Rice said on Sept. 16.

One source told Fox News that Petraeus “has no idea what was provided” to Rice or who was the author of the talking points she used.

“He had no idea she was going on talk shows” until the White House announced it one or two days before, the source said.

Obama in his first post-election press conference Wednesday, called the criticism against Rice “outrageous” and told those lawmakers to “go after me” instead.

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff also came to Rice’s defense Thursday, saying after a House intelligence committee hearing that Rice was given the intelligence community’s “best assessment” at the time.

“Those who have suggested that Ambassador Rice was politicizing the intelligence or misrepresenting what the intelligence community was putting forward as its best assessment are either unfamiliar with the facts, or willfully disregarding them,” he said.

Report: Rockets Fired from Egypt Hit Israel

7:27 PM, NOV 16, 2012 •Bt  BY Daniel Halper  

Two major Israeli newspapers are reporting that rockets fired from Egypt have hit Israel.

“Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula launched rockets into Israel Friday night,” reports the Jerusalem post. “The rockets fell near an Israeli village on the southern border, causing some damage, but no injuries.”

The Israeli Daily Haarretz reports, “Rockets fired from direction of Egypt toward Eshkol Regional Council.”

It appears no damage was reported in connection with the rocket fire from Egypt. Earlier today, the Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians there.

This new front comes a day after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv and on the same day Israel’s capital Jerusalem was the target of rocket fire. Those attacks were courtesy of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“After Tel Aviv metropolitan area, capital under fire too: An air raid siren was sounded in Jerusalem and surrounding communities early Friday evening. After residents reported hearing blast sounds, security forces confirmed that one rocket had landed in the Gush Etzion area near a Palestinian village,” 

“There were no reports of injuries or damage. This was the first air raid siren sounded in the area since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip. Air raid sirens were sounded in southern communities throughout the day and a barrage of missiles hit the area.”