Author Topic: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi  (Read 24301 times)

NobleHunter

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #250 on: June 29, 2016, 01:18:36 PM »
But they got on planes that took off in the US. And hadn't they been here for awhile before the attacks?

Fenring

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #251 on: June 29, 2016, 01:23:32 PM »
But they got on planes that took off in the US. And hadn't they been here for awhile before the attacks?

Yeah, a little while. But they weren't unprepared for a local plane hijacking; they had, in fact, just run a series of drills on precisely that scenario a few months prior.

Pete at Home

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #252 on: June 29, 2016, 04:12:05 PM »
As I understand it, the State Department is responsible for making decisions about embassy security. They also don't have the funds to do the job properly because Congress keeps cutting their budget. That's why the site was relying on locally-hired security rather than Marines.

If that's the truth, then Clinton should hire you, since it seems no one on her staff knows how to deploy the actual facts that support her case.

Fenring

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #253 on: June 29, 2016, 04:18:36 PM »
If that's the truth, then Clinton should hire you, since it seems no one on her staff knows how to deploy the actual facts that support her case.

The problem is that political leaders no longer deal in facts but rather in narratives. Rather than merely tell the truth except when security prevents it, instead they are always looking for the most effective narrative that people will accept. "Best", in this case, being defined as not so inconsistent with facts that it will be obvious, but stronger than the truth in terms of PR and spin. This practice has become so standardized that I doubt they even debate about whether to create a narrative or not any more - or as Garak on DS9 put it, "the truth is usually just an excuse for lack of imagination." Problems begin to arise when narratives contradict each other and are dropped in favor of new narratives on the same subject (see: Assad in Syria for multiple examples of this). Most of the time people either don't notice, or if they do they assume the situation has changed, when in fact all that's changed is the narrative put out.

Pete at Home

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #254 on: June 29, 2016, 06:18:15 PM »
[emphasis added by Pete]
If that's the truth, then Clinton should hire you, since it seems no one on her staff knows how to deploy the actual facts that support her case.

The problem is that political leaders no longer deal in facts but rather in narratives. Rather than merely tell the truth except when security prevents it, instead they are always looking for the most effective narrative that people will accept. "Best", in this case, being defined as not so inconsistent with facts that it will be obvious, but stronger than the truth in terms of PR and spin. This practice has become so standardized that I doubt they even debate about whether to create a narrative or not any more - or as Garak on DS9 put it, "the truth is usually just an excuse for lack of imagination." Problems begin to arise when narratives contradict each other and are dropped in favor of new narratives on the same subject (see: Assad in Syria for multiple examples of this). Most of the time people either don't notice, or if they do they assume the situation has changed, when in fact all that's changed is the narrative put out.

Points for quoting Garak on DS9, but your caveat on security also struck me, since I still am sensitive to possible defenses: is it possible that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have avoided discussing the budget-induced weakness in embassy security, for security reasons?

Fenring

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #255 on: June 29, 2016, 06:28:00 PM »
is it possible that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have avoided discussing the budget-induced weakness in embassy security, for security reasons?

In particular, I have no idea. Broadly speaking, the nu-think seems to be that pretty much everything to do with government can now be written off as "security reasons", and the standard procedure is that it's always in the interest of security to never tell the public the full truth, even when there's nothing to lose in so doing. Once such things become bureaucratic standards they're hard to break.

Why, for instance, has the government been so thrifty with details on the Orlando shooting, when by all rights it seems to have been a by-the-numbers nutcase who shot the place up? What possible reason could there be to conceal anything about that, including the laughable redacted text of Mateen's phone call?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 06:30:21 PM by Fenring »

Pete at Home

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #256 on: June 29, 2016, 06:35:04 PM »
is it possible that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have avoided discussing the budget-induced weakness in embassy security, for security reasons?

In particular, I have no idea. Broadly speaking, the nu-think seems to be that pretty much everything to do with government can now be written off as "security reasons", and the standard procedure is that it's always in the interest of security to never tell the public the full truth, even when there's nothing to lose in so doing. Once such things become bureaucratic standards they're hard to break.

Why, for instance, has the government been so thrifty with details on the Orlando shooting, when by all rights it seems to have been a by-the-numbers nutcase who shot the place up? What possible reason could there be to conceal anything about that, including the laughable redacted text of Mateen's phone call?

Absolutely agreed.  When they *say* security reasons, it's always afaik been a cover for political reasons.  And they obfuscated Orlando so that they could spin it for gun control and to generally convey the sense that any people who opposed same - sex marriage are guilty as a group for Orlando.

But here, they didn't say security reasons.  And if there was a weakness across a number of embassies because of budgets, with ISIS on the rise, seems that it would make sense NOT to draw attention to it.

Seriati

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #257 on: September 13, 2017, 11:28:54 AM »
Sorry about the resurrection, but check this out:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/13/clinton-state-department-silenced-them-on-benghazi-security-lapses-contractors-say.html

The change in and use of the specific security company based on low bids is less troubling to me than the direction not to speak to officials about it.

TheDrake

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #258 on: September 13, 2017, 11:37:20 AM »
Benghazi was a mistake. Not a conspiracy. Not a gross lapse in judgement. Not a coverup.

Can you imagine that any WH would be telling insiders to blab about anything?

Not to mention linking a story about a company that was only involved days prior to the attack, and disgruntled because they didn't win the original contract.

Zombie, stay dead!

NobleHunter

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #259 on: September 13, 2017, 11:53:22 AM »
And disgruntled because they've been consistently losing contracts since.

Given Trump's notable aversion to paying for what he gets, I'd be surprised if he pushes for a change to the bidding rules.

TheDrake

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #260 on: September 13, 2017, 12:07:11 PM »
Quote
Torres-Advanced Enterprise Solutions, LLC (Torres), of Falls Church, Virginia, protests the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts, under request for proposals (RFP) No. SAQMMA15R0282, issued by the Department of State for diplomatic security and protective services. The protester challenges the agency's evaluation of past performance.
We deny the protest.

Quote
AR, Tab 7, Initial TEP Report, at 1. The TEP further explained that “[t]he negative
comments covered a wide range of performance criteria, but the vast majority were
managerial and administrative shortfalls.” Id. The TEP noted, that “[t]hese
managerial problems appear even on contracts that received ‘satisfactory’ ratings
for the quality of the guards.” Id. at 2. The TEP concluded that “[l]ooking at Torres’
recent/relevant performance record as a whole, with both the positive and negative
past performance, the multiple negative past performance ratings at multiple
U.S. Embassies proved to the TEP that substantial doubt exists that the offeror will
be able to successfully perform the required effort.

Quote
One of the major deficiencies by the contractor is the accuracy and
timeliness of the invoices (period July 2014 – January 2015). For
example, the contractor omitted major line items for MONTHS, used
incorrect rates, template failures resulting in wrong amounts etc. This
required a great deal of staff time to identify the mistakes, work with
the financial office on resolving obligated funds, and created major
budgeting issues. And despite multiple emails from the Consulate,
Torres HQ took their time to resolve the issues. Post is still not
confident that the invoicing was done correctly.

full report

Ha, ha! - Nelson, "The Simpsons"

Seriati

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #261 on: September 13, 2017, 12:52:35 PM »
Benghazi was a mistake. Not a conspiracy. Not a gross lapse in judgement. Not a coverup.

Agree with everything except that it wasn't a coverup.  It literally was.

Quote
Can you imagine that any WH would be telling insiders to blab about anything?

To media sure, but telling people not to speak to officials (ie those investigating it) is well beyond okay.

TheDrake

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #262 on: September 13, 2017, 01:05:55 PM »
I agree. Do we have anything but the suspect word of a disgruntled contractor that they did say not to speak to officials? And even so, they might well have not wanted that discussion to happen absent a subpoena - particularly if they considered Torres incompetent.

Seriati

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #263 on: September 13, 2017, 02:51:07 PM »
It would be odd, if they considered them incompetent to ask them to come into fix the situation the other contractor had created don't you think?

Honestly, given the way government bids work, and the corruption involved, I'd think any contractor would be highly nervous of criticizing procurement, at all.  Do you find the procurement officials to be credible?  I suspect that you can find "disqualifying" factors with respect to any of the bidders if you choose to do so.  What assurance do we have with a partial disclosure that other bidders aren't equal or worse?  I do take your point, that  a salty contractor also may have an incentive to be critical.

TheDrake

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #264 on: September 13, 2017, 03:00:12 PM »
I don't have a second source on any of this. Did they actually ask the contractor to come fix the situation?

The Fox link is clinton-state-department-silenced-them-on-benghazi-security-lapses-contractors-say.html

Hmm. Contractors say.

I did find this:

Quote
The latest batch of documents obtained by JW include a scandalous email from a State Department contracting officer named Jan Visintainer to an unidentified executive at Blue Mountain Group (BMG), the inexperienced foreign company hired to protect the U.S. mission in Benghazi. In the email, dated September 26, 2012, Visintainer writes: “Thank you so much for informing us about the media inquiries. We notified our public affairs personnel that they too may receive some questions. We concur with you that at the moment the best way to deal with the inquiries is to either be silent or provide no comments.”

So, I don't see anything here about speaking with officials. Just telling them to provide no comment. Note the line about "concur with you" which rather suggests that it was the suggestion of the contractor's rep

Seriati

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #265 on: September 13, 2017, 05:50:35 PM »
Well the link is busted now, maybe they pulled the story.  In this day and age, certainly a possibility.

When I read it, there was both a paragraph saying that this company had been called to take over the security for the other group within 30 days prior to Benghazi.  And a statement that said they were directed not to talk to media or officials.

TheDrake

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #266 on: September 13, 2017, 07:09:27 PM »
Yes, those statements were in the story. Both of them were made by the guy from the company with no additional backup. I'm not ready to take his word for it.

Seriati

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Re: A comprehensive guide to Republican abuse of Benghazi
« Reply #267 on: September 14, 2017, 09:17:54 AM »
Fair enough, there's likely to be physical evidence of the first.  No one gets any kind of contract with the government on an oral basis.

The latter though is almost certainly spoken word only (or at best a reminder of a generic policy).  I can't say that I find the idea that a corrupt (assuming they are corrupt) procurement officer would be likely to tell the truth if it made them look bad, but I also think it's reasonable not to take the word of a salty (assuming they're being spiteful and willing to lie) contractor that hasn't won many government bids recently.