Your daily jolt: ‘Al-Qaeda isn’t on the run,’ says Saxby Chambliss

When Congress returns after the election, Saxby Chambliss said the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing to address the questions that remain unanswered about last month’s deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, from why it took the FBI three weeks to get to Benghazi to the links between the attackers and al-Qaeda.

According to my AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington, Chambliss — the ranking Republican on the committee — was privy to much of the same information that President Barack Obama.

That makes the shifting administration account of what happened all the more disturbing, Chambliss said in a telephone interview this morning.

“He stood up in the Rose Garden [on Sept. 12], and he’d seen some of the same information some of the rest of us had seen that unquestionably called it a terrorist attack,” Chambliss said. The senator argued that Obama’s reference to “acts of terror” – a key point in Tuesday’s presidential debate, likely to surface again in a final confrontation on Monday — was more of a general statement, rather than a description of the Libyan attack.

Chambliss also took issue with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairman of the intelligence committee, who contends that Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had received her talking points from James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, when Rice made a now widely panned series of appearances on TV immediately after the attacks.

Chambliss said Rice reports to the president, not to Clapper, and he figures she got word from the White House to tie the deaths of a U.S. ambassador and three other diplomatic personnel to an anti-Islamic video – perhaps part of a political effort to bolster the president’s claim that “al-Qaeda is on the run.”

“Those of us involved in the intelligence community know al-Qaeda is not on the run,” Chambliss said. “They are as strong as ever and we’ve got to continue to be vigilant.”

***
President Barack Obama appeared last night in a pre-taped interview on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Republicans are focused on one line delivered by Obama: “When four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”

***
Political analyst Charlie Cook has posted these dire words about the presidential race at the National Journal:

” In the end, the odds still favor the popular and electoral vote heading in the same direction, but the chances of a split like the one in 2000 are very real, along with the distinct possibility of ambiguity and vote-counting issues once again putting the outcome in question.

***
Republicans may be on the verge of another provocative discussion about abortion. On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., told reporters that a legal exception in abortion laws to protect the life of the mother is no longer necessary. From USA Today:

“There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology,” Walsh said. ” ‘Health of the mother’ has become a tool for abortions anytime, for any reason.

Walsh, a freshman elected in 2010 with Tea Party support, is in a tight battle for re-election against Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a former Veterans Administration official.

The Chicago Tribune said reporters asked if Walsh if he was saying it is never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save a woman’s life, and the congressman responded, “Absolutely.”

***
We told you yesterday about state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who was the object of a quickly quashed TV attack by Republican Chris Boedeker, who accused his opponent of using illegal drugs while Holcomb was an officer in the U.S. Army.

The Boedeker campaign has pulled the video from YouTube, but the Huffington Post has posted its own copy.

Late last night, Holcomb enlisted former U.S. senator Max Cleland in an effort to embarrass the Georgia GOP into denying its own candidate:

“Scott Holcomb is a veteran who has served this nation and state honorably as a soldier and State Representative. I will not be silent when his impeccable service record is falsely attacked by someone who never served in the military. His opponent is unworthy of public office and the Georgia Republican Party should disavow him.”

***
If memory serves, Republican congressional candidate Lee Anderson will be in big, bad metro Atlanta today for a fundraiser held by GOP members of the U.S. House delegation.

But Anderson will not be here Sunday, when the Atlanta Press Club and Georgia Public Television have scheduled a debate highlighting the 12th District contest.

On Thursday, Anderson told WRDW-TV in Augusta that he’s not afraid to debate Democratic incumbent John Barrow. “I’m not shying away from no one. I’m not hiding from no one, I’m not ducking from no one,” he said.

Anderson has insisted that he won’t debate Barrow until the Democrat gives President Barack Obama a public bear hug, and states whether he would vote for Nancy Pelosi for U.S. Speaker of the House.

Barrow stated in July that he intends to vote for Obama. And when he recently told an Augusta television station that “my support for Obama is beside the point,” the quote became the heart of National Republican Congressional Committee television ad.

Yet none of that has been good enough for Anderson, a state lawmaker from Grovetown. My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy, who has been following the race, recently talked to Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney:

“It’s a simple question and clearly it’s one of those things where I think the media side of it, you say, ‘Well, he’s admitted it right?’ But yet he won’t actually say it so he knows his little game is working. You guys are accepting his response as the admission of guilt, but he’s not really saying it. ‘I support; I endorse; I’m backing.’ Any of those things would be great.”

As for the Speaker of the House, Barrow has backed lightning rod Nancy Pelosi as recently as 2009, but in 2011 he cast a protest vote for Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta. Barrow said this week he will not vote for Pelosi if he holds onto his seat in 2013, and he hopes another viable candidate emerges. No one has announced a challenge to Pelosi yet, and thus Barrow does not have a horse to back.

“I have had a parting of the ways with former Speaker Pelosi, Leader Pelosi, over the way she guided the caucus in the last Congress,” Barrow said. “I voted against her twice, first in a secret ballot in caucus and second in a public vote on the floor of the House casting a vote against her for Speaker. That is not going to change.”

Here’s wondering whether, during Sunday’s statewide debate, Barrow will pull a Clint Eastwood and put words into the empty chair’s mouth.

***
That long winning streak by opponents of gay marriage may be about to end. According to a new poll by the Washington Post:

Maryland voters are poised to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box next month, a potential watershed moment in the history of a right that has been granted by courts and state legislatures but never by a popular vote….

Maryland voters favor upholding the state’s gay marriage law by a nine-point margin, according to the poll, which could end a streak of defeats in more than 30 states and provide further evidence of the country’s evolution on the controversial topic. Recent surveys have also shown leads in Maine and Washington state, where voters will be presented with the same issue Nov. 6.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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31 comments Add your comment

GaBlue

October 19th, 2012
11:00 am

“Those of us involved in the intelligence community know al-Qaeda is not on the run,” Chambliss said. “They are as strong as ever and we’ve got to continue to be vigilant.”

Saxby Chambliss and his ilk are as strong as ever too, ready to screw the honest working people of this nation in favor of the ruthless aristocracy he is paid to represent. At least al-Qaeda is, for the most part, on the other side of the planet. These b**tards are right here, right now, ready to crush anyone who isn’t on the Koch Brothers list of protected “citizens.” What’s worse, they act like they’re doing us a favor while they execute their unspeakable, unnatural acts upon us. What’s even worse than that: some of you are thanking them, and asking for another.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
11:09 am

If the President was referring to the Libya attack on Sept. 12th when he said “acts of terror” and was not making a general statement, then he needs to answer this question. Why did his administration and himself call the attack part of a “mob” action for the next two weeks when it was an act of terror on the 12th.

If the President’s acts of terror was a general statement and the administration believed the “mob” explanation for two weeks, why didn’t the State Department who had eyes on the attack via satcom correct the mistake the administration was making?

Mr. President, you can’t have it both ways.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
11:26 am

A list of questions, both large and small that I haven’t heard the answer to:

1. Who denied additional security assets to Libya, why and when?

2. Why was the Ambassador traveling with so little security?

3. Who was present when the compound was attacked?

4. What actions did any security forces take?

5. When and where were the two former SEALs killed?

6. Was there a gunbattle? Was any of the attackers killed or wounded?

7. Was the Libyian government notified in a timely manner and why didn’t they react?

8. Was the satcom viedeo feed also sent to the White House and the NMCC?

9. When was the President alerted and what was he told?

10. When did the State Dept. brief the White House, what was he told and who was present.

11. Was the assessment sent to the White House by Clapper the same as Clapper received from his Intel agencies? If changed how and by what sources of info?

12. When was the assessment changed by the Intel community from Mob to terror and what caused the change of assessmant?

Just a few questions that still need to be answered. Come on press and media, where are you?

ANGRY AS HELL

October 19th, 2012
11:27 am

Saxby is insane. According to all objective measure, in addition to wasting Osama Bin Laden, the Obama administration has killed off more of Al Qaeda’s senior leadership in the last 4 years than the Bush administration did in the previous 8. Saxcby needs to do what he does best in DC — go golfing!!!!

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
11:31 am

They BOTH suck

October 19th, 2012
11:41 am

AQ is not a monolithic group. In some countries there is certainly “centralized” coordination while in countries or in regions of certain countries the name AQ is used as a scare tactic.

I would say that AQ’s central network is on the run, but that might not necessarily be the case for some of their affliates or those not even connected to the central network but use the name AQ.

A mixed bad either way you look at it.

Doctor Phil

October 19th, 2012
11:42 am

“Anderson has insisted that he won’t endorse Barrow”

Uh, Jim . . . I don’t expect that to happen in this lifetime. I think you meant “debate Barrow.”

Georgia

October 19th, 2012
11:42 am

The mohammed video was like the wmd evidence in Iraq. Everyone fell for it at first. Then Rush Limbaugh realized that nothing made sense. It appears now that either there was no intel about the attack in Libya, or that the intel was covered up. Are we to believe it took two weeks for the state dept. to realize the truth. Hillary went with the video mob riot thing because that’s all she had? (and most folks bought it because it did seem logical). But not to Rush. He was going crazy with, “Sure, a spontaneous mob has bazookas.” Rush’s credibility jumped 47% that day my friends.

But does the state Dept have anything now except that it was a smart mob terrorist action, that is, someone spotted the ambassador and called in a strike? That means that Al Queda was indeed enjoying a strong presense in Benghazi. It also means that our intel is incompetent. It means that Obama may have felt forced to cover up a foreign policy failure. Hillary did look like she knew more than she was saying when she fell on her sword. That means that Obama muzzled Hillary until it became too hot.

If we are to believe that Obama knew nothing then he’s not fit to be president. If we are to believe that Obama knew everything and then covered it up, and Hillary was muzzled until the whole thing blew up then Obama is not fit to be president.

When does the truth come out? before or after the election?

Dirty Dawg

October 19th, 2012
11:45 am

Retired Soldier…seems to me that a similar ‘list’ of questions should have been hammered home by the media back in September and beyond of ‘01, but those of us that sincerely questioned the Bush/Cheney cabal, in the interest of ‘circling the wagons’ for he good of the country, held off. So why won’t you in this instance? By the way, I’d answer my own question here but you’d only say I was ‘playing the race card’.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
11:51 am

DD-

The answer is simple. There is an obvious disconnect with the Administration’s story about the events in Libya, not so evident immediately after 9/11/2001. Plus this is a much smaller size incident that the facts are much easier to obtain. The answers to the qustions I posed above are known by some, and if not that opens up many more questions, just not the public that has a right to know.

Bob Loblaw

October 19th, 2012
11:52 am

Before you jump on the Administration for the horrible deaths of the American diplomats in Libya, look at how many diplomats died at embassies during the Reagan & Bush 43 administratoins. I know it’s all politics, but ask yourself if we’re really one nation when you pick and choose who to attack.

jd

October 19th, 2012
11:52 am

Barrow should put a duck in the opponents chair.

Btw, debates are just another point in the plan of Agenda 21.

Dirty Dawg

October 19th, 2012
11:54 am

And one more thing…needed somewhere to express this, so you get it Jim. If the Koch brothers and Georgia Pacific think that they should ‘exercise their rights’ to influence an election as they are doing, then the rest of us have every right to exercise our right to boycott the hell out of everything we can find that GP – and the rest of the evil bunch for that matter – makes and/or sells. The things I’m already aware of are Brawny paper towels. Vanity Fair napkins and Dixie Cup stuff. I’m sure there are others, but the point is until there are consequences these guys will just keep on keeping on.

Dirty Dawg

October 19th, 2012
11:54 am

And one more thing…needed somewhere to express this, so you get it Jim. If the Koch brothers and Georgia Pacific think that they should ‘exercise their rights’ to influence an election as they are doing, then the rest of us have every right to exercise our right to boycott the hell out of everything we can find that GP – and the rest of the evil bunch for that matter – makes and/or sells. The things I’m already aware of are Brawny paper towels. Vanity Fair napkins and Dixie Cup stuff. I’m sure there are others, but the point is until there are consequences these guys will just keep on keeping on.

Committed to freedom

October 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

The only prominent politician who has right on al Queda has been Ron Paul and he has been correct all along. He correctly opposed our first war against Iraq, the sanctions that followed and has consistently opposed our unilateral support for Israel. Those things were both major contributing factors in their attacks on the US on 9-11 (per the official government story of that day’s events). He opposed the invastion and occupation of Afghanistan, proposing instead the constitutional alternative of Letters of Marque and Reprisal in which a dedicated team would go in, hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice. After 10 years of senseless bloodshed, ultimately a small team got Osama bin Laden (again, if you believe the official story). Trillions of dollars would have been saved, and all the war has done is to serve as a recruiting tool for al Queda. Same with the war on Iraq that was both unconstitutional and based on total lies. He opposed that to, correctly predicting that these wars would undermine our liberties and freedoms at home and bankrupt up. The great speech on the house floor is on YouTube for anyone who can handle the truth. He spoke out against the unconstitutionality and innappropriateness of our invasion of Libya and questioned who our support was actually going to (it was al Queda of course, just like in Afghanistan in the 1980s). He spoke out against our actions in Syria (where al Queda is also getting our support because they are the oppostion to Assad).

Of course al Queda is not on the run. They are staying put, waiting for the US government to make another foreign policy blunder to boost their recruitment, or waiting for millions of dollars to flow into their hands as the govenrment attempts to micromanage the government of another country for their benefit.

If only people had listened to Ron Paul several decades ago or even had voted for him 4 years ago. Just think how much better off we would be financially, freedom wise, and certainly from a foreign policy perspective. Instead we now have two war hawks hell-bent on global war, each trying to one-up the other on the belicosity scale. And clowns like Saxby Chambliss sitting on the sidelines cheering them on. We are doomed.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

Bob-

First, tell us the who and what the circumstances where and if I have any knowledge I’ll be happy to share it. Second, I am not jumping on the President, I just want to hold him to the transparent standard he set for himself when he ran in 2008. Third, it would be nice to see the press and media do their job for a change.

BTW, if you can’t answer the 12 questions above you ought to be curious about the answers too.

Dirty Dawg

October 19th, 2012
12:04 pm

RS…so Condi Rice’s inane observation – particularly since we knew that Richard Clarke was running around with his hair on fire trying to get their attention (read 8/6 security briefing that Geedubya blew off) – of ‘How could we have known that the would fly planes into buildings?’, didn’t represent an ‘obvious disconnect with events’. Come on man, it’s your damned prejudices that are driving your demand for answers. By the way…look for more to come on WTC7. Then we’ll see who’s hiding what from who.

honested

October 19th, 2012
12:05 pm

I bet saxby wishes now he hadn’t lost all credibility with Georgia Voters long ago.

What a pathetic attempt to attack the President and get his name in the news.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

DD-

The American public had a chance to reject W. in 2004. As I have said many times, I am not a W. fan, but th public chose to rehire him.

Pointing to other bad behavior can’t justify this bad behavior, if that is what it is. The public deserves answers, period.

If you don’t want answers to Libya, are you prejudiced?

DAWG POUND

October 19th, 2012
12:12 pm

Georgia, you are right. The POTUS each morning receives an intelligence report via PDB (President’s Daily Briefing) and is delievered by the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. He was made aware that the situation in Lybia in regards to US Ambassador Stevens was deteriorating rapidly. He requested through the State Department additional security to which it was denied. With two aircraft carrier groups in the region, a rational person finds it hard to believe that a Navy Seal Team group could not have been dispatched to retreive Ambassador Stevens and his associates. We know after the Bin Laden raid that they are quite proficient at penetrating air space undetected. Clearly, the administration dropped the ball and as a result people needlessly died. Subsequently, the administration tried to cover their tracks by politicising the terrist attack by blaming it on a 14 minute video that no one ever saw. The administration leaked false intelligence to journalists describing the attack as a demonstration that got out of hand. Video which has found its way to various media outlets prove that the intelligence orginally released by the administration that declared there was sizeable demonstrations preceeding the attack are false as it was calm in the hours before the attack at the embassy.

What to take from this is that Obama lied to the world and the American people. He, however, isn’t the first president who has lied as well as this wasn;t the first lie he has told during his presidency.

Finally, I know we all hoped their would be real change with this president but clearly it is business as usual in DC. Anybody that thinks anything different needs to have their brain examined because they are seriously ill!

The DAWG!

Double Standard

October 19th, 2012
12:28 pm

I wish we could trade Saxby in for a medium pizza and bottle of soda. At least you would have something of benefit and value.

Classic Conservative

October 19th, 2012
12:32 pm

Let’s assume the questions about the Libya attack are answered in such a way that we realize the State Department should have done better – that mistakes were made. Let’s say the President didn’t tell us everything in the Rose Garden. We have this lust for instant news. Is that always a good thing?

Look at both candidates. It this the single event that tells us who we should pick as President? Or should we figure the other guy wouldn’t have done much differently (the last president from his party sure wasn’t batting 1.000.) Or should we examine the various issues that will dramatically affect all our lives – stop the decline of the middle class – improving education – pay attention to the environment – respecting women – health care for most – protecting the bill of rights (Supreme CT appts)?
We’ve suffered from one issue voters for far too long. Compare in the big picture before you vote.

Buford T. Justice

October 19th, 2012
12:54 pm

What do weapons of mass destruction have to do with the matter in Libya? Is the argument, “So Obama lied like Bush lied”?

If that’s the best the President’s supporters can come up with, then you know they have nothing to argue. It is nothing more than a red herring. Pound your fist on the table, point the finger at someone else, muddy the waters and hope in the confusion you were able to cover up the truth. It’s a strategy that works more often than not.

www

October 19th, 2012
1:07 pm

saxby chambliss is a moron. and a pathetic party hack. this is established fact. no one listens to him, but he does still manage to embarass georiga on a regular basis.

DMac

October 19th, 2012
1:09 pm

As November 6th approaches, watch for an increasingly alarmist rhetoric from Chambliss and other Republicans. Romney is behind in the polls in the crucial states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia. He might also lose Florida for which he holds a slim lead.

Will the Republicans lie, cheat and try to steal this election? Of course. Chambliss is just doing his little part for the cause.

DMac

October 19th, 2012
3:16 pm

I remember another occasion on which an American Embassy was bombed, at that time Republicans were preoccupied with President Clinton’s sexual indiscretions. But look at the GOP now, whew they are righteous. They want investigations! They want answers!

Also, what about the investigations into torture and abuse of prisoners? What about the lies about WMD that the Bush administration told? Where are those investigations? Wasn’t W responsible for that?

Yes, I want to know what happened in Libya. I don’t want to have it happen again, too! But, the Republican playbook reads:
1. Defeat Obama
2. Defeat Obama
3. Defeat Obama

As such when Chambliss talks about doing his duty, it reminds me of how he once said that Obama “should humble himself”.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
3:32 pm

CC-

You may be able to vote for a President that intentionally lies, I couldn’t.

Retired Soldier

October 19th, 2012
3:53 pm

DMAC-

What about those things? You advocate turning a blind eye to todays serious questions because what may or may not have happened in the past? That doesn’t meet the common sense test.

DAWG POUND

October 19th, 2012
4:32 pm

“Will the Republicans lie, cheat and try to steal this election? Of course. ”

DMAC, get over yourself! Us liberals lie, cheat and steal elections all the time! It’s called f#%@ing politics!!

You really need to come to grips with what really goes on! Politicians, both liberal and conservative, don’t give a rats @$$ about you and I. They just want power!

mehlman rings twice

October 19th, 2012
6:58 pm

Uh oh, Retired,
It looks like the CIA is admitting they did issue premature and erroneous reports that the attack in Libya may have been linked to demonstrations about the movie in Egypt. This proves that what the Administration said is true, that they were making statements based on the intelligence the had before them.
Honestead,
The only way Taxme Shameless can regain credibility with Georgia voters is if he starts running birth certificate and loyalty oath issues up the flagpole.

deegee

October 19th, 2012
8:56 pm

“When Congress returns after the election, Saxby Chambliss said the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing to address the questions that remain unanswered about last month’s deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, from why it took the FBI three weeks to get to Benghazi to the links between the attackers and al-Qaeda.”

There’s a real sense of urgency there. Hannity’s hair is on fire over the Benghazi issue but Saxby Chambliss is taking a few weeks off before the election. Oh, by the way, I want to know what big shot Saxby Chambliss does all day while in the Senate Intelligence Committee.