What happens when an administration sends out a high-profile representative to Sunday talk shows to sell a false narrative, and has it fall apart shortly afterward? If we’re talking about a Republican administration, the very next week all of the Sunday talk shows would demand answers for a cover-up. In this case, it took four weeks for one of the talk shows to circle back around to the ridiculous cover story told by UN Ambassador Susan Rice on September 16th, and CBS’ Bob Schieffer invited Sen. Lindsey Graham to discuss it.  Graham told Schieffer that the Obama administration was deliberately deceptive, and that the incident shows the incompetence of the White House and its foreign policy:

Graham also accused the Obama administration of either “misleading” Americans about the nature of the attack, or of being “incredibly incompetent.”

He said the Obama administration tried to blame the attacks on an American-made anti-Muslim video, which had prompted violent demonstrations across the Muslim world, because they are “trying to sell a narrative” that fits into their message that al Qaeda is on the decline.

“They’re trying to sell a narrative, quite frankly, that the Middle East, the wars are receding and al Qaeda’s been dismantled,” Graham said. “I think they have been misleading us, but it finally caught up with them.”

Be sure to watch the whole thing.  Graham gets in a shot at Obama himself, noting that the President made an appearance on the David Letterman Show two days after Rice’s Sunday-morning rounds to sell the story that the attack was a spontaneous response to a YouTube video, even after everyone else had concluded otherwise.

Meanwhile, The Hill publishes a timeline of the events leading up to the Benghazi attack which puts the YouTube video in its proper place — and notes something that most media outlets have missed (emphasis mine):

• July: Anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” posted on You Tube.

• Aug. 14: SST team leaves Libya. Team leader Lt. Col. Andy Wood has testified that Stevens wanted them to stay on.

• In the weeks before Sept. 11, Libyan security guards are reportedly warned by family members of an impending attack. On Sept. 8, the Libyan militia tasked with protecting the consulate warns U.S. diplomats that the security situation is “frightening.”

• Sept. 10: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri calls on Libyans to avenge the death of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al Libi, killed in a June drone strike in Pakistan.

• Sept. 11: Protesters converge on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, scale its walls and replace the U.S. flag with the Islamist banner. The protests eventually spread to 20 countries around the world. That night, Republican candidate Mitt Romney criticizes an embassy statement denouncing the video before the events unfolding in Libya are known to the world. Late that night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says in a statement that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

 Why didn’t the White House come to the conclusion that the protests — and the Benghazi attack — were connected to Zawahiri’s call for attacks, rather than a YouTube video?  As Graham notes, that would interfere with the false narrative that al-Qaeda is “on its heels” and nearly broken.