You already knew that the White House had reason to believe that Benghazi was a bona fide terror attack within 24 hours of it happening, no matter what Susan Rice said four days later, but I want you to watch this for two reasons. One: After the post on media bias, let’s give credit where it’s due. CNN has followed this story, and on primetime shows like this one and Anderson Cooper’s too. Two: Per Eli Lake’s piece in Newsweek today, someone has started leaking preliminary intel assessments made by the CIA that pointed to a spontaneous attack. (I wrote about that here.) I think you’re going to hear more about that from the White House in the next days and weeks, e.g., “We were only telling you what the CIA told us.” Read Lake’s piece to see why that won’t wash, then watch this clip as CNN’s own foreign affairs correspondent reveals that her intel sources were pointing to a full-fledged attack on the consulate within the first 24 hours. Essentially, to believe that the White House had clean hands in this, you need to believe that the CIA is so inept that the media’s contacts in the intelligence community are more astute than the people advising the president. Nothing would surprise me at this point, but given O’s strong electoral incentives to downplay what happened, the cover-up theory seems more likely.
Exit question: Who made the decision to cherry-pick the intel in order to push the “spontaneous protest” theory? That’s the next blank in this story to be filled in.