With their narrative on the sacking of the Benghazi consulate rapidly disintegrating, the White House has apparently tried to graft it onto the emerging reality of a successful al-Qaeda attack on the anniversary of 9/11. Time Magazine’s Massimo Calabresi got the latest spin from the Obama administration, updating an article that was ironically headlined “Did Obama Spin the Benghazi Attack?”
The perpetrators behind the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, had been looking for an opportunity to attack U.S. facilities in the region for some time, according to an Obama Administration official familiar with the latest intelligence
However, the Administration continues to believe the attack was not pre-planned, but rather was the result of extremists seizing the opportunity presented by protests in neighboring Egypt against an American-made anti-Islamic video.
Members of the Benghazi al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al Sharia, “Saw the events in Cairo and took it upon themselves to seize that opportunity to do something,” the Administration official says. “They may have intended for some time to attack U.S. facilities, but they did so at the time they did to take advantage of Cairo.”
Er … sure. At least the White House now acknowledges that AQ had planned an attack on the Benghazi consulate and the American diplomatic presence “for some time,” a point of information that would never have come to light had CNN not found Stevens’ journal in the still-unsecured wreckage of the facility. Stevens had warned the administration of the dangers, and as yet no evidence has arisen that State or the White House took any action to address his concerns.
But let’s consider the timing of this attack while musing on this latest spin. The attack took place on the anniversary of 9/11, and conducted by a terror network that puts great stock in symbolic use of dates. How likely is it that they just happened to discover a protest outside the US consulate — a protest which Libya says never actually took place anyway — and responded without any preparation at all in an attack with heavy weapons, exploiting it as cover? I’d say it’s much more likely that AQ knew that protests would be taking place on 9/11 in places like Cairo, either at their direction or in cooperation with other extremist groups, and used it as cover for the attack on Benghazi.
This new spin is absurd, as is the White House attempt to rescue Susan Rice from the credibility destruction she incurred five days later:
UPDATE: Regarding Rice’s statements on Sept. 16, the spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Erin Pelton, says, “During her appearances on the Sunday talk shows September 16, 2012, Ambassador Rice’s comments were prefaced at every turn with a clear statement that an FBI investigation was underway that would provide the definitive accounting of the events that took place in Benghazi. At every turn Ambassador Rice provided–and said she was providing–the best information and the best assessment that the Administration had at the time, based on what was provided to Ambassador Rice and other senior U.S. officials by the U.S. intelligence community.”
Balderdash. While she may have left herself a rhetorical out, Rice clearly communicated that the administration had no reason to believe that the Benghazi attack was terrorist-related, when four days earlier the Obama administration designated it as such. Either the White House lied to Rice, or she lied to the media. Either way, Rice should be tendering her resignation now.
Gabriel Malor wonders what it takes to get the media interested in lies, incompetence, and scandal in the Obama administration:
The President boldly vowed that the perpetrators — he declined to call them terrorists at the time — would be brought to justice. To that end, he called in the FBI. More than a week later, the FBI flew a team to Tripoli, but that is as far as they got. They have not traveled to Benghazi. They have not examined the scene. They have not collected evidence. They have not interviewed the people the Libyans have arrested. It has been fifteen days since the attack.
Why is this not a scandal yet?
I’ll be honest with you. It is scandalous that a U.S. ambassador was killed abroad. It is even more scandalous that this ambassador was provided almost no security at one of the most dangerous assignments on the planet for the flimsiest of excuses. The President should be answering for those scandals. But the fact that his administration then misled the American people? That the law enforcement Obama has tapped to lead the investigation hasn’t even managed to complete the most obvious of tasks? That is beyond scandal. That is a disgrace.
So is the national media that thus far seems almost entirely unconcerned with the string of lies pushed by Obama and his administration in response to the first successful terrorist attack on an American diplomatic facility in 14 years.