It took real effort for the White House to overlook the tsunami of evidence that contradicted its campaign talking points. Before Rice’s appearances on Sept. 16, 2012, National Public Radio reported that Libya’s president had told NPR that al-Qaeda was responsible for the “precalculated, preplanned attack.” Former deputy CIA director Mike Morell testified last month, “Analysts said from the get-go that al-Qaeda was involved.”
A former deputy chief of mission in Libya, Gregory Hicks, testified last year his “jaw dropped” when he watched Rice blame the video. Retired general Robert Lovell, on duty at U.S. Africa Command at the time, testified last week, “What we did know … was that this was a hostile action … a terrorist attack.” Last week, Fox News’ Bret Baier asked former national security spokesman Tommy Vietor how the administration came up with its video tale. Vietor replied that there were “guys quoted in newspapers saying (the video is why) they were there.” So much for operating on the best intelligence.
White House spokesman Jay Carney improbably claimed that the Rhodes advice was not “explicitly” about Benghazi but about protests throughout the Middle East. CNN’s Jake Tapper called Carney’s comments “dissembling, obfuscating and … insulting.” He was being generous. Rice was dispatched to discuss Benghazi, which is why she was grilled about it on every show.