Remember how this all started? In the days after the attacks in Benghazi that left our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans dead the drumbeat from the Administration was that it could all be blamed on a You Tube video which inspired the protest that went bad. On Sunday, September 16, speaking on behalf of the Administration U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on all five Sunday shows and repeated this claim in nearly identical wording.
Here's the cut from Meet the Press with David Gregory:
GREGORY: Well, let’s talk-- talk about-- well, you talked about this as spontaneous. Can you say definitively that the attacks on-- on our consulate in Libya that killed ambassador Stevens and others there security personnel, that was spontaneous, was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?That's a very specific and detailed statement. The problem is that no one has come forward to tell us where that information came from. Ambassador Rice works for the Secretary of State and her office is part of the State Department. Yet on Tuesday night a high level official at the State Depart denied that they believed a protest over the video was a factor in the attack. “That was not our conclusion,” the official said.
MS. RICE: Well, let us-- let me tell you the-- the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of-- of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode. Obviously, that’s-- that’s our best judgment now. We’ll await the results of the investigation. And the president has been very clear--we’ll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
GREGORY: Was there a failure here that this administration is responsible for, whether it’s an intelligence failure, a failure to see this coming, or a failure to adequately protect U.S. embassies and installations from a spontaneous kind of reaction like this?
MS. RICE: David, I don’t think so. First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that-- that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent.
This latest statement is a direct counter to an earlier statement by the State Department spokeswoman: "I would simply say that ... the comments that Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our government's initial assessment."
On Tuesday White House Spokesman Jay Carney was asked about these contradictory claims. His response: "what we said at the time was that the intelligence community assessed that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo, ok?"
Obama on Letterman: Deaths in Libya Caused by Film
The closest thing to a serious question President Obama has faced on this issue came on his September 18th appearance on David Letterman. In that appearance Letterman asked him directly about the murder of our Ambassador [video]:
OBAMA: "Here's what happened. You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who is an extrememly offensive making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. This caused great offence in the Muslim world. Extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies including the consulate in Libya."Hearings Expose Obama Admin Incompetence and Coverup
Worse than the coverup was the negligence to security needs in Libya. Testimony and documents presented to a House investigating committee highlighted that multiple requests to retain security personnel were rejected by the State Department which actually withdrew Security in the run up to the attack. One security manager accused the Administration of wanting to keep security in Libya "artificially low."
The hearing also disclosed unclassified documents (PDF) of State Department officials requesting additional continued security support. Those requests were denied. One security offical at today's hearings understood that the reason these requests were denied was "because there would be too much political cost." Politics ahead of American lives? No wonder there is a cover up.
|No "actionable intelligence" prior to attack? Obama Admin Ignores this bombing weeks before.|
In the months following the original September 11th 2001 attacks questions about intelligence failures were front page news for months. Congressional hearings were followed by the 9/11 Commission with it's voluminous report.
Yet in the wake of this attack, few reporters seem interested in getting to the facts as to where this faulty intelligence came from and how it was disseminated in the Obama Administration without question even though it was immediately obvious that no protest such as the one in Cairo had occurred in Benghazi.
Douglas Ernst writing at the Washington Times describes the coverup:
The Obama administration's strategy to contain the growing Libya scandal now appears to hinge on the State Department's ability to play a shell game with timelines, contractors, subcontractors, unclassified documents and semantics as it pertains to the ambassador's requests for extra security.Will we get answers to these questions before the election?
American Crossroads has a new web video highlighting the issue:
It will be up to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to highlight the Obama Administration's incompetence in the wake of these attacks and demand answers to end the cover up. President Obama criticized Romney for shooting first and aiming later for his statement following the attacks but Obama has not come clean about what happened and how. The American people deserve to know the truth before they vote!