Published October 12, 2012
The House Oversight Committee hearings on Benghazi threw so much dust in the air, that it’s now impossible to know what happened when four Americans, including the American Ambassador to Libya, were killed. It looks, increasingly though, like somebody is lying. The question is who, and why.
We were told from the start that the attacks were a spontaneous response to an obscure anti- Muslim video on YouTube; that Libyans went to the American consulate to demonstrate against the video, and things got out of hand. But there was no “spontaneous” demonstration, there wasn’t even a demonstration. It was a sophisticated military attack on the Consulate, which the State Department learned about and was following in real time. Yet videos show there were never any demonstrators, so why did everyone from the UN Ambassador to the Secretary of State claim otherwise?
Those same officials denied it was a terrorist attack, and kept denying it was a terrorist attack, for days. Yet the State Department classified it as a terrorist attack within the first twenty-four hours, so why did senior administration officials, including the president, keep insisting otherwise?
Congressional testimony from the two security officials on the ground in Benghazi said they had repeatedly warned the situation in there was disintegrating, and asked for increased security for Ambassador Chris Stevens and the Consulate.
Yet the State Department official in charge testified that they deemed protection was adequate. Why did State Department officials in Foggy Bottom disregard their own recommendations, and why did they continue to insist security was “adequate” even though four Americans were killed?
On September 6, in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention President Obama claimed “Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Yet just five days later, dozens of heavily armed Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists stormed the American consulate. The administration knew Al Qaeda was a growing threat in Libya: in August a Defense Department official stated that the Libyan Al Qaeda cell had gone through the organizational and recruitment stages and was ready to go operational with an attack.
Is this just a terrible, horrible series of misjudgments on the part of senior foreign policy officials? If so, it borders on criminal negligence.
Is it a deliberate effort to obfuscate and suppress the facts lest they reflect negatively on the president on the eve of a close election? If so, it calls into question the moral character of our senior-most leaders.
Whatever happened cannot be covered up forever. Eventually the facts will come out, and the longer the administration waits to set the record straight, the worse it will be for everyone.
Secretary Clinton has already announced she will leave the State Department at the end of President Obama's first term, even if he is reelected.
She has been a trailblazer throughout her distinguished career, and earned a unique place in American history. She should come forward now and tell the American people what happened in Benghazi and why.
In Thursday night's debate, Vice President Biden claimed fault lies with the Intelligence Community and the State Department were to blame for the tragic events in Libya. Secretary Clinton knows better, and should speak out so those truly responsible be held to account.
What a pity if one of the final public images we have of Secretary Clinton is a her clinging to an increasingly unbelievable narrative, while standing over the flag-draped coffins of American heroes who died for someone else’s mistakes.