Latest update: October 12th, 2012
For weeks the story coming out of this administration, from all fronts, was that the assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was the result of a demonstration by Libyans angered over a movie that insulted their prophet Mohammad, a raucous demonstration which got out of hand. Over time, different officials began to admit that while the source of the violence may have been terrorists, including even Al Qaeda or its affiliates, those terrorists took advantage of the anti-Innocence of Muslims film demonstrators.
In fact, there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12. There was no demonstration against the film that insulted Mohammad, or any other kind of demonstration. There was an assault on our country. And our government officials knew that, yet repeatedly attempted to spin it away from that conclusion.
Nearly a full month after the tragedy in Benghazi, senior State Department officials provided a briefing Tuesday evening, October 9, about the events that transpired in Libya on September 11, 2012. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA 49th District), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which held a previously-scheduled hearing on the security situation in Libya the next day, said of that briefing that finally, the “State Department began the process of coming clean on what occurred in Benghazi.”
What actually happened, 11 years to the day after the greatest assault on U.S. icons ever – our financial district, our military headquarters, and an effort to attack the very heart of our government which fell short, but still killed dozens of civilians on that third plane – was a carefully planned blow at the heart of the U.S. government in a Muslim country which this government helped save from a brutal dictator.
The official U.S. representative to Libya, the very symbol of our country, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was murdered on 9/11/12 – we still do not know exactly how or when. Three other Americans were also murdered in Libya that day – their deaths were not accidental byproducts of a demonstration that spun out of control.
What we learned from Congressman Darrell Issa, (R-CA 49th District) is that
The State Department news conference made very clear it had never been the State Department’s position, I repeat, never been the State Department’s position that in fact this assault was part of a reaction to a video or the like. This has been corroborated by numerous witnesses and whistleblowers.
What’s more, Issa explained
Contrary to early assertions by the administration, let’s understand, there was no protest, and cameras reveal that, and the State Department and the FBI have that video.
And speaking of that video, the one in California, made by an individual , also clearly had no direct effect on this attack. In fact, it was September 11th, the anniversary of the greatest terrorist attack in U.S. history, it was that anniversary that caused an organization aligned with Al Qaeda to attack and kill our personnel.
And yet, week after week, this administration at its highest levels – our president, our secretary of state, our Ambassador to the United Nations, repeated the same excuse, blaming a cheap and poorly-made movie that dared to criticize Islam’s historic leader, for which we officially apologized, over and over again, when in fact it was cold hatred of this country that resulted in the four American deaths on that day.
Furthermore, according to Cong. Issa, while it is still far from clear whether additional security reinforcements which had been requested but denied by the State Department would have saved the lost American lives on this year’s September 11th, this administration “seemed preoccupied with the concept of normalization.” By that, the congressman explained, the administration was creating “artificial timelines,” to reduce the U.S. presence and replace them with local Libyans.
This is consistent with this administration’s efforts in regard to other hot spots around the globe, as we learned from Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who was repeatedly physically and sexually brutalized by Egyptians in Tahrir Square last spring.
On October 2, Logan let loose in a speech to the Chicago’s Better Government Association’s annual luncheon, in which she accused the administration of downplaying the number of Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan in an effort to speed up its reduction in forces there. She also claimed Washington acts as apologists for the Taliban by downplaying their links to Al Qaeda and the strength of their organization.
Logan was clearly fed up by what she described as misinformation coming out of Washington over the past two years. She said she decided to finally speak out because, “I can’t stand that there is a major lie being propagated.” That lie, she explained, is that the American military has weakened the Taliban. The statements that there are different aspects of the Taliban, and that what we are now seeing in Afghanistan is “the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban. … It’s such nonsense.”
White House spokesperson Jay Carney responded to questions raised by the State Department briefing and the Congressional Oversight hearing that “from the beginning, we have provided information based on the facts that we knew.”
While this has been the party line, it is difficult to square Carney’s statement with the testimony provided by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Charlene R. Lamb, at the Oversight hearing.
Lamb testified on Wednesday that on September 11, State Department officials immediately activated the Imminent Danger Notification System just after 9:40 p.m., which is when loud voices followed by gunfire and explosions were heard within the compound. She said that from that moment forward, she could follow the events as they occurred “almost in real time.” There was no demonstration, there was an attack on the U.S. Consulate. There were no facts upon which the statements blaming a video or a demonstration gone amok could have been based.
There appears to be a pattern emerging of efforts on the part of this administration to provide a false sense that tensions within global hot spots in the Islamic world are easing. Based on actual available evidence at least in Libya and, according to Logan in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces cannot leave those areas to competent, secure local forces. And it is not true that when there are outbursts of violence, the sources for that violence are insensitive assaults on the dignity of the local sensibilities, such as blaming westerners for daring to insult Islam’s prophet Mohammad.
Ironically, there are those in the Obama campaign who are currently engaged in an effort to represent Governor Romney as a liar.
As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal pointed out in today’s paper,
Speaking the day after the debate in the press cabin of Air Force One, top Obama adviser David Plouffe said, “We thought it was important to let people know that someone who would lie to 50 million Americans, you should have some questions about whether that person should sit in the Oval Office.”
The Democratic National Committee’s Brad Woodhouse said, “Plenty of people have pointed out what a liar Mitt Romney is.” Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says Republicans “think lying is a virtue.”
A lie is a conscious untruth known to be untrue when spoken. The revelations made by the State Department and the Oversight Committee hearings this week regarding the source of the tragedy in Benghazi support the view that there may indeed by those who think “lying is a virtue,” but it isn’t Governor Romney.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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