I’ve seen a good deal of head-scratching about this portion of the big New York Times story. The paper seems to have taken the word of a few militia guys in Libya and mixed it into a remarkably thick coat of whitewash for the global terror organization. It’s one thing to ask questions about how deeply al-Qaeda was involved in operational planning and execution, or to make the rather pedestrian point that links between terror organizations are nebulous by design (and occasionally quite shaky, because let us remember, these people are homicidal dirtbags who don’t handle dissenting opinions well.) But it’s quite another to make a headline-grabbing assertion that al-Qaeda wasn’t a significant player in Benghazi, despite abundant testimony from experts to the contrary… many of whom have been previously quoted in the New York Times.
You could watch the NYT expose unravel in real-time over the weekend, especially after the Sunday morning shows had run their course yesterday. Quite a few Democrat and left-leaning sources have stepped forward to vigorously dispute the NYT piece. People who were in Libya on 9/11/12 are said to be angry at the Grey Lady for its assertions.
So why did they do it? The other big headline contention of the story is easy enough to understand: the Times wants to cover up Obama’s lies about the “spontaneous video protest,” and make it seem less outrageous that Susan Rice was sent forth into the Sunday-show scrum to repeat that false claim over and over again. They wanted to rewrite history and make it look as if Team Obama was somewhat understandably mistaken, or perhaps fumbling its messaging a bit, rather than deliberately lying. Anyone who was under the mistaken impression that Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the rest spent a couple of weeks after the attack claiming there was both a pre-planned terror attack and some unrest over the “Innocence of Muslims” video would find this part of the Times piece reassuring; everyone who remembers what they actually said, and why, finds it laughable. I’m aware of no Administration critics who claimed nobody in Libya was riled up by the video.
But why risk the credibility of the entire report on sloppy allegations that al-Qaeda wasn’t involved – as if that would make Ambassador Chris Stevens and his defenders any less dead? Well, that’s important because Obama made all those noisy claims about how al-Qaeda was defeated, decimated, and on the run. His loyalists are eager to snip al-Qaeda out of the picture in Libya because the sacking of the consulate, and murder of the American ambassador, is not the sort of thing decimated terror groups should be able to do, while they’re busy running away from Barack Obama.
Also, the al-Qaeda presence in Libya makes it nearly inconceivable that no one in Team Obama was ready to deal with unrest on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. None of their other history-revision efforts make that any less of a gob-smacking, forehead-planting “what the hell were you thinking?” failure of leadership and common sense. But if Obama and Clinton supporters can airbrush al-Qaeda out of Libya, a lax posture on 9/11/12 becomes just a bit less astonishing.
It’s still amazing to think this team offers their completely lack of preparation for nightmare scenarios as a defense – “Don’t blame us for failing to rescue the Ambassador! We didn’t have any assets in place to carry out a rescue!” – but maybe that’s a bit easier to swallow if you can convince yourself they didn’t know al-Qaeda was busy infiltrating the country and forging ties with the local scum.