Today’s congressional hearing on the Sep. 11, 2012 attacks across the Middle East, that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi, have destroyed the Obama administration’s lies about the event. There was not enough security in Benghazi, despite repeated requests; there was no preparation for the attacks, despite intelligence and warning signs; and the assault in Libya had nothing to do with an anti-Islamic video, as President Barack Obama and his appointees had claimed for weeks.
On the eve of the hearings, the State Department claimed not to have linked the Libya attack to an anti-Islamic video made in the United States–although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did so in television advertisements the State Department produced for Pakistani television, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice told the media over and over again that the attacks had been part of a spontaneous demonstration of outrage across the region. Numerous requests for additional security in Benghazi had been ignored by the diplomats at Foggy Bottom.
The White House, meanwhile, finally discarded the “video” narrative to which it had clung for weeks, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary–but not before the filmmaker had been arrested in the dead of night at his home on the pretext of a parole violation, and not before President Obama devoted the bulk of his September address to the United Nations to condemning the video and defamation of Islam and Muhammad.
The new White House line is that poor intelligence led it to an erroneous conclusion about the video–even though that claim is contradicted by the State Department’s own claims about what it knew about the attacks.
Both the White House and the State Department were adamant in their criticism of the video in the hours after demonstrators scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, as well as in the weeks thereafter, though the White House claimed–through an unnamed source in Politico–to have denounced the embassy’s apologies.
In one of today’s hearing’s more memorable–and ignoble–exchanges, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) took umbrage at State Department Official for Embassy Security Charlene Lamb’s assertion that “We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon.” Issa retorted that her claim “doesn’t seem to ring true to the American people.” Nor, indeed, did it comport with other evidence presented to the hearing, including Lt. Col, Andrew Wood, who once headed U.S. security in Libya and testified that there had been serious deficiencies in embassy security, and that it had never been protected with the necessary resources.
What is clear is that the attacks on the anniversary 9/11 took the Obama administration by surprise; that the administration placed too much confidence in the removal of Osama bin Laden, as well as the President’s own personal popularity, in declaring that Al Qaeda was in retreat; that the first impulse of the administration was to attack freedom of expression in the U.S., as well as the political opposition; that the administration never lived up to its most basic security responsibilities in Libya; that it lied for weeks about the most serious terror attack against the United States in years; and that it is lying still, in an attempt to minimize political fallout.
The entire cover-up is falling apart–and today’s congressional hearings are likely just the beginning.