“What was causing the protests in Cairo that the CIA mentions? The video.” That’s how Slate’s John Dickerson pushes back against the idea that the new White House emails on (sorry, Jay Carney) Benghazi, obtained via a FOIA request by Judicial Watch, represent a “smoking gun” in the debate over the Benghazi attack/cover-up.
But the YouTube video–uploaded and circulated just days before the Sep. 11 attack–no more “caused” the Cairo protests than the Danish cartoons of Mohammed “caused” worldwide conflagrations a few years before. Islamic activists staged demonstrations months after the cartoons emerged, in a coordinated effort. No doubt some who were previously unaware of the cartoons were offended at that point. But the protests were planned in advance.
Likewise with the YouTube video of an anti-Islamic film that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed for the Benghazi disaster. (Arguably, they did more to publicize the video than anyone.)
The refusal to acknowledge that Benghazi was a terror attack was the result not only of immediate political considerations, but a general refusal by the Obama administration to acknowledge the reality of Islamic extremism as something other than mere reaction to Western missteps. It’s a mistake Dickerson repeats here.