The House Benghazi report makes it completely clear that no one peddling the “spontaneous video protest” theory of the attack ever believed it, not for a single hour.
It was a piece of deliberate disinformation concocted in Washington for political purposes, as critics of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have long maintained.
As Catherine Herridge of Fox News reports, the video story was “crafted in Washington by Obama administration appointees and reflected neither eyewitness nor real-time reports from the Americans under siege.”
According to portions of the Republican report reviewed by Fox News, one U.S. agent at the American outpost in Benghazi, whose name was withheld for security reasons, told the committee he first heard “some kind of chanting.”
Then that sound was immediately followed by “explosions” and “gunfire, then roughly 70 people rushing into the compound with an assortment of “AK-47s, grenades, RPG’s … a couple of different assault rifles,” the agent said.
In addition, a senior watch officer at the State Department’s diplomatic security command described the Sept. 11, 2012, strikes as “a full on attack against our compound.”
When asked whether he saw or heard a protest prior to the attacks, the officer replied, “zip, nothing, nada,” according to the Republican majority report.
“None of the information coming directly from the agents on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about a video or a protest. The firsthand accounts made their way to the office of the Secretary through multiple channels quickly…,” the report concluded.
One of the most devastating findings from the report is that the first White House meeting was held three hours into the attack, with Clinton in attendance, while Ambassador Chris Stevens was still missing, but “much of the conversation focused on the video (which) is surprising given no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time.”
In fact, “five of the 10 action items from the rough notes of the 7:30pm meeting reference the video.” Team Obama was more interested in working on alibis than responding to a terrorist attack.
Clinton became one of the first administration officials to hint at the phony “video protest” story that evening, telling the American people that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” while simultaneously admitting to her daughter Chelsea that she knew the attack was the work of “an al Qaeda-like group,” misspelling the terrorist organization’s name in the email.
Even more damning, Clinton told the prime minister of Egypt the following day, “We know the attacks in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest.”
Clinton would nevertheless blame the attack on the “anti-Muslim video” to the families of the Benghazi dead for days to come and later suggest they were liars for recalling that she did so.
“It’s unambiguous the administration knew immediately it was a terror attack. And the story of fog of war was known to be false immediately by everyone in the Administration,” declared Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) of the House Benghazi Committee.
The primary purveyor of the “video protest” nonsense was then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. The House Benghazi Committee revealed that while Rice claimed her false statements were based on the best available intelligence, in truth she was not briefed by anyone from the intelligence community.
She was briefed by Obama’s political crew, including White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who would later become infamous for bragging about his skill at manipulating lazy reporters to sell false narratives useful to the president. Rhodes’s spin-control email was the document that launched the House Benghazi Committee inquiry.
It is not difficult to imagine what was running through the minds of Obama, Clinton, and the rest of their all-politics, all-the-time team. As the House Benghazi Committee report makes clear, alarms were raised about the dangerous situation in Benghazi for weeks beforehand. If that truth had gotten out during the heat of a presidential race, Obama’s re-election would have been jeopardized, and Clinton’s political future could have been erased.
It was urgently necessary to create a false narrative of stunning surprise, portraying the attack as a thunderbolt no one could have anticipated. One of the reasons Ambassador Stevens visited Benghazi was to prepare it for a Clinton visit, as witnesses told the House committee; the city was to become the site of a permanent consulate, a symbol of foreign policy triumph for the Obama administration. If the American people had known that before November 2012, who knows how they might have voted?