Eli Lake breaks the story:
Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.
That is not the story that the Obama administration told to the American people. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice went on five news shows the weekend following the attack to argue that it was a spontaneous response to a YouTube video. Here is one of those five appearances, on ABC’s This Week.
Rice claims that the attack was not premeditated, as did WH spokesman Jay Carney. We now know that that was not true, and we also know that Rice’s assertion that the FBI was already on the ground investigating the attack was not accurate. CNN was able to get into the compound days after the attack, reporting that it remained unsecured and evidence — Ambassador Stevens’ journal — was lying in the ruins. Obama continues to refuse to label the attack as a terrorist attack, as recently as yesterday’s address to the UN. Obama has shown himself to be more interested in the NFL’s Fail Mary play than in the attacks on Americans and American soil overseas.
It’s at this point that the phrase “cover up” gains currency, but it was obvious on the day of the attacks in Libya and Egypt that terrorists were behind both. The administration was never going to be able to cover this up. But it did attempt to mischaracterize the attack to mislead the American people. The most obvious motive is political — the attacks occurred on American soil, on 9-11, just weeks before the presidential election, leaving four patriots dead, the American flag desecrated, and the United States reeling and humiliated across the Islamic world.
That’s a campaign issue, and it should be. The 3 AM crisis call came in while the whole world was watching, and the Obama administration let the phone ring far too long and then lied to the American people about the substance of the call.