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Matt Vespa

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January 23, 2013 - 11:19 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally testified about the Benghazi terrorist attack, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others on September 11, 2012.  For the first time in thirty-three years, a U.S. Ambassador was assassinated, and it doesn’t help that Libyan security “fingered” the ambassador to be murdered.  UN Ambassador Susan Rice did the Sunday morning talk show circuit, and spewed misinformation that this attack was the result of a demonstration.  When it turned out that there were no protests, Hot Air’s Allahpundit had more than just a few questions, as we all did.

Why was U.S. intelligence still leaning towards the protest theory on Sunday, September 16th, when a Libyan guard who was wounded in the consulate attack had already told McClatchy three days earlier that there had never been any protest? All they had to do was read the newspaper that Friday to realize the narrative they were handing Rice was in doubt. And here’s a fourth question, which I believe remains unanswered even now: How did the idea that there had been a protest over the Mohammed movie at the consulate get started in the first place? Was it just a matter of U.S. intel officials watching what happened in Cairo and blindly leaping to the conclusion that the same thing must have happened in Benghazi or was there actual circumstantial evidence of a protest at some point? The only evidence I’ve heard of after months of reading about this came from an AP story on October 27, in which an eyewitness claimed that one of the jihadis at the scene had pressured bystanders to chant about the movie while his crew was busy setting up roadblocks for the attack. The “spontaneous protest,” in other words, was propaganda manufactured by terrorists at the scene as the plot was being put in motion, but maybe the CIA heard about the chanting from another eyewitness and hadn’t yet figured out who was behind it when Rice was briefed. Is that the explanation? Or, as I say, was this pure half-assed guesswork early on, which they nonetheless dutifully passed along to Susan Rice for dissemination on America’s news shows?

Now, that Secretary Clinton can testify, which was delayed due to a blood clot in her skull – Katrina Trinko at National Review posted today that Clinton said she “wasn’t involved in the talking points process.”

I wasn’t involved in the talking points process,” Clinton said. “As I understand it, as I have been told, it was a typical inter-agency process where staff, including from the State Department all participated, [to] try to come up with whatever was going to be made publicly available and it was an intelligence product and it is my understanding the intelligence community is working with appropriate committees to kind of explain the whole process.

However, as PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston posted last October, Secretary Clinton blamed the “Innocence of Muslims” video, which had been on the internet two months before the attack, saying on September 14 that, “this has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.”  So, how long are we going to continue this dance?

During the hearing, Sen. Johnson’s question about how our intelligence community – and the State Department – could’ve easily ascertained that this wasn’t the result of a demonstration gone awry  within hours, if not days, definitely  got under Clinton’s skin, with her responding: “what difference does it make?”   So, I guess government stonewalling has a statue of limitations.

Granted, Ms. Clinton did take responsibility for the attacks, delivering these remarks:

For me, this is not just a matter of policy,” she said. “It’s personal. I stood next to President Obama as the marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters, and the wives left alone to raise their children.

 

Matt Vespa is a web editor at Townhall.com and occasional writer for Hot Air, RedState, and Townhall Magazine.
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