Obama Calls Benghazi Talking Points a 'Side Show,' Says 'There's No There There'
During his remarks to the press today, President Obama dismissed last week's Benghazi hearings outright. He claimed that the entire discussion of the talking points was a "side show." Overall, on Benghazi he claimed that "There's no there, there."
ABC's Jonathan Karl revealed last week that the talking points had been edited 12 times, consistently to remove references to al Qaeda and its role in the deadly attack. The edits removed references to a Sept. 10 warning that al Qaeda would mount a protest/assault at the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt on the following day, not because of a movie, but to pressure the US government into releasing jihadists held in US prisons.
The hearings revealed stand down orders were given to Special Forces in Tripoli who were ready to travel to Benghazi to rescue the Americans under assault. The hearings revealed the names and roles of two whistleblowers, Mark Thompson and Greg Hicks. Hicks assumed command for the US mission in Libya upon the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, and is a lifelong Democrat. The hearings also revealed why Stevens was in Benghazi on 9-11-12; he was there on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton order to make the US facility in the dangerous city a permanent presence despite the deteriorating security situation there.
The president's strategy was to claim that he had called Benghazi a terrorist attack on September 12, when he did not, and to otherwise claim that there has been no news, nothing was covered up and, in his own words, "There is no there, there" and that all questions about it are political. He also claimed that questions about Benghazi amount to dishonoring the dead, at also chided Republicans for using Benghazi in fundraising.
Since December 2012, the president has made guns a political issue after the Newtown massacre. His political group, Organizing for Action, has sent out numerous emails highlighting that tragedy and which also seek to raise money for the organization. Why one is proper and the other is not, the president was not asked and did not explain.
Even in today's remarks, President Obama described those responsible for Benghazi as "extremists" but did not name al Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia.