One month ago today, terrorists armed with heavy weapons stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In a lightning-fast coordinated attack, the terrorists quickly overran the paltry and mostly locally hired security. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. State Department security officials died in the assault.
Though the U.S. intelligence community now says that it recognized the assault in Benghazi as a terrorist attack from the beginning, the Obama administration told the public a different story. The Obama administration told the American people that the 9-11-12 attack was not a pre-planned terrorist assault, but a reaction to an obscure video on YouTube said to be offensive to Muslims. Ben Howe captured the spin timeline in this video.
The Benghazi assault on 9-11-12, the eleventh anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 and plunged the world into war, was never about a video. That fact was so obvious that on the night of the attack and on the day afterward, a new Twitter hashtag appeared: #Itsnotaboutafilm.
In past instances when the United States came under terrorist attack, Republican and Democratic administrations quickly recognized the attacks for what they were and vowed to strike back and punish those responsible. September 11, 2001, was followed within a month by Operation Enduring Freedom, the invasion of Afghanistan to drive al-Qaeda from its strongholds there. Though the aftermath in Afghanistan has been bloody, the operation to deprive al-Qaeda of its Afghan bases has largely succeeded. That doesn’t mean that al-Qaeda is dead; far from it. The terrorist group has proven itself adaptable and flexible even after the killing of its leader. It changes leaders, it changes its name, it changes its base of operations, but al-Qaeda doesn’t change its purpose, which is to attack the United States however and whenever it can and without regard for which party happen to occupy the White House. Benghazi must be seen in that context.
But it wasn’t, at least not by the Obama administration. Rather than recognize the assault in Libya for what it was, President Obama both personally and through his spokesman, through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and through U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice blamed a video. Though they pledged to investigate the attack, they have treated Benghazi as a criminal act rather than the act of war that it was. They sent the FBI to determine the facts, but the FBI was not even able to access the sacked compound until more than three weeks after the attack. The United States has not conducted a single strike by air or land or sea to punish the terrorists who killed those four Americans. The only person punished in connection with Benghazi so far is the man who allegedly made the video that the administration falsely blamed for inciting the attack.
Instead of getting justice against the terrorists, the Obama administration launched what amounts to a disinformation campaign, an Operation Infinite Spin, against the American people. Operation Infinite Spin is an attack on common sense and on Americans’ free speech rights. The Obama administration’s instincts were to blame America first and, apparently, to give the terrorists ample time to get away.
Why? Who from within the administration launched Operation Infinite Spin to blame a movie when both the date and the evidence pointed directly at terrorism? What did they hope to accomplish? How did the president and his close associates learn of the YouTube video? Who made the decision to blame it for a terrorist attack? Why did the State Department consistently refuse field requests to beef up security in Libya, to the point that security specialists Lt. Col. Andrew Wood and Eric Nordstrom both realized that they were fighting a losing battle against, as Nordstrom described it, “the Taliban inside the walls.”
One month after the attack in Benghazi, Americans from the mother of one of the slain to the average man on the street are still awaiting and still demanding answers. Will we ever get them?