Minutes ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answered a singular question about the new emails showing that the Obama administration knew that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack two hours after it began. Clinton once again said that “No one wants to get to the bottom of what happened more than I do,” before touting her “independent review board” and its progress in investigating the attack. That board will not report any of its findings prior to the election, and it is operating under the secretary’s control. The State Department has not even released the names of the board members. As Clinton described the board’s work, she said that it is reviewing every piece of evidence, and not “cherry picking” pieces here and there. As she said the words “cherry picking,” Clinton nervously grinned and chuckled.
The White House, meanwhile, is downplaying the import of the emails that Reuters and other media outlets obtained late Tuesday. Despite the fact that the emails show clearly that knowledge of Ansar al-Sharia’s claim to have launched the attack reached the highest levels of the government, the White House is insisting that that was but one piece of information obtained that night.
The emails reached the very top of the Obama administration. The redacted addresses show that they went to the secretary of state’s top aides, and to the president’s White House Situation Room. That room is capable of accepting and displaying real time video feeds from military aircraft and personnel around the world in real time. CBS has previously reported that not only was there a Predator drone monitoring the battle as it played out, but that there were multiple reconnaissance aircraft on the scene. Any Predators on the scene were probably armed with Hellfire missiles, as Predators have been used in the Libya conflict and around the Middle East to eliminate terrorist leaders and suspects as the opportunities to do so have arisen. Additionally, there were AC-130 gunships and other military assets within reasonable striking distance, but none were ordered in to relieve the besieged consulate. So far there is no indication that a fire order was ever given for the Predator(s). Fox reported Tuesday that the attackers used accurate mortar fire to support their infantry assault of the compound, indicating a high level of organization, scouting and other pre-planning and pre-positioning prior to the attack.
The Obama administration has floated a claim that it ordered no relief in because it did not have the permission of the Libyan government to send aircraft to the scene. The Libyan government, such as it is in the post-Gaddafi chaos, has said that it did grant permission to enter its airspace. Then there is the matter of the recon aircraft which were reportedly already on the scene.
The Obama administration did not seek permission when it launched the 2010 SEAL mission that eliminated Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Update: Via Gateway Pundit, here’s video of Clinton’s ghastly moment today.
In addition to the grin, Clinton insisted that “we are holding ourselves accountable” for Benghazi. Clearly, she and the White House are not doing that. They blamed a movie when the earliest evidence pointed in the direction of terrorism. Clinton is in control of the “independent” board. That is not accountability. It is furthering a cover-up.
More: Clinton also says in the clip that a Facebook posting by the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia is not enough evidence to rule Benghazi a terrorist attack. But as someone noted on Twitter, Clinton et based their version of the attack on an obscure YouTube movie. Why does a YouTube movie merit more attention than what the terrorists are claiming, as the attack is ongoing, on their social media?
More: A commenter points to a press release in which Clinton’s board are named. They are:
The Secretary has appointed Thomas R. Pickering, a retired U.S. Ambassador, as Chair of the Board. He will be assisted by Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Ms. Catherine Bertini, Mr. Richard J. Shinnick, and Mr. Hugh J. Turner III, and the Executive Secretary to the Board, Uzra Zeya.
More: Quoting Clinton— “Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence,” Clinton said. “And I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be.”
Yet she and the president and Ambassador Rice and Jay Carney all explicitly blamed the YouTube movie. Clinton’s answer only exposes another hole in their story.