Foreign and Defense Policy

Lies, scandal, and politics: Benghazi

Image Credit: BRQ Network (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

Image Credit: BRQ Network (Flickr) (CC BY 2.0)

There are a few basics about being president which not incidentally coincide with the responsibilities of being an adult. One is that you cannot lie. Two is that if caught in a lie, you should ‘fess up. And three is that if you lie to cover up your original lie, that’s called malice aforethought (often leading, in Washington, to criminal investigation and obstruction of justice charges, at least if the perp is a Republican).

Now, Benghazi. It is perfectly fair for the White House to assert that in the fog of an attack on U.S. facilities, facts were mistaken. It’s important to emphasize that almost any time one sees a senior official muddling his facts, odds are he’s got bad data, he’s incompetent, or whoever was briefing him was wrong. But… that is clearly not the case in the Benghazi scandal.

Rather, the story of Benghazi is that while the White House’s initial response may have been confusion (because other attacks were taking place at the same time), very soon thereafter, the outright lying began. And now that we have seen the emails that went to the White House within two hours of the attack naming the perpetrators — a known terrorist group operating in eastern Libya — the fact that officials from the president on down were intentionally and falsely insisting the 9/11/12 attack was not an act of terrorism is screamingly obvious.

Let’s review the timeline (h/t to the Washington Post) once again:

Here’s what the president said on September 12:

“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts… No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

Note the reference to the YouTube video in the “reject all efforts to denigrate” line, and the generic references to “acts of terror” which the president falsely insisted (with assistance from CNN’s Candy Crowley) was an assertion that Benghazi was in fact an act of terror.

Here’s Jay Carney, White House spox, the following day:

“I think it’s important to note with regards to that protest that there are protests taking place in different countries across the world that are responding to the movie that has circulated on the Internet.”

Again, the movie.

Here’s Hillary Clinton on September 14:

“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. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.”

And Carney the same day:

“We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false.” 

And then Obama’s U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice hit every Sunday show with this message on September 16:

“Based on the best information we have to date … it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. “

Only on September 19 did Matthew Olson, director the National Counterterrorism Center admit, upon direct questioning, that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

And the next day, Carney was shocked, shocked that anyone thought Benghazi wasn’t a terrorist attack: (“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”) Meanwhile, CBS News gets the story that the entire narrative thus far, including the demonstrations the White House and others referred to, never happened. And that not only did they never happen, but senior Obama administration officials were watching live footage of the attack, and that should have been clear to them.

Still, Obama doubled down on the lie that it was all about the video in his address to the United Nations General Assembly. On September 25, he said:

“That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.”

Luckily, Reuters now tells us what really happened before the president hit the Rose Garden on 9/12: Within minutes of the attack the day before, the White House received three emails. Here are the three subject lines for those emails, which spanned a couple of hours from the beginning of the terrorists’ move:

  • Email one:  “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU,” meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
  • Email two: “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi”
  • Email three: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”

Bottom line? Barack Obama was willfully and knowingly lying to the American people. Why? To protect the meme that he had al Qaeda and affiliates/sympathizers like Libya’s Ansar al Sharia on the run. A couple of weeks ago, I reminded our readers of the Spanish government’s efforts to mislead the Spanish people about an al Qaeda attack which resulted in the then-president being thrown from office.

What should happen? Look at Spain. But if that’s too much for our voters to demand, the very least a responsible democracy will do is investigate impartially and bring to justice those who willfully and repeatedly lied to the American people.

35 thoughts on “Lies, scandal, and politics: Benghazi

  1. The petty rantings of a guttersnipe. Blather on, madam. No one is listening. You’re lucky you get paid to publish this tripe.

  2. re: lying

    Did Bush lie about WMD? Did he ever admit it?

    Did Reagan lie about Iran-Contra? Did he ever admit it?

    here’s what happened under Bush

    22 January 2002 Calcutta, India gunmen attack Consulate 5dead

    14 June 2002 Karachi, Pakistan al-Qaeda truck bomb detonates outside Consulate 12 killed

    12 October 2002 Denpasar, Indonesia Consular Office bombed

    28 February 2003 Islamabad, Pakistan Unknown gunmen attack Embassy 2 killed

    30 June 2004 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy 2 killed

    6 December 2004 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia al-Qaeda gunmen raid diplomatic compound 9 killed

    2 March 2006 Karachi, Pakistan Car bomb explodes outside Embassy unknown 2 killed

    12 September 2006 Demascuc, Syria Gunmen raid US Embassy 4 killed

    12 January 2007 Athens, Greece RPG Fired at Embassy

    18 March 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Mortar attack against US Embassy 2

    9 July 2008 Istanbul, Turkey Armed attack against Consulate 6 killed

    17 September 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Two car bombs outside US embassy in Yemeni capital

    Now you tell me if Bush was “responsible” for these attacks and if he told the truth about them and he fixed the problem.

    this is yet more anti-Obama blather that is totally holding Obama to a different standard than his predecessors.

    What a bunch of MALARKEY!

    • NEWSFLASH…NEWSFLASH…

      Reagan and Bush are not running for anything in 2012. Did you know that Reagan is dead?

      A historical event–any historical event–does not mean that it was covered-up by a lie.

      • ” Reagan and Bush are not running for anything in 2012.”

        then why are you and your idiot friends holding Obama to a different POTUS standard than they met?

        • Guess what? There are a lot of Americans, myself included, who did not like GWB’s militarism any more than we like Obama’s militarism. Trying to use Bush as a defense for Obama is futile.

          • ” Trying to use Bush as a defense for Obama is futile.”

            it’s NOT a defense.

            It’s asking if you reacted the same way to him as you do know.

            Are you using a double standard?

        • The question at hand is should President Obama be re-elected or be replaced by Governor Romney. If Obama lives up to your standards then vote for him. If he falls to the low levels that you think that President Bush embodied then don’t vote for him.

        • BRILLIANT QUESTION, HERE’S YOUR ANSWER:

          An all-time record 47 million now on food stamps, record bankruptcies, record mortgage foreclosures, record national debt, record national deficits, record borrowing, record $4,000 plunge in household incomes in just 4 years, record plunge in america’s standard of living, record $5.5 trillion in spending in just 4-years with nothing to show for it, all-time record poverty levels, plunge in the US dollar, weakest economic recovery on record, no jobs created in 4 years, a relentless war against big business and profits, money laundering schemes for campaign bundlers like we saw at Solyndra and BENGHAZIGATE and its failed coverup.

          What policies did you libs like the best and what ones do you want to see more of in your incompetent and feckless messiah’s next 4 years?

          • re: “a record number”

            yes.. from what?

            how about a disastrous recession that was damn near a depression?

            where did the deficits come from? From increased spending for 2 wars, DOD and Medicare Part D at the same time taxes were cut.

            What would you expect other than a continuing deficit once you did that?

            The same people who voted for tax cuts and increased spending say it’s Obama’s fault? HOw?

            Other than the stimulus what spending did he add?

          • Why are you libs holding George Washington to a different standard. After all he started it all almost 250-years ago.

            OK, maybe Columbus is at fault.

          • re: terrorist attacks…on US embassies/consulates under George Washington?

            the standard is modern day wing nut.

            why do you hold Obama to a different standard than Bush, Clinton and Reagan?

          • An all-time record 47 million now on food stamps, record bankruptcies, record mortgage foreclosures, record national debt, record national deficits, record borrowing, record $4,000 plunge in household incomes in just 4 years, record plunge in america’s standard of living, record $5.5 trillion in spending in just 4-years with nothing to show for it, all-time record poverty levels….

            ALL DUE TO BUSH POLICIES. STOP BLAMING THE FIREMAN FOR THE ACTIONS OF THE ARSONIST.

            You keep carping about Solyndra, pal. The manipulation of LIBOR as a benchmark has cost over $6 billion to American taxpayers- so far. Of course, you’re against that “business killing” “anti-Profit” regulation.

            Dopes…..

  3. BENGHAZIGATE…

    …ate Obama’s lunch. The only thing that the messiah had going for him–foreign policy–crumbled over a month ago. It bit him right on his butt.

    Rasmussen: 51-45

    Rasmussen Ohio: 48-48

    Isn’t it be so very stereotypically funny that a big LIE croaked America’s first bIack president? Actually, Bill was America’s first bIack president and his big lie got him impeached and disbarred.

    Its tough to be first in anything these days.

  4. 22 January 2002 Calcutta, India gunmen attack Consulate 5dead

    14 June 2002 Karachi, Pakistan al-Qaeda truck bomb detonates outside Consulate 12 killed

    12 October 2002 Denpasar, Indonesia Consular Office bombed

    28 February 2003 Islamabad, Pakistan Unknown gunmen attack Embassy 2 killed

    30 June 2004 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy 2 killed

    6 December 2004 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia al-Qaeda gunmen raid diplomatic compound 9 killed

    2 March 2006 Karachi, Pakistan Car bomb explodes outside Embassy unknown 2 killed

    12 September 2006 Demascuc, Syria Gunmen raid US Embassy 4 killed

    12 January 2007 Athens, Greece RPG Fired at Embassy

    18 March 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Mortar attack against US Embassy 2

    9 July 2008 Istanbul, Turkey Armed attack against Consulate 6 killed

    17 September 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Two car bombs outside US embassy in Yemeni capital

    what did BUSH say about these attacks on his watch?

    Did you folks who ask all these questions about Benghazi ask them about the attacks under Bush?

    pathetic is a good word to describe the Benghazi-gate folks.

    Bush lied and thousands of people died. People were tortured and Bush stonewalled .. said he was “not aware” of people under his command torturing others.

    He told the SCOTUS that these activities were outside their purview because they did not occur on US soil even though they were done by Federal employees directed by him to do these things.

    where were the folks shouting about lies and cover-ups then?

    • What is referred to in Benghazi as the “Annex” was not an annex to the Consulate but a facility used by U.S. Intelligence agencies. The two Seals or former Seals, died in defense of this complex. The attack or battle lasted for more than 6 hours. The U.S. has a base in Italy, approximately 480 miles away. An F-15 could have made Benghazi in less than an hour. Special Ops Teams were located at the same base and could have made it within 3 hours.
      No assistance or aid came to these fellows. They died. They had a chance to live had assistance, which facilities like this rely on, been provided. None was forthcoming. Why was no assistance provided when it was so obvious they were under attack? Why was no assistance provided?

      • re: attacks on US embassies and consulates:

        1968 United States Saigon, South Vietnam Saigon Embassy attack
        1971 United States Phnom Penh, Khmer Republic (Cambodia) [6]
        1979 United States Tehran, Iran Iran hostage crisis
        1979 United States Islamabad, Pakistan 1979 U.S. Embassy Burning in Islamabad
        1979 United States Tripoli, Libya 1979 U.S. Embassy Burning in Libya
        1983 United States Beirut, Lebanon 1983 United States Embassy bombing
        1983 United States Kuwait City, Kuwait 1983 Kuwait bombings
        1986 United States Jakarta, Indonesia (See: Japanese Red Army)
        1987 United States Rome, Italy (See: Japanese Red Army)
        1990 United States Tel Aviv, Israel Failed 1990 US Embassy attack in Tel Aviv[7]
        1998 United States Nairobi, Kenya 1998 United States embassy bombings
        1998 United States Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 1998 United States embassy bombings
        1999 United States Beijing, People’s Republic of China
        2002 United States Karachi, Pakistan 2002 US consulate bombing in Karachi
        2004 United States Tashkent, Uzbekistan Tashkent embassy bombings
        2004 United States Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Jeddah consulate attack
        2006 United States Damascus, Syria Damascus terrorist attacks
        2007 United States Athens, Greece Embassy of the United States in Athens
        2007 United States Vienna, Austria [citation needed]
        2008 United States Belgrade, Serbia 2008 Serbia protests
        2008 United States Istanbul, Turkey 2008 United States consulate in Istanbul attack
        2008 United States San‘a’, Yemen 2008 American Embassy attack in Yemen
        2011 United States Damascus, Syria 2011 Syrian uprising[10]
        2011 United States Kabul, Afghanistan 2011 Kabul Attacks[11]
        2011 United States Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina [12]
        2012 United States Cairo, Egypt 2012 attack on the American Embassy in Egypt[14]
        2012 United States Benghazi, Libya U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi[15]
        2012 United States Sanaa, Yemen 2012 attack on the American Embassy in Yemen[16]

        attacks are fairly common and attacks on CIA enclaves also happen and not even reported.

        do you think that every single one of these places has on-call rescue?

        Notice how many of the above occurred while Bush was POTUS.

        where was the outrage then?

        this is one right-wing-invented issue and little more.

        the rest of the country knows that we suffer these kinds of attacks – worldwide – not infrequently and when they do happen – it’s often chaotic and hard to know exactly what happened, when, who, etc until later.

        the only people spun up here are the wing nuts who have no problem using double standards with different POTUS if it serves their desired narratives.

        Watching FAUX NOISE cover this issue is comical – especially Hannity – what a fool that boy is!

      • @wtm – “An F-15 could have made Benghazi in less than an hour.” And done … what, exactly? Bombed and strafed everyone in the general area, neutral, friend and foe alike? An F-15 is not generally known as a close-combat weapon.

        Dropping US troops into a foreign country without that country’s permission is not something that’s done casually. But it is not correct that no attempt was made to provide assistance. The attack on the consulate started at 9:30 PM. A group of eight Marines arrived from Tripoli at 2AM, but local Libyan officials obstructed:

        http://world.time.com/2012/10/21/the-other-911-libyan-guards-recount-what-happened-in-benghazi/

        Ignoring the political/diplomatic difficulties, in theory a Special Ops team could have arrived from Italy by 12:30AM (and that seems to be a best-case scenario involving lightning communications, decision-making, and scramble for takeoff). Unfortunately, by 12:30AM the ambassador had already been fatally injured, pulled out and taken to a hospital where he was admitted at 1AM. He was pronounced dead at 1:45AM. The Special Ops team still would have been too late to save him.

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444620104578008922056244096.html#

        According to the above, the annex, where Doherty and Woods died, did not come under attack until 2AM. It is within the realm of possibility that aid sent immediately upon notice of the consulate attack would have arrived on the ground in time to save them. However, this building was actually a secret CIA facility (made un-secret by the Republican Congressional rush to make political hay from this tragedy). It’s not at all clear to me that aid sent to the embassy in response to requests sent through State Department channels would have been briefed about the annex and therefore have gone there to help protect it before the shooting started there.

  5. WHAT OBAMA KNEW AND WHEN HE KNEW IT:

    (Reuters) – Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

    The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

    The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

    THE COVER-UP IS ALWAYS WORSE THAN THE CRIME:

    NATIONAL: 51-45, OHIO…48-48.

  6. Facts:
    the al qaeda flag has flown over four US embassies attacked since Sept 11th of this year – Libya, Tunisia, Egypt & Yemen; thanks to the incompetence of the Obama State Dept four US citizens are dead including our ambassador. Osama bin Laden laughs at Barack Hussein Obama from the grave and al qaeda with its affiliates is on the rise. Obama’s claim of dispatching al qaeda by way of bin Laden’s death is akin to Bush’s “mission accomplished” banner. While the latter was only a premature declaration, the former is a politically calculated lie that is part of his re-election campaign. Worst of all, these deaths in Libya could have been prevented.

  7. Obama administration officials watched the attack in real time and then lamely blamed it on a video for weeks. That’s how this is different from previous incidents.

    • GOP’s Benghazi Smoking Gun Goes Up in Smoke
      —By Adam Serwer| Thu Oct. 25, 2012 8:12 AM PDT

      Now Danielle, now that your rush to write about a conspiracy to cover up the events on 9/11 2012 in Libya have been proven false and silly do you feel like a first classs clown? Your bias and hatred has presented you before hundreds of thousands of readers as a sloppy reporter who would rather pursue her on agenda before verifying the story. Your skills are freshman at best. Go back to school and learn journalistic integrity. Or get a job cleaning out horse stalls. Your article indicates you are a natural at shoveling manure.

  8. It is unfortunate that this otherwise convincing article is undermined by misstating facts on the attack in Spain. In fact, Spain, being a monarchy, does not have a president. Instead, a government, headed by a prime minister, is formed by a party or a coalition holding the majority in the parliament.. The attack in Spain occurred 3 days before the general election. Prime minister Aznar, a conservative, was expected to resign as a leader of his party after the election, and his deputy, Rajoy (who is prime minister now), was heading the party’s list in the election and was widely expected to win. Aznar’s government initially blamed the attack on Basque separatists, but it transpired soon afterwards that Islamic terrorists were the perpetrators. The opposition did accuse the government of lying to the public and exploit the event to win the election. However, the real reason for the dramatic public swing toward the opposition was Spain’s perceived strong alliance with the United States as the reason for the attack. In other words, rather than blame the terrorists, the Spaniards blamed the government. I am not sure this is a good example for the American public to follow.

    But the present situation is quite different. The Obama administration knowingly kept lying to the public for weeks. It has lost every last shred of credibility. I don’t know how one can seriously contemplate re-electing such people.

    • ” The Obama administration knowingly kept lying to the public for weeks. It has lost every last shred of credibility.”

      nope. the lying was the right wing… trying to confirm their biases…

      the right wing these days is a bunch of idiots and we have a bunch of others who are gullible enough to buy the tripe.

    • @AK – re: ” One is that you cannot lie. Two is that if caught in a lie, you should ‘fess up. And three is that if you lie to cover up your original lie, that’s called malice aforethought

      are you INCLUDING Reagan and Bush in this?

    • “But the present situation is quite different. The Obama administration knowingly kept lying to the public for weeks. It has lost every last shred of credibility”

      Nobody “lied” about anythimg, but you suckle this rubbish like mother’s milk. What possible motivation would you think the administration would have for not telling the truth? What would be gained from it, and when does anyone NOT find out? We got the truth about Iraq, a entire war fought for no reason, and you think THIS was a set up?

      Is anyone THAT stupid?

      • ” Is anyone THAT stupid?”

        yup. apparently someone was giving away stupid pills and a crap load of these guys got some. “free” seems to attract a certain element…even if it’s free horse shit.

        :-)

    • AK – Wikipedia even says that the official title of the prime minister is “President of the government” is the head of the government. Don’t fret.

  9. With all the attempts to compare current circumstances to past history, no one mentioned the big Lyndon Johnson lie that got us involved in Vietnam Nam. Anyway, today is today and these are the relevant events we should concentrate on, the rest are ignoratio elenchi. Obama tried to perpetuate the myth that Al quieda is finished because of his actions and the myth that democracy is alive in the Middle East, so he failed to act, then lied to cover it up. Panetta’s excuse is pathetic. “When the situation is unclear, you march to the sound of guns”. That’s a military adage all competent military men concur with.

    • re: “the end of Al Qaeda”

      Actually, Obama has made it clear that they are asymmetric and mobile – going from state to state and that boots on the ground no longer work in the 21st century.

      this is why he is using intel networks and drones to track down Al Qaeda no matter what locale they choose to try to hide.

      but then again, the critics here are not really interested in getting rid of Al Qaeda near as much as they are interested in attributing blame – as if any POTUS prior to Obama did any better at rebutting terrorism – either.

      Bush had no less than a dozen attacks on Embassies and Consulates with many lives lost and the Obama critics here completely ignore similar incidents – not only under Bush, but Clinton and Reagan and Bush I.

      The right wing just simply wants to be in charge – and they really don’t care how they get there.. in terms of lies and propaganda necessary to achieve that goal.

      I give them credit for one thing – they are totally consistent in their goal.

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