Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878

Benghazi-gate

Leah Kucera | Student Life
On Oct. 23, CBS News released a series of emails issued by the State Department in the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The emails, which indicate that the Obama administration knew that the Benghazi attack was an orchestrated act of terror only hours after the attack, are smoking-gun evidence that President Barack Obama and his administration intentionally misled the American public regarding whether this was a spontaneous protest turned violent or a pre-planned act of terrorism.

The Obama administration maintained for more than a week that the attack was the byproduct of extemporaneous protests condemning an anti-Islamic video that had gone viral on YouTube. On Sept. 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “We don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this was not in reaction to the film.”

This position was highlighted by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Sept. 16 as she appeared on no fewer than five major Sunday morning talk shows to say that the attacks were a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”

Two days later, Carney said, in a briefing, “We saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack; that we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. And that is what we know thus far based on the evidence, concrete evidence.”

It wasn’t until Sept. 28 that the administration reversed its claims. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying, “it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.”

Only two possibilities remain. Either the president and his staff are completely inept, or they intentionally lied to you. What motivation would Obama have to distort facts leading to evidence that the United States is once again the victim of terrorism at the hands of Islamic extremists? The answer may have something to do with what the president was busy doing the week prior to the embassy attack. He and his supporters were at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte dancing the Texas two-step all over the grave of Osama Bin Laden. The proverbial spiking of the Bin Laden football was so conspicuous that even Jon Stewart couldn’t help to mock them on “The Daily Show.”

With Governor Mitt Romney taking direct aim at Obama’s anemic foreign policy, the president can’t afford to be seen as any more lackluster on national security. Swing voters might see a successful terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy, which resulted in the death of a foreign dignitary, as conclusive evidence that the administration isn’t tough enough on terror. Others might see the terrorist attack as an act of war to which the Obama administration has, as of yet, no response.

By repackaging the terrorist attack as “a spontaneously inspired protest,” Obama doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of a terrorist attack being carried out under his nose and on his watch.

The Obama administration will probably continue to spin this story as it unfolds. It will say that the same group that claimed responsibility (as reported in the recently released emails), Ansar al-Sharia, denied responsibility several days later—even though eyewitnesses reported its leaders orchestrating events on the ground. They will emphasize Obama’s vague reference to an “act of terror” in his speech in the Rose Garden on Sept.12 and make Benghazi-gate about semantics. They will say that they are still putting the intelligence together into a coherent picture and that things get lost in, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it, “the fog of war.”

The only fog is that surrounding the minds of voters who stand in unquestioned support of Obama. The president’s stances on most issues may appeal broadly to college-age voters, but his integrity needs to be brought under greater scrutiny. He may be telling you what you want to hear—and you may be drinking up the Kool-Aid like a denizen of Jonestown—but at some point you have to ask yourself if he is telling you the truth.

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  • msreed says:

    “By repackaging the terrorist attack as “a spontaneously inspired protest,” Obama doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility of a terrorist attack being carried out under his nose and on his watch.”

    Great article. The above quote is, in my opinion, an accurate assessment of what the administration is trying to accomplish with their cover-up.

    Though changing the last part from “on his watch” to ‘while he watched’ I believe would make the statement more accurate.

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  • Camille says:

    Aahhhhh..the facts. Hard to find out the facts unless one does research. Most voters won’t do that, and they stick to listening to media outlets who are in the same political party as they are.

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  • T Heinz. says:

    Or, does it matter? What would Romney have done differently? Can we know for sure that the president knew? Is this the most important issue in the election, and how I should decide who I want to lead America for the next four years?

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Student Life | The independent newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878