Ambassador Chris Stevens died in Libya, on September 11, 2012, in a terrorist attack. That much should have been obvious to everyone from the start. We now learn that not only was it obvious, but the Obama administration—and thus Obama himself—knew perfectly well that he had lost an ambassador in a terrorist attack. He knew it twenty-four hours after the event. And still he and others blamed Stevens’ death on an amateurish video and sent at least one Cabinet member out to say the same.
Terrorist attack timeline
Everyone knows by now that a gang attacked the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. But the first official word was that an angry mob attacked the consulate. The motive: revenge on the United States for letting someone publish a poorly-made video that, they said, insulted Mohammed.
Yesterday The Washington Post published this detailed timeline of everything the Obama administration said about the attack. It starts from the time the first word came of it, and ended yesterday.
The first stand-out item in the timeline is the September 12 statement. It uses the phrase acts of terror. Josh Gerstein at Politicocaught it. This morning he recalled that phrase. From that he reason that Obama knew it was a terrorist attack even then. In the Rose Garden of the White House, Obama used these exact words:
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.
(Glenn Kessler of the Post added the boldface.)
As Gerstein notes, now the Obama administration calls it a terrorist attack. In fact, yesterday in The New York Times, Secretary of State Clinton called it a terrorist attack. She even said that elements of Al Qaeda took part in it.
That’s what she says now. That is not what she was saying two weeks ago. Within two days, the administration changed its story. Now they were blaming the video, both for the attack in Libya and for the twenty-odd riots throughout the Middle East. The kicker came Sunday, September 16. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice made the rounds of the Sunday news talk shows. For instance, on Face the Nation, she said:
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. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent…. We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
No one bought that story. But Obama had worse to come.
Obama throws free speech out the window
The flag of the United Nations. (Public domain as per UN policy.)
Eric Bolling, on the Fox News afternoon talk show The Five, charged that Obama “answers to the Koran first and the Constitution second.” Bob Beckel, the token liberal of the hour, nearly had a heart attack. He tore the skin off Bolling, and someone, maybe the producers, ordered Bolling to apologize before the show was over.
But what does Beckel or anyone else expect Bolling to say? Bolling was right! A week and a day later, Obama would stand before the General Assembly of the United Nations and apologize to the world for respecting the right of free speech.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Excuse us?!? And don’t just take CNAV‘s word that this was such a travesty. Former Ambassador John Bolton called that speech a “great, big, warm, fuzzy blanket.” (Worse yet: today police in Los Angeles arrested the filmmaker. Ostensibly they brought him in after he broke the terms of his probation. But the rap was getting on the Internet sooner than a judge said he could. That scarcely rates arrest. Unless the authorities want to blame him for an “international incident.”
Even so, the “it was the video” narrative broke down over a week ago. The September 17 remarks now use the phrase terrorist attack. And on September 20, CBS News said that witnesses never saw an angry, unruly mob in front of that consulate. This should have surprised no one. No one brings rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other heavy weapons to a riot. Nor coordinates it as well as these attackers did.
But this morning came the most breathtaking report. The usual Messrs. Senior Administration Official and Senior Congressional Official finally told Fox News what everyone long suspected. Obama knew it was a terrorist attack within the first day. And they knew it while Ambassador Rice was telling Face the Nation that the attack was spontaneous.
Why did Obama feel the need to cover up for a terrorist attack? He can gain nothing diplomatically when any diplomat worth his passport knows it was a terrorist attack. He can have only one reason: he must not admit that his policy of playing nice to Arab and Muslim activists has failed completely.
He has a bigger problem. Six years ago he wrote, in The Audacity of Hope,
I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.
He can’t afford to stand with them now. Not when all America knows that those political winds are merely blowing back on Muslims who killed a United States Ambassador, and one most eager to make friends with the people he was an ambassador to. And when the President of Egypt dares tell Americans that they ought not let people be so free with their speech, that doesn’t help.