What did President Barack Obama know and when did he know it? Why has the Obama administration kept changing its story about how Ambassador Chris Stevens, security officials Tyrone Woods of Imperial Beach and Glen Doherty of Encinitas, and information officer Sean Smith, who grew up in San Diego, died on Sept. 11 in Benghazi, Libya? Why won’t the mainstream media treat the incontrovertible evidence of the White House’s dishonesty and incompetence like the ugly scandal it obviously is?
These are all questions that demand to be answered after revelations that demolished the tidy narrative the president has been offering about Benghazi.
Until last week, the White House had taken a moderate hit over the fact that for two weeks after it happened, officials had fostered the impression that the four Americans were killed Sept. 11 in a spontaneous protest triggered by a blasphemous anti-Islam video posted on YouTube – not by a coordinated terrorist attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. But administration officials pushed back by saying the “fog of war” had left them uncertain about events, and that when White House press secretary Jay Carney and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice had cited the video, they were only repeating the best available information they had. The president’s repeated comments conveyed the impression that he wasn’t aware of the attacks as they were unfolding, saying only that the next day, he ordered increased security for embassies in the area.
But after a torrent of leaks of official emails and communiqués – likely coming from CIA officials who refuse to participate in a cover-up and/or who won’t accept the role of scapegoat – the “fog of war” narrative looks like damage control: a determined attempt to keep the facts from the public until after the Nov. 6 election. After the leaks, the president suddenly changed his story to say he was aware of the attacks as they unfolded and had quickly issued an order to “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.”
There was no “fog.” There was no spontaneous uprising. Thanks to a drone and other surveillance technology, the White House’s national security team knew in real time that the U.S. consulate and a “safe house” a mile away in Benghazi were under coordinated attack by a well-armed group, not from a protest that unexpectedly escalated. Over a seven-hour span on Sept. 11, the besieged Americans made at least two urgent requests for help; the U.S. military has considerable assets in the area that could have been deployed to Benghazi.
Who told the besieged Americans they were out of luck?
After hints appeared in the media that it was the CIA’s fault, the spy agency – obviously at the behest of CIA Director David Petraeus – put out a statement Friday that flatly denied it opposed coming to the rescue of Stevens, Young, Doherty and Smith. At roughly the same time, in a TV interview, the president offered his new narrative of being aware of the crisis and taking decisive action, while refusing to answer the direct question of whether Americans in Benghazi requested help but were rejected. A day later, however, the White House said in fact that it had never received requests for help. This sets up the Pentagon to take the fall.
On Monday, incredibly, Obama acted put-upon by the questions about his administration’s integrity. In a TV appearance, he said, “I do take offense with some suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.” Remember, the president made this statement only after leaks the previous week demolished his and his administration’s dishonest, intentionally misleading Benghazi narrative.
It has now been seven weeks since the terrorist attack. We deserve to know the truth. Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL from Imperial Beach, said it best in a Monday TV interview.
“I can’t imagine anyone with any heart that would watch a battle rage for seven hours knowing that heroes were there that were going to be slaughtered if you didn’t have help sent in. ... Whoever it was that was in that room watching that video of my son dying, their cries for help, their order ‘don’t help them at all, let them die’ ... you have the blood of my son, you have the blood of an American hero on your hands. I don’t know who you are, but one of these days the truth will come out.”
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