The Obama Administration has now acknowledged the glaringly obvious: that the four Americans who died in the September 11 attack in Libya “were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.”
This statement came from no less an authority than Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, in response to a question at an open Senate hearing Wednesday. Finally, someone is making sense. Reversing itself 180 degrees, the White House today scrambled to back Olsen up.
“It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with President Obama. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials.” Really? As recently as this morning, the White House was singing a different tune.
For the past week, the strictly coordinated and downright misleading responses from the rest of the Obama Administration’s team of spokesmen have rejected the idea that terrorism is afoot. From President Obama himself, speaking to that hard-nosed interviewer David Letterman, to Carney to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, the ridiculous line has been peddled that the attacks on American embassies and interests throughout the Muslim world were provoked exclusively by an offensive 14-minute anti-Islam YouTube video.
However, no one emerges from this public information debacle with more egg on her face than U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was sent out to appear on the Sunday talk shows to repeat the Obama Administration’s official line on the attacks. Exactly why the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations should have been chosen for this fool’s errand is not clear. Rice would not have been in a direct line of command within State, nor does she hail from any of the U.S. intelligence agencies. In any event, her appearances were cringe-inducing:
Our current best assessment based on the information that we have at the present, is that, in fact, what began as, it was a spontaneous—not a premeditated—response to what happened in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent. And those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya, and that then spun out of control.
Rice kept repeating this improbable scenario. In doing so, she contradicted not only common sense but also Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, who had stated that the attack was “planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered this country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.” Fox News is now reporting that one of the al-Qaeda leaders involved in the attack had been released from Guantanamo Bay by the Obama Administration itself.
Which leads us to the question of why the Administration has so stubbornly continued to cling to the narrative that this spreading wildfire of anti-Americanism is only about offense taken to an amateurish, fourth-rate anti-Islam movie trailer? “It would be consistent with the Obama Administration’s line that the war on terror is essentially over,” noted former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, speaking on “Fox and Friends” Thursday.
As U.S. troops are packing up their gear in Afghanistan, looking forward to the flight home, al-Qaeda has proven that terrorism is alive and well.