One year ago today, an organized mob of terrorists attacked a US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The Ambassador had previously asked for increased security, and it was denied. The attack lasted for about six hours. The Ambassador and Sean Smith were killed in the "safe room" soon after the attack began; security operatives Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed on the rooftop of one of the buildings in the compound by enemy mortar fire several hours later, near the end of the attack.
Almost immediately, the Obama Administration's official position was that the attack grew out of a demonstration against the existence of an internet-based video that appeared to demean the prophet Mohammed. The maker of the video was arrested and jailed in Los Angeles, ostensibly for a parole violation. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton pointedly promised to bring the actual killers to justice. Some days or weeks later the Administration announced that the video was not to blame, but that a terrorist attack was. More than thirty other American State Department employees and American operatives were present during the attack, and they escaped with injuries of varying severity. The video maker was recently released from jail.
These are almost the only aspects of the incident that everyone agrees on, even though there have been several Congressional hearings attempting to learn more about what happened, and an Accountability Review Board investigation was commissioned by the Administration to look into the matter as well.
Doesn't the fact that all these investigations can't fill in the rest of the picture tell us that something is very wrong?
The unanswered questions boil down to these:
- Who refused to provide more security when the Ambassador insisted it was needed. Why was his request denied?
- Who carried out the attack? What was the reason behind it?
- Who was tracking the incident in the White House?
- Who was making decisions and giving orders throughout the night, and who was carrying them out?
- Why was there no significant attempt to make any kind of response to the attack when it began?
- Where was the President during the attack? What was he doing?
- Why did he not think an attack on a diplomatic post required some of his personal attention?
- Who decided to blame the attack on the video, when the evidence is that everybody involved knew that wasn't the case? And why?
- Who ordered that the survivors be kept away from the Congressional investigators, even keeping their names secret, and why?
These questions have all been asked by various people in various venues, some of them many times, but none of them have been answered credibly by those who know the answers.
And three questions unasked by the traditional media:
- Why was the Ambassador put in that position in the first place?
- How can anyone look at this list of unanswered questions and not conclude that the Obama Administration is executing a cover-up of something by stonewall?
- What is being covered up?
The primary question in every case starts with "Who?" Until that's answered, the rest remain speculation. "Who" can tell us "why," and nobody else.
President Obama has called this a "phony scandal." His surrogates appear on television regularly to repeat that claim, and if they want to engage at all on the subject, they fall back to the law-enforcement approach--"We are working every day to identify who the killers are and to bring them to justice," as if that were the only fact and action yet to be known and taken, as if the only reason to ask questions is to "make sure it never happens again." But in the greater scheme of things, the much more important questions all have to do with actions in Washington, not in Libya. And because of that, the next favorite statement from those surrogates is "Republicans are just on a witch hunt to get dirt on the President."
But wasn't that exactly the motivation behind the 1973 Watergate hearings? Certainly they weren't held just to make sure another hotel room break-in would never happen. Even if placing blame is the motive this time, the best response is to show the dirt is not to be found at the President's door.
The President has told us that he wants to get to the bottom of things, but today we still have most of the same questions we had a year ago. And supporting the suspicion of a stonewall cover-up is the fact that almost all of those questions could be answered easily with three short sentences from the President to his immediate subordinates--"Answer the committee's questions and tell the truth. If you don't know the answers, find them. If you can't do that, please find another line of work."
I wonder why he hasn't spoken them.