It’s not often that you find a real “smoking gun” in politics, because most political operatives are very careful about not a leaving paper trail.
But it looks like we have a genuine example with respect to the White House cover-up surrounding the September 11, 2012 attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya by al Qaeda-affiliated forces that resulted in the death of four US personnel.
In an email made public by Judicial Watch, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, lays out a plan for Susan Rice and other Administration spokespeople “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
Coincidentally, Ben Rhodes is the brother of the president of CBS News, David Rhodes.
Of course, Administration officials knew within 15 minutes after the embassy attack started that it was a planned, terrorist-led assault. The most likely reason that they chose not to send security reinforcements (which could have repelled an attack, but would have started a significant firefight with numerous casualties) or rescue our embassy personnel after the attack had already started (which carried a significant risk of complications or failure) was that these actions could have resulted in the exposure of covert arms trading involving al Qaeda-affiliated rebels that had been supervised by the United States.
Earlier during the same day, protesters scaled the walls of the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and attempted to tear down the American flag and replace it with a banner condemning a movie considered blasphemous and insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. A Reuters news report describing the Cairo protest notes, “It was not immediately clear which film angered protesters.” But soon a video that had been uploaded to YouTube was identified as the source of the protests, and the US Embassy issued a statement condemning it.
And there you have it – the perfect cover story for the Benghazi terrorist attack. In a remarkable feat of political spin, the White House and State Department created a completely fictional narrative about a YouTube video whipping the crowd into an uncontrollable frenzy, which resulted in the destruction of our embassy in Benghazi. How convenient. And in a staged spectacle right out of a Soviet-era propaganda film, the Administration had the filmmaker arrested, charged, and sentenced to a year in jail.
The Obama Administration stuck to this fictional account for nearly two weeks, until overwhelming evidence pointed to terrorist involvement. Then they tried to blame the CIA, or they tried to claim that President Obama’s single vague reference to “acts of terror” in a speech in the Rose Garden somehow negated two weeks and dozens of claims by various Administration officials that the Benghazi attack started as a riot over an offensive YouTube video and was not terrorism.
Now we know the truth. As was long suspected, political spin was far more important to Administration officials than either honesty or regard for the lives of American citizens. The accidental divulging of US involvement in arms shipments to al Qaeda-affiliated rebels in Libya (and possibly Syria) would have been political suicide during an election year, as would the acknowledgement that al Qaeda was organized enough to destroy an American embassy. The official Obama campaign propaganda stated quite clearly that Osama bin Laden was dead and al Qaeda was on the run. And that was the story that the Administration chose to stick with.
But as serious as that is, what we really need to know about is the extent of secret American arms dealings in the Middle East. This story has the potential to make Iran-Contra look like a Sunday School picnic. For our government to choose to let four citizens (a loyal State Department official and three security personnel) die rather than risk the exposure of their mission if a rescue attempt failed, tells me that we had gotten up to our eyeballs in a bad situation that we had no business being a part of.
The collapse of the White House’s phony video lie is a good start, but we need to keep digging and find out what the State Department (and the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton) were really up to. We owe ourselves at least that much.