It’s pretty simple, really. The American people have a right to know what really happened in Benghazi, and as new questions keep arising, the appearance of a cover-up on the part of the Obama Administration keeps getting more difficult to deny.
- On 9/11 of 2012, an armed attack on the American embassy in Libya left four dead, including the Ambassador. After the attack, the only official U.S. comment was on the website of the Cairo embassy, which had experienced a violent protest, disavowing an anti-Islam film trailer that had been posted on YouTube, essentially suggesting that the violence had been provoked by offensive American speech.
- Many days afterward, that remained the official position of the Obama Administration, to such an extent that ten days after the raid the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. visited all the Sunday talk shows to describe the attack as spontaneous, not planned terrorist actions, and sparked by indignation over the video. President Obama went before the U.N., and again disavowed and blamed the video.
- Subsequently, the U.S. intelligence community revealed that it had strongly suspected that the attack was a planned, terrorist operation, and had so informed Washington within 24 hours of the attack.
- Then it was revealed that the embassy had requested extra security in advance of the 9/11 anniversary. Someone denied the security, but nobody will reveal who. As criticism mounted, Secretary Clinton accepted “responsibility” for the security decision, but pointedly did not say that the decision was hers.
- The latest issue involves the decision not to send a rescue team to the embassy once it was known that it was under attack and American were at risk.
The critics have been arguing that either the Obama administration made a series of bad calculations and incompetent decisions, or has been lying about what happened, or both. I am willing to keep an open mind regarding that: maybe the situation was unavoidable, and everyone is telling the truth. Still, I want to know what happened, and I want an answer to some basic questions, some of which are:
- When did the President know it was a terrorist attack?
- Why were key administration officials, Jay Carney and the President himself blaming the American deaths on the video after he knew, if that was the case?
- Who was responsible for denying the security request?
- Why was it denied?
- Once the embassy was under attack, why weren’t rescue forces sent in to help, since they were available?
It is certainly bad luck for an series of incidents like this to occur so close to an election, and a potential diplomatic and military fiasco, or worse, a cover-up, to influence an extremely close and hard fought contest. That is no excuse, however, for the matter not to be fully and candidly investigated rapidly and thoroughly without dishonest and diversionary strategies designed with the election in mind rather than the duty to the public and the nation. The President, who has not held a press conference since June, should hold one immediately on the Benghazi attack and its aftermath. He is, instead, refusing to answer questions, sending out good soldiers Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to deflect and stall. They, along with General Petraeus of the CIA, U.N ambassador Susan Rice, the various Democratic and White House flacks, like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Stephanie Cutter, who had the gall to go on the air and claim that the controversy was just politics, Vice President Biden and the President are all on the train wreck now, and there will probably be more passengers to come.
Let us not forget the news media, however. When the disgraceful story of the epically unethical, manipulative, biased and deceptive coverage of the 2012 election is written and analyzed, and it is duly recorded that the Obama administration’s blunders, scandals and fiascoes like Fast and Furious were all but ignored in order to give President Obama as clear a path to re-election as possible ( and while contrived hit jobs on his rivals, like an account of Mitt Romney’s mistreatment of a fellow student when he was in prep school, made it to front pages and broadcast news features), the embargo on reporting on the Benghazi attack will be the centerpiece. It will be, in fact, the smoking gun.
Never before has there been such an obvious partition between the liberal and so-called conservative media, and seldom has there been a more powerful argument for the necessity of having Fox News around when the other networks are refusing to do their jobs. Neither the Washington Post, nor the New York Times, nor CNN, ABC, NBC, nor CBS have followed the developing story with any urgency. The Times actually told its “public editor” that it was downplaying the Benghazi controversy because it was “political.” Clearly, this is the explanation for the rest of the negligent media coverage as well: the major news outlets feel that it “isn’t fair” to highlight a potentially embarrassing series of incidents in a such close election, because doing so might tilt the scales. Fox, which obviously wants Obama to lose, is the only news media source not so motivated. Fox may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason, but it is still the right thing. News organizations should not presume to decide which stories to withhold because of their potential effect on voters. ABC, CBS, the Times and the rest are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Their duty is to the American public, not Barack Obama. Get the story, and let the facts have whatever effect on the election that they have. To do otherwise is blatant news manipulation, and a blot on democracy.
Yet the blot is growing. Today former National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane told FOX News:
“You don’t just passively allow Americans to remain under attack for eight hours at a time when you have forces within range and do nothing. The Secretary of Defense was in the White House at five o’clock within an hour of when the attacks started. He could have told him, “Yes. We have special operations peope and F18 aircraft that could be deployed right away. To have known what he had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party. Outrageous.”
This contradicts Panetta’s statement. Is McFarland right? I don’t know. But I’d like to know what happened, and I think it’s important that Americans know before they vote if he is right or not. But this Sunday, Fox was the only one of the five major news shows to mention Benghazi. Or look at the “Cheat Sheet” currently up on the home page of Tina Brown’s Daily Beast, a major news and culture website that features the most vociferous Obama supporters on the web. The Cheat Sheet supposedly summarizes the top 20 major news developments for its readers. There are seven Hurricane Sandy items. We learn that slimy Jimmy Kimmel won’t let the storm interfere with his slimy late night talk show. Madonna was booed in Texas for plugging Obama. Gary Glitter, whoever he is, was arrested in London–that is #14. They have a rape problem in India. But new and serious questions about why an American ambassador and three other citizens died without adequate security or a rescue attempt is nowhere to be seen.
The news media, not the White House, is driving this ethics train wreck.
I just want to know what happened….and, I suppose, I want to be assured that this country still has a majority of news organizations that are dedicated to investigating and reporting the news rather than manipulating and suppressing it. That would be good to know too.
Special thanks to Jeff Field for his proofreading skills.