The investigation — such as it is — into the events leading up to and during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has been pushed off the front pages of the American consciousness by a series of unfortunate events: the storm Sandy, the grievous Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the manufactured crisis of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But Benghazi needs to stay front and center.
A Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs-issued report was released Dec. 30 that has been described by the media as “scathing.” The report, titled “Flashing Red,” blames the U.S. State Department for failing to adequately respond to mounting security threats in the lead-up to the assault. It should put new impetus into the investigation of the attack, which the Administration of President Barack Obama blamed for days on amateurish YouTube video.
The report states: “In the months leading up to the attack on the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi, there was a large amount of evidence gathered by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and from open sources that Benghazi was increasingly dangerous and unstable, and that a significant attack against American personnel there was becoming much more likely. While this intelligence was effectively shared within the Intelligence Community (IC) and with key officials at the Department of State, it did not lead to a commensurate increase in security at Benghazi nor to a decision to close the American mission there, either of which would have been more than justified by the intelligence presented.”
The report also confirmed that the State Department ignored or dismissed requests for additional security and that “Administration officials were inconsistent in stating publicly that the deaths in Benghazi were the result of a terrorist attack.
In other words, Administration officials, including Obama himself, lied.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and, by extension, Obama himself — is complicit in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, former Navy SEALS Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty and information management officer Sean Smith. The attack could have been prevented with adequate security precautions, and help could have arrived — albeit late in the game — from U.S. troops stationed nearby and Naval air assets available from the floating fortresses patrolling the region.
But not only did the State Department ignore or reject requests for added security, there is evidence that U.S. military commanders were ordered to stand down when they offered assistance.
There needs to be a full accounting of what took place on Sept. 11, both in Libya and at the White House; and the facts about what Obama knew and when he knew it must be uncovered. The Benghazi affair and subsequent cover-up are far bigger than Watergate. And if Congress has any integrity at all (and that is quite doubtful), it will hold someone — besides U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice — accountable for the deaths.
Clinton reportedly has been hospitalized over complications from a recent fall that resulted in a concussion. This illness shouldn’t give her a pass on testifying before Congress. However, given her selective memory when testifying in other scandals, a concussion is probably all she needed to once again have her memory erased.