October 29, 2013
The Obama White House said last July that it considers the controversy over the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack to be one of the “phony scandals” that President Obama had accused his adversaries of exploiting to distract the American people from more important issues. But there is nothing phony or distracting about insisting on the unvarnished truth regarding the death of four American public servants at the hands of al Qaeda on the anniversary of 9/11.
“We’re here to kill Americans,” were the chilling words the al Qaeda jihadists used as they undertook their attack that claimed the lives of the four brave Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens. The victims’ families deserve to know the truth. The American people deserve the truth. More than a year later, however, the Obama administration has continued its stonewalling, preferring instead to cast stones at those who insist on accountability for what happened.
By now, Obama and his apologists have probably convinced themselves that they had successfully buried the Benghazi scandal for good. Indeed, much of the mainstream press has been complicit in Obama’s wall of silence, leaving Fox News and some persistent Republican congressmen and senators to try to unravel the web of lies while facing charges of bias and partisanship.
To this day, nobody has been held accountable for the failure beforehand to provide adequate security for Americans in Benghazi, for the stand-down order issued in the midst of the fighting that prevented a possible rescue, or for the cover-up that tried to falsely characterize the pre-meditated jihadist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and CIA facility known as the Annex as some sort of spontaneous mob reaction to an anti-Islam video. But the truth has a way of emerging sooner or later. Finally, the wall of silence, fortified by a pliant mainstream media, is beginning to crack.
CBS News put Benghazi back on the front burner with a scathing report on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. The “60 Minutes” twitter that supplemented the TV report concluded: “Contrary to early WH statements, Benghazi was a planned, sophisticated attack by Al Qaeda against the barely protected American compound.”
That’s a 180 degree turn from last year when CBS News helped the Obama administration deep six during the presidential campaign a clip of an interview for “60 Minutes” with President Obama on Sept. 12, 2012, one day after the Benghazi attack. In the originally unaired clip, Obama suggested that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was premeditated, rather than a spontaneous reaction to an obnoxious video that became the administration’s talking point.
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, no shrinking violet as she proved during a personal assault she suffered at the hands of Islamists while reporting from Cairo, delivered the no-holds-barred account of the Benghazi saga. She better have a tough skin. Her CBS colleague Sharyl Attkisson, who had been looking into Benghazi as well as the Fast and Furious scandal, discovered that her computer was hacked by an unauthorized party on multiple occasions.
Lara Logan interviewed several individuals with first-hand knowledge of the mounting security concerns during the months preceding the attacks. Their concerns were conveyed to Washington and ignored. She interviewed “Morgan Jones” (pseudonym), a former British soldier involved with training the unarmed Libyan security force who manned the Benghazi compound’s gates. While performing his duties, he noticed that the separate armed militia hired by the State Department to defend the compound in the event of an attack were not up to the job. “I was saying, ‘These guys are no good. You need to– you need to get ‘em out of here,’” he told Ms. Logan. The warnings went unheeded.
Ambassador Stevens’ deputy based in Tripoli, Greg Hicks – a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Service who testified earlier this year before Congress – told Ms. Logan that, after already having been rebuffed twice in his request for additional security assets, he “was in the process of trying to frame a third request but it was not allowed to go forward.”
There were also clear warning signs that senior Obama administration officials chose to ignore. Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, who was one of the top American security officials in Libya where he remained until three months before the attack, was quoted by Lara Logan as saying: “We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country.” It was not until more than a year after the attacks that this al Qaeda leader was arrested by U.S. forces in Libya and then transported to New York City where he will face a trial in federal court on prior charges relating to his alleged role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.
The failure of the Obama administration to heed multiple warnings to more effectively secure the Benghazi facilities in time and capture or eliminate Bu Anas al-Libi before he could carry out his al Qaeda mission was inexcusable in itself. But the failure to use all possible resources to attempt a rescue of Americans while they were actually under attack was a case of wilful abandonment.
Here is a chilling exchange between Lara Logan and Greg Hicks:
Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says–
Greg Hicks: Effectively, they’re not. And I– for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn’t believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, ‘Listen, you’ve gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming.’
Lara Logan: That’s a tough thing to understand. Why?
Greg Hicks: It just is. We–, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they’re coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it’s not, it’s a terrible, terrible experience.
Who gave the stand-down order? Where was the commander-in-chief during the seven hours of the attacks? These are among the many lingering questions that the Obama administration refuses to answer. It is still stonewalling, but the stones are beginning to crumble.
As for CBS, Lara Logan’s report was a refreshing example of honest journalism in today’s mainstream media. But it may be an anomaly. A day after the “60 Minutes” report aired, CBS News announced that former Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley is joining the network as a contributor. The revolving door between the Obama administration and mainstream media continues.