**Posted by Phineas
I didn’t watch the Super Bowl (1), so I not only missed that, but Bill O’Reilly’s pre-game interview with President Obama. Given that we’re talking about two of my least favorite people in public life, I don’t think I missed much skipping this, either.
But then I came across a Washington Examiner article yesterday about the interview, specifically, the portion dealing with the massacre in Benghazi and did a double take. I couldn’t let this pass:
“That is inaccurate,” Obama said of Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly’s suggestion that the administration sought to sweep under the terrorist-nature of the attack in the final months of his 2012 re-election campaign.
“We revealed to the American people what we knew at the time,” said Obama.
In a contentious pre-Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly, Obama said early on during the attack — when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta informed him about the assault — that U.S. officials did not tell him exactly who was involved.
“People understood at the time that something very dangerous was happening,” Obama said. “In the aftermath what became clear was the security was lax — not all the precautions that should have been taken were taken.”
This is a family show, so I can’t use the first words that came to mind, so I’ll just leave it at “Mr. President, you lie like a rug.”
Let take a little walk back in time, shall we, and see just what people knew the night that consulate was attacked:
Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials — headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama — were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.
Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing — in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing — occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief.
According to declassified testimony obtained by Fox News, Ham — who was working out of his Pentagon office on the afternoon of Sept. 11 — said he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its commencement, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, through a call he received from the AFRICOM Command Center.
Emphasis added. As I asked at the time, by what logic can anyone argue that the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff would go to a meeting with the president in the midst of a crisis and not tell him what they just learned?
“Didn’t tell me exactly who was involved?” Hello? Does 9/11/12 give you a hint, sir? Or how about the weeks of threatening behavior and outright attacks on Western targets in Benghazi itself before the assault? You may not have known which exact splinter group of the local al Qaeda franchise did this, but the general affiliation was clear that night.
Oh, but later in the O’Reilly interview Obama says “any attack on a US facility is a terrorist attack.” This is the same misdirection he tried in his public statement the day after the Benghazi incident, when he talked of a generic terrorism, not the specifics of what happened that night.
The fact is that for weeks after the event, based on a hastily concocted series of talking points, the decision was made to blame a crappy video that few ever saw (2) and turn the maker, a two-bit crook whose constitutional rights were shredded, into a scapegoat to deflect blame from the administration’s incompetence.
In short, O’Reilly was right and Barack Obama, again, lied.
And still not a single one from among the attackers has paid any sort of price for killing four Americans.
PS: Yeah, yeah. I know: “Obama lied” is a redundancy.
(1) Thank God. Who kidnapped the Broncos and replaced them with a JV high school team?
(2) Journalist Lee Stranahan makes a persuasive argument that the video played some role and that critics dismiss it at the risk of weakening their own arguments. In my own view, however, the video was more pretext than cause.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)