Why Did the Benghazi Story Change?
by Amy Payne, Heritage Foundation, January 17, 2014
The truth about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, is finally coming out.
An explosive intelligence report made public this week revealed that officials knew it was a terrorist attack that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012—and they knew right away. It also revealed that the lapse in security was preventable, based on intelligence the U.S. already had about the area.
These new answers are unsettling.
“Every step of the way, the White House’s response to Benghazi has been appalling,” said Heritage expert Helle Dale, who has followed the tragedy closely from the beginning.
The most shocking revelation, as Dale described it:
The country’s top military commanders clearly understood the assault on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack from the moment the first reports came in, just 15 minutes after the assault began on September 11, 2012.
This news is shocking because the Obama Administration aggressively pushed the story that the violence was a protest against an anti-Muslim video that had simply gotten out of hand. “As a result, there was no attempted military rescue or response, and false information was peddled to the American people to shift the blame,” Dale explained.
“This testimony indicates beyond any doubt that the narrative of the Benghazi tragedy was changed within the White House. The question remains why and by whom.”
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added insult to grave injury when she was questioned a year ago about the distinction between a protest and a terrorist attack. Her infamous response, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” showed an Administration entangled in the mess of its own making.
The difference Clinton downplayed at that time is crucial, because “the same White House that declared victory in the war against terrorism and pulled U.S. military assets out of Libya also failed miserably to take responsibility for its own miscalculation,” Dale said.
Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) told The Foundry this week that Members of Congress were “misled”—just like the American public. “It’s just outrageous that the Administration thought they could get away with blaming the cause of Benghazi on a false story.”
The American people—beginning with the families of those who were killed—deserve to know why the Administration denied what was apparently known. Our military and intelligence personnel around the world also deserve a full accounting, because they continue to enter dangerous situations every day.
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