Yesterday we reported on the revelation that the White House made a conscious decision to blame the sacking of our Benghazi consulate on a silly and sparsely distributed internet video called Innocence of Muslims. In an email distributed by Ben Rhodes, senior policy makers, among them Susan Rice, are told to 1) blame the internet video for the violence, 2) deflect attention from greater policy failures (one presumes he’s talking about everything the Obama regime had touched), and 3) emphasize Obama’s cool and collected leadership.
[It was noted in the post yesterday that Ben Rhodes is the brother of CBS News David Rhodes and this might explain some of the difficulty former CBS reporter Sharly Atkisson had in getting Benghazi stories aired on CBS.]
Now that we know that the White House was actively involved in pushing a blatant lie about the genesis of the Benghazi attack in order to deflect blame it is only fair to ask who came up with the story to begin with.
What we know
A two minute clip of the Innocence of Muslims video was shown on Egyptian television on September 9.
On September 11, an Egyptian mob (actual or astroturf, no one knows because astroturf mobs were the norm in Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood) demonstrated outside, and on, the US Embassy in Cairo.
From a timeline produced by Factcheck.org, we know that there were no demonstrations in Benghazi on September 11, the day of the attack.
2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (8:30 p.m. Benghazi time): U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens steps outside the consulate to say goodbye to a Turkish diplomat. There are no protesters at this time. (“Everything is calm at 8:30,” a State Department official would later say at an Oct. 9 background briefing for reporters. “There’s nothing unusual. There has been nothing unusual during the day at all outside.”)
The attack began at around 4pm, EDT, by 8:30pm our ambassador was dead, at 10pm Hillary Clinton issued this statement:
I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet [my emphasis]. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.
On September 14, Ben Rhodes drafted the talking points for Susan Rice and others.
While Rhodes was helping the lie get its trousers on for its ride around the world, Hillary Clinton was at Dover AFB to witness the return of the coffins of the Americans killed in Benghazi. She had this to say:
This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.
On September 15, the man who produced Innocence of Muslims, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was arrested on parole violations.
Hillary as Ground Zero for the Internet video lie
The State Department was keenly aware of the Innocence of Muslims video, its airing on Egyptian television, and the demonstrations at the US Embassy in Cairo. One presumes Susan Rice might have known about the video, if staff communications between State and its Ambassador the UN, Susan Rice, existed, however, that presumption might be a stretch:
Rice has been consistently silent on other important issues and ineffective when she does engage. She skipped Security Council meetings when Israel needed defending and even failed to show up for the emergency session on the Gaza Flotilla incident.
Rice didn’t even show up for the first two emergency Security Council meetings on the unfolding Arab Spring revolution last year. Rice stayed silent when Iran was elected to the U.N. women’s committee, she didn’t call out Libya when it was elected to the Human Rights Council, she was absent from the Haiti crisis meeting and was a no-show for the last open meeting scheduled before the planned UN vote to recognize Palestinian statehood. When she actually does show up, she is a miserable failure.
We also know that the State Department was aware that there were no demonstrations in Benghazi and all had been calm when the mission there closed for the day.
The attack on Benghazi occurred around 4pm, Washington time. This means that Hillary, Rice, and all of State and the NSC were at their desks receiving reports in near real time. The statement Hillary released was not something cobbled together in the middle of the night. It was drafted with the full complement of staff at their desks and represents a deliberate distortion of the facts known to Hillary at the time she released the statement. At the time, the Obama regime was under a lot of criticism for turning what had been a friendly nation, Egypt, over to our enemies. The sugar high of overthrowing the hapless and frightened Muammar Qaddafi and seeing him replaced by al Qaeda along with Obama’s incomprehensible Syrian strategy was calling into question the competence of the regime. Hillary had to have known how damaging it would be for al Qaeda franchises, enabled by Obama’s policy to carve out training areas in Libya, to be blamed for the attack. Hence the original statement issued shortly after our ambassador was killed.
Sometime after 10:30 pm on September 11, the official policy of the United States became the lie of the internet video. It was repeated when Clinton went to Dover to welcome home the remains of the slain Americans. Now, though, the gravity of the lie seems to have been weighing on Clinton. If you were alive during the Clinton regime, you learned to carefully parse each and every word uttered by both Bill and Hillary. Their parsimony with the truth became encapsulated in the statement “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
Here you will note that while Hillary seems to blame Innocence of Muslims video… but does she?
We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.
In the context of what was being said and the occasion, the listener could not help but understand her as blaming the video for the deaths. In reality, her statement shows she made two disconnected statements, both of which were factually true. There was an attack on Benghazi. There was rage and violence directed against at least one embassy. She doesn’t link them as she did the night of September 11.
From the beginning, Hillary Clinton knew there were no protests in Benghazi. When the consulate was attacked a decision was made, ultimately okayed by Hillary, to blame Innocence of Muslims for the attack. She did this because the regime’s foreign policy in the Arab world was in shambles and the attack in Benghazi was made possible by that foreign policy. She knew that as Secretary of State she couldn’t blame anyone else and this would kill her chances of winning the presidency in 2016. Despite having time to think about it and walk the statement back as something drafted based on incomplete information, she pushed the lie forward. The regime had adopted this lie as its version of events by September 14 and sent it out in talking points.
There is no other conclusion to reach other than Hillary Clinton was the author of the lie about what caused the attack in Benghazi and she must be held accountable for that.