Now that Speaker Boehner has finally taken an action that he should have taken two years ago — authorizing a select committee to investigate Benghazi — we might possibly wring from this White House a narrative that comports with facts.
On April 30, when Jay Carney experienced an epic roasting at the hands of ABC News’ Jon Karl, most of us were focused on the utterly ludicrous claim by Carney that the memos unearthed by Judicial Watch were not about Benghazi. On closer examination there was this exchange. From the transcript:
Q Ambassador Rice went one those shows and she said that the attack in Benghazi was rooted in protests over an Internet video. We now know that that was not true; that, in fact, the CIA Director Morell just — former Director Morell just testified last month that “when she talked about the video, my reaction was, that’s not something the analysts have attributed this attack to.” It did not come from the CIA.
You stood there at the podium time after time and said that she was referring to talking points created by the CIA. Now we see a document that comes from the White House, not from the CIA, attributing the protests to the video, and we have the former director of the CIA saying that that was not something that his analysts had attributed it to.
MR. CARNEY: Jon, I would point you to what Mike Morell has said repeatedly in testimony about the creation of the talking points.
Q Well, now we have new talking points, though, that you didn’t release last year.
MR. CARNEY: Let me finish, please. Jon, I answered that question. The fact of the matter is there were protests in the region. The talking points cited protests at that facility. The connection between protests and the video turned out not to be the case, but it was based on the best information that we had, [my italics] and the fact that there were protests —
Wait. Is that the truth? Did the regime actually believe the sacking of our consulate was linked to the infamous and never seen video, Innocence of Muslims? Was there any point where the regime believed there were protests at the Benghazi consulate? Let’s go to the timeline.
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.”)
Let’s not stop there. On May 1, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the military response or lack thereof to the Benghazi attack. The central witness there was retired USAF Brigadier General Richard Lovell. Lovell managed the USAFRICOM operations center during the attack. From his opening statement:
Lovell also confirmed again that the 9/11 Benghazi attack was not a result of a demonstration but instead was a well planned out assault and said the situation of holding back help made the military feel “desperate.”
“The military should have made a response of some sort,” he said.
Further, Lovell said people on the ground that night knew it was an attack from al Qaeda almost immediately.
“We didn’t know how long this would last when we became aware of the distress nor did we completely understand what we had in front of us, be it a kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above,” Lovell said. “But what we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry. To the point of what happened, the facts led to the conclusion of a terrorist attack. The AFRICOM J-2 was focused on attribution. That attacks became attributable very soon after the event.”
When asked by Congressman Jason Chaffetz if the attack was related to the video as the White House has repeatedly argued, Lovell said, “No sir.”
What all of this demonstrates is that at no time did the White House actually believe that he attack in Benghazi was the result of one Arab passion, the violent anti-American protest, deteriorating into two other Arab passions: celebratory gunfire and the slaughter of innocents.
In this case, Carney can’t even fall back on the famed George Costanza defense: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” (h/t to Ace of Ace of Spades HQ for his brilliant takedown of Slate’s John Dickerson shameless knob-polishing of Obama and Carney and from which I borrowed this quote.)
One hopes that when the last words have been spoken on the Benghazi fiasco, that Obama will have the guts to apologize to the American people, but more importantly to the families of the Americans killed in Benghazi, for lying about their deaths to aid his own political prospects.