I’m astonished that Obama and his cabinet are getting away with simply shutting the media down when questions are asked about the attack and what really happened in Libya. J. Christopher Stevens actually arrived in Benghazi back in April, while the Libyan civil war was still going, and his arrival was supposed to be classified. When they entered by cargo ship, though, it became widely known that Americans were in town and there was little warmth from the locals. Internet messages stated that jihadists were “preparing a message” for America – several incidents, including an IED being lobbed over the compound wall, a gate being blown open and Stevens’ car being fired at with an RPG. Three separate requests were made to bolster security with more than just Libyan militiamen, but every single request was denied. (Click here for the letter from Rep. Darrell Issa detailing the leadup to the attack.)
Here’s the timeline of what’s gone on so far:
September 11 – very late at night, the US embassy in Cairo releases a statement about an attack on our embassy in Benghazi – rather than condemning the attack, embassy officials in Cairo attack US citizens who reportedly made a video offensive to Muslims. Similar remarks are posted on Twitter. Later, Mitt Romney blasts the Obama administration for failing to stand up to terrorists. Administration officials flay Romney, claiming that he was using the situation inappropriately. Cairo embassy staff suddenly start deleting their statements and Tweets.
September 12 – News of the attack is in full swing early in the morning. The very first reports say that Amb. Stevens was killed in the attack along with State Dept. IM officer Sean Smith and former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. President Obama makes a few short remarks from the WH Rose Garden – he then leaves for a fundraiser in Las Vegas.
September 13 – President Obama says little, but Jay Carney specifically says that the attack was in response to a video called “Innocence of Muslims”. A hearing is held before the Senate Armed Services Committee and John McCain tells reporters that he isn’t satisfied with what he’s heard and believes the attack was well-planned.
September 14 – Jay Carney claims that the administration had no “actionable” intelligence that an attack may be carried out.
September 16 – while the Libyan president openly says that the attack was premeditated and they had even arrested some of those involved in the attack and discovered they were linked with Al Qaeda, UN ambassador Susan Rice contradicts the statements by saying that there was no planning, the attack was part of a protest and it was all about the video.
September 18 – President Obama couldn’t miss his appearance on the David Letterman Show. He repeats the now-familiar narrative that the attack was the work of an angry mob bent out of shape over the video (if you DO watch the Letterman interview, keep a barf bag handy).
September 20 – While CBS cites witness reports that there was no protest in the area of the embassy when the attack began, President Obama continues to parrot the ongoing story about the video causing anger in the Mideast and sparking violent protests.
September 21 – Hillary Clinton is the first government official to say publicly that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Mass protests begin in Benghazi in support of dismantling the militias.
September 25 – President Obama speaks before the UN General Assembly and continues to refuse to label Benghazi a terrorist attack. He says they’re still investigating and dodges questions.
September 27 – Leon Panetta also finally admits that terrorists planned the attack.
September 28 – with little fanfare, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence admits to blaming the attack on protests over the video. They excuse themselves by saying that they warned both Congress and the press that their investigation was ongoing and information was “preliminary”.
October 3 – nearly one full month after the attack, the FBI is finally allowed to enter the compound in Benghazi to investigate. For those who don’t study forensics, a month is an eternity – and the destroyed compound had been completely unsecured the entire time. FBI agents left in under 24 hours.
October 9 – officials from the State Department admit that there was no protest in the area when the attack was launched and they lay the blame on the intelligence community, claiming that they never believed the video was the source of any protests or the attack itself. Incredibly, they also claim that they never concluded that the attack was the product of a protest over the infamous video.
October 10 – Lt. Col. Andy Wood confirms at a Congressional hearing that his repeated requests to bolster security in Benghazi were denied by his superiors.
October 11 – during the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden claims that they never received any requests for additional security at the embassy.
October 15 – Hillary Clinton accepts responsibility for the attack and the security failures but makes no motion to resign. President Obama makes no move to ask her to resign. Questions about whether she will are deflected.
October 16 – during the debate, President Obama snidely claims that he stated the attack was terrorism, the moderator defends him and the next day the press slinks away from apologizing for challenging Romney’s correct assertion that it took a full two weeks for anyone in the administration to call the attack an actual act of terror.
October 19 – the Associated Press (astoundingly) reports that the CIA chief in Libya reported in the first 24 hours after the attack that there was no protest and Muslim militants were invovled.
October 24 – Reuters releases emails that prove Obama administration officials knew immediately after the attack began that it was an act of terror. Later that day, Governor Palin releases her post titled “Obama’s Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies”. The press takes advantage of the wording to take the focus off of the President. Jay Carney was not available for comment.
October 25 – the 60 Minutes special with the Obama interview is finally aired. In it, President Obama admits that the terrorists were planning the attack for some time. Leon Panetta claims that they didn’t have enough information at first to send help. Ed Klein reports that Hillary Clinton asked for more security for Benghazi – but Obama himself said no. News reported that administration officials were able to see the attack via a drone as it happened.
October 26 – news reports reveal that SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty disobeyed orders to stand down and their final act allowed 30 people to be evacuated. Both called repeatedly for military help and every call was denied. Leon Panetta again claims that they didn’t know what was really going on and that it happened too fast for them to react (seven hours of fighting and multiple requests from SEALs on the ground, and you didn’t have enough time and information?). It is also reported that Joe Biden, during the ceremony when the remains of the four Americans were returned to their homeland, approached Tyrone Woods’ father and very loudly asked, “did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?”
Little by little, we’re getting a clearer picture of what was really going on and the more we find out the less we’re going to like the truth. I guess this wasn’t one of those “gutsy calls” that Obama was willing to make.
We have Hillary Clinton outrageously claiming that they were confused by the "fog of war" (the same one that she has never experienced in her entire life, nor has any member of Obama’s cabinet). We have repeated lies about what happened, who knew what was going on, and when they knew it. Most recently, I’ve been chilled to see that Hillary Clinton promised Tyrone Woods’ father during the memorial that they would "arrest and prosecute" whoever made that video we’ve all heard about. And we have the press trying to tell us that the incredible turn of events is "uninteresting" (Rachel Maddow gave us that humdinger). How angry do we need to be before something is done to hold their feet to the fire?
UPDATE: h/t to reader John_Frank, who pointed out something that I missed. While I was trying to find a cached copy of the Cairo embassy’s internet statement the day of the attack, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said publicly that during testimony before one of the Homeland Security Subcommittees that General Carter Ham, commander of AFRICOM, admitted there were US forces capable of responding within an hour once the attack began – but that no order to deploy those troops was ever given. This is in direct contradiction to Leon Panetta’s claim that he had decided – along with General Martin Dempsey and General Ham – not to deploy troops to Benghazi. Shortly after his testimony, General Ham was abruptly replaced.