On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was assaulted by dozens of terrorists. U.S. ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. The attack followed an al Qaeda-inspired protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo that same day. And in the days that followed, other U.S. embassies were stormed.
Throughout those challenging days and the weeks that followed, the Obama administration struggled to explain to Americans what had occurred. It took weeks for the administration to disavow the phony storyline it adopted early on. Administration officials maintained that the terrorist attack in Benghazi was the result of a “spontaneous” protest that spun out of control. The protesters supposedly objected to an anti-Islam film titled The Innocence of Muslims.
But there never was any protest in Benghazi. The consulate was simply attacked by terrorists, almost certainly al Qaeda-affiliated groups, on the eleventh anniversary of the most devastating al Qaeda attack in history.
The Obama administration, notably the president himself, was slow to publicly acknowledge al Qaeda’s hand in these events. It is not clear even at this writing if President Obama has yet mentioned “al Qaeda” or affiliated groups in this context. The president has found time to repeat one of his favorite campaign mantras: “Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.” But when it comes to the events in Benghazi, the president has offered an inconsistent and misleading narrative.