If the Obama administration had its way, nobody would ask any questions about the death of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11th until after the election. But the American people deserve to know what President Obama knew about the security disaster in Libya, and when he knew it, before they decide whether or not to give him four more years in office. To that end, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing today on the Benghazi mission attacks. And they are already getting answers.
Last night, the State Department hosted a hastily arranged conference call with reporters that The New York Times reports was arranged to get the Administration’s story out before today’s hearing. During the call, two senior State Department officials gave the most detailed account to date about what happened that night in LIbya. The Obama administration is now admitting there was never any protest at the Benghazi mission. “The ambassador walked guests out at 8:30 or so; there was nobody on the street. Then at 9:40 they saw on the security cameras that there were armed men invading the compound,” a senior State Department official said on the call. “Everything is calm at 8:30 pm, there is nothing unusual. There had been nothing unusual during the day outside.”
This directly contradicts the account United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice gave on all the Sunday shows after the attack. “What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video,” Rice told Meet the Press on September 16th. And on ABC’s This Week that same day, Rice said, “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. … In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.”
In addition to testimony from three State Department officials involved with security procedure at U.S. diplomatic facilities, the Oversight committee will also hear testimony from Lt. Colonel Andrew Wood of the Utah National Guard. Wood earlier told ABC News that murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens wanted a team of 16 Special Forces soldiers to stay with him in Libya past the scheduled end of their deployment date in August, but that the request was turned down by the State Department. And ABC News reported last night that the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, Eric Nordstrom, told congressional investigators that security at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was “inappropriately low” – and that State Department officials stood in the way of his attempts to change that.
The Obama administration’s botched security in Libya, and deceitful post-incident cover-up, could not come at a worse time for Obama’s reelection campaign. Obama’s main post-debate attack against Mitt Romney has been to call him a liar. Now it turns out that it is Obama who has been lying. This will come up in the next debate.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Companies cut hours and jobs to dodge Obamacare
Michael Barone: A lawyer by training, Obama ignores rules of law
Phil Klein: Closer we get to election, ‘likely voter’ polls become more important
Steve Contorno: Allen vows to preserve Social Security, Medicare
Sean Higgins: Too Big Bird to fail
Obama: Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One that the campaign’s new Big Bird ad was a response to “a strong grassroots outcry over the attacks on Big Bird.” “This is something that mothers across the country are alarmed about, and you know, we’re tapping into that,” Psaki said. Sesame Street has asked the Obama campaign to take down the ad and Psaki said they are “reviewing” the request.
Romney: Mitt Romney told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board on Tuesday that he does not intend to pursue legislation to restrict abortion if elected president. Later his press secretary Andrea Saul added, “Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”
In Other News
Consumer Reports, Financial troubles grow for middle-income Americans: Financial woes are deepening for middle- and upper-income households, according to this month’s Consumer Reports Index, an overall measure of Americans’ personal financial health.
The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Sues Wells Fargo for Faulty Mortgages: The government sued Wells Fargo, accusing the biggest U.S. mortgage lender of “reckless” lending and leaving a federal insurance program to pick up the tab.
The New York Times, U.S. Military Is Sent to Jordan to Help With Crisis in Syria: The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons.
The Washington Post, Benghazi attack may cloud Clinton’s legacy: The fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya last month has become a test of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s leadership and a threat to her much-admired legacy as America’s top diplomat just a few months before she plans to step down.
Power Line‘s John Hinderakser catcher Paul Krugman lying with charts.
In The Wall Street Journal, Jack Welch explains why, “I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report.”
At The Corner, Katrina Trinko notes that Sesame Street is the 1 percent.
Firedoglake‘s David Dayen notes that Obama’s Big Bird ad couldn’t name one Wall Street criminal prosecuted by his administration.
Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg tells Greg Sargent that Obama must pander to unmarried women in the next presidential debate.
Talking Points Memo asks, “Should Obama Supporters Start Freaking Out?”