Opinion: Morning Examiner

The issue with Benghazi: Who told Hillary Clinton to blame the video?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,Hillary Clinton,Benghazi,State Department,Middle East

It was around 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C., when the Benghazi attack began and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

That might seem like a "so-what" fact, but a strong case can be made that it holds a key to understanding why somebody working for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most likely source of the discredited idea that the attack was the spontaneous result of an anti-Muslim video.

That idea was the Obama administration's official explanation for the Benghazi attack for weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, assault. It was only dropped after its absurdity became undeniable even in the Obama White House.

Video in first official statement

Clinton made the Obama administration's first official comment on the attack six hours after it commenced and while it was continuing.

The statement was headlined "Statement on the attack on Benghazi" and it contained this graph:

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. 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."

Was it Clinton's idea?

RedState diarist "Streiff" suggests this morning that that statement late in the evening of Sept. 11 shows:

"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."

Clinton will have her hands full trying to explain why any reasonable person would be wrong to reach the same conclusion.

Clinton ran with it

But, as Streiff notes, official Washington was on duty when the attack in Libya began. Clinton got reports in real-time as the attack progressed.

Clinton's aides would have been talking with State Department professional staff and U.S. intelligence experts throughout that period, as well as with diplomatic sources elsewhere in the Middle East.

But the 10 p.m. Clinton statement described the assault as an "attack" in "response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

The Dover statement

By the time Stevens' body and those of the other three Americans who died in the attack arrived at Dover AFB on Sept. 14, Clinton was more precise in blaming the video, saying:

"We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with."

Clinton clearly was the first Obama appointee to point to "inflammatory material posted on the Internet" as the cause of the Benghazi attack. But somebody else almost certainly drafted those words for her.

On today's washingtonexaminer.com

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Examiner Watchdog/Mark Flatten: VA officials trashed 1.5 million unfinished medical orders for vets' treatment.

Columnist/David Freddoso: Senate Dems' campaign finance reform plan is to vandalize the First Amendment.

Columnist/Jed Babbin: America needs a workable nuclear deterrent strategy.

Columnist/Cal Thomas: New-found faith among Dems like Hillary Clinton is mostly for show.

Columnist/Michael Barone: Despite a partial pivot in Asia, Obama's foreign policy is still in disarray.

Columnist/Thomas Sowell: Will D.C.'s once-great Dunbar High School rise again as a city-wide selective school?

Beltway Confidential/Sean Higgins: Michigan home caregiver union loses 80 percent of its members in one year.

Beltway Confidential/Philip Klein: It's time for HHS to come clean on Obamacare enrollment data.

Legal Newsline/Kyla Asbury: Ninth Circuit says district court didn't explain $3 million attorneys fees award in MagSafe case.

In other news

The Washington Post: Pentagon intelligence chief forced out.

The New York Times: American poor better off, but further behind.

CBS News: Why haven't many Obamacare enrollees paid their premiums yet?

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: The wife of Jesus tale.

National Review Online: Obama's "blame the video" fraud started in Cairo, not Benghazi.

The American Conservative: Sen. Rand Paul should go on the offense.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: An atheist reads the Bible and finds John Locke.

Lefty Playbook

The American Prospect: What Thomas Piketty leaves out.

The New Republic: Hell is an understatement.

The Nation: Cold War with Russia, without debate.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Iowa GOP chairman in shady real estate deal that ripped off elderly lady.

Blog Right

Gateway Pundit: New Jersey Dem caught in shocking racist rant on "f---ing n---er town."

Jammie Wearing Fools: Illinois' governor faces criminal probe during re-elect campaign.

Powerline: Raise the minimum wage, line Donald Sterling's pockets.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: The GOP Senate candidate leading the party's pivot away from Obamacare.

In These Times: College adjuncts union scores win at Maryland school.

Hip-Hop and Politics: Sterling should be kicked out of real estate world, too.

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