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Benghazi and politics

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As of a new Freedom of Information Act release of information containing White House correspondance we now understand the timelines involved in the event of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, CIA information sharing, and the White House and state department statements.

For some time now conservatives have been curious about any misinformation propogated by the White House to prop up the President's image in the middle of an election. At the same time liberals have seemed satisfied with the explanation of timelines, the White House's evolving pursuit of the truth as it was revealed and what the President would later characterize as a terrorist attack. It ends up, what we hear and think we know is not correct nor is it the end of the story.

The big take home from the release documents and other facts to-date would be the following, in the following order, as the events unfolded (new facts from the released documents highlighted in yellow below):

  • Sept. 11, 2012: The Benghazi attack occures.
  • Sept. 11, 2012: The same day the State Department and the White House (President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) made a statement from the Rose Garden at the White House where Obama claimed that it was an "act of terror" and referenced the protest connection to an anti-muslim filmMrs. Clinton tweeted her opinions about the anti-muslim film.
  • Sept 11, 2012: Hillary Clinton proceeds to privately emails her family members, telling them that an "al-Quaida"-like terrorist group made an organized attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, in contrast with the public statement about an spontaneous protests resulting in violence (Updated on Dec-2015)
  • Sept. 14, 2012: The CIA informed the White House that they had ruled out the scenario blaming an out-of-control anti-muslim film protest. They were following it up as a planned terrorist attack.
  • Sept. 14, 2012: Later that same day, without regard to the CIA update, White House official Ben Rhodes emailed talking points to Ms. Rice to continue to promote the anti-muslim film protest-gone-wrong angle and emphasize the "steady and statesmanlike" response of Obama to international terror evoked by American intollerance (a factually misleading and abandoned scenario ruled out by the CIA). The election was still underway at this time.
  • Sept. 18, 2012: The CIA formally makes announcements of other theories and possible suspects.
  • May 13, 2013: During a news conference Obama claimed that he called the Sept. 11, 2012, event an "act of terrorism" (seemingly changing the focus of his statement from the horror of the outcome to blaming terrorists). Obama is now re-elected at this time.
  • May 14, 2013: In a "Fact Checker" article Glen Kessler of the Washington Post gave Obama "4 pinocchios" for "reinventing" the phrase "act of terror" spoken in the Rose Garden, into a terrorist attack (meaning the phrase "act of terror" is a statement about the terrible outcome versus the source and nature of the attack) in response to his remarks during the May 13 news conference.

The White House, up until now, has contested that their response had not been a politically motivated coverup of national security failings and that they had presented the information they knew at the time they knew it. We now know, that is not true.

Clearly President Obama was blaming a "spontaneous protest" on Sept. 11, 2012, and then reinventing history to claim he called in a planed act of terrorism on May 13. We know Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew there were significant security concerns in Benghazi as early as five months before the attack and yet she decided to place blame on a "spontaneous protest".

This is, in fact, the worst kind of politics-as-usual. The White House and State Department made it a priority to protect the reputation of a presidential candidate during an election in the face of security failings. Sending Ms. Rice to talkshows to continue to promote knowingly misleading information is a culpable act. The end result was a explicit effort to mislead the American people for the last year and eight months.

(Make note: I am not going into how the Benghazi consulate requested additional security from the State Department multiple times and the request was rejected. I am not unpacking the fact surrounding the culpability of the State Department and Hillary Clinton in the above explaination of timelines. Hillary perjured herself when claiming before Congress that she didn't know about the security situation in Benghazi, but we now know that she signed a cable from the consulate as early as April of 2012, the consulate requesting more security. This means her State Department played a role in downplaying the consulate's concerns about security which brings into question lost opportunities to foil potential plans for attack in September a short five months later. This is direct evidence that she actively participated in being aware of and neglecting security concerns in the face of requests leading up to the attack, and then chose to play a significant role in bolstering the president's reputation during this attack in the election, in the face of known failings and misleading stories. To date, she has not been held accountable, has denied responsibility, and has simply called Bengahzi her "biggest regret" ...not failing or appologized for her intent to misleadThis is like living in a rough neighborhood where kids are being theatened by kidnappers, and ignoring your child's concerns as you make them play alone on the porch.  And when the kid gets kidnapped, blameshifting onto the neighborhood for not being better neighbors rather than addressing your failing as a careless, irresponsible parent. She knew better, did nothing, and then played politics over the loss of life.)

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