In the days following the assassination attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three aides dead it was appalling to watch the Obama Administration's painstaking efforts to deny any connection to radical Islamic terror. A week later, the White House was forced to admit a connection to al Qaeda after the Director of the National Counterterrrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, testified to a Senate Committee that Benghazi was indeed a "terrorist attack on our embassy" with likely "connections to al Qaeda."
The week long contortions and denials by the Administration became even more befuddling when Eli Lake at the Daily Beast raised the stakes with this bombshell disclosure on September 26:
"Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya." Read more
Anderson Cooper at CNN disclosed on September 23 that Ambassador Steven's journal indicated he believed he was targeted by al Qaeda, yet apparently the State Department took no steps to protect his safety. That added to the questions….why?
Instead of coming clean, the State Department attacked CNN calling the disclosure "disgusting" and "not a proud moment in CNN's history." Again, raising more questions.
High ranking House and Senate Republicans fired off letters and issued public statements directed to the President demanding more information. What did the President know, and when did he know it?
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) was the first to mention the "c" word - cover up. "There has to be something they're trying to hide or cover up," he said. "We just want answers."
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) gave the growing scandal a name; Benghazi-gate.
Lake's newest revelation raises the stakes yet again. Jennifer Rubin in her "Right Turn" column in the Washington Post today asks the newest most obvious question – "Did Obama lie?"
"Obviously the report (Eli Lake's in the Daily Beast), if true, suggests that the White House lied to the American people by insisting for over a week that this was a spontaneous attack. It is one thing for the president to be so benighted as to think a video sets off multiple attacks on Sept. 11. It is quite another to send out his advisers, including his own spokesman, to mislead voters." Read more
Rubin also raises three other important questions that logically follow:
- Can Obama squirm out of this scandal unscathed as he has so many others, or
- Will Mitt Romney effectively make this a campaign changing moment, and
- Will the media live up to their responsibilities and hold the Administration accountable?
The answers to Rubin's first and second question are going to be highly dependent on the outcome of the third. Coming days will tell, but Rubin rightfully prods the mainstream media; "…now is the time when we see if reporters and pundits are more than shills for the president."
However, Rubin doesn't see much "evidence that an epidemic of fairness is breaking out in the mainstream media."
And, then the biggest question; will the American people continue to let Obama get away with it? "Certainly, we shouldn't have a president in office who would lie to the American people about a critical national security issue for the sake of his own reelection, right?" Rubin asks rhetorically. We'll find out soon enough.