Spinning Terror, Again
11:45 PM, Sep 16, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
The Obama administration continued to claim Sunday that the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were not planned or coordinated but spontaneous responses to news of an anti-Islam video that happened to take place on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It’s a highly dubious claim, challenged by top Libyan officials, eyewitness accounts, several U.S. officials with access to the intelligence on the attack, and, it must be said, by common sense.
But Obama officials are undeterred. As they have done on two previous occasions after attempted attacks on U.S. interests – the attempted bombing of an airplane over Detroit and failed bomb plot in Times Square – top Obama officials are stubbornly clinging to a narrative that is politically advantageous but increasingly hard to square with reality.
On Sunday, it fell to Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to make the administration’s case.
“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,” she said on This Week. “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…. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons…. And then it evolved from there.”
“The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” said Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif.
On September 12, the New York Times reported: “American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning. But the officials cautioned that it was too soon to tell whether the attack was related to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Many other outlets – foreign and domestic – carried similar reports sourced to U.S. intelligence officials and witnesses on the scene.
After his briefings the day after the attacks, Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News that evidence showed the Benghazi attacks were planned. “Absolutely, I have no doubt about it. It was a coordinated, military-style, commando-type raid.”
Several days later, in an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Rogers, a former FBI agent, reiterated his view that the attacks were planned and challenged the administration’s story. “The way that the attack took place, I have serious questions. It seemed to be a military style coordinated. They had indirect fire, coordinated with direct fire, rocket attacks. They were able to launch two different separate attacks on locations there near the consulate and they repelled a fairly significant Libyan force that came to rescue the embassy,” he said. “And then it was on 9/11 and there is other information, classified information, that we have that just makes you stop for a minute and pause. And as the first thing you learn as a young FBI agent in this, there are coincidences but they're not likely, and there are a lot of coincidences about this event.”