White House spokesman Jay Carney is successfully stonewalling media questions about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, amid damaging new revelations about security flubs, new congressional inquiries and the election-eve crash of the administration’s Muslim outreach strategy.
“Embassy security is a matter that has been the purview of the State Department. … So I’m not going to have very much to provide to you on the security situation on the ground in Libya,” Carney told ABC’s Jake Tapper, in response to a question about the leaked news that requests by embassy staff for increased security were rejected by officials in Washington.
So far, the administration’s defensive stonewall has helped prevent the legacy media from treating the Benghazi attack as a foreign policy scandal during the last few weeks of the 2012 campaign.
Prior to the 2004 and 2006 elections, however, legacy media outlets did not hesitate to portray President George W. Bush’s campaign in Iraq as a shambles, despite its eventual victory over anti-government gunmen.
Carney kept up the defense of Obama on Tuesday.
“It is a known fact that in the eastern part of Libya there are militant groups, and in the country as a whole, but especially in eastern Libya, a great number of armed individuals and militias — that is one of the legacies of the revolution there and the civil war,” Carney told Tapper.
“So beyond that, I’m just not going to be able to comment on what is a matter under investigation and review by both the FBI and the State Department,” he insisted, before inviting another reporter to ask a question.
The Sept. 11, 2012, attack was launched by a Libyan jihadi group, which emerged and armed itself from government armories while Obama used U.S. air power to help overthrow Libya’s dictator. The attackers killed the ambassador, an aide and two other Americans.
Since the attack, media outlets have gradually revealed that the facility was a poorly protected, walled villa, that it was defended by only a handful of Libyan and U.S. guards, that jihadis had attacked U.S. and U.K. diplomats on multiple occasions, and that officials had missed warning signs of an attack.
On Oct. 2, Rep. Darrell Issa sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seeking information about the attack.
“Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that prior to the September 11, 2012 attack the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests to increase security in Benghazi … [but] was denied these requests by officials in Washington,” the letter read.