It has been a month since an attack in Libya took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and the Obama administration is still revising its story.
A video published by the Heritage Foundation yesterday documents the federal government’s evolving explanation of the attack on the Libyan consulate and the multiple contradictions among members of the current administration.
“It appears to me that the situation has been grossly mishandled, and the American people deserve better,” said Peter Brookes, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. “It’s been my sense that the last thing the administration wanted was to admit that al-Qaida had attacked.”
The State Department acknowledged that it denied requests for more security in Benghazi at a heated congressional hearing yesterday. Republicans accused the Obama administration of using the anti-Islamic video as a scapegoat to cover up a terrorist attack so that it could avoid political vulnerability, while Democrats at the hearing accused Republicans of operating a biased investigation.
The recent unrest in Benghazi can be traced as far back as April 6, when an IED was tossed over the fence of the U.S. Consulate. Gun battles, kidnappings, carjackings and attacks on other NATO embassies in late April and early May elicited a request for a safer means of transportation to and from the U.S. Embassy in Libya. The State Department denied that request.
Two attacks on the International Committee of the Red Cross building forced it to close down, leaving the U.S. Consulate as the lone international presence in Benghazi, the only remaining target for attackers.
On June 6, an IED blew a sizable hole in the security perimeter of the U.S. Consulate that was reportedly “large enough for 40 men to go through.”
On Oct. 8 a security officer warned American officials about deteriorating security in the area. And three days later — the attack, for which White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration had no “actionable intelligence,” struck the consulate.
A report published on Sept. 26 showed that the intelligence community and the Obama administration knew within 24 hours that the attack was an act of terror carried out by an al-Qaida affiliated group. This was affirmed by Carney in an Oct. 10 press briefing when he also said that the administration had kept its word to disclose new information as it became available.
However, President Barack Obama and other members of his administration have since refused to call the attack an act of terror, despite twice receiving word from Libyan President Mohamed Magarief that the attack was indeed a “pre-planned act of terrorism directed against American citizens.”
On Sept. 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on a talk show that the attacks were provoked exclusively by the “Innocence of Muslims” video.
On Sept. 17, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refused to call the attack on Benghazi an act of terror.
On Sept. 20, President Obama cited insufficient information when refusing to declare the attack a terrorist act, only to be contradicted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the following day.
“We’re obviously very, very concerned about the apparent insecurity in a very threatening environment,” Said Brookes. “(Sept. 11) wasn’t the first time they were threatened.”