There were no protests outside the U.S. embassy in Libya before it was attacked and our ambassador was murdered in September.
No demonstration about an anti-Muslim Web video or anything else.
Where U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice once claimed there “was not a preplanned, premeditated attack” on the consulate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta now acknowledge it was a planned act of terrorism by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
State Department officials insisted “if any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, Sept. 16th, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. … As time went on, additional information became available.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney echoes that the facts have evolved.
But Reuters reports, “Within hours of last month’s attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, President Barack Obama’s administration received about a dozen intelligence reports suggesting militants connected to al Qaeda were involved, three government sources said.”
Carney also says, “I never said, I never said we don’t know if it’s terrorism.”
State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Programs Charlene Lamb was still reluctant to use the term Wednesday, telling Congress, “I’m not making any judgments on my own.”
Yet Lamb was willing to judge the number of U.S. security assets in Benghazi “correct.”
Not for nothing did wags joke that Lamb’s middle name might be “sacrificial.”
Bit by bit, the Obama administration’s story on Libya is unraveling.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the State Department leaned too heavily on trained Libyans to provide diplomatic security.
Despite growing security concerns, shared by Ambassador Chris Stevens himself, repeated requests for additional manpower were rejected.
CBS News reports that the number of security personnel was actually reduced.
A State Department security officer testified before Congress that he was effectively told to “hope that everything would get better.”
What is going on here?
Not every blunder committed by the State Department can be placed at the president’s feet.
It is nevertheless hard to believe that administration officials, all the way up to Susan Rice, would take to the TV talk show circuit to push a dubious narrative without some White House buy-in.
Why were Obama officials, who are not exactly well known for treating nickles like manhole covers, so reluctant to commit additional security forces to Libya?