Judicial Watch has now filed four separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits in our continuing effort to force the Obama administration to finally tell the full truth about the Benghazi massacre. And the story that is emerging is one of political treachery in the highest places, beginning with outright lies about the nature of the attack itself and culminating with a great stone wall of secrecy to avoid accountability for one of the most deadly political scandals in recent American history.
On June 21, we filed our latest FOIA lawsuit in an attempt to obtain the “updates and/or talking points” provided to Obama U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice concerning the September 11, 2012, attack, which left four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, dead. Following the attack, Rice joined the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a high-profile – and patently false – campaign to portray the attack as solely related to a privately produced YouTube video that Muslims reportedly found offensive.
On the Sunday following the attack, Rice went on five Sunday talk shows, repeatedly claiming that the attack was “a spontaneous – not a premeditated response” to “a hateful video that was disseminated on the Internet.” Obama went before the United Nations to decry the video. Clinton promised the father of slain Benghazi martyr Tyrone Woods that she would apprehend the video maker. And, together, Obama and Clinton even went so far as to film a television commercial apologizing to the Pakistani people for the video.
All the while, every one of them knew that they were lying about a lie. In fact, shortly after their worldwide campaign of deception, the Obama administration was forced to admit that Rice, Clinton, and, indeed, the president himself had provided false information, and that the attack was neither spontaneous nor the result of an Internet video.
On September 28, 2012, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) reported that their “revised” assessment had determined the attack to be “a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists” and that “some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to, al Qaeda.” But according to General Carter Ham, the head of U.S. forces in Africa, it was apparent “within hours” not weeks, as DNI claimed, that Benghazi was an act of terror.
On July 19, 2013, General Ham told the Aspen Security Forum that he was in a meeting with Secretary of Defense Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey when word of the attack came in: “It became apparent to all of us quickly that this was not a demonstration, this was a violent attack,” Ham said.
Nonetheless, Rice, on behalf of President Obama and in place of Clinton (whom Rice claimed was just “too tired” to talk about Benghazi), took to the talk shows immediately following the attack to advance the false narrative blaming an Internet video. And the claim has been made that they were simply reading from the talking points they were given. Which raises the question, which talking points?
Former CIA Director General David Petraeus reportedly testified before Congress that the initial talking points produced by the CIA “stated there were indications the attack was linked to al Qaeda,” and suggested the terrorism reference was removed sometime during an interagency review process.
So what happened between the time of General Ham’s meeting with Panetta and General Dempsey, the creation of the CIA-generated talking points that noted the terrorist connection, and Ambassador Rice’s Sunday talk circuit circus? Given the spin and the contradictions, Judicial Watch is going to court to obtain the talking points. As Congress spends time debating and dithering over this supposedly “phony scandal,” these independent investigations may be the best way to clear up this web of lies.