There had been requests for improved security at the Benghazi facilities and other sites in Libya. There had also been requests simply to retain the security forces that had been in place in-country up until summer's end. The Obama administration denied those requests and then prevaricated about having done so. Think Vice President Joe Biden in his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan.
Within an hour of the start of the attack, Mr. Obama met with his national security team's senior civilian and military national security leaders. The President has claimed he issued an order to "make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to." It is not clear at this writing to whom that order was given. What is clear, though, is that serial requests for supporting fire and reinforcements from some of those personnel were denied.
Reportedly, Ambassador Christopher Smith chose on September 11th to be in Benghazi, even though he had expressed growing concern that it and the rest of Libya were becoming increasingly dangerous. He had a first-hand appreciation of just how dangerous since he had, for over a year, helped arm, finance and otherwise support Libya's most aggressive Islamist elements in the interest of achieving the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.
What was so important as to prompt our top diplomat in Libya to make such a dangerous foray? It seems the ambassador felt compelled to meet with the Turkish consul general that evening for the purpose of damage-limitation following the compromise of the secret weapons pipeline Chris Stevens was then running to Syria. By some accounts, the Russians, Iranians and others had discovered that he was covertly providing automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and even shoulder-fired, man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to "the opposition" there, including known jihadists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.
The revelation that Barack Obama was presiding over an operation involving gun-running to our enemies - including weapons virtually certain to be turned against us, later if not sooner - could have been fatal to his reelection bid. Add to that the evidence that a serious U.S. military response to the violence in Benghazi would provide of the fatuousness and mendacity of the administration's "Arab Spring" and "lead-from-behind" in Libya narratives. Toss in, too, Mr. Obama's refusal to act to save American lives and you have a perfect storm for a president.
In the crisis, President Obama was evidently paralyzed, not decisive let alone courageous. Regrettably, the loss of four of our countrymen that fateful night and the cover-up that followed will come to be seen by history as simply the leitmotif of a Commander-in-Chief whose record is a virtually unmitigated disaster for the United States.
It behooves all of us, and most especially the mainstream media, to stay focused - despite the devastating impact of hurricane-force winds, widespread blackouts and massive flooding - on the insights and lessons of the still-unfolding Benghazigate firestorm.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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