When the White House, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the fearless private watchdog group Judicial Watch, turned over an email about constructing the appropriate narrative response to the tragedy at Benghazi written by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Obama, and investigators from the House of Representatives realized that they had subpoenaed that email and not received it, they knew that there was far more to learn about the affair than met the eye.
The affair consisted of an organized fatal assault on the American consulate in that Libyan city that resulted in the deaths of the American ambassador and three State Department contractors assigned to protect him. It also includes a White House-orchestrated cover-up involving profoundly misleading statements after the attack, followed by an only-in-Washington cover-up of the cover-up.
The attack on the consulate occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, just as the American presidential election campaign between Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney was getting under way. Two weeks prior to the attack, Obama had assured his political supporters for the hundredth time that al-Qaida was on the run, its leadership had been subdued, and that he was the cause of that. The last thing his campaign managers wanted to confront in the middle of September was an al-Qaida-orchestrated attack on American property in the Middle East in which our ambassador was murdered.
Yet, that's what confronted the Obama campaign managers. So, they concocted a narrative that they could comfortably live with and that they believed the American public would accept. Susan Rice, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, relayed the narrative. Rice either permitted herself to become a political tool or materially lied to the American public when she told five Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 16, 2012, that the attacks in Benghazi were not acts of terror and were not aimed at the ambassador, but rather were the spontaneous and unplanned reaction of a street crowd to a cheap anti-Muslim Internet clip that some jerk in California had made earlier that summer.
For a while, this seemed successful. The president was able to continue misleading the electorate with his claim that al-Qaida was on the run, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was able to distance herself from the failure of her State Department to protect its own employees, and Romney and the Republicans would not discover the truth, or at least would not develop a narrative sufficient to contradict the White House narrative, until after the election.