Michael Barone

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes got hold of the series of Sept. 15 emails in which White House and State Department officials prepared the talking points.

Deleted were references to warnings State received before Sept. 11 of Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaida-linked attacks in Benghazi. Nuland describes these as "issues ... of my building leadership."

The final talking points said "the currently available information suggests that the demonstration in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex." Rice went on TV and parroted the line.

That was refuted by Hicks. The video was a "non-event" in Libya, he told the House committee. And he testified that he was chastised by none other than Mills for briefing Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present.

The FBI did not find time to interview Hicks. But State did find time to yank him out of his job and give him a desk job he regards as a demotion.

Obama continued to attribute the Benghazi attack to a protest against a video on Sept. 18 ("Letterman"), Sept. 20 (Univision) and Sept. 25 ("The View" and the United Nations).

There were obvious cynical political motives for attempting to mislead voters during a closely contested presidential campaign.

Obama did not want his theme of "Osama is dead, al-Qaida is on the run" to be undercut by an Islamist terrorist attack on our ambassador.

Clinton did not want her department's denial of pleas for additional security in Libya to become known.

But maybe they were also trying to deceive themselves. Which may be even more disturbing.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM