Rich Galen

I am not generally a conspiracy believer, but last week, as the result of a Freedom of Information action by Judicial Watch - a conservative legal organization - at least one email was released that directly linked the White House to the immediate reaction to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the American Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

The Benghazi attacks took place on September 11, 2012. The Obama Administration's first response - and it was a significant response - was that the attack on the American compound in Benghazi was a reaction by "extremists" to a video that had been released that Muslims felt mocked the Prophet Mohammed.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

The email, sent by Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security advisor, help prepare Susan Rice, for a round of interviews on Sunday TV talk shows … He urged Rice "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

Susan Rice, then U.S. representative to the United Nations, went on the shows to make that exact point: That the attack was spontaneous and, therefore, neither the State Department nor the Defense Department were in a position to offer aid to those under attack.

According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact.com, that was inaccurate. According to a posting on its website yesterday:

"In a series of interviews on the Sunday news shows in 2012, Rice stressed that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Muslim Internet video and not part of an organized terrorist assault."

In spite of Cokie Roberts' attempts to bail out Susan Rice on ABC's This Week, on the issue of the video being the catalyst, Politicfact.com says that when Roberts said:

"Rice stressed protests related to the anti-Muslim video and downplayed suggestions that the attacks were planned."

Politifact.com stated that claim was "mostly false" because Rice used the word "extremists" - suggesting these were spontaneous demonstrators - and not "terrorists" which would have suggested a planned attack - on that September 11.

This point was at issue during the October 16, 2012 President debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when Obama asked debate moderator, Candy Crowley, whether the Administration had said terrorists had been involved.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.