I'm somewhat mystified by the Obama administration and campaign's continued attempts to convince Americans that the deadly raid on our consulate in Benghazi was not premeditated. They're obviously trying to shield the president from political fallout for the horrifically inadequate security measures at our outpost there, but contradictory evidence is mounting. Libyan officials and eyewitnesses have described the nature of the attack as clearly pre-planned, and US Senators briefed on the matter have drawn similar conclusions. The president has fielded precisely zero questions on this matter (one wonders if he's eager to respond to inquiries about how often he does or does not read the intelligence memos about which he's rarely briefed). He has outsourced the whole Q&A annoyance to various underlings, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice -- who ironically once admitted that her boss was "not ready" for a proverbial 3 am phone call on a pressing international crisis. Appearing on Sunday's Meet the Press, Rice claimed that two of the four American diplomatic staff murdered in Benghazi were security personnel; evidence, she said, that the diplomatic outpost was not unprotected. NBC Nightly News now reports that her assertion was untrue:
"But multiple US officials and other sources contradict that account...consulate security consisted of a US regional security officer and a local militia."
The assessment from retired Col. Jack Jacobs, a Medal of Honor recipient, is particularly scathing: "The level of security in Libya, particularly in Benghazi, was woefully low. As a matter of fact, I'd characterize it as no security whatsoever. Shocking and irresponsible." Shocking, indeed. How the hell did this happen? Forget the president; we've yet to receive any meaningful answers to speak of on this front -- acceptable or otherwise. In fact, the State Department is instructing journalists to cease asking pesky questions about the massacre, period. The administration keeps repeating the risible line that this was just a tragic instance of a spontaneous protest getting out of hand. Nobody believes it, but they keep saying it. Why? Meanwhile, a leaked cable largely confirms the bombshell report from a British paper that US intelligence agencies had warned the American diplomats in the region of potential violence prior to the string of bloody clashes:
The cable, dispatched from Washington on September 10, the day before protests erupted, advised the embassy the broadcasts could provoke violence. It did not direct specific measures to upgrade security, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. However, under standard diplomatic procedures, Egyptian government officials and security forces were notified of U.S. concerns, since host governments are responsible for ensuring the security of foreign diplomatic missions on their soil, the sources said. Copies of the cable were not sent to other U.S. outposts in the region, including the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where violence took the life of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Why was this message (allegedly) sent only to Cairo?
The sources said the cable, which is still classified, was sparked by the broadcast on Saturday, September 8 by al-Nas, an Egyptian satellite TV network, of what its presenters described as extracts from an English-language film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad. That broadcast said the clips from the American film had been uploaded on the YouTube website by "migrant Coptics," a reference to exiled members of a Christian sect with a large minority presence among Egypt's Muslim majority.
Allahpundit is incredulous over the absurdity of this analysis:
The reason they didn’t send the cable to other American missions across the region was, supposedly, because clips from the movie were broadcast on a cleric’s show in Egypt and therefore the possibility of violence was somehow “specific to Egypt.” I sure hope that’s a government lie, because if they seriously believed after the international demagoguery of the Danish Mohammed cartoons that this would be contained to a single country — on the anniversary of 9/11 — we’re in deeper trouble than I thought.
My guess is that this leak was actually intended to insulate the president -- a recurring theme in the steady stream of Obama-era national security leaks. Considered very, very narrowly, it reinforces the notion that all of the embassy violence was ignited by this film, and that Benghazi wasn't explicitly warned. (See? It's not really our fault). A small problem with that version of events, via CNN:
That analysis is supported by U.S. sources who say the attack on the consulate is believed to have been pre-planned. The sources say the attackers used the protest as a diversion to launch the attack, although the sources could not say if the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it.
Let's not forget that there were also a multitude of flashing, neon warning signs in Benghazi: Urgent warnings from local officials about dreadful security standards, specific threats from Al Qaeda affiliated groups, and a previous attempted bombing. Disgraceful. As unanswered questions and details of the administration's negligence pile up, Obama campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki decided to inform CNN's viewers that the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee's explanation for why he doesn't buy the White House's "spontaneous, not premeditated" nonsense amounts to a mere "political" criticism:
Psaki went on to recycle outdated partisan denunciations of Mitt Romney for harshly criticizing the outrageous initial statement from the Cairo embassy...which the State Department and White House eventually disavowed, too.