The president appeared on Michael Smerconish's radio program earlier today and addressed the Benghazi attack:
“What happened in Benghazi is a tragedy. We’re investigating exactly what happened. I take full responsibility for that fact. I send these folks in harm’s way, I want to make sure they’re always safe and when that doesn't happen, that we figure out what happened and make sure that doesn't happen again. But my biggest priority now is bringing those folks to justice and I think the American people have seen that’s a commitment I'll always keep.”
"We're investigating." Seven weeks later. There certainly is quite a lot of material to pore over, but it seems as though every step of this so-called investigation (remember, the FBI couldn't gain access to the unsecured compound for weeks) has been seized upon to conjure up new cover stories. The president says he takes "full responsibility," but what does that mean, exactly? His administration denied requests for beefed up security in Benghazi on several occasions, opting instead to pare down our defenses there. His administration looked and listened live as the seven-hour battle raged, and refused to send reinforcements that could have made a difference. And his administration has spun an evolving and befuddling tale to the American public about how and why this all happened. It's obvious that this president has a powerful political interest in continuing the obfuscation racket for roughly 11 more days, give or take. In the meantime, he's talkin' tough about bringing these "folks" to justice. Am I the only one who's a bit uncomfortable with the Commander-in-Chief referring to a band of hardened, murderous jihadists as if they're a genial elderly couple at a local diner? Beyond the semantics, though, there's this detail from Jennifer Griffin's report:
According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.
I overlooked this item earlier. If Griffin's sources are correct, US personnel on the group actual had three of the terrorists in custody, but were required to "hand them over to the Libyans." Why, and by whom? Who were these terrorists, and where are they now? The US government seems to have no idea. Yet another mystery to "investigate" -- right, Mr. President? I'll leave you with a second viewing of Charlie Woods, father of one of the murdered Americans:
UPDATE - Gen. Petraeus, now the CIA chief, says the "stand down" denial of reinforcements order did not come from his shop:
Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate." So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No. It would have been a presidential decision.
That last bit was speculation from Bill Kristol. Anyone have a better explanation?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography