Three months ago today, President Obama woke up to the news that US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans had been murdered during a terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. The president had been informed that an active attack was underway the night before -- but how actively he followed the developing raid, and what (if any) orders he issued, remains a mystery. On September 12, the president skipped his daily intelligence briefing and flew to Las Vegas for a campaign rally. This much we know. The Obama campaign eventually accused Republicans of "politicizing" the massacre by asking questions about it, asserting that the "entire reason" it was a major national story was due to rank exploitation of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Even with the president's re-election safely tucked away, the White House has continued to defend its UN Ambassador (and possible Secretary of State in waiting) against charges that she dissemminated false information to mislead the public about the true nature of the deadly attack. The president and his top lieutenants have repeatedly dodged difficult questions, changed their stories, and hidden behind the dubious fig leaf of "ongoing investigations." Obama has vowed to track down those responsible for the atrocities and bring them to justice. He has also stated his desire to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi that night. The federal investigation into the attacks got off to a stupefyingly dreadful start, and three months later, justice and accountability remain in short supply:
Three months after Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a diplomat and two CIA contractors were murdered in Benghazi, there is no sign of the killers being brought to justice by the United States. The investigation into the attacks has been hampered by the reluctance of the Libyan authorities to move against the Islamist terrorists identified by the FBI as responsible for the killing, according to American officials briefing the 'New York Times'. None of the suspects has been arrested or killed and some have fled Libya. Last month, the FBI issued a global appeal asking anyone with information about the killers to send information in an e-mail, text message or via Facebook. Stevens, the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979, diplomat Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed in an attack on the U.S. consultate in Benghazi on September 11. The following day, President Barack Obama vowed: 'Make no mistake, justice will be done.' But that promise may remain unfulfilled if there is not more cooperation from the Libyan authorities.
The White House and its allies now insist that most questions on Benghazi have already been asked and answered -- a claim that even some members of the mainstream media are finding hard to swallow. Here's a question: Is this report accurate?
A source with personal knowledge of the security situation in Benghazi told Breitbart News that Senators who listened to closed door testimony about the Benghazi attack were shocked to learn State Department security personnel agents were not immediately armed. Additionally, agents separated from Ambassador Chris Stevens left to retrieve their M4 weapons in a separate building. Only one returned to protect the Ambassador, while the other two hunkered down in the barracks, the source relayed. “From the accounts I read, those guys were not ready. When the attack came that night, they had to go back to the other room and grab their weapons. Then the worse part about it was they never even returned to be with the Ambassador. One returned to be with the Ambassador with his rifle ... There were no shots fired in return. On the embassy property, just the embassy property, none of those security agents blasted a single bullet from a single pistol or rifle at all in defense of the Ambassador—nothing.”
We already knew that the security situation at the consulate was woefully inadequate, but this is the first we've heard about zero shots being fired in the ambassador's defense (which is not to be confused with the subsequent, prolonged firefight at the CIA safehouse). Jay Carney may not be able to think of a single question on Benghazi that hasn't been sufficiently addressed, but I certainly can. Here are a dozen relevant and important inquiries, just off the top of my head:
(1) Who, specifically, denied repeated requests for increased security resources and personnel from American officials on the ground in Libya? Why were these requests shot down?
(2) A senior State Department official testified that the US had the "correct" number of security assets in Benghazi. Amb. Susan Rice stated that our security presence at the Benghazi mission was "substantial." Does the president stand by those assessments? If not, why were they made in the first place?
(3) Why were US security personnel pulled out of Libya, even as Amb. Stevens warned of heightened risks?
(4) Why was the Benghazi consulate operating below the bare minimum standards for a US diplomatic compound, especially after our government learned that at least ten known Islamist militias were operating in the city?
(6) Where was the president during the raid itself? How closely did he follow what was happening, and for how long?
(7) Was the president made aware of the numerous desperate pleas for help from two former SEALs, who battled the terrorists for seven hours before being killed? If not, why not? If so, what was his response?
(8) Which government officials, specifically, watched the attack unfold in real time -- hour after excruciating hour -- via footage from an American drone? Was that drone armed?
(9) Why were American forces and resources not deployed to help defeat the enemy, particularly while several Americans were alive and urgently seeking reinforcements? Why was a key counterterrorism task force not convened during the attack?
(10) Who, specifically, changed Susan Rice's public talking points by excising references to Al Qaeda, and why? If there was a national security concern, what was it? Where did the inaccurate "spontaneous protest" narrative originate? Why was that story deemed more fit for publication than the accurate terrorism evidence? And if Rice had little direct knowledge of the facts on the ground in Benghazi, why was she selected as the administration's spokesperson on the subject?
(11) Why was the president still publicly hedging on the terrorism question several weeks after the attack, especially if a terrorist link had been established "almost immediately."
(12) Why did it take the FBI weeks to arrive at the unsecured, bombed-out consulate after the attack? Why were sensitive documents left in the rubble, even after they'd left? Without jeopardizing any leads, what -- if any -- progress has been made in identifying, capturing, or killing those responsible for the assault?
Three months later, the American people and the families of the fallen still deserve answers.
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