During a press gaggle on board Air Force One this morning in Virginia Beach, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney accused Mitt Romney of "politicizing" the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in reference to pressure from the campaign to come clean about what really happened. Carney also referred reporters to an ongoing FBI investigation when asked about specifics on Libya. The problem? The FBI still isn't in Benghazi despite the administration saying repeatedly they are. Carney also tried to spin Obama's refusal to call the attack an act of terrorism and covered for the administration in its lie to the American people that the attack was "spontaneous" and not planned.
Q On Benghazi, there still is considerable confusion over what the administration considers the attack on the U.S. consulate. Can you say why the FBI still hasn’t been able to get into that crime scene? And how aggressively is the United States looking for clues, and as the President says, bringing them to justice?
MR. CARNEY: I would have to refer you to the FBI for specifics about the investigation that they’re leading. I can tell you that the President is determined, as he has said many times, that the perpetrators of the attack that cost four American lives, including our ambassador, be brought to justice. And he will insist that the agencies of his administration take all necessary action to bring about that eventuality.
Q If the President does not call it, label it a terrorist attack as you and others have, is there some legal or diplomatic trigger that that brings? Why hasn’t he said that?
MR. CARNEY: I think you’re misunderstanding something here. I’m the President’s spokesman. When the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen, in open testimony in Congress answered a question by saying yes, by the definitions we go by -- this is me paraphrasing -- this was a terrorist attack -- I echoed that, because this President, this administration, everybody looks to the intelligence community for the assessments on this. And it has been since I said so, the President’s position that this was a terrorist attack.
There are broader issues here that the President has addressed in answering questions, and he’s obviously interested in, as we all are, in waiting for the final result of an investigation. But let’s be clear about this. Every step of the way, the information that we have provided to you and the general public about the attack in Benghazi has been based on the best intelligence we’ve had and the assessments of our intelligence community. We have said all along that there’s an ongoing investigation and that as more facts come out, we will follow those facts wherever they lead and apprise you of our assessments as those facts come to light.
What has also been the case is that from the very first hours after the attacks and the unrest in Cairo, there has been an attempt, unfortunately, by Republicans, beginning with Governor Romney, to try to turn this event into a partisan issue, to try to score political points out of a terrorist attack that cost the lives of four Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya -- and that’s unfortunate.
This President is absolutely focused on finding out exactly what happened, who is responsible, and bringing those responsible to justice.
But, the video! Guy covered this yesterday, but I'm covering it again today for good measure. Multiple intelligence sources have now confirmed to a number of news outlets including Fox News Channel, CNN and The Daily Beast that the White House and State Department knew the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack within 24 hours of it occurring on 9/11. They also knew who might be responsible for the attack.
U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News -- though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.
The account conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a "spontaneous" event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.
Two senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect.
In addition, sources confirm that FBI agents have not yet arrived in Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault.
So what does this mean? It means the Obama administration, ranging from the White House to the State Department to the Justice Department, are engaged in a full scale cover-up. Someone within the administration made the decision to lie about the attack within 24 hours of it happening and Carney continued that lie today by saying, "Every step of the way, the information that we have provided to you and the general public about the attack in Benghazi has been based on the best intelligence we’ve had and the assessments of our intelligence community. We have said all along that there’s an ongoing investigation and that as more facts come out, we will follow those facts wherever they lead and apprise you of our assessments as those facts come to light." Again, the fact is, the adminstration knew it was a terrorist attack and made a calculated decision to lie about it. They had their facts within 24 hours and decided to keep those facts from the American people.
Let's refresh the timeline here for a minute. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice went on every Sunday talk show five days after the administration knew the attack was an act of terror and yet she told the American people the attack wasn't planned and was a reaction to a video. Nine days after the administration knew this was a terrorist attack, Jay Carney continued to call the attack a response to a video.
President Obama has built his foreign policy credibility on Osama bin Laden being dead. He has also tried to sell the idea that because bin Laden is dead, so is Al Qaeda. The attack in Libya proves the opposite and makes Obama look like a fool.
So how does something like the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya happen? How did they not see this coming? Well, Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder have refused to allow enhanced interrogation techniques (which led to the killing of Osama bin Laden during the Bush administration, by the way) to be used against captured terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. This naturally leads to a lack of information about ongoing Al Qaeda activity and creates a blind spot in terrorism U.S. intelligence. Not to mention the attack was directly tied to an Al Qaeda operative who was once a GITMO detainee.
Obama administration officials aren't just lying to the American people, they're also lying to Congress and withholding crucial information to House and Senate intelligence committees. Senators McCain, Ayotte, Graham and Johnson sent a letter to the State Department yesterday demading answers.
September 25, 2012
Ambassador Susan Rice
United States Mission to the United Nations
799 United Nations Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10017-3505
Dear Ambassador Rice:
In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, you made several troubling statements that are inconsistent with the facts and require explanation.
Speaking on Meet the Press on September 16, you said, “What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.” Speaking on Fox News Sunday, you said, “We are of the view that this is not an expression of hostility in the broader sense toward the United States or U.S. policy. It’s approximately a reaction to this video…” On September 14, the Libyan President, Mohamed Yousef el Magariaf, said the attack on our consulate in Benghazi was “preplanned.” Two days later and immediately before your interview on CBS’s Face the Nation, the Libyan President reiterated that the attack was planned “a few months ago.” When you followed the Libyan President on this same program, the host confronted you with the discrepancy between your comments and the comments of the Libyan President. You again described the attacks as “spontaneous” and said the attacks were not “preplanned”.
By the date of your comments, it was already clear that the attack in Libya was a terrorist attack, and that heavily armed and well trained attackers appeared to have prepared for an opportunity to attack U.S. interests. We also knew that there is a significant network of al Qaeda affiliated groups and other terrorists in eastern Libya, some of whom have attacked western interests in the last few months. Yet, you repeatedly asserted the implausible explanation that the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the video despite growing evidence to the contrary.
Before your appearance on a number of Sunday shows, we also knew that Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, released a video just before the attacks acknowledging and eulogizing the death of Abu Yahya al Libi and calling for terrorist attacks. As you know, al Libi was a Libyan who served as the second in command in al Qaeda under al Zawahiri and was a top leader in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The U.S. killed al Libi in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, in June 2012.
You were surely aware of these facts on September 16 when you made your remarks. Yet, these facts, including the unlikely coincidence that the attack was conducted on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, did not prevent you from making confident and counter intuitive assertions to the contrary. These facts did not prevent you from labeling the murder of four Americans as a “spontaneous reaction” to the video and “not an expression of hostility…toward the United States.” If the murder of four American diplomats is not “an expression of hostility” it is difficult to know what would be.
We look forward to a timely response that explains how the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately five days after a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.
The word "misled" has been thrown around a lot in light of these latest developments. Let's be clear, the administration wasn't "misleading" anyone, they were and still are lying to everyone.
|Katie Pavlich is the News Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is also the author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up.
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