The journos at ABC News treated this development as a "bombshell" on World News Tonight, but for those of us who've been paying close attention, it's nothing of the sort. CBS News, Fox and McClatchy had ABC scooped by, oh, about three weeks. But better late than never, I suppose. The "news" here is that the administration is finally playing catch-up and confirming what we knew back when they were spinning a totally different fairy tale:
Try to ignore Diane Sawyer's shock at the "incredible" not-new revelations, and focus instead on Jonathan Karl's speculation at the very end about the timing of his, er, "leak." He's surely correct that the administration is trying to get out in front of the parade of awful we'll see during Capitol Hill hearings about the Benghazi massacre today, but that ship has sailed. For at least a full week following the deadly raid, the Obama administration told Americans that it was sparked by a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video, that there was no forewarning of the attack, and (laughably) that on-the-ground security measures weren't insufficient. These assertions have all been systematically obliterated by the facts. Here's the latest actual newsworthy report coming out of Libya:
Less than two months before the fatal attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, the State Department concluded that the risk of violence to diplomats and other Americans in Libya was high and that the weak U.S.-backed government in Tripoli could do little about it. “The risk of U.S. Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens and businesspersons encountering an isolating event as a result of militia or political violence is HIGH,” a State Department security assessment from July 22 concludes.
So the administration knew that the risk of violence against our diplomats was "HIGH" a few months before the assassinations, but they still denied requests for increased security -- and actually pulled American security personnel out of the country, ignoring the ambassador's pleas. How was that allowed to happen? Well, we don't know. The White House spokesman has all but stopped giving televised briefings, the Vice President hasn't sat down for an interview in five months. And The One is busying himself with hard-hitting appearances on The View and Nickelodeon. Is it any wonder that he wasn't prepared for a tough debate? Two videos for you: The first is from the Heritage Foundation, which I've linked previously, but it's worth another spin. The second is American Crossroads reviewing the facts for voters who are just tuning in.
Expect some fireworks about this on the Hill today, then sharp exchanges during the foreign policy debate. Obama can try to run from this scandal, but four Americans are dead, and the buck stops in the Oval Office.