Austin Bay writes:
According to the now-available congressional transcripts, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey (after speaking with AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham) informed President Barack Obama that the consulate had suffered a terror attack. Panetta and Dempsey told the president within an hour after the first assault began.
Yet Obama Administration officials continued to peddle the "video did it" canard for almost two weeks after the assault. Why peddle a blatant falsehood? Because "the video did it" narrative advanced a propaganda campaign supporting central Obama re-election political themes. Obama claimed his presidency would dramatically change Arab Muslim perceptions of America. Though he never equated killing Osama bin Laden with defeating al-Qaida, he implied al-Qaida was fading fast. The Benghazi disaster countered these touts. Obama had to leave the American public with the definite impression that the Benghazi assault was spontaneous. Why, that nasty video incited inexplicable anger!
The president calculated carefully. As his spokespeople blamed the video, Obama hedged and fudged by referring to Benghazi as "an act of terror." His goal was -- and still is -- rhetorical wiggle room to blunt charges of deceit. However, at least three times during the campaign, Obama refused to call Benghazi an attack by terrorists.
The transcripts leave President Obama and his minions with a lot more deceit to blunt.
The transcripts also indicate that this administration gave security for U.S. diplomatic facilities lip service, not executive attention. Inter-agency security coordination was, at best, slap-dash. Take this exchange between Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Joint Staff vice-director of operations, Major-General Darryl Roberson.
Mr. Chaffetz: General, following up, I just want to make sure I heard this absolutely right. You said, quote, everything requested from State we provided them. This goes back from 2011 when -- after the (Libyan) air campaign.
General Roberson: Yes, sir.
Mr. Chaffetz: To the best of your knowledge, there was nothing else for the security prior to the attack, prior to the attack that State Department asked for that you denied.
General Roberson: That is correct.
Chaffetz then added that he asked the question because many apologists for the Benghazi fiasco alleged that the consulate lacked security "because we (Congress) didn't provide certain funding for the embassy. And I think we find that argument is totally false and without merit. They simply didn't ask in many ways. And these assets were available and were there previously, but those on the ground were not able to keep those assets."
Chaffetz' conclusion will be disputed. Alas, long passages of key testimony remain classified, blotted from the transcripts with thick blocks of gray and black ink.