Monday, October 22, 2012

Prior to Tonight's Presidential Debate, "Required" Reading on the Benghazi Terrorist Attack Timeline

The editorial You Tube Videos Don't Kill People is worth taking the time to read in its entirety:

"The October surprise is that the final presidential debate may be the last chance before the election to clarify who knew what, and when, about the role of an anti-Islam Internet video in the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. For weeks, instead of blaming organized Islamist terrorists, the Obama administration claimed this made-in-America video turned demonstrators into killers.

A timeline disproves the administration's story. The murder of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya and two Navy SEALs, happened on the anniversary of Sept. 11, but the relevant facts start earlier:

In March, the State Department's regional security officer on the ground, Eric Nordstrom, began asking for additional security for Benghazi. He was rebuffed. "It was abundantly clear: We were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident," he said in congressional testimony this month.

In April, two Libyans threw a bomb over the fence of the consulate. In June, assailants blew a hole "big enough for 40 men to go through" in the consulate's north gate.

The infamous video was posted on YouTube in July. The amateurish 14-minute trailer did lead to protests in many cities, but not in Benghazi the night of the attack.

On Sept. 8, the Libyan militia protecting the consulate cited numerous threats and called the security situation "frightening." On Sept. 10, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Libyans to avenge the death of his Libyan deputy in a drone strike in Pakistan.

On Sept. 11, armed gunmen attacked and torched the Benghazi consulate. Eyewitness accounts, including live ones on the BBC, described dozen of members of the Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, which has close ties to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, entering the consulate armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

Nevertheless, President Obama's Rose Garden remarks on Sept. 12 began by blaming the video: "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence." Note: "violence," not "terrorism." He concluded with a reference to terror—but in the context of recalling the 9/11 attacks of 2001, not the events in Benghazi.

On Sept. 13, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "The protests we're seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie."

On Sept. 16, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went on the Sunday talk shows, calling the video the "proximate cause" of the murders.

On Sept. 20, Mr. Obama told Univision: "The natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists."

On Sept. 25, the president blamed the video several times in his address to the United Nations: "There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy," he said, adding, "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Then, on Oct. 9, the day before congressional hearings, the State Department finally admitted that the murders were by organized terrorists, not a crowd protesting a video. Officials said "nothing was out of the ordinary" outside the consulate before the attack.

A reporter asked what "led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video." A State Department official replied: "That is a question you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion."

So there were warnings about the situation in Benghazi for months before the attack, and intelligence officers suspected organized terrorists right away and knew for certain well before the Obama speech to the U.N.

Why did the White House keep pointing to the video instead of terrorists? Recall the great lengths to which the administration went to blame the video. The White House brushed aside the First Amendment by asking YouTube to consider censoring the video. The Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who made the video was arrested in California, in handcuffs, supposedly for violating terms of his parole. The State Department created an advertisement apologizing for the video and bought airtime in Pakistan to run it.

Mr. Obama recently acknowledged the resurgence of Islamist terrorists in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East, at least by omission. His standard stump speech had long used the phrase "and today, al Qaeda is on the run." This phrase was deleted last week in a speech he gave in Iowa.

But Silicon Valley has noticed that it got blamed and not the terrorists. "If you were paying attention last month," an article on the technology website CNET said last week, "you might remember alarming headlines reporting an anti-Islam YouTube video 'Sparks Violence in Libya,' is 'Inciting Violence' and caused 'U.S. Embassy Workers' Deaths.' One problem: Those reports were untrue."

The Internet may be a powerful medium, but it isn't an all-purpose scapegoat. Islamists remain a present danger. YouTube videos don't kill people. Terrorists kill people."

Summing Up

I have nothing more to add to what this editorial has to say.

The facts speak for themselves.

As does the timeline.

Draw your own conclusions, as I'm sure you will.

I know I have.

Thanks. Bob.

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