In 2012, while President Barack Obama was running for a second term in the White House, there was a story that his political handlers wanted the American people to believe.
The story was that Obama had set aside the distractions of the Bush administration’s foreign policy and focused on finding and killing al-Qaida ringleader Osama bin Laden. In a daring raid into Pakistan in May 2011, Navy SEALs had found the reclusive bin Laden, shot him dead in his hideaway and later dumped his body in the ocean.
So now, according to the story, al-Qaida was headless and impotent, no longer a significant threat to American power and interests. And surely the grateful American people would in return give Obama another four years in office.
So when trouble began to erupt in the Middle East around the Sept. 11 anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and when a raid on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the explanation could not be that this was a coordinated al-Qaida attack intended to send Americans the message that the terror organization was alive and well.
That wouldn’t fit the narrative. So another story had to be concocted.
According to documents released last week under a Freedom of Information Act request to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, political operatives within the Obama administration knew almost immediately that the Benghazi attack was the work of al-Qaida offshoot Ansar al-Sharia. The State Department, then led by Secretary Hillary Clinton, knew the group was claiming responsibility even as the attack was underway.
That wouldn’t mesh very well with the Obama campaign theme that Osama bin Laden was dead, while General Motors, thanks to a government bailout, was still alive.