EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 4, 2014

Editorial: Emails reveal Obama administration's Benghazi cover-up

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — 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.

The just released internal emails reveal White House strategists prepping then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for appearances on the Sunday news show circuit. The story now would be that the Benghazi attacks were merely the actions of ordinary Libyan Muslims, albeit unusually well-armed and easily agitated Libyans, who were incensed that some half-baked filmmaker in California had made an Internet video insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. This same video supposedly had prompted other protest actions elsewhere in the Middle East.

The emails make clear that there was a coordinated effort within the Obama White House to cover up and hide from the American public the administration’s failure to detect and properly react to a major terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. Earlier administration statements that it had never hid behind the phony Internet video story and that these pronouncements were simply misstatements made during the “fog of war” are now revealed to be lies.

House Speaker John Boehner Friday called for the establishment of a special committee to get at the truth of what happened in Benghazi. The American public deserves honest answers about what happened that fateful day that resulted in the loss of American lives and what role the Obama administration played in that debacle.