Who Fed Susan the Benghazi Bullhockey?

At his news conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama postured as the young Galahad striding out onto the schoolyard to stop a pair of bullies from beating up a girl.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham had charged U.N. Amb. Susan Rice with misleading the nation when, five days after the Benghazi attack in which Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, she appeared on five TV shows to say it had all resulted from a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video.

Susan Rice, thundered Obama, “made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.

“If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. … But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

The indignation here is more than a bit cloying. After all, Rice’s rendition of the worst terror attack on the U.S. since 9/11 was utterly false.

There never was a protest.

Rice misled the nation. No one now denies that. The question is: Did Rice deceive us, or was she herself misled or deceived?

Far from being a convincing defense, Obama’s remarks call into question the competence or the truthfulness of the White House itself.

Consider again what Obama said.

Susan Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi.”

But if she “had nothing to do with Benghazi,” why was she sent out “at the request of the White House” to explain Benghazi?

Who at the White House programmed Rice? Did she push back at all when fed this bullhockey about Benghazi? Or does she just parrot the party line when told to do so?

Why did the White House not send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA Director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta or National Security Adviser Tom Donilon? Or did they decline to go?

The president says Rice “gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her.”

And who might be the source of that “intelligence” about the protest in Benghazi, when there was no protest in Benghazi?

Rice was scripted to tell the nation it was not a “preplanned” attack, when that is exactly what it was. The CIA knew it within hours, because two of its former Navy SEALs died in the attack, and other CIA people survived and got out the next morning.

Here we come to the heart of the matter.

Though journalists, CIA personnel and State Department people listening in real time all knew from intercepts and reports back from our people on the ground that this was a terrorist attack involving automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, the fabricated story — that it came out of a protest, a protest that never happened — was pushed relentlessly by the administration.

Jay Carney pushed it two days after the attack. Petraeus pushed it on the Hill three days after the attack. Rice went on five TV shows five days after the attack to recite it chapter and verse. Obama held off calling it a terror attack for weeks in TV interviews and mentioned the video half a dozen times at the U.N. on Sept. 25.

Another question arises from the press conference.

When Obama said Rice “gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her,” was that also the best intelligence the president of the United States had?

If it is, if five days after the attack Obama was that clueless about what actually happened in Benghazi, he ought to clean house at his intelligence agencies.

From the outside, it appears everybody was on board to describe the attack as “spontaneous” and attribute it to the video.

Yet none of this was true. And many inside knew, during or right after the attack, the truth about what had happened and were leaking it to the press. That brings us to the question: Why?

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Pat Buchanan

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Patrick Buchanan is a conservative political commentator and syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?.

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  • kirk

    From my vantage point, which is very limited seeing as how I am a relative nobody living among nobodies living in a rain-swept town far west of the know everything east, this subject has a lot more to do about sniping polititions than anything else. That is not to say I think the lives of two of our very finest were unimportant – it’s the wording of the “message” that has your tail in a knot, and you cannot let the subject rest until you have spoken. You cannot rest until you find that scapegoat and send him/her off into the desert – foul odor and all.

    You, Mr. Buchanan, have said many ridiculous things in the past and you’re hoping all of us will forget those words even as we read your criticisms of another. Is it because of a compulsion to find and punish the culprit, or is it because you want to dig a deeper grave for your own mis-speaks?

    Or perhaps it’s simply a case of post-election blues – for we who favored another candidate, first comes shock, then depression, then anger. Well, it is what it is – so move on to acceptance will you, so current subjects can be pursued.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Are you old enough to remember Watergate? Or “Iran-Contragate?” Would you say that indignation over each of them was just post-election blues by Democrats whose candidate lost a lot more lopsided election than Romney did?

    Why do you suppose Nixon resigned? Would you say it was due to sniping politicians? After all, nobody died as a result of Watergate.

    I wonder whether a political animal like you can even see what I am getting at.

  • Peter Nyikos

    The one excuse I’ve seen for Rice’s and Obama’s behavior that holds any water is that the CIA wanted to be able to track down the Al-Qaida people behind the attack without any publicity about it. But that begs the question of just how high of a security clearance Susan Rice and the President have. I would imagine it is top secret for both, so they at least should have been well informed enough for Susan to avoid giving out the phony story and Obama to say something about Benghazi in the UN that didn’t have anything to do with the video.

    Maybe the CIA is to blame for excessive security, but one way or the other, we need to get to the bottom of this mess so that steps are taken for there never to be a repetition of Susan Rice’s and Obama’s charades.

    Kirk seemed oblivious to this issue, what with his use of “scapegoat” and all, and that is one reason why I used the words “political animal” in my reply to him yesterday.

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