Since it was originally published, a New York Times investigation claims to have found the notorious and offensive anti-Islam video indeed to have been a factor in the Bengjazi unrest of 9/11/12. As with all media investigations, we should withhold a blind embrace based solely on the conclusions drawn by the authors. We have seen how it is possible for media investigators, via negligence or intent, to influence outcomes.
Today, the State Department released a statement designating two of three terrorist organizations as having been actors in the Benghazi attacks. Some will remember that Victoria Nuland, then State Department spokesperson, hesitated to finger a specific organization in the early days after the Benghazi attacks, absent hard evidence, as demonstrated in the vast exchange of emails among her "building," the White House, and the CIA. Some were pushing to have Ansar Al-Shari'a named at the time. The State Department acted out of an abundance of caution then and today designated that organization as an agent.
That much established, here is the original post from May 10, 2013.
Myth: Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.
Not exactly. Here are her words on September 12, 2012.
We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region, however. This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment. All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department. The American School in Tunisia was destroyed. Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok, did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.
Myth: She blamed the attack on the video at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews AFB on the 14th. Nope again. She referred to the demonstrations above, but she did not say they caused the attack. Speaking of Ambassador Chris Stevens she said this.
The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments.Spin: "What difference does it make?" First of all, those are not her exact words. Second, the exasperated remark came in the course of an exchange during Hillary Clinton's testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23. The focus of that exchange was whether Secretary Clinton had spoken to any individual on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11. Thanks to Tom Kertscher at PolitiFact we have the transcript (there is more at this link.)
This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.
Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown --Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.
Spin: Nordstrom, understandably distressed, keeps returning like the Ancient Mariner saying Hillary Clinton refused additional security requested in March 2012. The body that properly should be called upon to address the reason for the reduction of available security resources is the House Appropriations Committee that cut the diplomatic security budget by hundreds of millions of dollars two years in a row. (Oh! Hi there Jason Chaffetz of the teary eyes and choked up throat!)
Spin: Gregory Hicks, demoted for speaking out. Leaving aside for the moment that you chose to speak to a Congress person without a lawyer present as that terrible witch Cheryl Mills pointed out to be State Department protocol, let's look at what you did do. Left in charge of Embassy Tripoli on September 11 with four special forces in place, contacted by Ambassador Stevens (who had the other six special forces assigned to Embassy Tripoli with him in Benghazi), and told the installation was under attack, you thought it would be a great idea to send the last four special forces in Tripoli 400 miles away.
This, while embassies across the region and beyond were subject to rather aggressive demonstrations. Let's also leave aside the logistics of getting those forces to Benghazi in time to do anything to help. There were two things that were unknown. First, was the Benghazi attack a distractor and precursor to a bigger attack on Embassy Tripoli (of which you were in charge)? Second, is there another attack coming in Benghazi? The second happened to be the case. But Hicks decided it made the best sense to send the last remaining forces out of Tripoli.
"I'm in charge" echoes from the grave of Alexander Haig aside, I have never seen a less responsible decision. Hicks was second in command and in charge of Embassy Tripoli that night. He was responsible for all embassy personnel and all classified material and electronics inside the embassy. This was his decision - to strip away all special forces on the ground there -yes, in the fog of an attack hundreds of miles away. We appreciate your service, but, questioning your judgment, understand why you were assigned a "desk job."
Is this who should be chief of any mission? Or second in command? If you have ever been in charge of anything, you know the answer to this question. If you are a mom, you know the answer.
It remains up to us, Hillary's loyalists, to keep a record of the truth and to provide it as needed in debates over Hillary's words and actions. We all need to remain attentive and vigilant and to share as necessary to protect our girl from the slander and lies of those who would denigrate her performance.