Key moments in the Benghazi scandal, leaving out the scandal of leaving Americans unprotected in a dangerous place.
1) Benghazi attack happens, four Americans are killed. Media attack Romney.
Mitt Romney releases a statement criticizing Obama, and gets pilloried in the news media.
Crises overseas tend to create moments of joint resolve back home, a time to pause from the daily bickering of partisan politics. But as news was streaming in about attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, Mitt Romney broke from that protocol.
The same protocol followed by Obama when beating up Bush over Iraq? Or Harry Reid declaring the war lost? Or Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat asses trotting off to Syria to kiss Assad’s ring while Bush was president?
On September 13, CBS News, run by David Rhodes, airs a special “60 Minutes” interview with Obama on the Wednesday nightly news. Steve Kroft tosses Obama soft balls. He takes a dig at Romney:
President Obama told CBS News on Wednesday that Romney “seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.”
“There are legitimate criticisms to be made but you foreclose on your ability to make them when you try to score easy political points,” he said. “And the American people, when the country is attacked, whether they’re a Republican or Democrat or independent, want to see leaders who have measured responses, not leaders whose first instinct is to try to score political points.
What dollar value would you assign to that pro-Obama “election ad?”
2) White House scrambles to not look bad with the election just a few weeks away.
As Fox has ably, and almost solely pointed out, the Obama administration sent out U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on the Sunday news shows to spread the idea that the Benghazi attack was motivated by a mob upset over the anti-Muslim video. Hillary blames said video to grieving relatives of the dead.
No one inside or outside the administration believed that.
3) White House covers up its behavior, with help from news media
The White House drags its feet over investigations into Benghazi. To this day, we do not know what Obama did during the attack, although he made sure to have photographers ready when Osama bin Laden was taken out. He did fly off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the following morning.
Republicans, and Fox News, who’ve sought answers to the Benghazi debacle and are treated as partisan cranks for not just moving on. CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson gets rough treatment at CBS for pursuing the story. Her boss, as noted, is David Rhodes, brother of Ben Rhodes.
The White House drags its feet, releases heavily redacted documents, figuring the whole thing would blow over.
Finally, after a lawsuit forces Obama to come clean, we get proof that protecting Obama’s image and reelection, not telling the truth, were the administration’s goals.
More than 100 pages of documents were released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a Sept. 14, 2012, email from Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
The Rhodes email, with the subject line: “RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET,” was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Press Secretary Jay Carney.
In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.
The email lists the following two goals, among others:
“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
“To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
The email goes on to state that the U.S. government rejected the message of the Internet video. “We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence,” the email stated.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the documents read like a PR strategy, not an effort to provide the best available intelligence to the American people.
“The goal of the White House was to do one thing primarily, which was to make the president look good. Blame it on the video and not [the] president’s policies,” he said.