Commentary Magazine


White House: Maybe Embassy Attack Was Planned After All

After insisting last week that the U.S. embassy attack in Benghazi was prompted entirely by an anti-Islam video, the White House is now scrambling to walk back that position, which looks more absurd by the day (h/t Allahpundit):

Press secretary Jay Carney suggested the assault could have been the work of an armed group looking to “take advantage” of demonstrations he blamed on an anti-Islam video available online.

Carney repeatedly described that footage as the “precipitating” cause of the protests and the violence targeting American diplomatic posts in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia and elsewhere.

Libya is “still a very volatile place [where] there are vast numbers of weapons, and certainly a number of violent groups in the country,” he told reporters at his daily briefing.

“There is an abundance of weapons, including heavy weapons, and there are certainly groups that carry those weapons and look to take advantage of those circumstances—as there are around the region and the world,” Carney said. He did not say whether such groups might be linked to international extremist networks like al-Qaida.

You didn’t have to be briefed by Leon Panetta last week to see that Benghazi carried hallmarks of a planned attack. And while the video may have been used as a distraction, it stretches credulity to think it was a coincidence that the assault took place on the anniversary of September 11.

As more information comes out about the attack, the Obama administration will be put in an increasingly uncomfortable position. For one, it will have to explain the lack of security at the U.S. embassy, and around the ambassador. Second, it will have to explain why it spent days playing into the hands of terrorists by repeatedly condemning the video and trying to get it pulled from YouTube. Third, it will have to explain why it mistook an apparent terrorist attack for a spontaneous protest.