Commentary Magazine


Jon Stewart Rips White House Over Benghazi Inconsistencies

You know something has officially become a problem for the White House when Jon Stewart picks up on it:

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The Jon Stewart demographic isn’t going to vote for Romney anyway (if they vote at all), but this does get the story out to an audience that might otherwise be unaware of it. The same goes for USA Today, which published a scathing editorial criticizing the Obama administration’s inconsistent narrative:

Spontaneous? Hardly. The administration acknowledges that Ambassador Chris Stevens died in an organized terrorist attack, likely mounted by an Islamic extremist group and an al-Qaeda affiliate.

Without warning? Not exactly. Violence against Westerners had been escalating for months in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. In June, an improvised explosive device damaged a perimeter wall at the Benghazi compound. On Aug. 27, the State Department issued a travel warning, citing the threat of assassinations and bombings in both Benghazi and Tripoli. According to a journal found and described by CNN, Stevens himself was worried about safety. …

This, then, was not one of those failures that is only visible in retrospect. It was a predictable vulnerability that the State Department failed to protect against. And for the sake of Americans in other foreign outposts, that calls for much closer scrutiny than the administration has been willing to allow.

The administration will not be able to avoid closer scrutiny for long. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa sent a letter to Hillary Clinton this morning detailing more troubling reports of security concerns in Benghazi that had been brought to him by whistle blowers:

Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the Ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest. In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.

In the six months prior to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, there were two other attacks on the consulate involving explosives, according to Issa’s letter. One occurred in early April, when two Libyans who had previously provided security for the consulate allegedly threw an IED over the consulate’s fence. In June, there was a bombing that blew a large hole in the consulate security perimeter. Based on just those two incidents, it’s unfathomable that security wasn’t increased at the consulate before the sensitive date of Sept. 11.