Benghazi 9/11

Four Americans come home after being killed in the Benghazi 9/11/2012 attack
Four Americans come home after being killed in the Benghazi 9/11/2012 attack


The tragedy of Benghazi, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, seemed a cut-and-dried story in the days after a mob attacked the State Department’s mission in eastern Libya.

From President Obama on down, the recap was simple: A crowd of demonstrators angry over an obscure YouTube video that denigrated Islam’s Prophet Muhammad spontaneously stormed the complex.

Benghazi ambassador
Ambassador Chris Stevens being dragged through the streets during the attack

The State Department’s top spokeswoman assured the public that security for fallen Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his aide Sean Smith was “robust.”

Pentagon chieftains likewise said the military did all it could in the ensuing eight-plus hours of the attacks, during which two former Navy SEALs — security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed by mortar fire while trying to protect a nearby CIA annex.

Today, the public knows that those early administration pronouncements were false. They were uttered with less than two months to go in a presidential election campaign in which Mr. Obama declared al Qaeda on its heels.

In fact, no demonstration occurred outside the mission on Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington. The attackers were a heavily armed, well-organized band of Islamic extremists, most notably the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah.

Security, rather than “robust,” was nearly nonexistent. The local militia hired to guard the compound fled as extremists set fires that ultimately killed Stevens and Smith as they sought safety in living quarters known as “Villa C.”

As for the Pentagon, questions persist as to why no forces were in a position to reach Benghazi to rescue the diplomats, CIA officers and the former SEALs under fire at the annex. The only help they got came from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, whose team did not arrive until nearly daybreak Sept. 12.

Benghazi deaths

The story line of the Benghazi scandal is filled with misleading statements and poor decision-making:

•A president who publicly clung to the idea that an American dabbler in YouTube productions prompted the deaths of four Americans.

•A State Department that repeatedly denied requests for more security and pulled bodyguards out of Libya as violence spiked.

•Altered “talking points” that the administration used on a series of Sunday interview shows to tell Americans that the attack was a protest rather than an orchestrated assault by terrorists.

• The world’s most powerful military as a spectator as the attack unfolded.

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