by Todd Beaman
WASHINGTON D.C. – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Wednesday that an email in which a White House official advises former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to link the 2012 Benghazi attack to an anti-Muslim video to protect President Barack Obama’s re-election bid proved that the administration “from the beginning misled Congress, the media — and most importantly, the American people.”
“For nearly two years, Congress and the American people have sought answers to important questions surrounding the attack on our mission in Benghazi,” the Virginia Republican said in a statement. “For nearly two years, the White House has sought to avoid answering those questions.
“Now we know why it required a court order to finally force the White House to respond to those inquiries,” Cantor said.
In a Sept. 14, 2012, email released by Judicial Watch on Tuesday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes advised Rice to focus on the YouTube video as the cause of a spontaneous protest that led to the attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
That was in the face of previously released emails showing that senior defense officials told the administration on the night of the attack that it was terrorism linked to al-Qaida and that no protest had occurred.
Rhodes outlined several talking points for Rice, now Obama’s national security adviser, with the advice “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16, saying the attacks were caused by the video.
The assault on the U.S. Consulate and nearby CIA annex killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith — and two Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Judicial Watch obtained the documents on April 18 via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit it filed against the State Department last June. They obtained 41 emails, many of which had portions redacted.
Republicans charged to Newsmax that the email was a “smoking gun” showing that proved the White House used the attack to bolster Obama’s claims that al-Qaida was on the run in Libya.
They also stepped up their calls into an independent investigation into the attacks.
“It is increasingly clear that this administration orchestrated an effort to deflect attention away from their failed Libya policy and the resurgence of al-Qaida and other terrorists,” Cantor said. “The emails provide additional evidence that senior officials knew the attack on our mission in Benghazi was a complex attack and not a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video.
“Some may say, what difference at this point does it make?” the majority leader asked.
“Well, four brave Americans were killed in Benghazi — and to date it appears that more has been done to protect internal emails than to bring the murderers of these Americans to justice.”