NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

May 22, 2013

Why Benghazi matters

To the editor:

During testimony before the Senate about the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi that killed four Americans including our ambassador to Libya, Hillary Clinton stated, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference — at this point, what difference does it make?”

President Obama called the debate over his administration’s use of discredited talking points before last fall’s election a “sideshow.” The testimony given by three State Department whistleblowers and the subsequent leak of the 12 revisions made to those points beg for more scrutiny, even if the attack is “old news,” as press secretary Carney says.

The American people were misled about the nature of the attack in Benghazi. There’s no debate about that. We deserve to know who decided that the attack should be falsely blamed on a YouTube video and whether President Obama and then Secretary of State Clinton knowingly lied to the American people or were duped by subordinates into spreading the false tale.

On Sept. 12, days before U.N. Ambassador Rice would tell the YouTube video lie on five Sunday talk shows, McClatchy newspapers reported, “The guards who were at the compound said there was no protest before the attack. So did European diplomats and residents who were nearby. State Department officials watched the attack in real time from security cameras mounted around the Benghazi compound. Libya’s president called claims of a protest beforehand ‘preposterous.’ The Obama administration had video of the attack and 30 survivors who could corroborate that no demonstration occurred yet that is the story they decided to peddle to the American people. The largely accurate first set of talking points from the CIA which stated, ‘We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaida participated in the attack,’ were scrubbed to the point that then CIA director Petraeus deemed them “useless,” stating, I would just as soon not use them. But it’s their [the White House’s] call.”

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