When you hear the phrase “9/11,” what comes to mind? The terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center, right? That was truly a heinous, cowardly act and a tragedy for America in more ways than one. But, there was another heinous, cowardly act perpetrated against America on 9/11, which the Administration seems to have placed on the back burner hoping it will be forgotten. I’m referring to the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the Ambassador, on 9/11/2012.
A whole year has passed, and we are no closer to bringing the perpetrators to justice. How can this be? How could the US, with its vast resources, have failed so utterly and completely to identify, locate and punish the perpetrators? Furthermore, how can it be that despite a lengthy internal investigation and various Congressional hearings no one in the Administration or the State Department has been held accountable? I don’t want to repeat everything I said last year in my initial Benghazi blog, but we should remember the highlights (or, if you prefer, the lowlights). This tragedy was mishandled from the beginning.
1. Before the attack, security at the consulate was insufficient and was not beefed up despite repeated requests from embassy personnel on location and the impending symbolic 9/11 date.
2. Special forces based in Tripoli could have been tasked to counterattack and could have arrived in time to save some or all of the four who were murdered, but the commander of those forces, Colonel Gibson, has reported he was ordered to “stand down.” This account is supported by Mr. Gregory Hicks, the former Deputy of Mission in Libya, who testified before Congress that he was standing next to Colonel Gibson when Gibson was given the order. The person who gave the “stand down” order has never been identified, and in point of fact, the Pentagon and the Administration have denied such an order was ever given.
3. The Administration, including the State Department, claimed for months that the attack was just a demonstration that got out of hand. In addition, they claimed that the demonstration was set off by an anti-Muslim video. The dissemination of this preposterous assertion was aided and abetted by most of the media, which wanted to support Mr. Obama’s claim that it was not a terrorist attack. A terrorist attack resulting in the death of four Americans would have damaged his re-election prospects, particularly since he had claimed that under his Administration the US had “gutted the core” of Al Qaeda and that they “no longer had the capacity or resources to wage another 9/11-style attack.”
4. Mr. Romney failed to pursue this aggressively during the final Presidential debate and the final weeks of the campaign, an error which, I believe, cost him the election.
5. Neither the Congress nor the Pickering-Mullen Special Panel has been able to get to the bottom of this.
6. Most puzzling of all is the fact that one of alleged leaders of the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattalah, has been giving interviews to the media, yet the Administration has claimed it cannot apprehend him.
7. In January 2013 Hillary Clinton, while testifying before Congress on this tragedy, stated callously “… the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? WHAT DIFFERENCE AT THIS POINT DOES IT MATTER?” To me, that careless, heartless comment, shows how she feels about the matter and her personality, in general.
PREDICTION AND CONCLUSION
The Administration has failed not only the American people, but also the family members of the murdered diplomats. The safety of diplomats serving in foreign countries is supposed to be sacrosanct. President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the FBI and others have told the family members that finding their relatives’ murders and bringing them to justice would be a “top priority.” Yet, one year later, no arrests have been made despite the fact that Khattalah has been out in the open socializing in coffee houses, giving interviews to the media, “hiding in plain site,” as it were. Why can’t the Administration pressure the Libyan government to give him up, or failing that just go in and get him? Your guess is as good as mine, but it is consistent with the pattern I have outlined above. It is also consistent with Mr. Obama’s failure to resolve any of the other scandals and embarrassments of his Administration – Fast and Furious, IRS, NSA, to name a few.
The Day of Reckoning is approaching – Election Day 2014, followed by 2016. I believe the voters will speak loudly and clearly. One can only hope.