WILLIAMS: How could this happen?

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There were no protesters. I’ll say it again: There were no protesters.

People tend to believe the first thing that they hear. If I tell you that the individual mandate is a penalty, and then I later tell you that it’s really a tax, you will doubt the second thing I say rather than the first, even though you’re hearing it from the same source.

So it is that people don’t seem to understand what is happening with the Obama administration in the Middle East. The Sept. 11 attack on Benghazi that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was an intelligently planned, coordinated killing. This was no spontaneous demonstration run amok. This was premeditated, cold-blooded killing.

As is to be expected, the media is partially to blame for allowing the Obama administration to get away with their ridiculous narrative that the killing of our ambassador — an official of the Obama administration, no less — was the result of protests of an obscure YouTube movie that hardly anyone had ever heard of. Its being the anniversary of al Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in an area known to have al Qaeda cells was a coincidence.

But reports tell us that the administration knew within 24 hours what had really happened, and yet that was not enough for them to tell us the truth. For all of the finger-pointing and palaver about Mitt Romney’s response, the media outrage machine has been decidedly quiet about the president’s fundraiser in Las Vegas later that day, and about why Mr. Romney did what he did: He was justified.

The media has instead chosen to spin things. At Thursday’s vice presidential debate, Martha Raddatz had the audacity to ask Paul Ryan about Mr. Romney’s Sept. 12 statement condemning the embassy’s response to the protests. The American people don’t need to know if the next president is a good campaigner; they need to know that the president is not lying to them. In the vice presidential debate, Mitt Romney’s name was mentioned 20 times more than the man who has actually been president for four years.

This is not the first time that coordinated, well-planned violent attacks by Arab extremists have been blamed on “spontaneous” reactions to provocations. This is not the first time that America has been blamed for people wanting to destroy America.

In 2000, the Palestinians launched a five-year war of suicide bombings and other terrorist assaults against Israel; at the onset of the violence the war was presented as a natural and spontaneous reaction to Israeli leader Ariel Sharon visiting the Temple Mount. In fact, the violence was planned ahead of time and the visit by Mr. Sharon produced little more than rock-throwing on the Temple Mount; in the Libya attacks, there were no violent street protests leading up to the attacks that killed our ambassador — the streets were empty.

The president mentioned the YouTube video six times in his address to the United Nations. He wants to be perceived as having been tough on terrorism (see also “White House Intelligence Leaks”), but a preplanned attack in Libya by elements who may be connected to al Qaeda didn’t fit that narrative. The truth will continue to emerge in the weeks and months ahead, but enough truth has emerged already to make this look like a cover-up.

Obama 2012 Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, who will toss truth to the wind, said that “the entire reason that this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.”

If that were my deputy campaign manager, she would be fired. This is a level of rationalization that defies comprehension. And yet she doubled down on it later in the evening on CNN, despite appearing more nervous than she usually is (which is very). The eristic sophistries of Ms. Cutter, a graduate of the same Jesuit law school as another logic-challenged young woman (Sandra Fluke) should not be taken seriously by anyone. She is a known liar.

We know that it was a terrorist attack; we know that the consulate in Libya asked for more security and was denied it. We know that Mr. Stevens feared an event just such as this one, as described in his diary.

When asked about the Benghazi killings, Vice President Joseph R. Biden quickly changed the subject to Iraq, Iran, and Osama bin Laden. Did he change the subject because he was confident? I don’t think so. Mr. Biden accused Mr. Ryan of cutting embassy security, something that did not happen. The Ryan budget — which has no force of law — would cut funding to the Department of State; it does not say how the Department should allocate those cuts. It is a budget resolution, not an appropriations bill. You would think that someone who spent 30 years collecting a Senate paycheck would know that.

But the lies keep coming out: whatever it takes to get re-elected.

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