Murder, as the Bard reminded us, “though it have no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ.” That goes double, as we’re learning now about what happened in Benghazi. Murder is multiplied by betrayal. Washington’s sleepy press regiments appear to be rising from a five-year slumber to recognize the Benghazi betrayal as a real story.
CBS News’ “60 Minutes” interviewed several players were on the scene in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, when al Qaeda terrorists, commemorating the original terrorism of that date in infamy, overran the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, murdering Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The firsthand witnesses paint the picture of a White House that ignored unmistakable warning signs of impending attack and then turned aside desperate and inconvenient pleas for help.
Apart from this newspaper and Fox News, few media organs gave the story the attention it deserved. The network news editors and correspondents pretended that Benghazi never happened, no doubt figuring the public would forget about it and everyone would move on. A year ago, Time magazine’s Joe Klein called Benghazi “the October mirage” because “it really isn’t an issue.” The New York Times’ Helene Cooper told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that, “The death of four Americans, which is why, while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what’s going on right now.” The tragedy was not incredible at all; it was perfectly believable. CNN’s Candy Crowley even “corrected” Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate last year when he remarked that President Obama hadn’t even called the Benghazi attack an act of terrorism, preferring instead the concocted story that a YouTube video by an American incited the Muslims to riot.
CNN, perhaps trying to climb out of Mr. Obama’s pocket where it dwelt for so long, argued this week that the administration’s credibility has been damaged by Obamacare, NSA spying — and Benghazi. The reluctant correspondents should be further kept awake by the dogged reporting of our own Rowan Scarborough, who revealed Thursday that two special operations soldiers who were in Tripoli on another hunt for terrorists volunteered to race to Benghazi, though vastly outnumbered, to rescue the trapped Americans. Rather than celebrate unselfish heroism, the administration hushed it up, and awarded medals for valor in secret lest it further give the lie to the several administration versions of what happened in Benghazi. In one of those versions, there were no special forces in Libya. Now we know there were.
But for the deception, the Benghazi story might have faded, a tragic footnote to the story of a preventable mistake. Instead, the scandal lives on as yet another example of an arrogant and inept administration unable to grasp Washington’s first rule of scandal: The truth will eventually find a tongue, with much to tell not only about the crime, but the cover-up.