Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday downplayed State Department internal e-mails regarding the deadly attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi on September 11th, reported by Reuters, and Fox News by telling the AP, “Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence.” Clinton added, “I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be.”
The e-mails contradict not only the administration’s narrative that they were given bad intelligence about the nature of the attack that took the lives of four Americans, but also that the attack was incited by an obscure online video, uploaded by a Southern California resident, that was found to be offensive to Muslims.
It is not shocking that the Obama administration is defaulting to its usual Bart Simpson “I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it. There’s no way you can prove anything” response, even when they are caught red-handed.
The administration knew very well just how dangerous a situation they were putting their diplomatic staffs located in Libya in well before the 9/11 anniversary attack. In fact, on August 27 the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs put out the following warning to Americans who may have had plans to travel to Libya at the time: (bolding is mine)
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya. The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated September 22, 2011, and notes the resumption of full consular services to U.S. citizens on August 27, 2012.
Libyans cast ballots on July 7 in elections deemed to be free and fair according to election observers. Libya’s General National Congress replaced the Transitional National Council in August 2012 and will lead the country until elections are held on the basis of a new constitution. Despite this progress, violent crime continues to be a problem in Tripoli, Benghazi, and other parts of the country. In particular, armed carjacking and robbery are on the rise.
In addition, political violence, including car bombings in Tripoli and assassinations of military officers and alleged former regime officials in Benghazi, has increased. Inter-militia conflict can erupt at any time or any place in the country. Seven Iranian Red Crescent officials were kidnapped July 31 in Benghazi by local militia members, and as of the date of this warning, they have not been released. There have also been several reports of militias briefly apprehending and detaining foreigners due to perceived or actual violations of Libyan law. The Embassy’s ability to intervene in such cases remains limited, as these groups are neither sanctioned nor controlled by the Libyan government.
The seven Iranian Red Crescent workers were eventually released, the AFP reported, on October 6 and left Libya for Turkey, where they were scheduled to return to Iran. It is important to remember that the obscure video the administration blamed for inciting the attacks was online since July of this year.
So why did the State Department continue to ignore Ambassador Stevens when he repeatedly asked for more security personnel, when their own department had already warned Americans about traveling to Libya two weeks before?
In the meantime, Mark Basseley Youssef sits in a California jail for uploading a video President Obama, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Sec. of State Clinton falsely blamed for this whole mess.