Barack Obama faces not one but two perfect storms. He actually may be grateful for the meteorological one if it predictably helps obscure the political one at least for the next week.
Hurricane Sandy is, of course, a disaster no one would welcome. Untold numbers of Americans are having their lives endangered, or at least severely disrupted, and the potential economic harm is unimaginable at this point.
The president could nonetheless see a silver lining in this horrific “weather event.” For one thing, he gets to posture as the leader of the nation in a terrible time of testing, the one to dole out federal emergency assistance and the great consoler around whom we instinctively rally in such circumstances.
Perhaps more importantly for Team Obama, many voters are going to have many other things on their minds for the next few, critical days instead of thinking about the evidence that their commander in chief was seriously derelict regarding the murderous attack in Benghazi, Libya. The president’s re-election bid cannot afford in the closing days of a putatively very close election to have his fraudulent claim to successful stewardship of the national security portfolio become as exposed as his dismal economic record.
It remains to be seen, however, if Frankenstorm Sandy will do more than simply defer the day of reckoning for Mr. Obama. Whether it occurs on Nov. 6 or afterward, the rising popular revulsion at what happened in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, and the Obama administration’s dissembling, deflections and outright lies in the weeks that followed should blow this presidency away. Consider a sample of the damning information that has come to light so far:
As the attack was under way, the president knew what was going on. Thanks to two unmanned drones, real-time intelligence was being fed to as many as eight different critical civilian and military nodes — including the White House. Published reports indicate that Mr. Obama himself and his senior subordinates were exposed to those video feeds.
Consequently, it was apparent in the actual course of the event that jihadists were engaging in a murderous military-style assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission, rather than demonstrators running amok. There had been no demonstration in Benghazi, period. Yet, administration spokesmen, up to and including Mr. Obama himself, said otherwise repeatedly.
There had been requests for improved security at the Benghazi facilities and other sites in Libya. There also had been requests simply to retain the security forces that had been in place in-country up until summer’s end. The Obama administration denied those requests and then prevaricated about having done so. Think Vice President Joseph R. Biden in his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan.
Within an hour of the start of the attack, Mr. Obama met with his national security team’s senior civilian and military national security leaders. The president has claimed he issued an order to “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.” It is not clear at this writing to whom that order was given. What is clear, though, is that serial requests for supporting fire and reinforcements from some of those personnel were denied.
Reportedly, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens chose on Sept. 11 to be in Benghazi, even though he had expressed growing concern that it and the rest of Libya were becoming increasingly dangerous. He had a firsthand appreciation of just how dangerous since he had, for more than a year, helped arm, finance and otherwise support Libya’s most aggressive Islamist elements in the interest of achieving the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi.
What was important enough to prompt our top diplomat in Libya to make such a dangerous foray? It seems the ambassador felt compelled to meet with the Turkish consul general that evening for the purpose of damage-limitation following the compromise of the secret weapons pipeline Mr. Stevens was then running to Syria. By some accounts, the Russians, Iranians and others had discovered that he was covertly providing automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and even shoulder-fired, man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to “the opposition” there, including known jihadists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.
The revelation that Mr. Obama was presiding over an operation involving gunrunning to our enemies — including weapons virtually certain to be turned against us, later if not sooner — could have been fatal to his re-election bid. Consider that a serious U.S. military response to the violence in Benghazi would provide ample evidence of the fatuousness and mendacity of the administration’s Arab Spring and “lead-from-behind” in Libya narratives. Toss in, too, Mr. Obama’s refusal to act to save American lives, and you have a perfect storm for a president.
In the crisis, Mr. Obama was evidently paralyzed — not decisive and certainly not courageous. Regrettably, the loss of four of our countrymen that fateful night and the cover-up that followed will come to be seen by history as simply the leitmotif of a commander in chief whose record is a virtually unmitigated disaster for the United States.
It behooves all of us, and most especially the mainstream media, to stay focused — despite the devastating impact of hurricane-force winds, widespread blackouts and massive flooding — on the insights and lessons of the still-unfolding Benghazigate firestorm.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of Secure Freedom Radio on WRC-AM (1260).