by Matt Lacy –
Senior officials at the State Department have no completely changed their story regarding the events surrounding attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya, now saying the attack had nothing to do with an anti-Islam film despite multiple statements blaming the movie.
In the days following the attack which left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other officials dead, Obama administration officials including UN Ambassador Susan Rice dogmatically insisted the attacks were not a terrorist incident but a response to a film trailer by an American producer that mocked Muhammed.
The government even went so far as to produce a commercial that ran in Pakistan condemning the film while suggesting the film was responsible for the attack. On Sept. 16, White House press secretary Joe Carney said, “we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.”
Carney then went on to say “Based on the information that we have now, it was — there was a reaction to the video — there was protests in Cairo, then followed by protests elsewhere, including Benghazi, and that was what led to the original unrest.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice repeatedly told talk shows on Sept. 16 that the attack was not premeditated but resulted from protests against the anti-Islam video.
The federal government ran television ads in Pakistan featuring Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton where they condemned the video. The president made similar comments in other venues including the United Nations where he associated the video with the events in Egypt and Libya.
While the president referred to the attacks as an act of terrorism on Sept. 12, he has avoided the word since then and while addressing the United Nations on Sept. 25 two weeks after the attack Obama mentioned the film in depth, but never used the word “terrorism” to refer to the incident.
However, the narrative has recently begun unraveling as new evidence indicates that US diplomats recently pleaded for extra security but were rebuffed by the administration who told them they were reducing security in Libya to convey a perception that life was returning to normal following last year’s revolution.
This week the State Department denied it ever said the attack on the consulate in Benghazi had anything to do with the anti-Islam movie.
With the State Department saying it never claimed the attack had anything to do with the film, some have questioned why the administration so vehemently insisted the attacks were because of the film and no terrorism was involved.
The government’s response was to blame the intelligence community saying they were given bad intelligence.
During a Congressional hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the incident, Rep. Mike Kelley, (R-Pa.) pointedly asked why the government repeatedly attempted to blame the incident on the film.
“Why in the heck did it take so long for all these highly briefed and intelligent people to try and figure out that it actually wasn’t a 15-minute YouTube video, it actually was a 9/11 event, a terrorist attack?”
The attempt to downplay terrorist attacks by radical Islamists has been a pattern by the administration. The administration said it would no longer use the phrase “war on terror” preferring instead to call it “man-caused disasters.” Following the Fort Hood Shooting by Maj. Nidal Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” while shooting his fellow soldiers the government declared the shooting was a simple act of workplace violence.