While the Obama Administration and the State Department are trying to keep a lid on what really happened in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — because they are treating it as a “crime scene” — the news media is doing its job.
CNN has an article about warnings that purportedly were given to U.S. officials in Libya about the deteriorating security situation there. The New York Times reports on the “problem of Libya’s militias,” which indicates that since the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi Libya has become a fractionalized, lawless place dominated by heavily armed, autonomous “miliitias” with little sense of central control. A BBC story quotes the president of the Libya’s interim assembly as saying that the Benghazi incident was carefully planned by foreigners who came to Libya months ago and have been plotting the attack since then. The latter story, of course, undercuts the notion that the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory internet video. And the photos of the burnt-out remains of the consulate, published in newspapers and on websites across the globe, demonstrate how devastating the attack was.
These reports raise obvious questions about the real cause of the Benghazi attack and whether the Obama Administration, the U.S. State Department, and the intelligence community ignored clear danger signs — or even explicit advance warnings — about the security situation in Libya. These questions can’t be adequately answered by spin-oriented flacks like White House press secretary Jay Carney. Instead, those questions need to be asked, in a public forum, and answered under oath by knowledgeable Administration officials whose jobs involve collecting intelligence, ensuring that our diplomatic outposts are adequately safeguarded, and communicating with host countries about embassy security. We deserve to know how this fiasco happened.