Obama Lied, Al Qaeda Thrived, Americans Died

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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While Obama was doing his end zone dance during the election, he was well aware that he was selling Americans a false narrative of victory. The mission accomplished banner he was hanging was threadbare and he knew it.

As President Obama ran to election victory last fall with claims that al Qaeda was “decimated” and “on the run,” his intelligence team was privately offering a different assessment that the terrorist movement was shifting resources and capabilities to emerging spinoff groups in Africa that posed fresh threats to American security.

Top U.S. officials, including the president, were told in the summer and fall of 2012 that the African offshoots were gaining money, lethal knowledge and a mounting determination to strike U.S. and Western interests while keeping in some contact with al Qaeda’s central leadership, said several people directly familiar with the intelligence.

The gulf between the classified briefings and Mr. Obama’s pronouncements on the campaign trail touched off a closed-door debate inside the intelligence community about whether the terrorist group’s demise was being overstated for political reasons, officials told The Washington Times.

Many Americans believed when they voted in November that the president was justifiably touting a major national security success of his first term. After all, U.S. special operations forces succeeded in May 2011 in capturing and killing the al Qaeda founder and original leader, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.

But key players in the intelligence community and in Congress were actually worried that Mr. Obama was leaving out a major new chapter in al Qaeda’s evolving story in order to bend the reality of how successful his administration had been during its first four years in the fight against terrorism.

If Obama isn’t allowed to bend reality into new and more interesting shapes, how is he supposed to win elections? By running on his record?

Key attackers were identified early as belonging to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). A video message sent by al-Zawahri on the night before the incident explicitly called for attacks on Americans in Libya to avenge a fatal U.S. drone strike on a Libyan-born senior al Qaeda operative in Pakistan.

The message was almost immediately identified as a possible motivation, or trigger, for the Benghazi attack.

Despite being briefed on it privately, Mr. Obama and his surrogates resisted portraying the attack as having been carried out, or even inspired by, al Qaeda. To the contrary, Mr. Obama — then in the throes of daily campaigning for re-election — appeared only to ramp up his narrative that the al Qaeda threat was diminished.

Politics comes first. It always comes first.

 

  • DogmaelJones1

    ” A video message sent by al-Zawahri on the night before the incident explicitly called for attacks on Americans in Libya to avenge a fatal U.S. drone strike on a Libyan-born senior al Qaeda operative in Pakistan.”

    So, Hillary wasn’t lying! It WAS a movie that the Benghazi attackers were “demonstrating” against! But, it wasn’t “The Innocence of Muslims.” It was the trailer for “The Guilt of al-Zawahri.” She just got the titles confused!

    • truebearing

      Well played!

    • MrUniteUs1

      Locals in Benghazi blamed the anti-muhammad movie.

  • Gary Jenkins

    Obama Lied
    Al Qaeda Thrived
    Americans Died
    All Because of JEWISH SPIES

    • truebearing

      Huh? Too much model airplane glue, again?

  • JVictor

    These last two presidential administrations have allowed for the proliferation of radical Islam at a terrible cost to the American people.

    Bush was naïve to believe that western values could prosper in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israeli leaders warned him about the dangers posed by invading Iraq in particular. He ignored their warnings, and countless dollars and precious American lives were lost. People can argue his motives; but, the end result was the same: Religious zealotry, in general, and radical Islam, particularly, will trump any type of truncated “human rights” mission if given any type of foothold.

    Obama has an undeniable track record of supporting the more radical Islamic elements at every turn. Whether he was “leading from behind” by funneling sophisticated weaponry to the Syrian rebels through Benghazi or by ignoring the pleas of the Iranian people for freedom from the Holocaust-denying Ahmadinijad and, now, Rouhani regimes, he has thrown his support behind the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaida since before he was elected to the presidency. All the while, Israel has become increasingly isolated and any minority religion has been increasingly threatened.

    Ignorance is no excuse. Bush should have known better. Arrogance is no excuse. Obama is culpable in the turmoil now. For better or worse, the two of them share the horrible distinction of helping radical Islam get a stronger foothold in the world.

  • MrUniteUs1

    President Obama was quite accurate. He was referring to Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.