Who Should Be Held Accountable for the Benghazi Cover-Up?

How administration higher-ups set their subordinates up for the fall.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Peter King called last week for the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. King said that Rice should resign for misleading the American public during a succession of Sunday television news show interviews about what led to the Sept. 11th murders of Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans during an assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She said that it was a spontaneous mob outburst that got out of control in reaction to the anti-Muslim video, rather than the premeditated Islamic jihadist attack that it actually was.

“I believe that this was such a failure of foreign policy messag[ing] and leadership, such a misstatement of facts as was known at the time … for her to go on all of those shows and in effect be our spokesman for the world and be misinforming the American people and our allies and countries around the world, to me, somebody has to pay the price for this,” King told CNN.

King is wrong to scapegoat Rice. She was simply taking her cue from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who shamelessly blamed the video for the violence in order to divert attention away from their abysmal failure to secure the consulate against a predictable Islamist jihadist assault on Americans on the anniversary of 9/11.

By having Rice appear on several Sunday talk shows with her disingenuous explanation, the Obama administration put her out on a limb to be cut off later if necessary and save the higher-ups from accountability.

Ambassador Rice is part of the State Department headed by Hillary Clinton.  Does anyone seriously doubt that Rice's  public statements on an issue as delicate as the violence in Libya and Egypt would not have been vetted first by more senior Obama administration officials, if not by Hillary herself?

Ambassador Stevens also worked for the State Department.  In excerpts from his diary released by CNN, Stevens expressed concern for his own safety because he believed he was on al Qaeda's hit list for assassination. What was Hillary's State Department's response to this information when it was made public?  Her senior advisor Philippe Reines blasted CNN for doing its journalistic duty.

Asked about the warnings of a possible hit list, Clinton said,  "I have absolutely no information or reason to believe that there's any basis for that."

"The office of the director of National Intelligence has said we have no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent," Clinton also said, calling the security measures in place there "robust."

The first head to roll should be Hillary Clinton's, not her subordinates.  Hillary is highly experienced in cover-ups from her days as First Lady during her husband's administration.  She appears to be putting that experience to work today in keeping the public from learning the complete truth as to why the State Department did not do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel.

The next to go should be Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose spokesperson issued a statement on Clapper's behalf on September 28th claiming that American intelligence agencies "revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists."

What new information? The Libyan government said from the outset that the video had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack but rather was a pre-meditated terrorist attack.  According to informed sources quoted by Fox News, our intelligence agencies knew within a day that al Qaeda affiliates were behind the attack.  Is Clapper's claim of "new information" a lie to cover up what the Obama administration really knew early on as opposed to its back-and-forth public explanations, or are our intelligence agencies just incredibly incompetent in ignoring the obvious?  Either way, it is time for Clapper, who said last year that the Muslim Brotherhood was a "largely secular" organization, to join Clinton out the door.

However, Clinton and Clapper's resignations are not enough.  The buck stops with President Obama, who refuses to answer to the American people for his gross dereliction of duty as the commander-in-chief. During his speech last week to the United Nations General Assembly, he continued to blame the video for the violence, even though administration officials had already begun to distance themselves from that lame excuse.  Obama called the video "crude and disgusting" in the speech and an "insult not only to Muslims, but to America."

The president disgracefully continues making his false claims on the campaign trail that al Qaeda is on the road to defeat. To the contrary, al Qaeda's contagion has spread from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen to Libya, Syria, Mali, Nigeria and other parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Obama has continued to treat the recent spurt of Muslim violence as, in his words, just another unfortunate "bump in the road on the path to democracy."  He is desperately hanging on to the fiction that Islamists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood ruling Egypt, can be trusted as champions of true democracies simply because they claim to reject al Qaeda's violent tactics.  Acting on this fiction, the administration announced on Friday that it intends to provide an emergency cash infusion of $450 million to the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government, which failed to protect the American embassy in Cairo from a violent attack on 9/11.  This is in addition to military aid of more than a billion dollars.

True democracies allow freedom of conscience and the right to express it. They respect and protect their citizens' right of free expression - even expression deemed offensive to one group or another.  That's what President Obama told the UN General Assembly last Tuesday. But in practice, the Obama administration decided to make an example of the alleged producer of the offensive anti-Muslim video and have him arrested on trumped up charges of violating the terms of his probation for a past conviction on bank fraud charges. He is being held without bail. His purported probation violations were said to include using computers and accessing the Internet without supervision.

If every probation violator were put in jail, there wouldn't be enough prisons in the United States to hold them all. But this particular probation violator, a Coptic Christian man originally from Egypt, was special.  He allegedly used a computer and the Internet to do what Obama told the General Assembly must not be allowed to happen: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

By his actions, Obama is edging closer to the position of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who lectured the UN General Assembly in his own speech that "obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand."

Following through on Morsi's declaration, an Egyptian Copt was arrested last week in Egypt on suspicion of posting the anti-Islam video online and making another video mocking all religions. Egyptian prosecutors had previously ordered the arrest of eight people who allegedly helped to make and distribute the anti-Islam video including the alleged producer and the U.S. pastor who helped promote it, Terry Jones. At least the Egyptian government was honest about what it was doing. The Obama administration chose to use the pretext of a purported probation violation as cover to arrest the alleged video producer and showcase the arrest to the Muslim world.

What is emerging in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere in the Arabic and Muslim world is not true democracy as Obama would have us believe.  It is Islamic fundamentalism wrapped in the cloak of modern democratic terminology.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his remarks to the General Assembly:

The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever-expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred.

That is not Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood leadership, where free speech is suppressed and its president has said that women and Christians do not belong in government leadership positions. Yet we are supporting this government with billions of dollars of unconditional aid.  That is not Libya, in which our ambassador and three other Americans were slaughtered and a power vacuum is being filled by Islamist jihadists.  Yet Obama minimized the violence as a "bump in the road" on the path to democracy. That is not Pakistan, where blasphemy is a capital offense, violence in the wake of the video caused more than twenty deaths, Christians are regularly persecuted, the Taliban killing our forces in Afghanistan is given sanctuary and Osama bin Laden was hidden.  Yet Hillary Clinton praised Pakistan as a "good partner."  During her meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari last week on the sidelines of the General Assembly session, she called Zadari "my friend."  This "friend" the very next day urged the General Assembly to criminalize blasphemy internationally.

Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, are in varying degrees part of what Netanyahu called the "forces of medievalism" that "seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed, in which not life but death is glorified."

The American people must demand strength in confronting the global jihad movement and defeating these "forces of medievalism."  Without unequivocal vigilance to protect our nation's most fundamental principles rather than try to curry favor with the Muslim world, our First Amendment right of free expression will be further eroded until it becomes unrecognizable.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.