The Benghazi Story on September 16 – Transcript Review

This week’s Oversight Committee hearing with the Benghazi whistleblowers put to shame the kid-gloves treatment of Hillary Clinton in the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Jason Chavez, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan and others were organized and asked questions that seemed part of an actual plan.  The Oversight Committee did a great job at finding out what really happened that night on September 11, 2012, but I also think we need to investigate what didn’t really happen – a spontaneous riot due to a YouTube video.  It should be noted that the original Benghazi talking points memo initially said that al-Qaida had participants in the attacks, that there were warnings of the attacks, and that the attacks were a response to the Cairo protests.  No mention of the YouTube video was made in the talking points memo.

Since the second Presidential debate, the narrative has been “Of course we knew it was a terrorist attack as we’ve said from the beginning.”  But for those of us paying attention, we know they may have said 2 sentences describing it as a terrorist attack but they said 200 blaming it on the video!  I wish somebody would have looked up all of Candy Crowley’s comments on the Libya attack to see how often she referred to a spontaneous response versus a terrorist act.  Instead, I’ll look at the Susan Rice transcripts.

ABC This Week – “But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated… What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result — a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is — that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms… [The President] went out and repeatedly made a number of very important and powerful statements condemning the violence and conveying the message that, however hateful such a video may be, there is absolutely no justification for violence against the United States or other Western partners.”

Rice made three references to the YouTube video and none to al-Sharia or any act of terror.  Moreover, she specifically rejected the idea that it was premeditated.  The show went on with Brian Ross talking about the video director as a Coptic Christian, and Christiane Amanpour said the film was “clearly designed to incite.”  George Will and Liz Cheney later questioned the narrative about the video and Cheney said that Mitt Romney had “gotten it right” with his immediate statement.

Jonathon Karl, who finally broke this story in the mainstream news, made the comment: “Well, there you go.  But — but in terms of the longer-term implications here, this is really a potential, you know, danger for the president.  There will be questions asked.  No doubt there will be hearings up on Capitol Hill about what happened, why there was not more security in Benghazi.  There will be questions about the overall situation in the Middle East.  Was this really about one YouTube video or trailer for a movie that had been out, you know, for months actually and was finally translated into Arabic and put on an extremist television show in Egypt?  Or is there something more fundamental going on?”

CBS Face the Nation – “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent… We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned… I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”

Before Susan Rice came on, Bob Schieffer interviewed the Libyan President Mohaned Yousef-Magariaf, and he said “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we– and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no– this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined– predetermined.”  After Rice, John McCain laughed at the notion that it was a spontaneous response and said that the United States was the weak horse.  Later both Richard Haass of the Council of Foreign Relations and Tom Friedman questioned the veracity of the video excuse.

NBC Meet the Press – “But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days. This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that what has happened is condemnable, but this is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad… But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video…. First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent.  In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to reinforce our facility… Well, first of all, David, let’s put this in perspective.  As I
said, this is a response to a very offensive video.

Five mentions of the video and a specific rejection to the claim that there was a terrorist element and says that they had no warning of the attacks.  Reps Peter King and Keith Ellison were on the roundtable and disagreed on how “clear” Obama’s Middle East policy had been and King was dubious of the YouTube claim.  David Gregory continued to state that the attacks were “caused by the video” as if it were fact.

Fox News Sunday – “But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world. Now, our strong view is that there is no excuse for violence. It is absolutely reprehensible and never justified. But, in fact, there have been those in various parts of the world who have reacted with violence. Their governments have increasingly and effectively responded and protected our facilities and condemned the violence and this outrageous response to what is an offensive video… But
we are vigilant and we are of the view that is not an expression of hostility in the broadest sense towards the United States or U.S. policy. It’s essentially a reaction to this video and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible… The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman, felt that the attack was preplanned, while Chris Wallace kept reiterating that the official story had pinned the attack on the video.  During the roundtable, both Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times and Bill Kristol raised questions about the video story.  Brit Hume said that the video seemed to be a poor cover story, but he felt the White House needed to double down on the story just to prove that Mitt Romney was wrong with his initial statement.

So in summary, Susan Rice mentioned the video over a dozen times during these talk shows and specifically denied that it was preplanned or a coordinated attack.  Now, for everybody who was paying attention and didn’t take the administration’s word as gospel, we knew that it was a lie at the time.  History is a good disinfectant, and I know that future generations will wonder how the mainstream news and the general public could be so duped by such a silly story.

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