Questions abound in Libyan attack

U.S. officials spun a web of falsehoods after the terrorist attack in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed.

Feelings of shock and anger and calls for swift retribution followed quickly on the heels of the Sept. 11 murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans during an attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

But in addition to the justice to be meted out to the attackers, there's a political accounting due here at home for the inadequate security at the consulate and the slew of misstatements by U.S. officials about what happened and why.

It's now clear that, contrary to what some administration officials repeatedly said, the assault on the consulate was a planned terrorist attack by al-Qaida and had nothing to do with an Internet video that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad.

That cover story withered under public scrutiny before being retracted by the Obama administration. Now officials from the U.S. State Department have stated publicly that, contrary to the administration's public statements, they never believed the video had anything to do with the attack.

A number of important questions must be answered by the U.S. House committee that is conducting an inquiry.

Who conceived the false story about the attack being the result of a demonstration that got out of hand? Why did U.S. officials feel the need to misstate what had occurred?

A second line of inquiry concerns the inadequate security at the consulate. Officials in Benghazi had prior security problems and, in anticipation of a 9/11 anniversary attack, had requested additional protection from the U.S. State Department. Their requests were denied, and tragedy followed. Why?

Misstatements about what led to the attack were made by highly placed officials.

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice made a number of public appearances in which she stated that the violence was not pre-planned and that a demonstration aimed at denouncing the video erupted into the assault on the compound and the murders. Her statements raised immediate questions because the attackers' weapons included rocket-propelled grenades, hardly the kind of gear carried by the typical demonstrator.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added her prestige to Rice's characterization of events by calling it a "response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

It could be that the cause of the attack was attributed to a spontaneous demonstration as a cover to prevent disclosures about the request for and denial of beefed-up security.

Then again, there could be more to the story. Why else would high-powered Obama administration officials be drawn into this web of deceit?

Following the deaths of our diplomatic personnel, President Obama spoke with great determination about the need to identify and punish the individuals responsible, suggesting that it is a moral imperative to do so.

It is equally important to determine why a number of officials within the Obama administration, including the president himself, told the public this was not a terrorist attack. There is still far more to learn about this tragic story.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on October 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

Yes, there is much more to learn about it.  There is a non-political investigation now.  The Republicans in Congress jumped on it also.  One of things that came out of the public hearing is that the Republicans cut funding for the defense of embassies, and consulates.  Mitt Romney jumped on it quickly also much to the dismay of his colleaques.  Romney followed up by telling a story of meeting one of the deceased.  The families of two of the brave, deceased men have condemned Romney for politicizing their deaths.  Romney has promised to not mention it again.  Why would a creditable candidate running for the Presidency not contact the families requesting their permission prior to telling such a story?

Yes, there is much more to the Libyan attack that the public needs to know.  However, an non-political investigation will get the facts.  Of course; GOP biased media such as the News Gazette will beat the drum prior to the facts being known.  It's Journalist Propagand 101; and the election is only 25 days from now.

EL YATIRI wrote on October 14, 2012 at 8:10 am
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Paul Ryan and the Republican controlled House cut funding for embassy security.  Obama administration funding requests for embassy security were cut significantly by the GOP for 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Of course now they are screaming about the Libya tragedy and using it for political advantage.

The only thing I see is the dismal lack of dependable intelligence capability despite enormous expenditure by the US.  Bush took the nation to war in Iraq based on faulty intelligence.  Over reliance on technology without human operatives on the ground is the Achilles heel of US intelligence capability.  We lack operatives with language and cultural skills for the Middle East and elswhere.

There is no "Obama conspiracy" to mislead us on Libya.  It is simply another example of woefully inadequate intelligence capability in spite of massive funding.