It’s hard to imagine that we could find something that the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the terrorist attack in Benghazi have in common but we can. In both cases, it appears that the Obama administration handled the aftermath with a focus on politics.
In 2008, President-Elect Barack Obama promised unequivocal transparency from his administration. He went as far as to promise the health care debate would be televised live on CSPAN. It didn’t happen, even though CSPAN specifically asked to televise the debates. But, when American servicemen killed Osama Bin Laden, Obama ‘spiked the football’ and did repeated victory laps. Clearly, Obama wanted voters to think he did everything short of pull the trigger himself on Bin Laden.
Obama’s response to the killing was so overtly political that it included opening the doors to the CIA’s inner sanctum to movie makers without seeming to worry about the potential, later realized, of exposing national security secrets.
Things got so out of hand that then Defense Secretary Robert Gates went into the White House office of Tom Donilon, who would soon become Obama’s national security advisor, and offered a suggestion on how to handle security related to the Bin Laden raid. Gates told Donilon, “Shut the (blank) up.”
Of course, there was no victory dance in the end zone after U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during a terrorist attack in Benghazi Sept. 11. But, the response from the administration was equally political.
Within hours of the start of the attack, that lasted seven hours, while the administration apparently fumbled a move to try to save American lives, Obama and members of his administration already knew it was a terrorist attack. And what did they tell us the next day? They claimed it was a spontaneous reaction to a cheap and otherwise obscure anti-Muslim video.
What’s more remarkable is that the Obama administration clung to the lie for the better part of two weeks. Even as the evidence mounted that it was clearly a terrorist attack, the stubbornly stuck to their story. Our U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice, went on the Sunday morning news show circuit and emphatically assured us it was a spontaneous reaction to the video.
Obama went on late-night television and said the same thing. He even repeated the lie in front of the assembled members of the United Nations. The whole time, he knew it wasn’t true. He knew there wasn’t a shred of truth to the story.
Americans want answers to questions about the Benghazi debacle. But, they already know the answer to the most crucial question – why did Obama lie?
The answer is simple – politics. In the heat of a close race, it just wouldn’t do to have Al Qaeda proving it wasn’t quite as dead as advertised. So, Obama matched the exaggeration of his part in the Bin Laden raid with the lie of Benghazi. He proved that everything that goes through his White House runs through a political filter first.