‘We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”
Those words, depraved words, were spoken by then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with President Obama by her side, on September 14, 2012. This was at Joint Base Andrews, during the most sacred of rites: the return of the remains of Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, all slain in the line of duty in Benghazi.
That obvious fact is now explicit after Mrs. Clinton’s galling testimony on Thursday before the House select committee investigating the Benghazi massacre.
Not only had the siege occurred on the eleventh anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 atrocities. Not only was Obama informed in the first minutes that a terrorist attack was underway. Not only had terrorist attacks in Benghazi been threatened and executed for months. Not only were mortars deployed by trained jihadists. Not only had Gregory Hicks, the senior State Department official on the ground in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed, directly briefed then-secretary Clinton about the then-ongoing terrorist attack — the same Gregory Hicks who would later testify that the anti-Muslim Internet video was a “non-event” in Benghazi.
Besides all that, we now know that, while the siege ensued, Clinton emailed daughter Chelsea to explain that Americans had been killed in Benghazi by “an al Qaeda-like group.”
This was about an hour before Clinton and Obama consulted by phone, immediately after which the State Department published Clinton’s mendacious “blame the video” announcement:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.
Yes, Clinton and Obama knew it was a terrorist attack but tried to con the country into believing it was a spontaneous response to a video.
A State Department memo documents that on the very next day after her duplicitous public statement, Clinton informed Egypt’s prime minister: “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. . . . It was a planned attack — not a protest.”
That was just two days before Clinton, in cold-blooded disgrace, looked Charles Woods in the eye and said, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.” That was at Andrews as they were receiving the body of Ty Woods, killed while saving American lives in the late hours of a terrorist siege during which his government made no effort to save American lives.
That was moments before Clinton blamed the “awful Internet video” for the massacre.
To repeat, Clinton and Obama knew it was a terrorist attack but tried to con the country, very much including the families of our dead, into believing our heroes had been killed by a spontaneous response to a video.
The lies about “an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with” were dictated by the bipartisan Beltway policy of Islamist empowerment that Obama and Clinton championed. Indeed, at the time it occurred, the terrorist attack was just the latest in a series of jihadist threats and strikes in Benghazi. The policy of strategically and materially supporting Islamists made such attacks inevitable.
But it was election season. Obama and Clinton needed camouflage for the catastrophic failure of their policy. Thus: Clinton’s fustian about “an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”
In point of fact, Clinton and Obama had everything to do with the anti-Islamic video trailer, Innocence of Muslims. Virtually no one would have known of it had they not tirelessly publicized it in the international media and in official American government statements that were studiously linked to the Benghazi massacre.
The violence at the U.S. embassy in Cairo had been threatened for months by al-Qaeda operatives and was clearly planned to erupt on the eleventh anniversary of the terror network’s 9/11 atrocities. The jihadists had been empowered by both the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya, orchestrated by Obama and Clinton, and the Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt, championed by Obama and Clinton.
In the weeks before September 11, 2012, al-Qaeda saber-rattled about a potential Tehran 1979–style attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo — perhaps they’d burn it to the ground, perhaps they’d take hostages to trade for American concessions like release of the Blind Sheikh (imprisoned for terrorism convictions in the U.S.).
Administration officials knew there would be trouble on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. They also knew that, if the trouble was perceived as the foreseeable fallout of their Islamist empowerment policy, it could mortally damage Obama’s 2012 reelection bid and Clinton’s 2016 election ambitions.
So the administration swung into action. The obscure video trailer had been condemned by a fiery mufti in Egypt. Word of it began to circulate, but almost no one had seen it. Though in some small circles it was added to the endless list of Islamist grievances against America, those grievances are ideologically driven — and Islamist ideology is incorrigibly anti-American, regardless of what pretexts are cited for acting on it.
So Clinton’s opportunistic underlings pounced, seeing the video as their chance to shape a fraudulent narrative. As Muslims — including al-Qaeda operatives — began menacing the Cairo embassy, the State Department put out a series of tweets, a transparent effort to spin the inevitable rioting as incited by the video, not enabled by the administration’s own promotion of Islamic supremacists.
The Benghazi siege began a few hours later.
The administration edited intelligence-community talking points in order to promote the video fraud and conceal the terrorist victory.
In the aftermath, of course, the administration edited intelligence-community talking points in order to promote the video fraud and conceal the terrorist victory — even as Obama touted al-Qaeda’s purported demise in campaign speeches. Susan Rice, an Obama confidant and a top official in Clinton’s State Department, was dispatched to lie to the public on the Sunday shows. Obama and Clinton indignantly condemned the video in public-address announcements for Pakistani television, paid for by American tax dollars. Obama took to the podium at the United Nations to proclaim to the world that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
The administration then put the criminal-justice system in service of the fraud. Making good on Clinton’s deceitful vow, police raided the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the video’s producer — arresting him in the dead of night, as if he were a violent criminal, even though he had been cooperating with law enforcement.
Why was he cooperating with law enforcement? Far from a crime, the making of the video was constitutionally protected activity — the kind of activity the executive branch is duty-bound to protect. But Nakoula went to law enforcement because Obama and Clinton’s smear had put his life in danger.They did that, willfully, because they needed a scapegoat: Nakoula could serve the dual purposes of deceiving Americans into linking Benghazi’s dead to the video while convincing Muslims of Obama and Clinton’s longstanding commitment to subordinate constitutional free-speech rights to sharia’s blasphemy standards. Nakoula, a small-time con man whose prior conviction made him susceptible to revocation of parole, was the perfect foil.
He spent nearly a year in prison while Obama celebrated his reelection, Clinton plotted her campaign to replace him, and the Democrat-media complex helped them bury Benghazi as “old news.”
Just as she looked Charles Woods in the eye three years ago, while his son’s remains and those of three other Americans killed by jihadists lay nearby, so did Hillary Clinton look America in the eye during Thursday’s testimony. Both times, she seemed earnest, composed and determined as only a pathological liar can in the execution of a high-stakes fraud.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.