The following is a lead story about Benghazi from the Washington Post on November 2:
U.S. intelligence officials said they decided to offer a detailed account of the CIA’s role to rebut media reports that have suggested that agency leaders delayed sending help. . . . The decision to give a comprehensive account of the attack five days before the election is likely to be regarded with suspicion, particularly among Republicans who have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public.
Suspicion? The accurate word is confirmation.
Identical stories appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Times explained that, “The account, given by the senior officials who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role.”
So what’s going on here? The national-security staff in the Obama White House has a standard operating procedure. If a military action, such as killing bin Laden, succeeds, then immediately leak selected details to shape the narrative to the political advantage of Mr. Obama. If the action is botched, as in Benghazi, then say nothing and tell the quiescent press that there is no story worth pursuing. If questions persist, the second line of defense is an investigation that wlll drag on for months. For instance, bureaucrats in the Justice Department are still investigating the leaks last spring about the U.S. cooperation with Israel in the software sabotage — cyber warfare — of Iranian centrifuges.
If pesky Fox News persists in asking questions, then the third line of defense is to give the nod to the CIA to leak a diversionary story to favored news outlets and reporters. Thus the leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times showing that CIA operatives did try to rescue their comrades. Then authorize the CIA to go public with the same timeline, further throwing the press off the trail. The New York Times, the recipient of record for White House leaks, published on November 3 a diversionary story on its front page, fixating upon the CIA director, General Petraeus. This implied that the main issue about Benghazi centered around CIA secrecy — a tautology irrelevant to the real cover-up.
The intent is to cause the press and the public to lose interest in a story that seems exhaustively repetitive, while the key issues are never addressed:
1. Why did the State Department ignore repeated warnings that security at Benghazi was deficient?
2. Did operations centers in Washington receive or monitor requests for help during the attack on 9/11/12?
3. Did the president direct the military to use all means to save American lives?
4. If authorized to enter Libyan territory, why did the military not send a fighter aircraft overhead to frighten what the White House claimed was a mob? Why did the military not send an ad hoc rescue force from Sigonella Navy Base, while the CIA was sending six men as the rescue force from Tripoli, about equal distance from Benghazi? Is the U.S. military too rigid to do anything helpful during a seven-hour battle?
5. Why did the White House persist for weeks in spinning a false story about a mob enraged by a YouTube video, when no intelligence supported the story? Who gave our ambassador to the U.N. her “talking points” that emphasized the video? Our intelligence community says it did not come from intelligence agencies.
Benghazi is a major victory for the Islamist terrorists. It is a major setback in the War on Terror that President Obama alternately claims either does not exist or has been won because of his martial leadership. The national-security system inside the White House deserves to be regarded not with suspicion, but with cynicism.
— Bing West is co-author with Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer of Into the Fire: a Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle of the Afghanistan War.