The Corner

There Were No ‘Demonstrations’ at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi

Concerning the terrorist assault on our consulate in Benghazi, David Ignatius of the Washington Post on 19 October wrote a column defending U.N. ambassador Susan Rice. He pointed out that Rice had been given CIA “talking points” that read, “ . . . the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo.”

What Ignatius fails to mention is that there were no demonstrations. None. Nada. No mob maddened by the obscure YouTube video vilifying Mohammed had ever assembled at the consulate in Benghazi. The consulate called Washington to report a surprise attack within minutes of the assault. The CIA listened to the call and watched events via video taken by a drone overhead.

Ignatius tries to excuse his CIA sources by citing “the analysts’ genuine problem interpreting fragments of intercepted conversation, video surveillance and source reports.” Yet no conversation, video, or source reported the putative demonstration. Ignatius claims that “politicians are demanding hard ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers but evidence is fragmentary and conflicting.”

Baloney. The answer is a “hard no.” There is no conflicting evidence; there was no demonstration. There was a terrorist assault. The CIA analysts invented the demonstration because it fit their preconceptions.

To be now leaking and excusing those misleading “talking points” demonstrate conceit and self-justification, compounding the public perception of arrogance. The CIA’s credibility continues to be undercut by its own analysts. Those responsible inside the CIA should be dismissed.

— Bing West is co-author with Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer of Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghanistan War.

Bing West — Bing West, a bestselling author and former assistant secretary of defense, served as a Marine grunt in Vietnam and later as a dean at the Naval War College. A graduate ...

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