One would think that after it was reported the administration purposefully misled the public about what happened in Benghazi, President Obama would have his facts straight by now. Not even close. Questioned at an abbreviated press conference today about his administration’s public explanation of last year’s terrorist attack in Libya, the president offered a response that doesn’t jibe with the facts. Rather than getting some candor from the president today, the American people heard only a number of baseless claims that require fact checking.
CLAIM: “The emails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. They reviewed them several months ago – concluded that in fact, there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used.” – President Obama (Press Conference, 5/13/13)
- REALITY: In fact, the improper drafting and handling of the administration’s talking points was one of the key findings in the interim report released on April 23rd by the five committees investigating this matter: “In the days following the attacks, White House and senior State Department officials altered accurate talking points drafted by the Intelligence Community in order to protect the State Department.”
CLAIM: “Over the last several months, there was a review board headed by two distinguished Americans, Mike Mullen and Tom Pickering, who investigated every element of this.” – President Obama (Press Conference, 5/13/13)
- REALITY: Ambassador Pickering said on Meet the Press over the weekend they had a narrow focus in their report: “With full respect, the Accountability Review Board was there to look at the question of security. We did not examine talking points after the fact. It was not in our remit.”
CLAIM: “If this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down -- that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later, we end up putting out all the information that in fact has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of Libya. Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down, for three days?” – President Obama (Press Conference, 5/13/13)
- REALITY: The entire senior leadership of the State Department knew the day after the attack that extremists were responsible for the attack; B) Matthew Olsen testified a full 8 days after the attack; and C) After Olsen testified, the president continued to advance the narrative that the attack was the result of a protest, including the very next day in an event with Univision and at his U.N. speech on September 25th.
The president may want Americans to believe there’s no “’there’ there,” but he can’t hide from the facts. After four Americans died at the hands of terrorists, the administration was less than up front about how it happened and they continue to deny requests for further disclosures. House Republicans are determined to get to the truth and make sure such a tragedy will never happen again.