Defense & National Security

Tough questions about the Libya killings the White House hasn’t answered yet

Tough questions about the Libya killings the White House hasn’t answered yet
Libyans walk on the grounds of the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans.

On the attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya earlier this month, the credibility of the White House is disintegrating by the day.

President Barack Obama gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after the deadly attacks, with no mention of terrorism or the terror network Al Qaeda linked to the violence. Instead, he maintained the administration’s narrative that the murdered Americans were victims of rioters outraged by an amateur anti-Muslim video he took care to denounce as “crude and disgusting.”

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested a possible Al Qaeda link to the attacks, making it clear that Obama’s insistence on pinning partial guilt on a filmmaker in the U.S. is not only bizarre, but also flat-out misleading.

Today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta became the last in a line of U.S. officials to identify the Libya attack as an act of terror.

“The reason I think pretty clearly it was a terrorist attack is because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack on our consulate and against individuals,” Panetta said at an afternoon media briefing inside the Pentagon.

While Panetta demurred on who was behind the attacks, saying that ongoing investigations would determine that. But he confirmed that Al Qaeda remained active in the region, raising again the question of why Obama has publicly ruled its involvement out of this incident.

“I think it’s fair to say that al Qaeda continues, as I’ve indicated, to try to pursue its efforts in that part of the world,” he said, citing the group’s activity in Yemen, Somalia, and various parts of northern Africa.

White House spokesman Jay Carney finally told reporters that the administration considered the violence in Benghazi a terrorist attack yesterday, though Obama himself has avoided using the word.

Why Obama is insisting on his sketchy storyline is just one pressing question emerging about the administration’s handling of the Libya tragedy. Here are some others:

Why did State Department officials lie about contracting with a private security firm to guard the embassy in Benghazi?

Why haven’t the FBI officials in charge of the investigation gotten to the scene of the attack yet?

Why did U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice call the embassy riots a “spontaneous attack” before the real cause was actually known?

Why were there “no military personnel” at the embassy?

Did the terrorists have help from the inside?

We’ll be waiting for the answers.

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