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Columnist: Benghazi Was Smoke Inhalation, Not Murder

May 12, 2014

Liberal columnist Eleanor Clift said Sunday that Ambassador Chris Stevens was not murdered, but died of smoke inhalation. Apparently Eleanor has been smoking something, because Stevens was a target of the terror attack that killed him, whether the cause of death was smoke, a bullet, or being dragged through the streets.

Clift goes on to blame the Benghazi attack on a YouTube video.

While that is the preferred narrative now, it wasn’t always the case. The shifting storyline about Benghazi and the attack that killed our ambassador has fueled charges of a cover-up.

From the transcript of the President’s September 12, 2012 Rose Garden speech immediately after the attack on Benghazi:

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

Immediately after the attack, the President called it terrorism, having nothing to do with a video. “Four more Americans,” clearly means in addition to the total from 9/11/01.

Then, the administration changed narratives, to say that the Benghazi attack was in response to a YouTube video.

Contemporaneous accounts from Libya show that the video was always a fig leaf, even for the terrorists.

Another Libyan witness said armed men had closed the streets leading up to the consulate, among them ultra-conservative Salafists.

That is not a protest, but a terror attack.

While Reuters accepted the explanation that the Cairo attack that day was about the video, that was just what the organizers gave reporters. Cairo was not about the video, either. The video was an excuse for an attack on the Egyptian embassy. As terrorism expert Andrew C McCarthy wrote,

In the weeks before September 11, 2012, these jihadists plotted to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo. In fact, the Blind Sheikh’s son threatened a 1979 Iran-style raid on the embassy: Americans would be taken hostage to ransom for the Blind Sheikh’s release from American prison (he is serving a life sentence). Other jihadists threatened to burn the embassy to the ground — a threat that was reported in the Egyptian press the day before the September 11 “protests.”

The tactic of blaming the video is exactly what the jihadists did, it’s exactly what the administration shifted to in September, 2012, and it’s exactly what they are continuing to do today when they claim that the Ben Rhodes talking points were about anything  but insulating the President politically from the effects of his foreign policy failures.