Reason 39: A Sub-Optimal Lie

Categories: Inability to recognize and acknowledge reality, incompetence, laziness, cultural confusion, inability/unwillingness to learn from history, deadly narcissism.

James D. Hornfischer is an author and historian.  His book “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors,” is must reading.  In a recent Wall Street Journal Online review of Mark Bowden’s “The Finish,” a history of the actions leading up to the Osama Bin Laden raid, told from the perspective of the White House, Bowen reveals a fascinating and disturbing fact about Mr. Obama.  Writing about the personal feelings about 9-11 of the then Illinois State Senator, Bowen writes:

He felt the attacks personally, as a civilized man, as an American, and as a father. He was working his way toward a personal definition of evil.

Hold that thought, gentle readers, as you consider Mr. Obama’s recent comments about the 09-11-12 deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in a terrorist attack on the Benghazi, Libya Embassy.  Speaking on John Stewart’s “Daily Show,”  Here is the exchange between Stewart and Mr. Obama: 

Stewart asked: ‘Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? ‘Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within.

‘Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.’

Obama responded: ‘Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’

But Mr. Obama did promise to fix things:

He continued: ‘We’re going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up.

‘And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it.

And he also clarified his national security policies: 

Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans.

‘And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.’

What remains is the question that would surely have immediately doomed the presidency of any Republican president, any lesser being than The One:  Why did Mr. Obama lie about the 9-11 attack, repeatedly saying for two weeks it was caused by a video no one had seen?

For the benefit of readers who plan to watch the last Presidential Debate, and who want to be well informed about this issue, which, if there is any justice in the universe, will play a prominent role, here’s a timeline—followed by analysis—of the relevant statements and facts.  Most are taken from an article in The Hill. 

April 5, 2011: Special envoy Christopher Stevens arrives in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to forge ties with the forces battling Moammar Gadhafi. President Obama appoints him as ambassador to Libya on May 22, 2012.

February: The U.S. embassy requests and is granted an extension, until August, of a Tripoli-based “site security team” composed of 16 special forces soldiers who provide security, medical and communications support to the embassy.

March: State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom sends a cable to Washington asking for additional diplomatic security agents for Benghazi, later says he received no response. He does so again in July, with the same result.

April 6: Two fired Libyan security guards throw an IED over the consulate fence. [SMM:  Hmm.  Could this be a terrorist act, or an act of “workplace violence?”]

May 22: An Islamist attack on the Red Cross office in Benghazi is followed by a Facebook post that warns “now we are preparing a message for the Americans.” Another Facebook posting a month later highlights Stevens’ daily runs in Tripoli in an apparent threat [SMM: Yah think?]

June 6: Unknown assailants blow a hole in the consulate’s north gate described by a witness as “big enough for 40 men to go through.” Four days later, the British ambassador’s car is ambushed by militants with a rocket-propelled grenade.  [SMM: Nothing to worry about.  Just spontaneous expressions of anger over the existence of anyone and anything Muslims don’t like.]

July: Anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” posted on You Tube [SMM NOTE:  This was a video trailer.  As this is posted, the existence of the video it supposedly advertises is yet to be confirmed].

Aug. 14: SST team leaves Libya. Team leader Lt. Col. Andy Wood has testified that Stevens wanted them to stay on.

In the weeks before Sept. 11, Libyan security guards are reportedly warned by family members of an impending attack. On Sept. 8, the Libyan militia tasked with protecting the consulate warns U.S. diplomats that the security situation is “frightening”  [SMM: Nothing more than Halloween preparations, I’m sure.  Muslims celebrate that, don’t they?].

Sept. 10: Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri calls on Libyans to avenge the death of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al Libi, killed in a June drone strike in Pakistan.

Sept. 11: Attack on the Embassy, murder of four Americans. That night, Republican candidate Mitt Romney criticizes an embassy statement denouncing the video before the events unfolding in Libya are known to the world. Late that night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says in a statement that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet”  [SMM:  The Hill has omitted the fact that the Obama Administration also distanced itself from the same statement Mr. Romney criticized. The Lamestream media mostly ignored the attack and spent the next week savaging Mr. Romney for criticizing the same statement the Obama Administration criticized].

Sept. 12: Media outlets report that Stevens and three other Americans have been killed in an attack by well-armed militants. Obama denounces an “outrageous and shocking attack” without mentioning the video or terrorism. Reuters reports for the first time that some administration officials believe the assault “bears the hallmarks of an organized attack.”

[SMM: Also on September 12, Mr. Obama delivered a statement in the Rose Garden with Secretary of State Clinton at his side.  He did not call the attack an act of terror, but at the very end of his remarks, he said:

No acts of terror will shake the resolve of this great nation.

During the Debate on October 16, he would claim he called the attack an act of terror].

Sept. 13: White House spokesman Jay Carney says “the protests we’re seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie.”

Sept. 16: Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, spoke at five Sunday talk shows and said the video is the “proximate cause” of the assault in Benghazi. “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice tells ABC. That same day, interim Libyan president Mohamed Magarief insists on CBS that “it was planned, definitely.”

Sept. 19: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the assault was a “terrorist attack” but goes on to call it an “opportunistic” attack in which armed militants took advantage of an ongoing protest.

Sept. 20: CBS reports that witnesses in Benghazi say there was no protest prior to the armed assault against the consulate. Magarief tells NBC the same thing on Sept. 26. Also on Sept. 20, Obama at a town hall meeting says: “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.” Carney declares it “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter brief members of Congress. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls it “the most useless worthless briefing I have attended in a long time.”

[SMM: There is now no question there was no demonstration or protest of any kind.  It was a planned and well-executed attack].

Sept. 21: Clinton says “what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” highest official until then to say so.

Sept. 25: In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama doesn’t mention terrorism but makes repeated references to the video. Asked about Clinton’s statement on ABC’s “The View,” the president skirts the issue by saying: “We’re still doing an investigation,” blames “extremist militias.”

Sept. 27: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says it’s “clear that there were terrorists who planned that attack.”

Sept. 28: [SMM: The first to fall on his sword to maintain the electoral viability of The One]. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence takes responsibility for linking the Benghazi attack to the video. In a statement, spokeswoman Shawn Turner says that initially “there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. “We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.”

Oct. 6: [SMM: It’s The spook’s fault!] In a letter to Senate Republicans demanding an explanation for the shifting rhetoric, Rice lays the blame on the intelligence community, says she “relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me and other senior U.S. officials.”

Oct. 9: Senior State Department officials for the first time acknowledge that there was never any protest in Benghazi during a background call with reporters. They say linking the attack to the video was “not our conclusion,” suggesting they’re blaming intelligence officials [SMM: See?  It’s those darned spooks.  Can’t trust ’em!]

Oct. 10: Lt. Col. Andy Wood and Eric Nordstrom testify at a House oversight committee hearing on security lapses in Libya. They say their requests for more security were denied by their superiors in Washington, testimony confirmed by cables made public by chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) [SMM:  I’m shocked, shocked!].

Oct. 11: During the vice presidential debate, Biden says, “We weren’t told they wanted more security there.” He also denies responsibility for the administration’s shifting explanation: “The intelligence community told us that. As they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment” [SMM: Spooks!  All spooks!].

Oct. 12: After Republicans pounce, the White House says Biden was speaking for himself and the president because such decisions are made by the State Department.


The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of the attack there were eyewitness reports the attack was done by militants, not demonstrators.

State Department Security official Charlene Lamb testified before Congress that she was in contact with the besieged embassy “in near real time” throughout the attack.

Shortly after the attacks, the Obama Administration spent some $70,000 on TV ads in Pakistan, apologizing for the video.  the apology brought the issue to the attention of millions of Pakistanis who had no idea of it, sparking anti-American protests across the nation.

On October 17, Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA) blamed the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, saying he put out talking points blaming the video.

 Secretary of State Clinton and Mr. Obama, separately, have taken “responsibility.”


There is good reason to believe the Obama Administration, which includes Mr. Obama and his closest advisors in the White House—you have to be specific with this bunch—knew the attack was no spontaneous protest whose protestors just happened to be carrying assault rifles, mortars and rocket propelled grenades.  We know that the State Department was in “near real time” continuous contact with embassy security officers during the 5+ hour attack.  We also know they had no doubt who was attacking them–it certainly wasn’t protestors hot about a movie–and why.  We know there is a long paper trail indicating clearly that the embassy and its personnel were in great danger in Behghazi, which remains a terrorist hotbed.  We know the CIA reported within 24 hours the attack was done by militants and not protestors.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the Obama Administration is so dysfunctional that no one, in the days following the attack, bothered to ask anyone what actually happened.  We know Mr. Obama doesn’t bother with daily intelligence briefings, though he is said to read summaries, perhaps when he’s not golfing or campaigning.  This could account for Ambassador Rice’s emphatic denials of terrorist involvement five days after the attacks, or could it?  Can we really believe the State Department, the CIA, the NSA, the military and every other intelligence agency didn’t bother to follow up, and that they didn’t bother to send their conclusions up the chain of command?  Didn’t Mr. Obama call everyone together and ask what happened?  Can we really believe the State Department didn’t tell anyone what it learned during the actual attack and that the CIA did not tell anyone what it knew within 24 hours?

On Fox News Sunday on October 14, Chris Wallace asked Obama’s chief Campaign advisor David Axelrod if Mr. Obama convened and met with his national security council about the incident.  Axelrod would not directly answer, saying only that he was sure Mr. Obama was in contact with all appropriate people.  But even if he did not meet with the NSC, surely he asked for information, or is he just utterly incompetent, or so concerned about the election he didn’t think of it?

Fast forward to the second Debate when Candy Crowley of CNN rode to Mr. Obama’s rescue when Mr. Romney was trying to nail Mr. Obama down on what he said during his Rose Garden speech on 09-12.  Crowley shut down Mr. Romney and claimed that Mr. Obama did call the attack terrorism, and Mr. Obama agreed with her.  If this is true, if he knew it was terrorism and called it terrorism on 09-12, why did he, Press Secretary Jay Carney, Ambassador Rice, State Department Spokesperson Nuland and many other Administration officials continue to blame the video, saying nothing of terrorism for an additional 12 days?

Of course, it’s wise to keep in mind the reluctance of the Obama Administration to use the word “terror” or its other forms.  To this day, Administration officials refuse to call the Fort Hood attack–an attack perpetrated by a radical Muslim army officer inspired by a foreign jihadist, who yelled “Allah Akbar,” while shooting unarmed soldiers, and who continues to behave as a radical Islamist during trial preparation–terrorism, substituting the bizarre euphemism “workplace violence” instead.

Consider too the fact that for radical Islamists, bad weather, a bad hair day or sand on their shoes are sufficient causes to spark deadly riots and protests against infidels.  This too is apparently one of the fundamental facts of Islam–the religion of perpetual outrage–and the Middle East the president supposedly most attuned to Islam fails to understand.  Can he really believe it’s possible to mollify such people, that any excuse or explanation will cause them to suddenly appreciate America and Americans and reduce their bloodlust?

No.  None of this is credible.  The most likely reasons are the most obvious.  Mr. Obama has built his national security credentials, shaky as they are, on authorizing the raid that killed Bin Laden.  He has taken credit for a decision that is the minimum any American president should do.  His actions in Libya have come crashing down around his ears at a most inopportune time, while the rest of the Middle East and his foreign policy have already crashed.  Is Mr. Obama–a man who has never truly accepted responsibility for anything–preferring to blame George W. Bush–going to admit his administration ignored repeated requests for security that might have saved the lives of those Americans?  Is he going to admit his Libya and Middle East policies are utter failures?  Is he going to take responsibility for the deaths and the sacking of the embassy?

To protect his electoral chances, he decided to blame the attacks on a spontaneous demonstration about a video.  Charles Krauthammer explains: 

The first reason [for Mr. Obama’s lies] was the fact that this September 11th attack occurred one week after they had just spent four days in Charlotte dancing on the grave of bin Laden. Remember, this is their single foreign policy achievement.’

The second reason Krauthammer identified is that the Obama campaign has the mainstream media in their pocket. This was evident when the mainstream media spent three days attacking Romney for denouncing the apologetic statement put out by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, which was soon retracted by the Obama administration itself.

Mr. Krauthammer is quite correct.  Now that the media has been forced to report on the matter, despite Candy Crowley’s desperate attempt to head it off, Mr. Obama is hoping to run out the clock.  If he’s reelected, he can bury it just as he has buried Fast and Furious and every other scandal.  If he’s defeated, he can always pardon himself and any and everyone who might think to do him harm.

I’m sure Mr. Obama firmly believes this situation—the fact he’s caught in a particularly blatant and stupid lie—is definitely not optimal.

Let’s remember too Mr. Obama’s clarification of his policy on Mr. Stewart’s comedy show:

Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans.

‘And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.’

Ah!  “America’s security comes.”  And we need to know how he makes momentous decisions—which he didn’t explain at all, so we don’t actually know how he makes those important decisions about “war, peace, security, and protecting Americans.”  I am, however, certain we can take him at his word when he says we’ll continue to “get that over the next four years of my presidency.”  “That” being, of course, nothing at all.

Finally, one might do well to consider Mr. Bowden’s revelation.  Mr. Obama, after the actual 9-11, was “working his way toward a personal definition of evil.”  Obviously, he has not yet come to an understanding of the world that would allow him to consider the attack of 9-11 to be evil, and I am unaware even of any rhetorical flourish on his part that might tend to suggest he has ever come to “a personal definition of evil,” a substantial manifestation of which is surely lying to the American people about an act of war and the brutal rape and murder of four honorable Americans serving their country overseas.  Perhaps he’s still working toward it.  Such things apparently take quite a long time for some.

And we elected him President.