Over at The Daily Beast, Eli Lake reports on why the Obama administration's initial assertion that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was a spontaneous act and not a planned-out terrorist operation. The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed.
Noting that the administration now calls the attack a terrorist job, Lake cites an unnamed former CIA official who says of the early assertion:
“I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true before waiting for all the facts to come in."
Lake notes that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice was mischaracterizing the security detail on last Sunday's talk shows:
One other aspect of the administration’s story appears shaky as well. Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice responded to allegations that there wasn’t enough security at the embassy by saying, “Tragically, two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.”
Rice was referring to two ex-Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who died during the violence.
But two former special operators and a former intelligence officer, two of whom had worked with Doherty, told The Daily Beast that Doherty and Woods’s job was not to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens. That job falls to Regional Security Officers or RSOs. During the fighting, some RSOs who were supposed to protect the ambassador apparently became separated from him.
“Glen died for Tyrone and Tyrone died for Glen,” one of the former special operators told The Daily Beast. “They fought bravely, but they did not die protecting the ambassador.”
There are few areas in which the Republican and Democratic parties are more alike than in foreign policy and military intervention. Indeed, despite suspiciously timed partisan swings depending on who holds the White House, both parties tend to be in favor of playing the role of globocop. Hopefully the presidential debate dedicated to foreign policy will raise questions about why we're in Libya in the first place.