Libyan President Confirms: Movie "had nothing to do with this attack."


Mohamed Magarief

If you still believe the murder of the American ambassador to Libya earlier this month was the result of "Muslim rage" over a film nobody has seen, you may be eligible for a high-level job with the State Department, but you should listen to the Libyan president.

In an interview with NBC's Ann Curry [video here], Libyan President Mohammed Magarief says the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others was a, well-coordinated, pre-planned operation by terrorist networks in the country and that it was unrelated to the trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims.

All this should be clear if you have been following our coverage at Reason – and while we've done a fine job of following this story, we're not exactly a hotbed of foreign policy mavens or a publication with an interest in finding terrorists in every shoeless airport security line. So why has it been so difficult to get the Obama team to fess up? Curry drew Magarief out on the differences between his definition and his American counterpart's.

"This is how I am calling at as a responsible Libyan Official," Magarief replied. "But it is for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to describe it as they like and they feel is right. You have your terminology and we have our terminology."

Exactly. So what's terrorism and what isn't? This handy breakdown should clear it up for you:

Playing paintball
Bringing baby formula onto an airplane
Sending nasty texts to your girlfriend

Killing the U.S. ambassador with a shoulder-mounted rocket
Murdering 13 people at a domestic army base
Shooting and killing two people at an El Al ticket desk at Los Angeles International Airport

More from NBC:

Magarief told Curry that based on the accuracy of the assault, he believes the attackers must have had training and experience using the weapons.

"It's a pre-planned act of terrorism," he said, adding that the anti-Islam film had "nothing to do with this attack."

'A strong friend'
Magarief said that while Libyans appeared to be behind the attack that "these Libyans do not represent the Libyan people or Libyan population in any sense of the word."

He added: "We consider the United States as a friend, not only a friend, a strong friend, who stood with us in our moment of need."

More than 40 people have been questioned in connection with the incident, the Libyan leader told Curry.

The Obama administration initially maintained that the attacks were directly linked to protests over the film. Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said: "What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video."

By playing politics in such a clumsy way, the Obama State Department has actually managed to bury the part of this story that is most favorable to its own North African policy: The attack seems to have been very unpopular in Libya, with many regular people joining the president in his pro-American sentiments. (At least, that's what the media seem to indicate. My experience is that all such characterizations, pro and con, tend to dissolve when you look closely into them.)

NEXT: Obama Builds on Leads in Ohio and Florida

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  1. I’m sure glad the legacy media is all Obama like a cheap suit about this.

    1. Well, they are the 4th estate that keeps the other three in check, sage.


      (wipes tears from eyes)

      1. ‘that all such characterizations, pro and con, tend to dissolve when you look closely into them’

        Well you wouldn’t want to send a reporter or otherwise confirm some supposition that someone pulled out of their ass, right?

        I mean, that would be hard, right?

        And someone else’s job, too.

      2. Is it the Fourth Estate then? I always thought it was the Fourth Mistake.

  2. Curry drew Magarief out…

    Tasty, tasty curry.

  3. It looks like General Electric might be paying some taxes this time around, since they can seem to rein in their journalists.

    Using the bin Laden exercise as a model, we can see that the Obama Administration is remarkably inept at the politics of foreign policy. They pick the wrong narrative and either doggedly stick with it in the face of conflicting facts or gradually but hamhandedly alter it as they go along.

  4. Blasphemy!

  5. The Administration wants to pretend this is about the video instead of a 9/11 anniversary simple terrorism thing because it doesn’t want people to see what a blatant fucking failure their foreign policy is. It is literally the worst of both worlds: militarism and bombing all through central asia and Yemen, meanwhile in North Africa, we’ve assisted Islamists in overthrowing previously friendly (or at the very least, willing to play ball despots) regimes and handed power to a graver threat. Meanwhile, the two actual “arab spring” revolutions that are raging against overtly hostile Islamist machines, we’ve been fairly silent on.

    This administration manages to look like craven pussies and war mongers all at the same time and everything it’s done has advanced the more threatening forces in the region while shooting ourselves in the foot in realpolitik terms. It fucking baffles me.

    1. Obama has to have the most incoherent foreign policy ever

      1. What’s so incoherent about a Nobel Peace Prize winner with unchecked authority to kill whoever whenever with his armada of flying deathbots?

        1. Hugh Akston| 9.26.12 @ 3:06PM |#

          What’s so incoherent about a Nobel Peace Prize winner with unchecked authority to kill whoever whenever with his armada of flying deathbots?


          1. You call yourself “Hugh Akston”, you’re already on the list.

            1. My nickname back when i did movies was “Hugh Johnson”

              I didn’t get a whole lot of speaking roles.

        2. “What’s so incoherent about a Nobel Peace Prize winner with unchecked authority to kill whoever whenever with his armada of flying deathbots?”

          This could have been the basis for a sketch in “Kentucky Fried Movie,” “Groove Tube,” or the early SNL on TV. People would laughed, if for no other reason than for the sheer absurdity of it.

          Welcome, my friend, to Absurdistan.

    2. Did you expect the foreign policy directives of a megalomaniac to be coherent? If so, I have some property in the Everglades I’d like to sell you.

      1. No Episarch, I did not expect it. But I would still be interested in that Everglades property …

      2. As disgusting as this makes me feel, it almost makes Dinesh D’Souza’s central point about anti-imperialism make sense. All the countries that are “allies” (or at the very least not officially current enemies) get outright war aimed at regime change(Libya), get secret wars that routinely kill civilians (Yemen, Pakistan), or get thrown under the bus when the streets rise against them (Egypt, although I can’t blame the administration for that as they didn’t actively support the insurrection and if anything were too supportive or “our” guy initially). Meanwhile, the “enemies”, the ones that flip the bird to our “Western imperial” tendencies get very little other than brief statements of condemnation over what would qualify in any other circumstance as fucking war crimes. The administration has issued more vehement condemnation of a poorly produced video that it wished to make a scapegoat for its ridiculous policy than it has for outright warcrimes in Syria.

        1. There are probably 99 reasons to vote Obama in there somewhere.

      3. I kind of did, actually.

        You don’t get statues built commemorating your victories when you don’t have any to speak of.

        1. He has all the victories he needs. FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT gets a lot of elementary schools built with your name on them, you fool.

          1. Goddammit, you’re right. Who needs pyramids made out of your enemies’ skulls when you’re a shade lighter than Beyonce?

            1. Nothing in the world is cuter than a quarteroon girl with naturally blond locks.

              OT: the side of Lady Gaga to which I approve


              1. There’s no photo at your link, Killaz.

                1. Thanks for letting me know.


                  It could but NSFW at some offices but my own site would have no problem with it.

              2. Or did you mean “the invisible side”?

              3. What do you like best, her cheap, trashy tattoos, or her dimply ass?

                1. Oh, the dimply ass; you pay extra for the lumps in the gravy don’tcha know?

              4. It’s “quadroon”.

                Jus’ sayin’.

                1. Yep, and I have no excuse for screwing that up.

                  1. My secret is that I’m technically a quadroon.

                2. Other than the spell checker changed it to ‘quaternion’, and then I only corrected the last half.

                  1. Quaternions are the shit. FUCK SINGLUARITIES.

                    1. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I have no love for the Gimbal lock, either.

    3. They are merely trying to find a common ground with the Islamist on subjects to which they agree. Laws against blasphemy being one such area our proglodyte multiculturalist elites and barbarian hordes are quite copacetic.

  6. It’s enough to make me vote Romney.

    1. And that will accomplish what, exactly?

        1. We’ll get far more lulz with an Obama second term.

          1. true, but I want yummy tears!

            1. For pure entertainment value (which from my perspective is about all that’s really at stake here), an Obama loss is the way to go.

              1. Yeah, the wailing and gnashing and salty ham tears are going to be so epic if he loses.

                1. I just want to see the sputtering from people who swore up and down that O was going to win this thing 370-168 and that anyone who didn’t think so probably also didn’t believe in global warming.

                  They’re just so fucking smug about it; it’s the condescension that’s the worst part of talking with an “educated” leftist. The idea that how could you possible view the world anyway else?

                  I war between desiring O to be dragged off the scene in handcuffs, to sit in the dock for any of the innumerable corrupt things he’s done in his four years, vs the idea that it’s a very bad thing to throw your political enemies in jail if you expect them to voluntarily leave power.

      1. At least Romney will be more scrutinized by the legacy media. They’re just bending over for Obama.

        1. They’d scrutinize anyone better than Obama. So why not vote for Johnson?

            1. Bravo!

              My point was just that media complicity and complacency isn’t a real argument for voting for Romney, so much as an argument for someone other than Obama.

            2. Haven’t you heard, that’s a vote for the other guy.

          1. Same here. Any sympathy you ever see coming from me for Romney comes from the fact the media are such shitholes in carrying Obama’s water, not because I’m pushing for him or, gag, voting for him. When the focus of media attacks was on Romney for commenting on the failure of Obama’s policy in keeping our embassies and consulates secure and our ambassadors and diplomatic staff alive, and not on the fact that Obama had not done so, I felt like I was living in the Twilight Zone. What the fuck is wrong with those people? You would almost literally have to be a zombie to see the world as they do.

    2. I have repeatedly had this thought, but then Romney says something equally stupid.

    3. The dhimmicrats have earned my eternal hatred for putting the guy in office who could say what he said yesterday at the UN, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.’ It was quite obvious in ’08 he was capable of those backasswards, anti-Enlightenment (in such a decadent way that would make Nietzsche blush) sentiments, so there is no excuse. However, saying that, Romney isn’t an acceptable alternative to where this nation should be heading. If he is an acceptable alternative to getting rid of the worst president of our life times for you, than fine, I wont argue. It wont make me change my vote to Johnson because my strategy is more of a long term one and the failure of an Obama second term could prove to be more helpful to those goals than a Romney victory.

      1. If I thought that there was even the slightest chance that my state will end up choosing Romney, then I might vote for him.
        As it is Obama will win my state, probably by a ten percent margin.

        I’m voting for Gary’s Johnson.

        1. Same here on all counts

        2. Honestly, I don’t really get this logic. Even in the closest of races, your vote is never going to decide the election. In the even that you actually were the tiebreaker, judges would ultimately decide (regardless of who you voted for)

          1. Even in the closest of races, your vote is never going to decide the election.

            Then why bother to vote at all?

            1. I vote to do my part to elect the person who I think would be the best president. I vote my conscience. This election, that guy is Gary Johnson. That’s my entire point. If you’re going to vote, you should vote for who you think is best regardless of how close it is, because your vote will never decide it.

              1. That’s easy to do in California (where I assume you’re from)where the race is pre-decided. I’m in Colorado. I spent an hour last night trying to defend a Gary Johnson vote from my whole family (mostly moderate Democrats). They aren’t happy with Obama, but their logic is that what matters is the Supreme Court, and that my vote would be a “feel good” vote at the expense of further entrenching Republican justices.

                1. Did you point out who appointed Chief Justice John Roberts?

                  You know, the guy who invented the penaltax?

                  1. Surprisingly, Obamacare isn’t that popular with my family (although they don’t particularly hate it). I think that’s why I don’t hate Democrats as much as everyone else here does. In Colorado, Democrats (with exceptions) are generally very moderate compared with their coastal brethren.

                2. Eric, did you not read what I wrote? Even in the closest of states, your vote will NEVER decide the election any more than mine will in California. It’s mathematically and politically impossible. The only logically choice is who you think would be the best president

            2. I vote so that when they add up the votes and post them to Wikipedia, other people like me will know how many of us out there would rather have Gary Johnson as president than either of the other two clowns.

            3. You bother to vote at all because the “group mind” of the election result should also provide INFORMATION about the public will, along with a winner of the contest. If we only get one or other, we’re doing it wrong!

              Even if he doesn’t actually win, a strong vote for Johnson can still cause a political earthquake and related, healthy changes in the two big parties. It can also set him or another third-party candidate up for victory in the near future.

              If you REALLY feel that Romney or Obama is the devil incarnate and must be stopped at all costs, I feel sorry for you — I have heard this song for many elections now, and at least hindsight has shown that it is always wrong — but go ahead and vote your conscience, however twisted a ballot that causes you to cast. For the rest, I would advise voting your conscience as well, rather than trying to fit into some kind of electoral strategy game. It is more important for the winner of the contest to see a strong endorsement of liberty (in the case of the libertarian candidate), environmentalism and “economic justice” (in the case of the Green candidate), or fealty to the Constitution (in the case of the Constitution Party candidate), than to get what appears to be a mandate for his own policies from people voting against his hated opponent rather than for him.

          2. What happened in Florida in 2000 makes me less sure. I don’t live in a swing state so it doesn’t matter who I vote for but the Greens, as a group, basically allowed the election of a less Green candidate. Obviously no individual vote swung the election but tens of thousands of individual votes do add up.

            1. The problem with that line of thinking is that I could just as easily say if tens of millions of people decided to vote for Gary Johnson, he’d be president. In either case large numbers of other people are required to go along with me to make a difference – what difference does it make for my vote if it’s 100,000 or 50 million?

        3. “I’m voting for Gary’s Johnson.”

          That’s the spirit. Johnsonize DC and the corrupt bipartisan scam, good and hard.

      2. change my vote tofrom Johnson

        Damn those elusive English language prepositions!

        1. than fine

          When my Iron Fist is grasping the world, two changes will be made, 1) end all English language homophones. No two words shall sound alike to the ear of a typical Mid-Atlantic state inhabitant, and 2) Reason shall implement post submission editing.

          1. Reason does implement post submission editing. It’s just that they leave it to the squirrels.

      3. I’m in Vermont so I can write in “Santa Claus” it will have no effect on the outcome of anything. Our paltry 4 electoral votes will all go to Obama.

        1. If you vote third party, at least you can help them inch closer to qualifying for the ballot and getting more media attention.

          If you vote for Romney or Obama in a safe state as the lesser of two evils, your vote is truly wasted, since you won’t determine the outcome and you accomplish absolutely nothing.

          1. If you vote third party, at least you can help them inch closer to qualifying for the ballot and getting more media attention.

            That’s the argument I’m using in trying to get my wife to abandon the GOP for this election.

          2. If you vote for Romney or Obama in any state your vote is wasted, since it will be statistically insignificant.

            1. I generally agree, although the difference is that in close enough states, enough people who normally would vote third party could reasonably be convinced in congregate to change the final outcome. I’m not advocating for that and in fact I believe “spoiling” the margin of difference is a good thing by getting people talking about third parties, but I could at least better understand the argument in that case.

      4. The sad thing is that if you excise that line from the speech, he sounds like Candidate Obama from 2008. I wish that guy had become president, he sucked a lot less than anyone else we’ve had recently.

  7. So the President of Libya has more credibility than the Pres of the US.

    4 More Years!

    1. Even worse is the contempt that the administration has for the citizenry by even PRETENDING that this whole thing was spurned because of some stupid Youtube video.

      On 9/11. With RPG’s. And Al-qaeda’s flag on the roof.

      It’s bad enough that some bought this line, but the fact that they peddled it is just pathetic.

      1. Don’t forget the mortars. Spontaneous mobs also carry mortars with them at all times.

        1. Of course! The mortars!

          The usual protest mob in the middle east consists of the following:

          Puppet Effigy’s for a-burnin’
          US/Israeli Flags also for a-burnin’
          Lighters to start the burnin’
          Megaphones for a-screamin’

          Tactical blueprints for assault plans for specific buildings
          Rocket Propelled Grenades
          Al-qaeda Flags and Banners
          Mortars dialed in to specific coordinates
          Mutiple waves of attack formations pre-scheduled for maximum force response

          Yep. Just like the march on Selma!

          1. You forgot the iPad to show inflammatory YouTube videos to get the crowd riled up.

        2. Don’t they? I’m holding a mortar launcher and I’ve got an RPG in the trunk of my car as I type this. /sarc

          1. Drone strike incoming, Loki. Drones don’t grasp the /sarc tag. Better duck.

            1. Knew I should’ve gone for Cold-Blooded.

  8. Its a sad day when the President of Libya compares so favorably to the President of the United States. I thought his dismissal of Obama and Clinton was very artfully done.

    1. Absolutely. He seems to be a pretty stand up guy. I hope he is representative of the people he governs, that would be one less qualm to worry about from the Arab Spring.

    2. Agreed, that was beautiful.

    3. And the incredulity of Curry in asking repeatedly “are you SURRRREEE it was a terrorist attack? Like totally sure??? Cause our prez says it wasn’t.”


      1. Are you super cereal???

      2. From other interviews I’ve seen her do recently, I think this approach may have been in part to serve as a surrogate person on the street (her frequent role), and perhaps in part to get him to commit himself to contradicting our President and his minions: stirring up trouble and juicing up the story, in other words. I seem to recall that Barbara Walters used similar tactics in some interviews. I’m hoping Curry had a deliberate aim.

    4. I like how he stood up forthrightly for Obama and Hillary’s free speech rights.

  9. Who are you gonna believe? Some greasy little foreigner, or the President of the United States’ press secretary?

    1. “Who are you gonna believe? Some greasy little foreigner, or the President of the United States’ press secretary?”

      I don’t know how to do that strike out think, so I will fix that this way:

      Who are you gonna believe? Some greasy little foreigner, or the President of Libya?

      1. Raaaaaaciiiiiist! Next I suppose you’re going to call Elizabeth Warren “Lieawatha” and start doing the tomahawk chop or something.

        1. Ulysses Everett McGill had just as valid a license to practice law as she did.

  10. It’s a good thing Obama didn’t immediately start making apologies for that movie, because that would have been awkward.

  11. The attack seems to have been very unpopular in Libya, with many regular people joining the president in his pro-American sentiments. (At least, that’s what the media seem to indicate. My experience is that all such characterizations, pro and con, tend to dissolve when you look closely into them.)

    It’s more likely that the general Libyan population is split roughly into thirds. 1/3 (give or take) approve of the attack, 1/3 (give or take) disapprove, and 1/3 (give or take) don’t really give a shit as long as it doesn’t effect them directly.

    1. That’s just a general rule of thumb for any population for any thing at any time.

    2. This is Cavanaugh’s General Theory of 33.3, which has been expounded many times on this site.

  12. If you still believe the murder of the American ambassador to Libya earlier this month was the result of “Muslim rage” over a film nobody has seen, you may be eligible for a high-level job with the State Department, but you should listen to the Libyan president.

    Ok, fine. But what does that have to do with all the other protests in all the other countries where a diplomat hasn’t been murdered?

    1. *whispers*


    2. Aside from Egypt, didn’t they all happen after the State Department did everything it could to draw attention to the movie?

      I’ve said it before, but my cynical to the point of paranoid side says that they wanted a ton of riots over the movie, so that people would be more likely to remember the Libyan attack as being part of the video riots (a random event to be blamed on freedom), rather than a complete intelligence/security fuckup on their part.

      Of course, for those that remember, it was just a few days before the attack that the story that Obama rarely attends security briefings was making the rounds. That’s not something you want voters thinking about in succession: Monday they read a story about the President half-assing national security, Tuesday they read about Al Qaeda successfully pulling off the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador in decades.

  13. You might think the media would point out once in a while that there is no “film” or “movie”, just a joke trailer on YouTube for a movie that was never made.

  14. Not exactly on topic, but I would like to shout an “atta-girl” out to Ann Curry, who has continued to show her quality as a person and her journalistic skills, after getting virtually shanked on the Today show. I quit watching that program after Ann’s departure. Somehow, it just wasn’t the same onscreen “family” that NBC had long touted (and with whom I had become comfortable) anymore. The new girl is OK, but I haven’t felt the urge to return. Now, if I watch anything at that time of the morning, it is Good Morning America: That show may actually be WORSE, but I only watch for the time-and-headlines ticker and the local news inserts every half-hour, anyway. Whenever Today had an interesting segment, watching it often made me late for work. Now I don’t feel the temptation.

    Keep up the great work, Ann. I guess we’re all better off without Today.

    1. All I got out of this comment is that you watch Today or Good Morning America.

      Why in Science’s name?

    2. Of what possible use are journalistic skills on the Today show? The mind boggles.

  15. Well, the Libyan president can say what he likes, but I trust our president. After reading the thoughts of so many wise progressives on this issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that a legislative solution is necessary to prevent a repeat of this terrible tragedy.

    To that end, I’m starting work on a draft of a bill I plan to call the Facilitating the Advancment of Society by Condemning Incendiary Speech against Muslims Act. If Congress adopts it, it will put an end to this sort of thing once and for all.

    1. So it’s a “Final Solution” to the problem?

  16. But Raimondo is conwinced… CONWINCED I SAY, that President Obama has some super-secret intelligence about the Youtube video (withheld, of course) that gives him the edge in KNOWING that it was the video that got the Ambassador Killt!…..-benghazi/

    It’s a topsy-turvy world where a site called “antiwar” takes the warmongering administration’s last word on a subject about foreign policy.

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