President Obama is presiding over an administration that has engaged in the systematic abuse of power. This is the real meaning of the Benghazi tragedy.
State Department whistleblowers testified Wednesday at a House hearing about the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2012, in Libya, which resulted in the killing of four Americans — including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Contrary to the liberal media’s spin, the testimony was damning and devastating.
The whistleblowers said that prior to the attacks, consulate officials repeatedly asked for extra security. The reason: Benghazi was unsafe. Rampaging jihadists had forced out British diplomats and the Red Cross. The U.S. Consulate had been attacked twice — the mission’s walls were blown up — before Sept. 11. Yet senior State Department officials denied the requests. Eric Nordstrom, the officer in charge of diplomatic security, testified that the consulate did not meet the protection “standards” required under the law. The consulate was officially designated as a “high-risk,” “high-threat” target — one of a few such diplomatic missions around the world. Mr. Nordstrom rightly pointed out that only one person had the legal authority to deny or approve the requests for extra security: then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hence, Mrs. Clinton lied when she testified in January at a Senate committee. Mrs. Clinton claimed she did not know about any enhanced security demands. This is impossible. An April 19, 2012, State Department cable bearing her signature explicitly denies the security requests. Under the law, only Mrs. Clinton had the ability to authorize the cable.
Moreover, according to Gregory H. Hicks, the State Department’s deputy chief of the Libya mission, Mrs. Clinton told Stevens to go to Benghazi. He was there under her personal orders. He was tasked with transforming the U.S. mission into a permanent consulate — despite the rising threat of terrorist violence and the lack of security. Knowing the dangerous situation, she sent him on a suicide mission. Mrs. Clinton has American blood on her hands.
The hearing revealed another bombshell — one that has the potential to damage Mr. Obama’s presidency. An email was sent on Sept. 12, 2012 — one day after the attack — to senior State Department officials by Elizabeth Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Among those who received it was Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills; State Department spokeswoman (and Clinton hack) Victoria Nuland, and Undersecretary of State for Management, Patrick F. Kennedy, a key Clinton adviser. The email’s conclusion: Ansar al-Sharia, an affiliate of al Qaeda in Libya, was directly and solely responsible for the terrorist atrocities at Benghazi.
This means the Obama administration knew from the beginning that Benghazi had nothing to do with a “flash mob” or an anti-Muslim video. The entire narrative was concocted to preserve Mr. Obama’s re-election. The central narrative of his campaign was that he had “smashed” and “defeated” al Qaeda. “The tide of war is receding,” he said.
Benghazi threatened to expose Mr. Obama’s false claims. Rather than being on the run, al Qaeda was resurgent. It had just stormed a U.S. diplomatic mission, burned it to the ground, killed four Americans and dragged our ambassador’s body through the streets. Jihadists had pulled off a spectacular, deadly terrorist attack. In the middle of a closely contested campaign, this revelation could have cost Mr. Obama the election.
This is why U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice was told to go on the Sunday TV talk shows and deliberately deceive the American people. She directly contradicted Libya’s president, who said immediately that the attack had nothing to do with demonstrations; rather, it was the work of Ansar al-Sharia. It is why Ms. Nuland oversaw the “scrubbing” — the systematic manipulation — of all of the intelligence talking points, eliminating every reference to Ansar al-Sharia, al Qaeda, terrorism or jihadism. It is why Mrs. Clinton repeatedly lied about Benghazi. It is why Mr. Obama continued to peddle the bogus video-flash mob narrative for two weeks after the assault. The administration engaged in a massive cover-up to protect Mr. Obama’s political credibility.
It is also why no military operation was ordered to save consulate personnel fighting for their very lives, including former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Both men were killed during the eight-hour assault. Mr. Obama did not lift a finger to help them. A special-operations team in Tripoli was told to “stand down” and not attempt to rescue them. F-16 fighter jets — the very ones used in the relentless NATO bombing campaign that helped topple Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi — stationed in the Mediterranean were not scrambled. Woods and Doherty were left twisting in the wind, betrayed by their own government. Only the president can give the final order not to undertake a military rescue mission. Mr. Obama’s inaction led to the deaths of Woods and Doherty.
Ultimately, Benghazi is considerably worse than Watergate. No one died in Watergate; the scandal revolved around the cover-up of a third-rate burglary. President Nixon’s crimes paled in comparison to those of the Obama administration. Mr. Obama has violated his sacred trust with the American people. He has repeatedly misled the public. He has engaged in rampant abuse of power and gross dereliction of duty. He has sanctioned the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. He has enabled his subordinates to commit perjury and obstruct justice in the investigation of the terrorist killing of four U.S. officials.
Mr. Obama neglected his duties and Americans died.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.