After a remarkable House hearing yesterday, we can say this with almost complete certainty: The Obama administration knew perfectly well that last year’s Sept. 11 attack on Americans and American facilities in Benghazi was a terrorist act — yet chose to characterize it falsely as a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam YouTube video.
We can say this because we learned during the hearing that on Sept. 12, State Department official Beth Jones said flatly in an e-mail, “The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”
We can say this because we heard the testimony of the No. 2 US diplomat in Libya, Greg Hicks — in which he said no one on the ground in Libya had any doubt it was a planned assault by Ansar al-Sharia. The first thing his boss, Ambassador Chris Stevens, told Hicks over the phone was, “We’re under attack.” Stevens was murdered shortly thereafter.
We can say this because we learned last week that the State Department Operations Center sent out a bulletin on Sept. 11 stating that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility.
Hicks said that in his conversations with State Department officials back home, including Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, neither he nor they nor anybody else said anything about a spontaneous demonstration or anything about a YouTube video.
So Team Obama knew. But Team Obama also knew there had been protests in Egypt around the embassy there that had been staged in response to the YouTube video. And at some point in the days that followed, the administration decided to conflate the two events and assign blame for the attack in Benghazi on the video…