Ahead of the next Presidential debate on Monday, the media is in full on panic mode. The best they can hope for at this point is to muddy the waters. I think they are far too late.
The media would love to rewind and re-write. Problem is, the facts keep getting in the way. Facts they themselves reported quite happily and with a bit of zeal really. Check out this article at Hot Air: McClatchy: Obama admin changed story on Benghazi to blame video 3 days after attack
But the administration’s statements offer an ironic twist on the “fog-of-war” phenomenon: They apparently were more accurate on the day after the attacks than they were when Rice made her TV appearances four days later. Administration officials so far have provided no detailed explanation for the change.
Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, declined to comment for this report beyond saying that, “These issues have been covered in countless comments by the president and briefings.”
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner declined to address specifics. “An independent board is conducting a thorough review of the assault on our post in Benghazi. Once we have the board’s comprehensive account of what happened, findings and recommendations, we can fully address these matters,” he said in an email.
On the day after the attack, transcripts show, senior administration officials, briefing reporters, declined in response to three direct questions to link the Benghazi assaults to protests over the video. One senior official told reporters during the briefing that “unidentified Libyan extremists” launched what was “clearly a complex attack.” The official isn’t named because such briefings typically come on the condition of anonymity.
At campaign stops in Colorado and Nevada the next day, Sept. 13, Obama referred to the Benghazi assault as “an act of terror.” At the State Department press briefing that day, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was asked directly and repeatedly whether there was a link between the video protests and the attack on the U.S. consulate.
McClatchy cites two stops where Obama allegedly called Benghazi a terrorist attack. If he had, wouldn’t we have been seeing a raging back and forth on the statements Obama made blaming the video since these campaign stops? What I found was more of the Rose Garden speech type overall terror statement and the speeches seemed to be pretty much like a form letter altered for the state in which he was currently speaking. Check them out side by side below:
Colorado Sept. 13, Denver post:
“I want people around the world to hear me,” Obama said. “To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values we proudly present to the world.”
The crowd cheered “four more years” when he took the stage, but Obama turned serious and mentioned the slaying of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
He said the Americans had been risking their lives “to help one of the world’s youngest democracies get on its feet.”
Obama said he had a message for the rest of the world: “No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.”
These speeches are not calling Benghazi a terrorist act, that’s using it to stir up votes. One of the alleged assailants in Benghazi might agree with that assessment. At Jammie Wearing Fools:
Obama pretends he’s doing all he can to find the folks responsible for the terror attack in Benghazi, so why can the New York Times find him, but nobody else can?
Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.
Libya’s fledgling national army is a “national chicken,” Mr. Abu Khattala said, using an Arabic rhyme. Asked who should take responsibility for apprehending the mission’s attackers, he smirked at the idea that the weak Libyan government could possibly do it. And he accused the leaders of the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”
Mr. Abu Khattala’s defiance — no authority has even questioned him about the attack, he said, and he has no plans to go into hiding — offered insight into the shadowy landscape of the self-formed militias that have come to constitute the only source of social order in Libya since the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
I’ve already said what I think; the video was a pre-packaged excuse to be used as cover for the later release of the Blind Sheik. Benghazi happened and screwed up the narrative. Nakoula was just an agitator in his own right that actually became a useful idiot. What would be really useful to know is when the formal request, if any came form the Egyptians to the State department regarding the Blind Sheik.
Correction note: CNN tracked him down as I stated in my prior post, however it turns out the AP beat them to it but CNN got the story out first.
I’ve dug a little more on the spread of the video based on YouTube’s own stats associated with the film. I checked out the Wikipedia page for the video and found a wonky bit in the timeline.
“Innocence of Muslims” [note 1][note 2] is the title attributed to an anti-Islamic video reported to have been written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, using the pseudonym of “Sam Bacile”.[note 3] While he initially denied being the controversial figure, records uncovered by the Associated Press and confirmed by American federal authorities established Nakoula as the same person as Sam Bacile.[note 4][note 5] Nakoula claimed that he was creating an epic, two hour film, however no such film has been located.[note 6] The 14 minute video clips were initially uploaded to YouTube in July 2012, under the titles The Real Life of Muhammad and Muhammad Movie Trailer. Videos dubbed in the Arabic language were uploaded during early September 2012, and were promoted by Morris Sadek by email and on the blog of the National American Coptic Assembly. On September 9, 2012, an excerpt of the YouTube video was broadcast on Al-Nas TV, an Egyptian Islamist television station. Demonstrations and violent protests against the film broke out on September 11 in Egypt and Libya, and spread to other Arab and Muslim nations and some western countries. According to U.S. and Libyan officials, an armed attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012 that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, may have been a pre-planned attack unrelated to the videos.
It was uploaded July 2nd, but received very little attention until September 12th. In fact, the first promotion of it seemed to come via The National American Coptic Assembly (NACA) blog on September 10th via a man named Morris Sadek. (English version of site here and is not as up to date as the Arabic version.) The next post on that blog (on the same day’s post, Sept 10) talks about September 11th, where it shows Sadek shaking hands with controversial Pastor Terry Jones and the title of the post is International Judge Muhammed Day. Jones clearly had heard of and knew of the film before Al Nas aired it in Cairo and had been promoting it prior to September 11, however neither Terry’s church site nor StandUpAmerica site have any posts about it that I was able to find.
It was aired in Egypt on Al Nas Tv on September 9th and had by that time apparently been translated into Arabic. Despite the airing on TV in Cairo, All the big hits on the video come on September 12th. Al Nas has a live internet stream ability and is a dedicated religious channel according to the stream page. Their YouTube channel is also live streaming.
The claims I’ve seen have Sadek promoting and leaking the trailer to Middle Eastern journalists around the 5th of September. That date checks out on the NACA site here. If that’s so and the trailer is has the inciting impact everyone claims, why was Al Nas in Cairo the only one to air it? Why hadn’t Sadek promoted it on the NACA blog before September?
My overall skepticism about this video that keeps nagging at me goes back to the domino effect of protests that arose out of the initial Cairo one. We know that protest was not about am obscure film, but a planned protests over the Blind Sheik. I just can’t get past the feeling there was a ‘watch what the right hand is doing so the left hand can get away with something’ move here. Meanwhile, Nakoula rots in solitary confinement while the media chases its tail on the ‘evolving’ story out of the White House.