In preparation for tonight’s third Presidential debate, this time focusing on foreign policy, James Rosen, of Fox News fame, suggested via The Wall Street Journal, three questions to be explored concerning the Benghazi fiasco during which an American Ambassador and three of his fellows were murdered in a terrorist attack.
Rosen’s first question is this:
[T]he facts of the “pre” period before the attacks will tell us how high up the chain, and in which agencies, fateful decisions were made about security precautions for the consulate and annex in Benghazi. We also stand to learn how the planning for the attacks could have been put in motion without being detected until too late.
We know that the Obama administration has claimed ignorance of the facts (in Vice President Joe Biden’s case, explicitly so). We know, also, that Charlene Lamb, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, in sworn testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, averred that the right amount of security was in place “as agreed” prior to the attack. We also know from security correspondence, from the late Ambassador Stevens’ correspondence, and from the sworn testimony before that same House committee by the in-country security leadership that multiple requests for enhanced security had been rejected in the months and weeks just preceding the attack.
Rosen’s second question is this, concerning the hours of the attack itself [link added]:
A State Department briefing on Oct 9 offered an account that was riveting but incomplete. When all of the facts of these hours are compiled, we will have a truer picture of the tactical capabilities of al Qaeda and its affiliates in North Africa. We will also learn what really happened to Ambassador Stevens that night….
We know, for instance, that there was no crowd of protestors, much less rioters, near the consulate in the hours preceding the terrorist attack, both from that 9 Oct briefing and from video taken from the consulate. Yet, in addition to Rosen’s capabilities question, there arises the matter of the administration, for two weeks, insisting that the attack was the result of rioting over a YouTube video, even though information to the contrary was available, both during and within hours after the attack.
Rosen’s third question is this, concerning that period of days following the terrorist attack:
[The time frame] stretches eight days—from 3:40 pm on Sep 11, when the consulate was first rocked by gunfire and explosions, through the morning of Sep 19, when Matthew G Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, publicly testified before the Senate that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.
We have the above strong indications—from on-scene—that the attack was a terrorist assault, and we have Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama’s false claim of having termed it so the day after in a Rose Garden speech. We also have his UN Ambassador Susan Rice four days later going on five different Sunday talk shows and claiming that the attack was a protest against that video and not a terrorist attack. This claim was repeated by various members of Obama’s immediate staff over the next several days, and it was even repeated by Obama himself at his UN speech nearly a week after Olsen’s testimony.
It’ll also be interesting to see whether, in the aftermath of Candy Crowley’s interference in the second debate, the moderator of this debate, Bob Schieffer, will allow the questions to be explored, and if so, whether Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney will do so (and if so, whether he’ll do so with less of the clumsiness he displayed in the second debate).