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Last post on US politics and the Benghazi attack

I hope.

By Staff writer / October 25, 2012



The attempt to play politics with the murders of four Americans in Benghazi just won't go away. Anyone who buys into the notion that there is some enormous cover-up or political scandal around the public statements from the Obama administration since the attack doesn't understand intelligence collection, the chaos of reports after a tragedy of this magnitude, or the fact that the reality of events like this aren't fully known until months after the fact, if then.

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In fact, I consider it unlikely that anyone knows precisely what happened in Benghazi yet, beyond the men who planned and carried out the Sept. 11 assault on the US consulate there that ended in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomatic guards and former Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and embassy information management officer Sean Smith.

The outlines of what happened are now understood. An assault was planned and carried out by a Libyan militia, almost certainly one with Islamist political leanings. The publicly identified culprit has been a group called "Ansar al-Sharia," but public evidence has as yet been scant. And within the Benghazi context of multiple militias with fluid and changing memberships and identities, saying "Ansar al-Sharia did it" is not as informational as it might seen. A sub-set of Ansar al-Sharia members? A group of men, many of whom, but not all, worked with the militia in the past? Some other group eager to pin the blame on the militia? All are possibilities. Finally "Ansar al-Sharia" ("Helpers of Islamic Law") is a popular moniker in jihadi circles.

Did the Obama administration's early belief, based on reporting from the ground, that the attack was somehow tied in to anger over an anti-Islam YouTube video, damage efforts to find the killers? No. Sorry Rep. Rogers. An FBI team was dispatched quickly to Libya to begin coordinating the investigation, and there is zero evidence that resources were misallocated based on the early confusion. Are claims made on Facebook proof of, well, anything? Again, no.

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