A Non-Denial Denial From the Obama Administration

The Obama administration is denying the Independent’s report that it had warnings of possible attacks on diplomatic installations in the Middle East, but failed to act. Steve and I both wrote about the Independent story. Now Politico reports that the Obama administration indignantly denies the Independent report.

Only, if you look more closely, it isn’t much of a denial. Here is what the administration says about the claim that it had warnings of possible attacks:

Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, emailed: “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”

Of course, the Independent story didn’t say that the Obama administration had “actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.” It said that “the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted,” but did nothing to step up security. The administration’s denial does not contradict the Independent’s statement, and the fact that the denial is phrased so narrowly suggests that the Independent’s report is, in fact, accurate.

The administration also denied, incredibly, that the Benghazi attack was “premeditated.”

A U.S. official told POLITICO: “There’s no intelligence indicating that the attack in Benghazi was premeditated.”

This is both silly and pointless. Of course the attack was premeditated; that’s why the terrorists were armed with RPGs and mortars. The anonymous U.S. official is apparently unaware of what the Libyans themselves are saying:

Heavily armed militants used a protest of an anti-Islam film as a cover and may have had help from inside Libyan security in their deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate, a senior Libyan official said Thursday.

As Libya announced the first four arrests, the clearest picture yet emerged of a two-pronged assault with militants screaming “God is great!” as they scaled the consulate’s outer walls and descended on the compound’s main building. …

Eastern Libya’s deputy interior minister, Wanis el-Sharef, said a mob first stormed the consulate Tuesday night and then, hours later, raided a safe house in the compound just as U.S. and Libyan security arrived to evacuate the staff. That suggested, el-Sharef said, that infiltrators within the security forces may have tipped off the militants to the safe house’s location.

So the Obama administration is already in cover-up mode. Note how willing administration spokesmen are to take absurd positions, secure in the knowledge that reporters will help them with their cover-up.

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