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Benghazi: The Unanswered Question

It is a common tactic among politicians and others who are in trouble to plead guilty to a lesser offense in order to distract attention from their real transgression. That is, I think, what the Obama administration has done in admitting belatedly that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was an act of terrorism, not, as Mark Steyn put it, a movie review that got out of hand. Scott detailed that sorry history earlier this morning. The administration hopes, I think, that acknowledging the obvious with respect to the nature of the attack will allow the press to put the whole issue aside until after the election.

But an important question remains–a question that is not only important, but is far more explosive, politically, than how the genesis of the event is classified. That question is, what happened to Ambassador Stevens? In particular, when and how did he die? Who killed him? And what lapses on the part of the Obama/Clinton State Department made his murder sickeningly easy?

The administration first put out the story that Stevens, who fled to a supposedly safe house along with several others during the first wave of the attack, was overcome by smoke inhalation and, apparently, abandoned by whoever had been with him. He was then found by a group of friendly Libyans who rushed him to the nearest hospital, where he was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation by a physician who added that there were no signs of any other injury. There you have it: Stevens’ death was virtually accidental.

But the facts never aligned with this narrative. Stevens’ whereabouts were unknown for a long time; the estimates I have seen range between four and ten hours. No one has tried to explain why the terrorists who attacked the safe house mysteriously disappeared long enough to allow a friendly crowd to rescue the ambassador, only, apparently, to return some hours later to attack the relief force from Tripoli. And, most of all, the videos and photographs that have emerged on the internet do not support the administration’s narrative. One brief video clip purports to show the discovery of the ambassador–still alive–by a group of Libyans who might be friendly. But the photographs of what happened thereafter, which are surprisingly few in number, under the circumstances, obviously do not show Stevens in the hands of solicitous Libyans who are rushing him to the hospital. On the contrary:

If that isn’t blood, what is it?

The appalling possibility, of course, is that Stevens survived the initial attack on the safe house and was later murdered by the terrorists or by the mob that we see in the photographs. Such a scenario is consistent with the hypothesis that Stevens was the target of the attack from the beginning, and that the terrorists had been leaked intelligence about the place to which he would flee from an attack on the consulate. At present, his fate during the missing hours is unknown, except for what we can infer from the pictures. An account in one Arabic-language newspaper is so horrifying that I will not describe it here.

What we do know is that through its gross negligence, the Obama administration got an American ambassador (and, of course, several others) murdered and dragged triumphantly through the streets by an Arab mob. From there, the story can only get worse. It is the facts surrounding the death of Ambassador Stevens that the Obama administration desperately wants to keep secret until after the election, and it will happily plead guilty to misclassifying the cause of the event if that will enable the press arm of its campaign to change the subject.

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