At AP, the Big Issue About Benghazi Is 'About the Quality of U.S. Intelligence'

Early this afternoon, as part of the wire service's continuing "Why It Matters" series, the Associated Press's Eileen Sullivan boiled down the impact of the September 11 Benghazi, Libya attack during which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed and the U.S. consulate destroyed as follows: It "injected the issue of diplomatic security into the presidential campaign and renewed questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence."

Uh, Eileen, "the quality of U.S. intelligence" is not at issue. What is at issue is the intelligence and judgment of the people charged with using that intelligence. The Obama administration failed, up to and including the commander in chief and his Secretary of State, failed to respond to the intelligence communicated and to truthfully relay its substance to the American people on a timely basis. Instead, they invented the idea of a pre-attack protest which never occurred because of a 14-minute video which nobody cared about until there was a need to find a reason other than their own failings to protect Americans overseas. Here are Sullivan's opening two paragraphs (bold is mine):

WHY IT MATTERS: TERRORISM

The issue:

Osama bin Laden is dead and there hasn't been a successful attack by al-Qaida-inspired extremists on U.S. soil since the deadly shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009. But the danger of terrorism remains a reality for Americans, as seen in the attack in Libya in September that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The terrorist assault on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 injected the issue of diplomatic security into the presidential campaign and renewed questions about the quality of U.S. intelligence.

Eli Lake at the Daily Beast reported on September 26, i.e., almost three weeks ago, that there was lots of intelligence within 24 hours of the attack, and that there was no reason to doubt its accuracy:

U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates

Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.

Nonetheless, it took until late last week (i.e., White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on September 20, according to the timeline found at Heritage -- Ed.) for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack.

The admission that there were not protests at the consulate prior to the attack only occurred Tuesday of last week on the eve of State Department officials' asserting that fact at a Congressional hearing.

Questions about "the quality of U.S. intelligence" also had nothing to do with the failure to provide adequate security in Libya during the months before the September 11 attacks. The need for additional security was well-known. Requests for additional security were made based on this well-known need. They were denied.

The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, should rename its "Why It Matters" series "What We Want You to Think About the Things That Matter," or "Falsehoods We Wish To Spread About the Things That Matter."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.