Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) delivered a withering rebuke of the response of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice to the Benghazi embassy attacks. On September 11, 2012, terrorists attacked the United States embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
In the days following the attacks, the Obama Administration blamed the outbreak of the violence on an obscure anti-Islamic video. Then-Secretary Clinton attributed suggested that video had sparked the attacks. Clinton stated, "Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation …" Jay Carney, President Obama’s spokesperson, stated that "The protests we're seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie. They are not directly in reaction to any policy of the United States or the government of the United States or the people of the United States." Susan Rice also placed blame for the attacks on this video, stating, "There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the Internet. It had nothing to do with the United States government, and it's one that we find disgusting and reprehensible. It's been offensive to many, many people around the world. That sparked violence in various parts of the world, including violence directed against Western facilities including our embassies and consulates."
However, in the weeks that the followed, the Administration was forced to admit that its initial public analysis proved far from reality. On September 27, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admitted the attacks were not spontaneous, "… As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack." Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, stated, "As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists."
In effect, the administration attempted to place blame for a horrendous attack on a U.S. embassy on spontaneous reaction to an obscure video, when in fact the attacks represented a stunning security and intelligence failure. This attempt to delude the American public has sparked outrage across the country.
Senator Ayotte blasted the Administration cover-up and response, stating, "We learned this was not a hateful reaction to a hateful video … [Ambassador] Rice’s reaction was simply false … The president’s explanation for nearly two weeks after this attack was absolutely wrong. And unfortunately we still haven’t gotten all the answers of what happened … I will keep pushing to get to the bottom of this." Senator Ayotte admonished the audience that "there is always a temptation to rationalize and discount evil."
Fortunately, leaders such as Senator Ayotte are adamant that we address the reality of the evil directed against this nation. Misdirecting blame might serve the self-interests of certain politicians but does nothing to enhance our national security.