People died. Hillary lied.
Obama lied, too.
They lied early.
They lied often.
They lied deliberately.
They lied about the slaughter of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, at the hands of al-Qaeda-tied terrorists.
They lied, but not to protect vital national secrets or flummox America’s enemies.
They lied to get reelected.
And they lied directly, knowingly, and repeatedly to the American people.
Although I am a confirmed and consistent critic of Hillary and Obama, I long had cut them some slack regarding their first comments about the Benghazi attack. Thanks to the fog of war, I thought, they could not be blamed if they initially misattributed this deadly onslaught to a mob inflamed about an incredibly amateur Internet video that dissed the Prophet Mohammad. If they innocently got it wrong in, say, the first twelve hours after the assault began, they might deserve a grudging pass – at least for those early announcements.
Alas, I was unjustifiably generous toward Hillary and Obama. Instead, I should have been profoundly cynical.
As FactCheck.org chronicled on Friday, and L. Gordon Crovitz detailed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Clinton issued a statement on the attack at 10:32 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 11, 2012. It read, in part: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
But that was a lie.
At 11:12 p.m., just 40 minutes later, Hillary e-mailed her daughter, Chelsea, with the truth: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group.” Hillary’s e-mail was addressed to “Diane Reynolds,” Chelsea’s code name. This smoking e-mail surfaced during Hillary’s October 22 hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
At 11:49 p.m., Hillary contacted Libyan president Mohamed Magariaf, also with the truth: “There is a gun battle ongoing, which I understand Ansar [al] Sharia is claiming responsibility for.” This group is al-Qaeda’s Libyan franchisee.
The next day, September 12, 2012, Hillary resumed her public lies:
“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,” she said in a speech at the State Department. “America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear – there is no justification for this, none.”
Echoing Hillary’s lie du jour, Obama chimed in with his own lie that day: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths,” he declared in the Rose Garden. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.”
Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, lied even more explicitly that day: “We have no information to suggest that it was a planned attack.”
Hillary toggled back to private-truth mode at 3:04 p.m., when she phoned Hisham Qandil, prime minister in Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood government. She told him: “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. Based on the information we saw today, we believe that the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al-Qaeda.”
“You can’t be square with the American people,” Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) said about Hillary’s initial statements on Benghazi. “You tell your family it’s a terrorist attack, but not the American people. You can tell the president of Libya it’s a terrorist attack, but not the American people. And you can tell the Egyptian prime minister it’s a terrorist attack, but you can’t tell your own people the truth.”
Hillary reverted to public lies that September 14, during the ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in which she and Obama welcomed home the flag-draped caskets of U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, technical officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
“We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with,” Hillary said.
Hillary took things a totalitarian step further when – according to Tyrone Woods’s father, Charles – Hillary told him, “We will make sure that the person who made that film isarrested and prosecuted.”
“You had a video released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character, who has an extremely offensive video directed at Mohammad and Islam,” Obama told TV host David Letterman on September 18. Obama added that “extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of embassies, including the consulate in Libya.”
The U.S. embassy in Pakistan spent $70,000 distributing a recording on September 20, 2012, in which Hillary said that America “had absolutely nothing to do with this video” that supposedly sparked the Benghazi attack.
Fully 14 days after learning that the Benghazi attack was a coordinated, al-Qaeda-linked Islamic-terrorist broadside against American territory and personnel, Obama stood before the United Nations General Assembly and lied, lied, lied: “There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy,” Obama said that September 25. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Just two days into that future, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies fulfilled Hillary’s chilling prophecy to Charles Woods. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the Egyptian Coptic Christian who created the notorious Internet video, Innocence of Muslims, was arrested, supposedly because he used a pseudonym and thereby violated parole on an unrelated bank-fraud conviction. He subsequently was sentenced to a year in the La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution in Texas. Never mind that the First Amendment should have shielded his right to produce whatever video he wanted on Mohammad or any other religious figure. (Rather than molder behind bars, the producers of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon still laugh all the way to the bank, as hard as their audiences howl nightly.) Nakoula was a convenient patsy. As such, Hillary appears to have transformed him from a poor-quality filmmaker into a political prisoner.
Hillary and Obama buried the truth beneath an Oriental rug of lies. It covered up painful facts, lest they contradict the comforting campaign theme that Obama unveiled at the Democrat National Convention just five days before Benghazi: “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.”
And it worked!
The truth about Benghazi, what Hillary and Obama knew, and when they knew it, remained obscured until last week. This helped Obama win the White House in November 2012, and put Hillary in a comfortable position from which to run as his successor.
Regardless, with this much of the truth now out in the open, nothing that either of these two liars utters can be taken at face value ever again. They already were unbelievable, thanks to the Liar-in-Chief’s “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” serial deceptions on Obamacare and other multifarious matters. Ditto Hillary’s decades of mendacity, from cattle futures to “there is no classified material” on the clandestine e-mail server that she willfully hid from scrutiny for seven years.
Whatever embers of credibility either of these reprobates may have possessed were extinguished with the ice water of Hillary’s testimony last Thursday.
Obama’s and Hillary’s lies about the Benghazi massacre confirm, once and for all, that they are twin moral vacuums. They deserve all of the scorn, disrespect, and rejection that such a disgraceful distinction demands.
A version of this piece previously appeared on National Review Online.