American Elephants

How to Handle a Scandal — Lessons in Futility. by The Elephant's Child

How to handle a scandal— or not. The Obama administration was quite desperate to insist that the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi was a violent protest against a YouTube video that spun out of control. If they admitted that it was a planned attack, premeditated, not only on the Consulate but on the supposedly secret safe house in Benghazi, they might have to explain why the Consulate was an unprotected building without any safeguards or fire protection, and why the secret safe house was well known to the attackers, as were the Ambassador’s movements,  why there were no security people, and why the Obama administration sent out UN Ambassador Susan Rice to make the rounds of Sunday shows to claim that it was simply a protest against a despicable, disgusting 14 minute video — when they knew better.

President Not-My-Fault claimed that the two ex-SEALS killed in Libya were inept security guards.

According to the Obama administration’s United Nations ambassador, Susan Rice, the two former Navy SEALs who died defending the Benghazi consulate from attack this month, Tyrone Woods, 41, and Glen Doherty, 42, were State Department employees on the consulate’s security detail when they somehow got overpowered by a mob that was enraged by an anti-Islamic film.

That’s questionable, given that the consulate endured a sustained paramilitary-style attack that left the consulate aflame, killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and diplomat Sean Smith, and ended with a desperate trail of bloody handprints across the consulate walls.

Turns out they weren’t State Department employees, weren’t there to protect the consulate. Nor were they personally responsible for the ambassador’s security, but stepped into the breach when the attacks occurred. As the consulate was under mortar fire from an organized al Qaeda attack, the two men with no preparation and no ground intelligence just stepped forward and died defending the U.S. after the non-U.S. contractors who were paid to do that ran away.

That casts a very unpleasant light on State Department efforts to defend U.S. outposts and personnel  from terror attacks, and their careless inadequacy. But remember, ‘the War on Terror is over.’ Obama has already attempted to spin his long-delayed approval of the bin Laden raid, something any president would have signed, into “a gutsy call.” The media said so, over and over. Then, attempting to capitalize on his ‘gutsy call’ — he authorized leaks of the security details of the raid, and even turned over SEAL identities to Hollywood, for his big pre-election movie about “his gutsy call.” He has endangered the lives of SEALS and their families.

And now, the video reprise of the Obama Apology Tour. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, offers a $70,000 ad in an effort to tamp down public rage over the anti-Islam film produced by an American citizen of Coptic Christian Egyptian heritage. The ad repeats grovelling apologies featured at last week’ press conference with the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. condemning the video. Their words were subtitled in Urdu. “We absolutely reject its content and message” said Clinton, while excessively saying the U.S. Government had nothing, nothing, to do with it.

President Obama learned about the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi 90 minutes after the attack, and went to bed without learning what happened to the ambassador. On the peak day of the embassy protests, President Obama conducted interviews with entertainment magazines and posed for a photo spread while American embassies burned and 21 countries erupted in anti-American protests. Same day that four flag-draped coffins of those killed in Libya arrived at Andrews Air Force base. The magazine tweeted about the interview, it was not on the president’s public schedule.

Hillary’s claim that “concerned Libyans on scene carried Ambassador Stevens from the consulate to the hospital” no longer sounds — quite accurate.

In the course of events, when dealing with human beings, scandals happen. What matters is how you deal with them. Coverups have a long history of not working. Lies are discovered and make the scandal far worse than it needed to be, and they have been known to bring down governments.


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