When in Doubt, Blame Hillary: The Benghazi Conspiracy

Written by Kaitlyn Brown
Published May, 7 2019

The United States of America is a country divided by party lines, a statement exemplified in the aftermath of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The tragedy at the consulate led to the deaths of four Americans and one of the longest and costliest investigations in U.S. history. Following the attack in Benghazi, blame was instantly placed on the Obama Administration; however, most of the attention seemed to turn to former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Ten separate investigations were conducted to look into the attack, six of which were by Republican-controlled house committees, one such investigation spanning over two years and costing taxpayers seven million dollars. None of these investigations found any evidence against the administration or Secretary Clinton, except for the State Department’s internal report that accepted fault for its wrong doings. Not only were these ten investigations eight more investigations than were conducted following the attacks on September 11, 2011, but they also lasted far longer than the investigations for 9/11, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Watergate, and the response to Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, the Bush administration saw thirteen “Benghazis” on American embassies that resulted in a total of 87 deaths. This discrepancy in focus, as well as the sheer number of investigations would suggest that this situation is one of politics rather than national security. Conspiracies centered around Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the 2012 Benghazi attacks are nothing more than politically charged propaganda with no factual backing, that takes advantage of a tragedy in order to weaken the campaign of the opposition.

United States intervention in the civil war ended on August 22, 2011 after western supported forces were able to take back the Libyan Capital, Tripoli, in what was to be Gaddafi’s last stand in the war (Beauchamp 2015). However, while the civil war had officially ended on that day, the country was not truly liberated until Gaddafi’s death in October of that same year (U.S. House 2016). Rather than end the mission in Benghazi and return all personnel to the United States, it was decided that the consulate in Benghazi would remain open in order to keep up with the politics in the Country and key member of the revolution that was supported. The U.S. government wished to ensure that as Libya develops, it developed in a democratic tradition.

United States intervention in the civil war ended on August 22, 2011 after western supported forces were able to take back the Libyan Capital, Tripoli, in what was to be Gaddafi’s last stand in the war (Beauchamp 2015). However, while the civil war had officially ended on that day, the country was not truly liberated until Gaddafi’s death in October of that same year (U.S. House 2016). Rather than end the mission in Benghazi and return all personnel to the United States, it was decided that the consulate in Benghazi would remain open in order to keep up with the politics in the Country and key member of the revolution that was supported. The U.S. government wished to ensure that as Libya develops, it developed in a democratic tradition.

This mission came to a tragic end on September 11, 2012 when the consulate was attacked, resulting in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Stevens. At 9:42 pm, the consulate was attacked by multiple anti-American jihadi groups that were based in and around Benghazi. Due to a lack of security, the gates of the compound where easily overrun. Immediately after the attack began, Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and one of the diplomatic security agent moved to the safe haven in Villa C, while the two other security officers were separated from them in the chaos of the attack. After attempting to get to the ambassador, only to be met with over a dozen of the intruders, the two agents moved to Villa B where they contacted the CIA Annex, the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the lead security officer in Tripoli (U.S. House 2016). Due to the heavy fortification of the safe haven, the intruders were unable to reach those inside, deciding instead to start a diesel fire outside the haven at approximately 10:00 pm. It was the smoke inhalation from this fire that killed both Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith.  

At approximately 10:10 pm, the team from the CIA annex arrived just minutes after member of the 17 February Martyrs Brigade to engage the militants and begin evacuating the Americans at the compound. It is not until over an hour later that the CIA team had all of the American Personal en-route to the CIA annex, which was also attacked by the militants. Several agents attempts to return fire against the attackers after sustaining nearly eleven minutes of mortar fire, resulted in the deaths of agents Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty (Beauchamp 2015). The remaining Americans were eventually rescued by Gaddafi loyalists and sent on a plane to Tripoli at approximately 7:30 the next morning.

This attack marked the first time an ambassador had been killed since 1988 and was a true tragedy for the  country, especially for the families of those who lost their lives. It is even more of a tragedy that their stories have been twisted into something dark in order to fit the political agenda of a national party. Not long after the event took place, conspiracy theories began to spring up. At the center of these theories was the Obama Administration, namely former Secretary of State, Hillary R. Clinton. Despite having no factual basis to make such claims, dozens of theories began circulating among mainstream media and politicians, implanting false beliefs into the minds of millions of Americans. These claims included myths that over 600 requests for security upgrades were sent by the ambassador and were all personally denied by Secretary Clinton, and that she even signed off on reducing the security at the consulate. Other theories include the Secretary giving a stand down order to withheld military support, tampering with intelligence to cover up facts of the attack, knowing the attack was imminent and ignoring the threat, and that somehow she somehow managed to do all of this while sleeping through the entire attack. Despite having ten separate investigations into the events of Benghazi, all of which concluded that there was no evidence pointing towards secretary Clinton, many Americans believe she, in collusion with President Obama, is some kind of evil mastermind behind the attack.  

If there is anything that is universally known and agreed upon by everyone, it is that the compound in Benghazi was inadequately protected, This is a  fact that the U.S. State Department does not shy away from taking responsibility for, freely admitting in their internal review that, “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place (U.S. State 2012).” However, conspiracy theories still began popping up left and right regarding the security of the compound in Benghazi, most of them theorizing that Secretary Clinton ignored or denied all of the security requests from Benghazi.  

It should be noted that the Benghazi mission had a rather confusing legal status which made meeting the proper security needs somewhat difficult (Beauchamp 2015). Despite it often being referred to as the Benghazi consulate, it was neither a consulate or an embassy. In fact, the mission was so secret that the Libyan government was never actually formally notified of its existence (U.S. State 2012). In reality, the Benghazi mission was a secret CIA operation, with only seven of the thirty Americans evacuated from Libya being from the State Department, the rest being from the CIA (Kessler 2013). These strange circumstances made it hard to acquire the proper funding and personnel, let alone the fact that there were 273 other U.S. diplomatic missions occurring around the world at the same time (U.S. State 2012).  

There are several theories centered around the security of Benghazi and requests made that originate as a result of a lack of understanding or willingness to comprehend the fact that are presented. One such theory regarding the security request began to circulate in October of 2016 when the House Select Committee on Benghazi repeatedly cited that there were “600 request” for security upgrades at the compound in Benghazi (Kessler 2016). This number, which was not listed in the State Department’s own internal review of the events, jumped out at people as suspicious, including Donald Trump. Despite not actually understanding what these numbers seemed to mean, he decided to exploit these numbers for his own benefit. While attempting to a avoid questions about his sex tapes, Trump averted the attention to Hillary Clinton claiming, “She said, ‘who is going to answer the call at 3 o’clock in the morning? Guess what? She didn’t answer because ambassador Stevens sent over 600 request for help (Emery 2016).” Not only did he confuse the timing of the attack, he also suggested that the request were sent during the actual attack. Trump wasn’t the only one publicly disseminated  the numbers cited by the House Select Committee despite failing to understand them. Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly spoke about it on her news show, suggesting that all of the requests had gone ignored. Similarly, Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, wrote an opinion article regarding all 600 requests being denied (Kessler 2016).

The fact, however, is that those on the Benghazi panel used shorthand during the hearing due to the time constraint they are placed under when questioning a witness. What they were really referring to when they spoke of the “600 requests” were  requests and concern which they periodically made sure to specify were not specifically sent between Ambassador Stevens and Secretary Clinton (Kessler 2016). As a GOP congressional staff member explained, a request is “made via email or cable for physical security, equipment, or something related to the compound itself (lighting, barriers, wire, etc).” A concern, however, often follows as request or might even be completely separate, regarding such things as a delay in issuing visas to DS agents kept out of Libya (Kessler 2016). In reality, the list that the House Select Committee created is comprised of fewer than 200 specific requests. The rest are made up of concerns, many of which had the same subject heading. In fact, the highest number of documents that have the exact same subject heading came out to be 17. So no, the State Department, and Secretary Clinton specifically, did not receive over 600 security requests for the compound in Benghazi. It is also worth pointing out that they were not all ignored, in fact, many of them were fulfilled, such as the installment of a $38,000 fence, over a thousand new sandbags, the construction of three new fighting positions, installing concrete jersey barriers, mounting safety grills onto windows and other improvements.

Many theories went a step further, insinuating that Secretary Clinton went as far as to sign off on reducing what little security they had in Benghazi, further propagated by the claims that all request are sent between the Ambassador and the Secretary and seen by Hillary Clinton herself. In 2013, House Republican released a report on the attacks in Benghazi and among their finding was a cable sent on April 19, 2012 (Kessler 2013). The cable was a request for additional security, for which the State Department acknowledge and denied anyway. The Republican’s incriminating evidence was that the Secretary’s signature was attached to the cable response. When appearing in an interview on Fox and Friends, Representative Darrell Issa stated, “The Secretary of State was just wrong. She said she did not participate in this, and yet only a few months before the attack, she outright denied security in her signature in a cable, April 2012.” Issa, and all of the Republicans claimed in their report that Secretary Clinton personally approved the cable simply because her signature was on it. This claim was further spread when the chief intelligence correspondent to Fox News, Catherine Herridge concurred with their accusations that Clinton’s signature meant she “personally signed off on reducing security (Suen 2016). The fact is, Secretary Clinton’s signature is on every single cable that leaves Washington due to a deep rooted tradition of the United States’ first cabinet (Kessler 2013). The signature of the Secretary of State is added to every cable through the communication center, even if the secretary is half a world away. A frequent complaint during this scandal was that Secretary Clinton was not doing her job. Well considering the 1.43 million cables that come through the State Department each every year, if the Secretary herself looked at each and every one of them, when would she ever possible have time to do it? As the Secretary was much too busy, she actually saw a very small fraction of the cables that came through the State Department, the rest were handled throughout the bureaucracy (New York Times 2013).

Despite evidence already showing that the Secretary did not see all of the cables sent to the State Departments, Republicans continued to attempt to spread theories and accusations by blowing a August 16 cable widely out of proportion. The cable regarding the Benghazi Mission’s level of protection first appeared on Fox News, where they made no mention of it being from Ambassador Stevens (Kessler 2013). It was Senator Kelly Ayotte who made the claims that the cable was sent between the Ambassador and the Secretary, despite there being no evidence showing that the cable was actually drafted by Stevens. The same tradition within the State Department that required to Secretaries signature to be present on all cables leaving Washington, also require the Ambassadors signature to be present on all cables leaving an embassy. Hence why so many like Senator Ayotte believed that the  cable was sent strictly between the two. 

However, when questioned in front of the committee on January 23, 2013, Hillary Clinton testified, “I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level. 1.43 million cables a year come to the State Department. They are all addressed to me. They do not all come to me. They are reported through the bureaucracy (New York Times 2013).” When speaking of Ambassador Stevens, she clarified that, “He did not raise security with the members of my staff. He raised security with the security professionals. I know that’s not the answer you want to hear. But those are the facts.” Furthermore, the cable never actually made it to Washington before the attack took place. The Regional Security Officer in Benghazi only submitted a preliminary list of concerns to the embassy in Tripoli. Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, were the people in Washington who knew of these security concerns due to their weekly report from General Carter Ham. Despite proclaiming that it was not their responsibility but the State Departments, when questioned, both testified that they did not bring the cable to the attention of Secretary Clinton or President Obama.

Another claim within the Benghazi conspiracy theory was that there was a “stand down” order originating somewhere within the Obama Administration, most likely from Hillary Clinton. There are a few different variations of this theory; however, there were only three that really gained tractions. These “stand down” claims began in October 2012 when it was reported by Fox News host Jennifer Griffin, a report that is also responsible for originating and/or aiding multiple other claims in this conspiracy (Roller 2013). Just a month after the attacks, Griffin reported that Fox News had learned from sources, of which she does not clarify, that an urgent request for military back up had been denied by the CIA chain of command (Griffin 2012). She further reported that Tyrone Woods, one of the four Americans who died during the attack, had informed his commanding officers at the annex upon hearing the gunfire at the compound and was told to stand down twice, however, decided to ignore the order and along with two other security officers went to rescue the people at the compound. Another Fox host, Sean Hannity, spread this claim when he mislead his viewers about the order in connection with a military unit’s four outfit changes (Emery 2016). The claims continued to spread when Mark Geist, one of the members of the CIA security team, stated that they defied stand down orders at the Republican convention on July 18, 2016 (Emery 2016). Believers of this theory use the time gap between when the CIA Annex was notified of the attacks and when they actually left to help those at the compound as evidence that the stand down order was actually given.  

Jennifer Griffin’s report of the Benghazi attack was riddled with inaccuracies from unknown sources who seemed to have a first-hand account of what a deceased soldier experienced, which went unsupported by others on the base. To start, the security team was not made aware of the attack on the compound as a result of hearing gunfire, something that was extremely common in the violence ridden city. They were made aware of the attack when they received an urgent phone call from one of the security agents at the compound (U.S House 2016). The times gap that makes theorist suspicious was a period of 23 minutes of proper and safe preparation to leave for the rescue mission (U.S. House 2016).  Not only did it take 15 minutes for the CIA security personnel to prepare all of the gear and weaponry, but also the Chief of Base had wanted to assess the situation before rushing into action. As a result, the CIA security team was told to wait, not stand down. The United States relied on local militia to help protect the compound in Benghazi, including several armed guards from the February 17 Martyr Brigade and unarmed members of the Blue Mountain Guard Force (Emery 2016). Seeing as there was friendly local security forces in the area, the Chief of Base wanted to get in contact with these groups, especially the February 17 militia, in order to avoid engaging in a firefight with friendly militia forces, as well as to possibly acquire additional equipment (U.S. House 2016). The Chief of Base had told his team to wait because he could not get in contact with the members of the February 17 militia and was therefore unable to secure a clear assessment of the situation at the compound (Emery 2016). The Chief of Base has remained firm on his belief that he never uttered the phrase “stand down,” as does several of the members of the security team who do not recall the words stand down, but do recall the Chief telling them to wait (U.S. House 2016). However, other members of the team clearly remember the Chief of Base using the words “stand down,” however, not in the context the republicans on the investigation committees would have preferred. In his testimony, one of the security members recalls the Chief of Base replying, “stand down, you need to wait.” Had the Chief truly said this, he was not telling them to stand down in the sense that their team was no longer on alert or operational. He was replying to an eager team after continuous insistence to leave as he was attempting to come up with a plan and gather intelligence and equipment to further protect his team as they went to rescue the U.S. personnel at the compound. The team who went on the rescue mission did not defy any orders, as stated by Mark Geist. The team was cleared to go; clearance that was given by the Chief of Base (U.S. House 2016). When the team notified the Chief and Deputy Chief that they were going to go, despite their inability to make any positive coms, they were not told to stand down. The Deputy Chief simply said, “Godspeed,” and by 10:05 pm, just 23 minutes after the call from the compound, the CIA team was en-route. To further clarify claims made by Sean Hannity, the four clothing changes a military unit underwent had nothing to do with the security team at the CIA Annex. In fact, that order came hours after U.S. personnel had been evacuated from Benghazi and was given out of concerns that deploying the U.S. Marines in full uniform on Libyan soil could be seen as an invasion (U.S. House 2016).

When the first stand down claim fizzled out, a new one popped up. This one reporting that someone in the Obama administration ordered a small team of Special Forces troops in Tripoli to stand down (Suen 2016). This claim especially started to gain traction when the Deputy Chief of Mission, Gregory Hicks testified in front of a congressional committee on May 8, 2013 stating that  Lt. Col. Gibson, who was in command of the unit, told him and three others to stand down (Pleat 2013). Fox News, who had a deep obsession with the Benghazi attack, immediately picked this up and ran over 85 segments on the Network’s primetime shows. Lt. Col Gibson was a part of a security team stationed at the embassy in Tripoli, whom were quick to organize and leave to help those in Benghazi (Emery 2016). However, only six of the security personnel stationed in Tripoli made the trip to Benghazi, with the four remaining security personnel staying behind. One question should immediately come to mind when considering if a stand down order was given to the men in Tripoli. Why would a stand down order only be given to four members of the security team while the other six were authorized to go? The answer is in the numerous concurring reports from those involved in the night of the attack. As reported by many of the officials on the mission, as well as General Dempsey, these four men were not order to stand down. Their mission simply was not in Benghazi, it was in Tripoli (Pleat 2013). Furthermore, Gibson clarified his earlier comments while talking to the House Armed Services Committee, stating that his commanding officer did not actually tell him to stand down, rather to remain in Tripoli in order to defend the Americans in the event of an attack at the embassy and to help the Americans who would be evacuated from Benghazi. Claims again, supported by several of the findings from the numerous investigation conducted on the Benghazi attacks.

Despite the claims being found false on numerous occasions, many Republicans simply could not let it go. This includes Representative Darrell Issa, former chairman of the Oversight Committee, whom claimed during a GOP fundraising dinner, “Why was there was not one order given to turn on one Department of Defense asset? I have my suspicions, which is Secretary Clinton told Leon Panetta to stand down (Kessler 2014).” Aside from the fact that it would make absolutely no sense for a Secretary of State to command a Secretary of Defense in how to deploy his troops, Secretary Clinton also had no contact with Secretary Panetta on September 11 as the deployment decisions were made. Panetta testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee that the president had left deployment decisions up to the Department of Defense and that the Secretary of State did not communicate with them on the evening of the attack (Kessler 2014). This is supported by several of the Benghazi investigations, however, Issa’s continuous claims show his blatant disregard of thefacts provided by these investigation, many of which were conducted by his own party. Furthermore, his claims that not one order was given to deploy a Department of Defense assess is also false. At 9:59 pm Benghazi time, within twenty minutes of the attack, an unarmed, unmanned surveillance aircraft was redirected to be repositioned overhead the Benghazi Facility (U.S. House 2016). Additionally, between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 pm Washington time, Panetta authorized three separate actions to be taken; (1) A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team {FAST) platoon, which was stationed in Rota Spain to be deployed to Benghazi and a second to be deployed to Tripoli, (2) A EUCOM special operations force, which was located to central Europe to deploy to a staging base in Southern Europe, and (3) special operations force in the United States to deploy to the staging in Southern Europe (U.S. House 2016). While these orders were executed poorly, the orders were in fact given.

In response to Issa’s accusations, a spokesperson for the Oversight committee, Frederick Hill, claimed that Issa was simply referring to Secretaries Clinton and Panetta as “‘institutional actors’ operating at the ‘highest levels of the State Department and the Department of Defense,’” and suggested that the Representative used “Clinton” and “Leon” as shorthand because it was easier for the audience at the GOP fundraiser to understand as opposed  to saying “state” or “DOD(Kessler 2014).” Unfortunately for him, his attempt to save face does not seem very credible as he was talking to a political audience, full of people whom should know perfectly well what the State and Defense Departments are. If they don’t know, then it might be a bit of a stretch to think they would know “Clinton” mean State department and “Leon” means Defense Department. Furthermore, if that was the case then it wouldn’t be a coincidence that he decided to refer to the State Department by name-dropping the leading Democratic candidate for president in front of a political audience at a GOP fundraiser.

The claims in this conspiracy theory only become more insidious, with Republicans accusing the Obama administration of tampering with intelligence in order to cover up the fact that the events that took place in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. The theory claims that in order to orchestrate the cover up, President Obama and Secretary Clinton altered the talking points for  U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice when she spoke on several Sunday Morning talk shows. Not only did Rice apparently intentionally mislead the public, but Hillary Clinton personally did as well. Several people have given their thoughts on why they think the Obama administration would want to cover this up, most of them unsurprisingly coming from Fox. Charles Krauthammer, a Fox Contributor called Rice’s station a “confection” on Fox News’ Special Report in October 10, 2012 (Suen 2016). His claim is that, “They’re trying to sell the video, they’re trying to sell extremism and they’re trying to sell all of this at the time when they know it isn’t true. The fact that they were spiking the football over the death of bin Laden and al-Qaeda a week earlier in Charlotte and this was a contradiction of it” Several other Fox News shows report similar theories, including shows hosted by Megan Kelly and Brian Kilmeade. The theory only escalates when John McCain and other Republicans step in with their thoughts on how the White House and U.N. ambassador had downplayed Al Qaeda’s involvement in the attacks in order to boast on the campaign trail that they had defeated the terrorist organization (Rosenthal 2012). The theory began the spread when David Petraeus, the director of the CIA until his resignation in November 2012, stated that the CIA immediately believed that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attack, however any specific reference to them was deleted from public talking points after interagency review. Therefore, according to the republicans, the White House must have been responsible. However, this particular theory quickly lost steam after both CBS and CNN reported that it was the Director of National Intelligence who removed any mention of Al Qaeda and not the Whited House, much to John McCain and the Republicans frustration. However, that’s not to say that the theory as a whole lost any steam, with Fox News continuously reporting about this “cover-up.” On October 22, 2015, Eric Bolling, the host of The Five, claimed that the Obama Administration “formulated this elaborate scheme” to blame the whole attack on the anti-Islam video. The reasons he gave for the cover up was that, “Hillary Clinton was asked for security, she turned it down and four Americans died. That’s her end of why. His end of why, President Obama? Well on 9/12, the same day that Clinton just outs it and lets everyone know it’s a terror attack, President Obama flies to Las Vegas for a campaign event to raise money after he makes a speech from the Rose Garden (Suen 2016)” On the same day, Megyn Kelly states on her show, The Kelly Files, that Secretary Clinton withheld evidence that would have proven the deceit in the Obama administration’s reference to the role of the video.

All of these theories stem from statements made mostly by U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Clinton. On September 16, 2012, Rice made several appearance on Sunday Morning political talk shows where she stated that based on the available intelligence at the time, the attacks were caused by an anti-Islam video. This is because her claimed were based on the CIA’s initial belief of this to be true. However, it has since been proven that the intelligence collected on the attack and the events leading up to it was insufficient and inaccurate. “In finished reports after September 11, 2012, intelligence analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the Mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC took too long to correct these erroneous reports, which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policy makers (U.S. Senate 2014).” Because of the inadequate intelligence the CIA prepared a list of talking points for Rice on September 15, which was the same day the she had tapped three of her appearances (Ignatius 2012). These talking points supported the claims that there was a protest outside of the Benghazi compound as a result of the anti-Islam video. The document prepared by the CIA also stated that, “this assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated,” a notion that Ambassador Rice was sure to convey in all of the interviews to partook in that Sunday. There is video evidence of her making statements such as “based on the information that we have at present,” and “we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions (Suen 2016).” However, many Republicans and theorist choose to ignore the fact that she is clearly stated that the administration did not, at present, have all of the information as the investigation was still on going and therefore the conclusion could change, which it in fact did. At the time that they released their original report, IC already had reports that there was not a pretest outside the compound on the night of the attack (U.S. Senate 2014). After acquiring more evidence from closed circuit videos and other reports, the IC finally changed its assessment about the protest on September 24, 2012. However, the slow change to the official assessment affecting the public statement made by government official, such as Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The facts surrounding Hillary Clinton are similar to those of Ambassador Rice. Secretary Clinton first mentioned the video in her first public statement on September 11. After the release of her emails, theories continued to grow upon the discovery that an hour after make her statement, she emailed her daughter under the alias Diane Reynolds, that stated that two of their officers were killed by an al Qaeda like group, with not mention of the video (Koran 2015). It was not until October 24, 2014 that it was revealed that earlier that night the State Department’s Operations Center had emailed the White House, Pentagon, FBI and other government agencies that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack via Facebook and Twitter (Kiely 2016). Clinton continued to report about the video in upcoming appearances, and had even specified to relay information given by national intelligence. When IC finally fixes their inaccuracy on their intelligence assessment Clinton sat down in an interview with Elise Labott of CNN and stated that, “In the wake of an attack like this in the fog of war, there’s always going to be confusion (State Dept. 2012).” She went to further explain that unsurprisingly the information changes as they received more details, which happens all the time. In her book, Secretary Clinton wrote about the changing views on the attackers motivations, in which she stated, “There were many theories– but still little evidence. I myself went back and forth on what likely happened, who did it, and what mix of factors–like the video–played a part. But it was unquestionably inciting the region and triggering protests all over, so it would have been strange not to consider, as days of protests unfolded, that it might have had the same effect here, too.  That’s just common sense (Clinton 2014).” Clinton, like Rice, was adamant in tell the public that the information they had was incomplete and they were still looking for answers, but that is not what Fox News and the Republicans wanted to hear.

In the wake of the Attacks, Fox News created yet another myth that the Obama administration knew that the attacks were imminent and ignored the threats. On the October 28, 2013 episode of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade made the claim that the government knew the attack was coming yet “didn’t do a thing about it (Suen 2016).” This claim came just ten days after Geraldo Rivera claimed on the same show that a September 10, 2012 press release claiming there was a “heightened terror alert, be on the lookout, all people have been informed.” was evidence that the administration had sufficient notice of the attack, yet still did nothing. However, as pointed out in the findings of the various different investigations launched on the Benghazi attack, it was found that the United States government had no knowledge of an imminent attack on the Benghazi compound. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence showed that “there was no singular “tactical warning” in the intelligence reporting leading up to the events on September 11, 2012 (U.S. Senate 2014). However, a former transitional national council security official in Benghazi did attempt to notify authorities with information of an imminent attack to the compound upon obtaining information. He had attempted to notify the Libyan intelligence service, however, was unable to as his two contacts were out of the country at the time. The CIA has since been unable to corroborate these claims.

The claims do not stop there. It was widely reported that Ambassador Stevens was tortured by the group that attacked the compound. Why? Upon seeing photos of an unconscious Stevens with a group of Libyans, people decided to add words across the bottom (memes if you will) and sent them across the internet. In actuality, a group of Libyans had found Stevens still alive and pulled him from the compound in order to take him to a nearby hospital where doctors has attempted to save his life. Unfortunately, truly no good deed goes unpunished. Republicans also accused Obama and Clinton of withholding military support that they claim could have saved the day. Wrong again. While Secretary Clinton does not actually have the authority to order around the military, President Obama ordered the Secretary of Defense to do whatever it takes to protect our people in Benghazi. Orders were in fact given throughout the DOD, though poorly executed as they took over six hours to fulfill. Trump also claims that Clinton slept through the entire attack. Besides the emails, phones records and personal accounts stating otherwise, it would be worrisome that Secretary Clinton’s sleep schedule finds her asleep from 3:30 in the afternoon to 3:30 in the morning. The claims in the conspiracy go on and on, that Obama and Clinton were selling weapons to the Libyan rebels, that they watched the attack in real time, that Clinton faked a concussion to get out of questioning, or that she blocked “whistleblowers from coming forward. All claims that have been proven false yet continued to be featured on Fox News segment months, even years after the attack.

    All of the claims carefully constructed in this Benghazi conspiracy theory are nothing more than politically charged propaganda with little factual backing, that take advantage of a tragedy in order to weaken the campaign of the opposition. The masterminds behind this theory are the Republicans and Fox News their ever persistent “partner in crime.” Of the ten investigation into Benghazi, six of them were carried out by republicans. They did not open the investigation because they wanted to discover the truth. All of the other investigations, which all came up with the same evidence and the same conclusion did that. What they wanted to do was embarrass President Obama and destroy Hillary Clinton. Their cover was blown, however, when former House majority leader Kevin McCarthy admitted as much when he gleefully boasted about how successful they had been at sabotaging Clinton’s political career on national television. This conspiracy wasn’t about the victims of the attack and finding justice for them, it was about gaining a political advantage, not only over the 2012 elections but over the next democratic presidential candidate. If there is a conspiracy here, it’s not Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. It is the Republican Party’s flagrant disregard of morals and humanity in their mad conspiracy to gain the opportunity for political power.
 

SOURCES

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Baeuchamp, Z. Everything You Need to Know About Benghazi. Vox Media.

Emery E. (2016). Donald Trump wildly exaggerates Amb. Christopher Stevens requests for extra Benghazi security. Politifact

Emery, E. (2016). Evidence shows no Benghazi stand-down order to defy. Politifact

Emery, E. (2016, June 30). Hannity misleads in Benghazi report findings. Politifact

Ignatius, D. (2012, October 19). David Ignatius: Benghazi intelligence revealed. The Washington Post.

Interview With Elise Labott of CNN. (n.d.). October 15, 2012

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Kessler, G. (2016, January 26). 600 ‘requests’ from Benghazi for better security: What this statistic really means. The Washington Post.

Kessler, G. (2013, April 10). Hillary Clinton and the Aug. 16 cable on Benghazi security. The Washington Post

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