By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:08 PM EST
The Obama White House is to be congratulated. It has executed one of the most effective stonewalls in recent memory over the Benghazi attack last Sept. 11 that killed our ambassador to Libya and three others. Its handling of the aftermath of the debacle is a model example of the power of obfuscation and delay. Future high-ranking officials please take note: This is how it is done.
All the smart PR gurus say it is best to release bad news as soon as possible "to get ahead of the story," as the phrase goes. The Obama White House wasn't foolish enough to follow this hackneyed advice. It advanced laughably implausible explanations for the attack from the first and has refused to provide a full accounting of its handling of it to this day.
The price it has paid for its lack of forthrightness is basically nil. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, a prominent mouthpiece for the initial spin (that the attacks were prompted by an offensive video), couldn't become secretary of state, although that might not have been in the cards anyway. But every good stonewall needs someone willing to take one for the team. Thank you, Ambassador Rice.
The imperative for the White House was, first, to try to deny that the assault was a coordinated terrorist attack lest that undermine its anti-terror credentials and, second, to push further consideration of the matter past the November election. After that, there would be, by definition, no electoral consequences from more fallout. And it all would be "old news."
So the Accountability Review Board report from the State Department was scheduled to hit ... in December. When asked about Benghazi during the campaign, the president could aver, "Nobody wants to find out more what happened than what I do." White House spokesman Jay Carney repeatedly said that the matter was under the fullest possible review by the Accountability Review Board, which would keep on reviewing all the way until the week before Christmas.
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