It was around 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C., when the Benghazi attack began and resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
That might seem like a "so-what" fact, but a strong case can be made that it holds a key to understanding why somebody working for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most likely source of the discredited idea that the attack was the spontaneous result of an anti-Muslim video.
That idea was the Obama administration's official explanation for the Benghazi attack for weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, assault. It was only dropped after its absurdity became undeniable even in the Obama White House.
Video in first official statement
Clinton made the Obama administration's first official comment on the attack six hours after it commenced and while it was continuing.
The statement was headlined "Statement on the attack on Benghazi" and it contained this graph:
"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. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
Was it Clinton's idea?
"There is no other conclusion to reach other than Hillary Clinton was the author of the lie about what caused the attack in Benghazi and she must be held accountable for that."
Clinton will have her hands full trying to explain why any reasonable person would be wrong to reach the same conclusion.
Clinton ran with it
But, as Streiff notes, official Washington was on duty when the attack in Libya began. Clinton got reports in real-time as the attack progressed.
Clinton's aides would have been talking with State Department professional staff and U.S. intelligence experts throughout that period, as well as with diplomatic sources elsewhere in the Middle East.
But the 10 p.m. Clinton statement described the assault as an "attack" in "response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."
The Dover statement
By the time Stevens' body and those of the other three Americans who died in the attack arrived at Dover AFB on Sept. 14, Clinton was more precise in blaming the video, saying:
"We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with."
Clinton clearly was the first Obama appointee to point to "inflammatory material posted on the Internet" as the cause of the Benghazi attack. But somebody else almost certainly drafted those words for her.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
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