Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal; how the story of a U.S. tragedy unfolded — and then fell apart
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The tragedy of Benghazi, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, seemed a cut-and-dried story in the days after a mob attacked the State Department’s mission in eastern Libya.
From President Obama on down, the recap was simple: A crowd of demonstrators angry over an obscure YouTube video that denigrated Islam’s Prophet Muhammad spontaneously stormed the complex.
The State Department’s top spokeswoman assured the public that security for fallen Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his aide Sean Smith was “robust.”
Pentagon chieftains likewise said the military did all it could in the ensuing eight-plus hours of the attacks, during which two former Navy SEALs — security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed by mortar fire while trying to protect a nearby CIA annex.
Today, the public knows that those early administration pronouncements were false. They were uttered with less than two months to go in a presidential election campaign in which Mr. Obama declared al Qaeda on its heels.