NEW YORK – Documents obtained Monday through a federal court order show State Department officials disseminated the false story that the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed a U.S. ambassador was nothing more than the violent escalation of a demonstration by Muslims against an insulting video, even though they knew it was a coordinated military-style assault.
Among the documents obtained by the Washington-based government watchdog Judicial Watch was a memo sent the day after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack to the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, by the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Command Center titled “Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations.”
The Diplomatic Security Command Center, or DSCC, was well aware that the attack was carried out by highly organized and armed Islamic militia, because the DSCC was the unit that monitored the attack in real time via video transmissions from a drone.
The message is identical to the emergency message issued by the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and archived on the embassy’s website.
The emergency message reads in the first paragraph: “On September 11, 2012, violent demonstrations took place at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in damage in both locations and casualties in Benghazi. Media reports indicate that demonstrations may take place at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Wednesday, September 12, 2012.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the DSCC “clearly knew in real time that a full-fledged terrorist attack was taking place on September 11 at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, and the American people deserve to be told the truth.”
“We are now into the fourth year of a massive Obama administration cover-up,” Fitton said.
He said the DSCC communiqués “may further help unravel the Obama administration’s growing web of deceit.”
“I’ve always believed that the Benghazi cover-up was about two presidential campaigns – the Obama re-election effort and Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign. I have little doubt that the State Department is protecting Hillary Clinton with this latest cover-up,” he asserted.
Even after the Benghazi attack, the Obama re-election campaign maintained its narrative that al-Qaida was on the run. The boast would have been impossible to sustain had the State Department told the truth about the terrorist attack in documents such as the emergency warning for U.S. citizens.
Judicial Watch insists the testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb under oath to the House Oversight Committee on Oct. 10, 2012, proves the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Command Center knew the Benghazi compound was under hostile fire from the moment the attack began.
“That brings me to the events of September 11 itself,” Lamb testified. “The account I am about to present is based on first-hand reports from several security personnel present that night. Additionally, I was in our Diplomatic Security Command Center monitoring multiple open lines with our agents for much of the attack.”
“The attack began at approximately 9:40 pm local time,” Lamb continued. “Diplomatic Security agents inside the compound heard loud voices outside the walls, followed by gunfire and an explosion. Dozens of attackers then launched a full-scale assault that was unprecedented in its size and intensity. They forced their way through the pedestrian gate, and used diesel fuel to set fire to the Libyan 17th February Brigade members’ barracks, and then proceeded toward the main building.”
A Judicial Watch statement claimed Lamb’s testimony was in direct conflict with initial false claims by the Obama administration that the attack arose from a spontaneous demonstration in response to an Internet video.
“False information and the lies put out by this office, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Command Center, that knew even as the Benghazi attack was going on that it was a terrorist attack, recklessly endangered U.S. lives by drafting for the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia claims the Benghazi attack involved only a protest demonstration over a movie,” Fitton said.
“When the State Department only warned U.S. citizens in Tunisia about demonstrations, the U. S. government was lying to them,” he maintained.
“You are making people think they only needed to worry about demonstrations, when the truth was Americans in North Africa needed to know the night before Benghazi was hit by an intense terrorist attack, that came on violently, with heavily armed al-Qaida-backed militia carrying AK-47s and RPGs. ‘Be Warned’ should have been the message, ‘There was a terrorist attack, and you should be very careful right now.”
Fitton stressed that by not telling Americans in Tunisia the truth, the State Department was engaging in “reckless disregard” of their safety.
“To the extent this information was withheld from personnel in the State Department, in Tunisia or elsewhere in the area where U.S. State Department personnel were deployed, these lies placed these people in jeopardy,” Fitton said. “U.S. citizens in Tunisia should have been told honestly to be worried about and to watch out for terrorists, not demonstrators.”
“The State Department Diplomatic Security Command Center knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack that ended up killing the ambassador, and it was unconscionable for the Obama State Department to lie in the ‘Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens’ we now know the DSCC drafted for the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia to publish.”
Fitton explained why he considered the statement to be a breach of trust between the State Department and State Department personnel deployed internationally, which compounded the offense.
“It’s no wonder the morale of State Department officials overseas was decimated after Benghazi,” he said. “Not only did the State Department and the Obama administration leave Ambassador Stevens and the other brave Americans who died without timely rescue and defense, the State Department with Benghazi tore up that implicit compact that certainly soldiers in the U.S. military have, not only that they won’t be left behind, but also that they won’t be lied to about the dangers they are facing.”