President Obama on Monday defended the actions he and the rest of the Executive Branch took in the days and weeks after the assault that took the lives of four Americans, directly questioning those who claim that he orchestrated a cover-up.
But on Fox News last night, Cheney attacked Obama’s response, claiming (without evidence) that the Obama administration “lied” about Benghazi:
CHENEY: I watched the Benghazi thing with great interest, Sean [Hannity]. I think it’s one of the worst incidences, frankly, that I can recall in my career. It put the whole capability claiming the terrorist problem solved once we got Bin Laden, that Al Qaeda was over with. If they told the truth about Benghazi, that it was a terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, it would destroy the confidence that was the basis of his campaign for re-election.
They lied. They claimed it was because of a demonstration video, that they wouldn’t have to admit it was really all about their incompetence. They ignored repeated warnings from the CIA about the threat. They ignored messages from their own people on the ground that they need more security. They reduced what was already there.
Cheney’s choice of words is interesting, given the numerous security lapses and misleading narratives that took place during his multiple periods in power in Washington. One would think that the former vice president would regard the 9/11 attacks as the “worst incident” that he could recall. Or perhaps the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, in which he and other members of the administration repeatedly misled the American people about Iraq’s WMDs and the war’s difficulty and costs. Or the Abu Gharib prison scandal, in which Iraqis were tortured under the watchful eyes of American soldiers and prompted more and greater attacks on U.S. forces. Or perhaps the thirteen attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds that occurred during the Bush administration’s two terms, in which nearly a dozen Americans died.
“Well, they tried to cover it up by constructing a false story, claiming there was confusion about what happened in the Benghazi compound,” Cheney went on to tell Hannity, joining the chorus of those who believe a conspiracy took place to hide the truth about the attack. “The cover up included several officials up to and including President Obama and the cover up is still ongoing.”
Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, co-chair of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report on Benghazi, referred to claims that a cover-up occurred as “Pulitzer Prize fiction.” Likewise, the CIA’s original draft of the infamous talking points, which Republicans, including Cheney, point to as evidence of a conspiracy, mentioned that the attacks “were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo,” with the next draft showing the intelligence community’s belief that a demonstration had occurred prior to the attacks.
It’s also worth noting that during his time as a Congressman from Wyoming, Cheney was the ranking member of the panel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, during which an actual cover-up occurred. At the time, Cheney viewed the Congressional investigation as being an overreach into executive prerogative. Apparently the Iran-Contra scandal doesn’t fall under “one of the worst incidences” that he can recall.