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First Romney, then the You Tube clip, now the Marines are to blame? The Obama administration's shifting claims on what took place in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11 became more defiant yesterday when unnamed officials suggested that no amount of security would have mattered in Libya, not even a detachment of US Marines. This came on the same day the administration also admitted the assault was a terror attack not a protest gone wrong.


The claim came as part of an investigative report by CNN. Unnamed officials described a pattern of previous attacks in Benghazi as "Stand-off attacks with no follow up." By contrast, the 9/11 attack was "a whole paradigm shift for which there was no prior intelligence and there was no context to put in related to what was going on." In other words, we weren't ready for an attack this big.


Perhaps to emphasize the scale of the attack, an official claimed that even if Marines had been on hand it might not have mattered "More guards, or even a Marine detachment, the officials maintained, could not have curbed the lethal attack." Note that this is a quote from CNN, not a direct quote of the source, though they are clearly relating his words.


It's insulting and dismissive to suggest US Marines couldn't have made a difference. Reports suggest that as few as 20 and no more than 50 people were involved in the consulate attack. The problem was that we had 4-8 Libyan guards and just 5 US security people in a compound with no interior gate and no guard towers. And when we did send in a security detachment from Tripoli by helicopter that night reports suggest that they were able to fight off the attack and rescue remaining staff. It would not have taken many Marines to balance the scales and perhaps result in a very different outcome.


Yesterday, Jay Carney announced "It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." This is just the latest shift in a series that seem designed at deflecting blame. What is truly self-evident is that the administration has been trying very hard to avoid taking responsibility for the security failure that led to the first killing of a US Ambassador in 30 years. The administration was happy to let the press obsess over Romney's comments for the first couple days. Then they claimed it was a protest gone wrong and blamed a You Tube clip. Now they're claiming no amount of security, not even the Marines, couldn't have stopped what happened. You may notice the pattern here: It's always about what somebody else did or couldn't have done.



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