Thank God for Jan Stevens. The father of slain Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens doesn’t want President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) to evoke his son’s name to excess on the campaign trail; he wants people with actual investigative authority to determine what could have been done to prevent the attack or its effects. Obama and Romney themselves will probably avoid it from now on, but don’t expect the same from their surrogates.
But an investigation itself is well-deserved. I can’t say I trust someone like Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, to lead such an investigation; his office hasn’t outright refused to open an investigation into last month’s jobs numbers. There is more proof that “mistakes were made” when it comes to the consulate attack. Let’s condense the timeline helpfully provided by The Hill, focusing specifically on comments from the White House:
Sept. 12: Obama condemns the attack without blaming either the Innocence of Muslims video or terrorists. Reuters reports that some administration officials believe the attack was planned.
Sept. 13-16: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, blame the video and claims there was “no actionable intelligence about a pending attack.”
Sept. 19: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen testifies that it was a “terrorist attack,” then an “opportunistic” attack that took advantage of protests.
Sept. 20-21: Eyewitnesses claim there were no protests at the consulate. Obama tells a town hall basically what Olsen said. Carney says terrorist involvement was “self-evident,” as does Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Sept. 25: Obama blames “extremist militias.”
Sept. 27: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta blames “terrorists.”
Sept. 28-Oct. 6: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence blames itself for blaming the video; Rice agrees.
Oct. 9: The State Department admits there were no protests.
Oct. 10: Nordstrom claims his requests for additional security were denied.
Oct. 11-12: Vice President Biden blames the intelligence office for the video thing; the White House says he spoke for them.
So: What grounds did anyone have for blaming protesters? Were Nordstrom’s requests denied, ignored or just unseen? Why is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence so unintelligent? Political failure? Bureaucratic failure? Both?