On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice hit the media circuit, appearing on all five Sunday talk shows to dispel the notion that the strike was a premeditated terrorist act and to perpetuate the case that it began "spontaneously" out of protests in Egypt. Rice's spot on "Face the Nation" that day was preceded by the new President of Libya Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had "no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined."
"For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens's front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable," (Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike) said. "I never reported a demonstration; I reported an attack on the consulate. Chris - Chris's last report, if you want to say his final report - is, 'Greg, we are under attack.'
"...I've never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day," Hicks continued in his interview with investigators. "The net impact of what has transpired is, [Rice,] the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world, has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar of doesn't know what he's talking about. ....My jaw hit the floor as I watched this."
CBS News, of all outlets, has been doing yeoman's work in covering this story.
The thing that is most bothersome to me is how Obama administration sympathizers characterize the hearings as nothing more than showmanship or a proverbial witch hunt. It's as if demanding accountability for the deaths of four innocent Americans (deaths which were utterly preventable, by the way) is a waste of time.
These hearings also provide a certain amount of credence to the theory that the Obama administration was merely trying to protect its reputation as a stalwart against terrorism. One of the mantras of the Obama-Biden reelection campaign was that "Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive." But a terror attack by an Al Qaeda affiliate would take some of the shine off the administration's crown jewel in the global war on terror (i.e. the capture and killing of bin Laden).
Another layer to this is the YouTube video was a convenient little cudgel to rail on free speech, in the motif of the Tucson, AZ shooting. As we have also seen with the Newtown, CT school shooting, President Obama et al aren't above exploiting tragedies in an attempt to affect policy changes. While there has been very little in which I have personally aligned myself with Obama administration policies, I am certainly hoping that the "spontaneous protest" myth was not conjured up for the purpose of attempting to suppress speech they find abhorrent or, worse yet, to protect their pride.