Romney campaign: Obama misled himself on Libya
President Barack Obama and his administration did not only mislead the American people, they misled themselves on what happened the night of Sept. 11 in Benghazi, a top Romney foreign-policy advisor toldThe Cableahead of Monday night’s debate.
Regardless of whether or not Obama called the events in Benghazi an “act of terror
” in the days following the attack,Mitt Romney
does not believe the administration’s insistence that the attack was related to an anti-Islam video was based solely on reports from the intelligence community
, Romney advisor and former National Security Council official Eliot Cohen
said in an interview.
“This notion that this was all because the intelligence community gave them bad information is just not correct. The idea that this was all attributable to the trailer for a crackpot movie was just not true,” Cohen said. “That’s a big fundamental problem that the administration has to deal with, that they did mislead people for a period of time, and what’s even scarier, they misled themselves.”
Both theWall Street Journal
and theNew York Times
have reported that the intelligence community didn’t formally revise its view that there may have been a protest related to the video until Sept. 22; the intelligence community maintains, according to theTimes
, that militants involved in the attack were inspired by the breach of the U.S. Embassy walls in Cairo.
But the Romney campaign’s critique is broader than its claims of mishandled intelligence.
Cohen said that during Monday night’s debate, Romney will likely refer to the administration’s reaction to the Benghazi attack to counter the administration’s claim that it has dealt a devastating blow to al Qaeda and that al Qaeda is “on its heels,”
as Obama has said many times in the past.
“They wanted to believe the narrative that this was an understandable if excessive and unacceptable reaction to a provocative piece of video, because the alternative would be to believe that their story, which is that the extremist problem is an essentially an al Qaeda problem, that it’s a narrowly defined problem that you can deal with through targeted killings, that al Qaeda was on the verge of strategic defeat, is not true,” he said. “In fact you are dealing with a larger problem which has metastasized across the Middle East. That is something they did not want to believe. You get into trouble when you try to fool other people. You get in bigger trouble when you try to fool yourself.”
Let me channel Muslim Brotherhood Morsi, the president of Egypt when he heard his Imam pray for death to the jews and their supporters, and say