Benghazi and al Qaeda
By Post Editorial Board
May 2, 2014 | 11:03pm
House Speaker John Boehner is forming a special select committee on the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans.
Boehner’s decision comes on the heels of a newly disclosed e-mail from Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. The e-mail advised UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who was to appear on the Sunday talk shows, to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
Plainly the e-mail contradicts earlier White House claims that politics had nothing to do with blaming the video for what was an al Qaeda attack. It also raises questions why the e-mail wasn’t handed over to congressional committees investigating Benghazi.
As Congress looks further, we hope members keep in mind the second part of the Rhodes e-mail: the desire to shift the focus from “a broader policy of failure.” Because that failure is the real story here.
Almost a year ago, President Obama declared at the National Defense University that al Qaeda was on the run, the scale of terrorism now “closely resembles” what existed before 9/11 and the War on Terror “must end.” Yet this week his own State Department reported that terrorist attacks worldwide jumped 43 percent last year, and al Qaeda’s franchises have grown more dangerous.
The president has always emphasized his efforts are aimed at “core” al Qaeda. But this is an artificial distinction, given how decentralized al Qaeda is becoming. State further worries about Iran, and how Syria may become another Afghanistan: a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists.
By all means, the administration ought to be pressed on its false and misleading accounts of Benghazi. But let’s not take our eye off what the Obama administration was really trying to avoid in that Benghazi e-mail: any discussion of “a broader failure of policy.”