Tracking the administration's changing narrative on Benghazi
Fog of war, attempted cover-up or something else?
- Duration 7:55
- Date Oct 19, 2012
Fog of war, attempted cover-up or something else?
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
The carnage in Ben Ghazi is over the story shifts to Washington.
Here's chief White House correspondent -- him.
Since our -- the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.
All efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others September 12.
In the Rose Garden President Obama seems to embrace an idea he and his top aides will advance more explicitly over the next two weeks.
That ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a spontaneous riot over an anti Mohammed Internet video and not a planned attack.
He does use the term terror.
But only in a general sense in the context of the September 11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve this great nation.
Alter that character.
Or clips the light of the values we stand for.
He gives an interview to CBS's sixty minutes shortly thereafter.
He says nothing that has happened has made him second guess his policies in the Middle East since the Arab Spring -- bar was pretty certain and continue to be produced pretty certain that.
They're going to be bumps in the -- That afternoon the president leaves for a campaign trip to Las Vegas as the United States did not postpone the campaign event even though we had been hit -- -- at the time.
I thought that that was the biggest political strategic mistake.
Of the bombing campaign the Perino was the white house Press Secretary in George W Bush's administration he's now Fox News host.
Just imagine if he would have said.
As commander in chief it is important for me to stay back here at the White House just imagine everybody thought wow how race.
Onslaught once the president made his statement.
I'm not sure what he should have done Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton represents the District of Columbia -- -- -- city in morning.
For several days and not go about our daily business.
September 13 secretary of state Hillary Clinton suggests the attack.
Was just a spontaneous demonstration about the anti Islam video.
There is no justification.
None at all.
To this video with violence.
Current white house Press Secretary Jay Carney says so flat out the next day these protests.
Were in reaction to a video we have no information to suggest that it was a pre planned.
-- leader that day when the president and secretary of state greet the deceased at joint base Andrews Clinton talks again about the video.
We've seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful.
Internet video that we had nothing to do -- September 15 California authorities hold a -- -- the -- -- to cool the man who produced that video for questioning and marched him in front of TV cameras.
September 16 US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice goes on five Sunday talk shows repeating the same story each time.
What happened initially was it it was a spontaneous.
Reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo.
It as a consequence of the video.
My reaction was where secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
To John Bolton who served as UN ambassador under George W.
Bush the choice of rice is telling for my own experience when you're a senior American.
Official you don't go on the Sunday talk shows and -- of the White House choice.
So that that to me is an indication that there were already internal difficulties within the administration.
And that perhaps Secretary Clinton wasn't seen by the White House.
As the best spokesperson for what the administration.
Wanted to say September 17 the State Department.
Does the United States government are.
What happened in that -- -- taped an act of terror.
Again I'm not gonna put labels on this until we have a complete investigation -- -- you know -- terrorism I don't think we know enough I don't think we know enough.
From my experience -- -- Obama's State Department spokesman PJ Crowley first reports.
Information that is correct.
And information that may be.
Misunderstood or are incorrect they panic.
Former White House chief of staff John Sununu is now a senior advisor to Republican Mitt Romney's campaign.
This is purely a political reaction.
In a White House that had prepared itself.
To establish a narrative of a president.
Getting rid of the threat of terrorism.
Using the death of bin Laden to focus on that.
And waking up 1 morning and finding out the terrorism on 9/11 of this year.
Was back full fledged and even killing US -- I don't see.
-- political agenda.
Here I see the fog of war is not about politics it's it's about the difficult task.
What happened September 18.
Did the administration had any sort of heads up.
That violence was increasing specifically Libya before the attack.
I'm not aware of any had this is a matter that's under investigation in terms of what.
Reciprocated the attacks what the motivations of the attackers wore.
That night on the Late Show with David Letterman the story seems to ship slightly.
President Obama says the video did -- Muslim outrage which terrorists then exploited.
To attack and kill ambassador Stephen.
You had a video that was released by.
Somebody who lives here.
Sort of shadowy character and this caused.
In much of the Muslim world.
But what also happened was extremists and terrorists.
Use this as an excuse.
A variety of our embassies including the one the consulate in in Libya.
September 19 Capitol Hill.
The head of the National Counterterrorism Center testifies -- plainly states what most everyone already -- I would say yes.
They were killed in the course of the terrorist attack on our embassy September 24 ABC's the view.
There's no doubt that.
That kind of weapons that were used.
The ongoing assault.
That it wasn't just a mob action.
The next day September 25 the president -- the video six times that the United Nations there's no video that justifies an attack on members.
October at a San Francisco fund raiser present -- Obama pushes the idea the threat from al-Qaeda is waning and.
-- it yields and Osama bin Laden is noble.
Then the next day October night the State Department provides off camera a blow by blow account of the -- -- attack.
Reporters learned that compound was overwhelmed by an organized assault.
Fighters armed with machine guns borders and possibly rocket propelled grenades October 10 congress holds a contentious hearing on the attack in Libya.
In Americans learned that State Department officials despite being warned of escalating attacks.
Refused to beef up security in Libya use the shocking revelations made the first question.
In the next night's vice presidential debate.
All but inevitable I would like to begin with Libya.
And -- questions about what really happened -- -- -- into one of the most heated issues of the presidential campaign.
Beyond the controversy over who said -- are bigger issues.
Next special report investigates what Ben Ghazi reveals.
About president Obama's foreign policy.