Polls are really weird, frustrating things sometimes.
Cheerleaders on the right are trumpeting a new Fox News poll that shows 67% approval for the establishment of a select #Benghazi committee. That could be due in part to the lies embedded in the poll’s questions, but even with those lies and even with that 67% approval, 63% of respondents said Republicans are doing this for political gain, versus 30% who think they’re trying to get to the truth. On the other side of the aisle, 55% of Democrats said they approved of the committee, while 82% said it was an exercise in political point-scoring.
Even if you excuse the fact that they were lied to, how can so many of these people simultaneously approve of a select committee, while also being certain it’s a partisan political sham? People are dumb.
That idiocy aside, these respondents were lied to.
That Fox News poll included this question:
In the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attacks, the Obama administration incorrectly claimed it was a spontaneous assault in response to an online video, even though the administration had intelligence reports that the attacks were connected to terrorist groups tied to al Qaeda. Do you think the Obama administration knowingly lied about the attacks to help the president during the ongoing re-election campaign, or not?
The only remotely truthy thing in that question is the word “spontaneous,” and that depends heavily on your definition of the word.
If you mean “fart on an elevator” spontaneous, then no, but if you mean “We’re pissed about a YouTube video, and we’ve got a consulate a few blocks away, let’s go fuck shit up” spontaneous, then that’s pretty much what the best reporting, even now, suggests. The only portion of the CIA talking points that proved not to be true was that there was a demonstration accompanying the spontaneous (or at least as spontaneous as the other protests that were happening in the Arab world) attack. The question, though, doesn’t mention any demonstrations.
The question also suggests that the Obama administration didn’t tell the American people that there might have been “terrorist groups tied to al Qaeda” involved in the attack, but during those all-important Sunday show appearances, then-Ambassador Susan Rice, supposedly hell-bent on “covering up” any possible link to al Qaeda in order to protect the Obama administration’s shiny terrorist-killing credentials, actually did acknowledge the possibility on one of those Sunday shows, during this exchange with CBS News’ Bob Schieffer:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
SUSAN RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.
As it turns out, according to an “exhaustive report” by The New York Times, what we knew the day after the attacks is pretty darn close to what we know now.That report found no evidence that al Qaeda or other terrorist groups had any role in that assault, and suggested that the deadly attack was in part due to anger at an American-made video seen as anti-Islam.
In the days following the attack, Foreign Policy Magazine reported that “there are no known formal or operational links” between al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia, and the day after the attack, Ansar al- Sharia put out a statement blaming the attack on the anti-Islam video.
By the way, it’s not me calling that New York Times piece an “exhaustive report,” that would be this loony left-wing outfit: