Benghazi Attack Timeline: Facts & Myths

Attacks on US Embassies

Claim: The Benghazi incident represents a once-in-a-generation tragedy in which a consulate was overrun and help, which was in large supply, was intentionally withheld (including a stand down order).  This refusal of help goes all the way up the chain of command.

Fact: The Benghazi incident is a tragedy but is one of the countless attacks on US diplomatic structures.  What little help was available (which was slightly delayed for the sake of ensuring they weren’t walking into an ambush) was sent within 30 minutes of the attack. Eight separate investigations have been conducted, most of them merely confirming what the previous investigations concluded: that a lack of preparation is largely to blame, but there was no foul play nor refusal to send help.  Existing allegations range from demonstrably false internet rumors (that air support was available) to the usual logical fallacies (like the hindsight bias of assuming that the State Department should have known the Benghazi attack was imminent, even though there were threats of attacks on multiple locations).  The Benghazi saga appears to be at heart, a political movement.

About Benghazi

On September 11th, 2012, an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi (Libya) was attacked by over 150 armed gunmen.  As a result, four Americans were killed and several others injured.  With a presidential election only 2 months away, this became the basis for political attacks, spawning names like “Benghazi Gate” and rumors that included alleged stand down orders that prevented reinforcements from intervening; some even stating that Obama and few others watched live feeds of the attack unfolding.  Both of these were based on unconfirmed hearsay, yet was repeated across right-leaning news sources as fact, leaving many on the right to claim that the “MSM” (news sources that generally avoid broadcasting unverified rumors as fact) was assisting in a cover-up.  Since these events occurred, several independent investigations have clarified the events that took place that night.  While these reports conclude that the State Department could have been far more proactive in beefing up the thin and questionable security at the Benghazi embassy, the various conspiracy rumors have been answered and quelled.  Nevertheless, the idea that the Benghazi event is the source of a grand cover-up persists along predictable partisan lines in part due to the continuing publication of arguments that have long been addressed in the various Benghazi investigations. Continue reading