The Obama administration's reaction to the Benghazi attack last September was guided solely by politics, Wall Street Journal
columnist Peggy Noonan charged Friday.
"The Obama White House sees every event as a political event," she said. "Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador. Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism."
The former Reagan speechwriter said the administration was worried that declaring the attack as an act of terrorism would carry negative implications for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and perhaps require military action.
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"They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it," Noonan wrote in her column.
"Because the White House could not tolerate the idea of Benghazi as a planned and deliberate terrorist assault, it had to be made into something else. So they said it was a spontaneous street demonstration over an anti-Muhammad YouTube video made by a nutty California con man."
This gave the Obama administration an out on being forced to take military action, she added.
"If what happened in Benghazi was not a planned and prolonged terrorist assault, if it was merely a street demonstration gone bad, the administration could not take military action to protect Americans there," Noonan wrote.
In the end, she said, it was the election campaign that drove the administration's handling of the tragedy.
"Why couldn't the administration tolerate the idea that Benghazi was a planned terrorist event? Because they didn't want this attack dominating the headline with an election coming."
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