Their lips are moving.
Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation's top civilian and uniformed defense officials -- headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama -- were informed that the event was a "terrorist attack," declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president's Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward.
Numerous aides to the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly told the public in the weeks following the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans that night -- as Obama's hotly contested bid for re-election was entering its final stretch -- that there was no evidence the killings were the result of a premeditated terrorist attack, but rather were the result of a protest gone awry. Subsequent disclosures exposed the falsity of that narrative, and the Obama administration ultimately acknowledged that its early statements on Benghazi were untrue.
Ham's declassified testimony further underscores that Obama's earliest briefing on Benghazi was solely to the effect that the incident was a terrorist attack, and raises once again the question of how the narrative about the offensive video, and a demonstration that never occurred, took root within the White House as the explanation for Benghazi.
The day after the attacks, which marked the first killing of an American ambassador in the line of duty since 1979, Obama strode to the Rose Garden to comment on the loss, taking pains in his statement to say: "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." As late as Sept. 24, during an appearance on the talk show "The View," when asked directly by co-host Joy Behar if Benghazi had been "an act of terrorism," the president hedged, saying: "Well, we're still doing an investigation."