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Bill Press: Tell the truth on Benghazi

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What a contrast between events on two different dates of Sept. 11.

On Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists killed 3,000 people, Republicans and Democrats together cried out: “Let’s get the bastards who did this to us.” On Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists killed four Americans, Republicans immediately cried out: “Let’s find a way to blame President Obama.”

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Indeed, on that night in 2012 when the attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was still underway — before we even knew Ambassador Christopher Stevens was one of the four victims — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Obama of sympathizing with those who carried out the attack. And Republicans, with full-time support of Fox News, have disgracefully made a cheap, partisan political football out of Benghazi ever since.

The latest: Darrell Issa’s issuance of a subpoena last week for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify on Benghazi, sent without extending the common congressional courtesy of first inviting Kerry to appear, and even though Kerry was still in the Senate when the Benghazi attack took place.

This was followed by Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) absurd call for a special committee to investigate Benghazi, two years after the fact.

Meanwhile, every charge made by Republicans about that tragic event has turned out to be false. It’s time to expose the lies and tell the truth about Benghazi.

Republicans charge that Obama never called it “terrorism.” Wrong. I was in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, the morning after the attack, when Obama declared, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.”

Republicans charge that then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice deliberately lied to the American people by blaming the attack on spontaneous protests that turned violent. Wrong. Rice simply relayed early reports by U.S. intelligence agencies that what happened in Benghazi was linked to earlier protests in Cairo, which had indeed been triggered by anger over an anti-Islam video produced in the United States.

At the same time, she stressed that this was only a preliminary assessment and would be updated as more information became available. And it was.

Republicans charge that the Obama administration failed to send in readily available military forces to break up the attack. Wrong.

A special panel headed by former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen concluded that no U.S. military ships or planes could possibly have been deployed to Benghazi on time.

Finally, Republicans charge that an email from deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, released last week, is the “smoking gun” proving that the White House directly orchestrated a cover-up of what happened in Benghazi. Wrong again. In fact, that’s laugh-out-loud funny. All Rhodes’s email proves is that White House aides prepared talking points for a top administration official scheduled to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows. That’s hardly unusual, and it’s clearly not an impeachable offense.

Yes, it’s time to tell the truth about Benghazi. We were attacked by terrorists. Four Americans were killed. Our sole mission now should be to track down those responsible. End of story.

Quick! Somebody tell Fox News.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.

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