A fortnight after the deadly attack on America's mission in Benghazi, Libya, Obama surely knew that an al-Qaida-propelled assault, not a YouTube recording, killed U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
As Wednesday's sworn testimony by three State Department whistleblowers demonstrated, this was just one of many lies deployed by Obama and other top officials. These lies nurtured the myth that "al-Qaida is on the path to defeat," as Obama claimed the day after Benghazi. With the truth conveniently obscured beyond Nov. 6, Obama won re-election as the man who supposedly killed both Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. In fact, only the former is dead.
Appearing before the House Oversight Committee, these diplomats shattered Team Obama's carefully crafted post-Benghazi narrative.
From the very start of this episode, U.S. officials called it an attack rather than a video-driven protest.
-- "Greg, we are under attack," Stevens said in his last words to Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Hicks, just before Stevens' cell phone clicked off on the night of Sept. 11.
-- In a newly revealed Sept. 12 e-mail to State Department staffers, a top Middle Eastern specialist named Elizabeth Jones recalls consulting Libya's ambassador in Washington. Jones wrote: "I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."
-- "The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya," Hicks testified under oath Wednesday. "The only report that our mission made through every channel was that there had been an attack on our consulate. ... No protest."
In the May 13 issue of Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes carefully documents how Team Obama sanitized the CIA's initial talking points to erase al-Qaida's fingerprints from this attack. A Sept. 14 version of this document stated, "...we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaida participated in the attack. ... Ansar al-Sharia's Facebook page aims to spread Sharia in Libya and emphasizes the need for jihad to counter what it views as false interpretations of Islam. ..." By the time the State Department and White House had whitewashed these talking points, a third version on Sept. 15 blandly explained: "There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations."
The next day, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows. Relying on these doctored talking points, she told Fox News' Chris Wallace: "What sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet." Rice added, "It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States."
"I was stunned," Hicks testified, when Rice spoke on TV. "My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed." He added that Rice never spoke with him before doing her news interviews, even though -- after Stevens' assassination -- Hicks had become America's top diplomat in Libya.
Team Obama has hindered Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, as he has tried to solve the Benghazi puzzle.
Hicks testified that State Department officials ordered that "we were not to be personally interviewed by Congressman Chaffetz." He added that Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Miller, called after he met with Chaffetz. "She was very upset with me," Hicks said. "She delivered a blistering critique of my management style."
Perhaps because he has failed to toe the Obama line, Hicks testified that "I've been effectively demoted from deputy chief of mission to desk officer."
So, why this abundance of lies and obstruction? An al-Qaida-affiliated terror group targeted an American diplomatic facility and killed four U.S. public servants, including Washington's first ambassador to be murdered on duty since 1979. These facts completely undermined the myth that al-Qaida was in retreat since SEAL Team Six liquidated Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
So, Team Obama buried these inconvenient truths beneath a sand dune of lies.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.