Like the Marathon bombings, the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last September was an act of terror that must be examined closely for any lessons that can be used to protect Americans in the future. In the case of Benghazi, it now appears clear that there were serious lapses in security, intelligence, and coordination between the CIA and the State Department in the aftermath of the attack.
Unfortunately, the government’s ability to process any lessons from the attack is being obscured by presidential politics — involving both the 2012 and the 2016 elections. Some Republicans insist that the Obama administration’s failure to immediately characterize the raid on the consulate as a planned terrorist attack was an attempt to avoid election-season second-guessing. But even after months of probing, those critics lack evidence of a political motive. The logic of their insinuation is weak, as well: As an incumbent commander-in-chief seeking reelection, Obama could have benefited more from hyping a national emergency than downplaying one.