While the GOP is attacking (and Dems defending) the Obama administration in connection with the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, there is a deeper story.
Sure, it is stunning that the State Department never requested backup or that people such as Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer allege that President Obama personally watched in real time the attacks as they occurred via video feeds from drones flying over the Benghazi consulate.
But these claims only can be assessed -- and the whole confusing mess only makes sense -- if the deeper underlying story is first exposed.
The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya's Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.
According to a 2007 report by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center's center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda's main headquarters -- and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq -- prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:
Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.
(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed -- rightly it turns out -- that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion. But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)
This brings us to the murder of ambassador Stevens and the sudden resignation of CIA boss David Petraeus.
They say that the State Department presence in Benghazi "provided diplomatic cover" for the previously hidden CIA mission.
Reuters notes that the CIA mission involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals.
Business Insider reports that Stevens may have been linked with Syrian terrorists:
There's growing evidence that U.S. agents -- particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens -- were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.
In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group -- a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens' life.