On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy's walls -- images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world. As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.
At a certain level, it doesn't much matter why Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged ringleader of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, did what he's accused of doing. What matters now is justice, not understanding the motivations for violence.
That said, because the Benghazi attack has been politicized to such an unprecedented and unhealthy degree, details like these matter, arguably more than they should.
This is, of course, just one report, and we'll have to wait for additional information before drawing specific conclusions.
That said, if the New York Times' reporting on this is correct, it would appear to leave a couple of possibilities. The first is that the anti-Muslim video really might have contributed to the deadly violence, just as intelligence agencies suggested in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and just as Susan Rice said on the Sunday shows soon after. Congressional Republicans have chosen to reject the very idea that the video played a role -- they apparently don't find this ideologically satisfying -- but the evidence seems hard to ignore.
The second is that the suspected ringleader behind the Benghazi attack is in on the Benghazi conspiracy. Sure, the sheeple will resist, but don't you see it? The conspiracy is so broad, so all-encompassing, and so far-reaching in its scope, the White House has even gotten to Ahmed Abu Khattala, convincing an alleged terrorist to stick to the talking points.
The former seems more plausible than the latter.
This also seems like a good time to point out that Susan Rice still deserves that apology that the right never offered. For reasons that have never been fully explained, she was the target of an aggressive smear campaign, which may have derailed her chances of becoming Secretary of State as President Obama began his second term.
But as we've discussed before, as more detailed information has come to public light, it's Rice who's been vindicated and her critics who've been proven wrong. This was obvious with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report earlier this year, which reminded the world that Rice did nothing wrong.
And it seems even more obvious now.
So, where are those polite notes from John McCain, Susan Collins, and others saying, "Sorry we launched a coordinated assault to destroy your reputation for no reason"?