What do those "exclusive" State Department e-mails actually say?
The e-mails say the consulate is being attacked, the Ambassador is in the safe haven, the local authorities have come to the defense, the shooting has stopped, a radical group has claimed credit on Facebook.
Later, by the way, that same radical group held a news conference to deny responsibility (which is in the Fox report, but dismissed).
So the initial "proof" that the anti-Muslim film story was just a cover-up was... a Facebook post.
Yet Reuters (and the NY Times) quoted militants on the scene that day saying they showed up because of a film that insulted the prophet:
Abu Khattala denied sanctioning or leading the attack, but said he understood the anger which fueled it... [he said] "The film which insulted the Prophet was a direct attack on our values and if America wants good relations with the Muslim world it needs to do so with respect... If they want to do it with force, they will be met with force."
Here's what I think is REALLY propelling this story: a conspiracy theory, which first sprouted on a web site called "theconservativetreehouse.com."
It goes like this:
President Obama was deliberately arranging for a shadowy group to kidnap Ambassador Stevens and swap him for a terrorist.
President Morsi of Egypt wants the Blind Shiek (Omar Abdel-Rahman), convicted of plotting a series of terror attacks, and considered the inspiration for the 1993 WTC bombing, released. And there was a story (in the NY Post implying, without evidence, that the administration was considering it. That would, of course, be political suicide and the administration has denied considering any such thing.
But the conspiracy theory assumes this is true -- on the grounds that Obama is a closeted radical Muslim. And since he can't just up and release Sheik Omar, he had to arrange for a kidnapping so he could heroically negotiate the release of the Ambassador in exchange for Sheik Omar. He used the YouTube anti-Muslim video as a cover story.
But the plot went awry, and the Ambassador, instead of getting kidnapped, was killed.
There you have it.
Maybe you've already noticed the tiny flaw in this clever scenario: the assumption that an ambassador being held hostage by terrorists would somehow HELP Obama get re-elected. Just ask Jimmy Carter how well that worked out. If you're too young to remember: Iran Hostage Crisis.
And I'll bet you've already noted the irony: that the one person with the motivation to set up such a conspiracy wouldn't be Barack Obama, it would be Mitt Romney.