Currently there is a front page article pondering why Romney has been silent on Benghazi, while some aides are pressing for more media coverage. I don't think it has anything to do with Romney getting thumped at the 2nd debate over the acts of terror fact check.
Checking the timeline, the Romney campaign was still working the Benghazi angle immediately after the second debate. But sometime between the second debate and the third debate Romney and Ryan went mute with regards to Benghazi. This is counterintuitive since the third debate was a foreign policy debate and the media presumed that the Benghazi attack would be a major focus of Romney in that debate. We now know that Romney punted on Benghazi during the third debate and has been silent ever since.
So the question is why the sudden shift in the Romney strategy. My guess is that is was this (from the Boston Globe):
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — The Tunisian government has confirmed it has arrested a 28-year-old Tunisian reportedly linked to the U.S. consulate attack in Libya.If you dig deeper, you find that the Tunisian suspect in question was caught last week trying to enter Turkey, by a joint effort led by Turkish, Tunisian and US Intelligence agencies. The suspect was held in Turkey for about a week before he was returned to Tunisia yesterday. I guess we can assume that the suspect was interogated during this past week.
Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman Tarrouch Khaled said Wednesday that Ali Harzi was in custody in Tunis. Khaled tells The Associated Press ‘‘his case is in the hands of justice.’’ He did not elaborate.
In Washington, the State Department had no comment. Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. has been looking into the arrests of two Tunisian men being detained in Turkey reportedly in connection with attacks on a consulate in Libya last month.
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in the Libyan capital of Benghazi on Sept. 11.end of story marker
Now last night, we come across this story coming out of Egypt (courtesy of the Guardian):
A Libyan militant suspected by Egypt of involvement in last month's attack on the US consulate in Libya has been killed in a raid by Egyptian security forces in Cairo, according to security officials. The Libyan was killed on Wednesday in a raid that targeted him and other militants with suspected links to al-Qaida in Cairo's eastern district of Nasr City, the official said. Four Egyptian militants were detained in the operation, he added.My guess is that the first suspect started talking while being interogated and this is leading to information on the whereabouts of the other attackers.
The Libyan, identified as Karim Ahmed Essam el-Azizi, was killed by a bomb he had tried to use against the security forces during the raid, the security official said. It was not immediately clear what role Azizi had played in the assault on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on 11 September, in which the ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed.
The security official, who asked not to be named, said Azizi had been living in a rented apartment in Nasr City for the past three months. He said police had found 15 bombs and various weapons, including assault rifles, in the Libyan's flat.
Now Romney has National Security advisors who have had to been aware of the situation developing with regards to the apprehension of the first suspect in Turkey. Romney's team had to know that if they went out there and blasted the President with regards to Benghazi, they were going to get humiliated again when information regarding the pursuit, apprehension or justice being meted out to the attackers came to light. What we know now is that not only are the attackers being tracked down, the US is receiving significant help from the intelligence and security agencies in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt. This fact pulls the rug out from beneath Romney also with regards to his attacks regarding the situation in Egypt.
Interestingly enough, the White House has been curiously silent regarding the events occuring in Turkey, Tunsia and Egypt. I think there is also a possibility of a deal being struck be the Romney and Obama camps agreeing not to politicize Benghazi while the intelligence/security agencies were so hot on the tails of the attackers. If some Romney aides are pestering reporters regarding Benghazi, my guess is that they are low level and don't have the security clearance necessary to be in the know.