A number of years ago, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first took power in Iran, I talked to some Americans who thought they knew him. These were former hostages, captured in 1979 when attackers seized our embassy in Tehran. When I spoke with the former hostages in 2005, many believed that the new Iranian president had been one of their captors.
In recent weeks, my ongoing concerns about L'affaire Benghazi have sent me to digging through notes from those 2005 conversations. I wanted to see if former Ambassador Bruce Laingen or other ex-hostages had said anything that might apply to Benghazi. Sure enough, I found it in the files, within a transcript from Laingen's oral history interview at Georgetown University.
"As we have all learned since, if you are going to be overrun by a revolutionary group at an Embassy, make sure you are overrun by groups a little less passionate in their zeal and determination than those in Tehran, because their passion, their determination, their zeal as revolutionaries was apparent in many ways in the months that followed...."
My first reaction is, who are the "we?" Who are the "all?" Because I'm confident the lessons are known to our Special Operations people - both military and civilian - but I'm not sure they were learned by everyone at State Department and the White House.