[H]ere’s what nobody seems to get: Benghazi was not a terrorist act. Or an act of terror. Or an act of terrorism.
As it happens, there’s a nice succinct definition of terrorism in U.S. law, section 2656f(d) of Title 22 of the United States Code, which reads, “the term ‘terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” So why wasn’t Benghazi terrorism? Because the people targeted weren’t civilians. As The Wall Street Journal has reported, “The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation, according to officials briefed on the intelligence. Of the more than 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the deadly assault, only seven worked for the State Department. Nearly all the rest worked for the CIA, under diplomatic cover, which was a principal purpose of the consulate, these officials said.” CIA officials are not civilians.
That doesn’t make their deaths any less tragic or painful for their families, but it’s the truth. Nor is a CIA outpost a civilian target.