To no one’s surprise, Colin Powell is endorsing President Obama, confirming that the stated excuse for his 2008 endorsement (his oh-so-grave disappointment in the selection of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate) was bogus. (It is also ironic that the author of the “Powell Doctrine” urging use of overwhelming force when the Unites States acts militarily should give thumbs up to the “leading from behind” president who has seen Libya turn into an al-Qaeda-ridden state).

Having been in large part responsible (by remaining silent as to the real leaker of Valerie Plame’s name) for the witch-hunt investigation that eventually ensnared Scooter Libby, perhaps Powell can offer the president some advice on the Benghazi debacle: Get your story straight. (The good news for Powell critics is that if Mitt Romney wins, there will be no need to give Powell any assignment, and his endorsement value will plunge in the future.)

This is becoming a problem — not the endorsement of the finger-in-the-wind Powell, but the jumble of conflicting stories about the Libya attack.

We learn that the White House spin ingested by some in the media that al-Qaeda had nothing to do with Libya is spectacularly wrong. We already know that the local jihadists have been tagged as affiliated with al-Qaeda and contacted al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb after the murder of our citizens. Now CNN reports, “U.S. intelligence believes that assailants connected to al Qaeda in Iraq were among the core group that attacked the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. government official told CNN. That would represent the second al Qaeda affiliate associated with the deadly September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Previously, intelligence officials said there were signs of connections to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African wing of the terror group.” Shocking, I know, that the administration would find gullible media allies to push a false storyline.

Then there are those White House e-mails. Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a prominent adviser to Mitt Romney, told me that the discovery of three e-mails sent on Sept. 11 to the White House during the Libya assault raises new concerns. He said, “The e-mails now establish a paper confirmation of what we already knew, namely that our government knew in real time that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was not a demonstration about the Mohammed video gone bad. And these e-mails have to be only the tip of the iceberg.”

Moreover, the failure to act to react as our people were trapped during the seven-hour siege is shocking, Bolton said. “What is even more stunning than the delusional explanation of the attack, however, is the passivity of the response. No one could know at the time that there was only one terrorist attack that would last for seven hours. Every diplomatic post in the Middle East was potentially at risk, and yet there is no evidence of a decisive response being put in motion. What was the Administration doing?”

The president has picked a funny time to plead with voters on the basis of “trust.” He told voters in Iowa, “There’s no more serious issue on a presidential campaign than trust. Trust matters.” It sure does. Unfortunately, the trust deficit Obama has rung up is nearly as large as the fiscal one.