A New York Times report posted Saturday night is drawing a wave of criticism for reviving the idea that an obscure video about the origins of Islam was the root cause of the attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012.
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., stood by earlier statements that the attack was the work of terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida marking the anniversary of the 9/11 bloodbath with yet another bloodbath. (See video below.) Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton called The Times report “unsophisticated and contradictory.”
Meanwhile, Catherine Herridge, the Fox News chief intelligence correspondent, says The Times report “does not comport” with the idea that the “Innocence of the Muslims” video was to blame for the attack. (See video below.)
“Does not comport” is a diplomatic way of saying its nonsense.
The Times report, headlined “A deadly mix in Benghazi,” is a lengthy, engagingly written, novelistic piece that tries to describe what was happening on the ground immediately before and during the attack. What it purports to show is that just about everything now thought to be known about the attack is wrong.
Months of investigation by The New York … turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
In an interview with America’s News Headquarters hosts Jamie Colby and Gregg Jarrett, Herridge said the execution of the assault, including a mortar attack on a site operated by the CIA in an area adjacent to the American mission, shows a level of sophistication beyond the abilities of a mob enraged by a video almost no one had even seen.
“It takes premeditation, it takes planning, and most significantly, it takes training,” Herridge said.
As impressive appearing as The Times report is, it’s also full of wiggle words – “fueled in large part,” for instance – that appear designed to convey an impression more than make a clear statement. It presents double-talk as nuance. “The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.”
In short, it’s not journalism, it’s propaganda in the service of President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State (and aspiring president) Hillary Clinton.
Obama and Clinton greeted the bodies of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the three other Americans when they were returned to the United States, but their role in the Benghazi attack is nonexistent in The Times account.
“Fifteen months after Mr. Stevens’s death, the question of responsibility remains a searing issue in Washington,” The Times writes.
Or maybe not so searing that is has to be answered.
The Times five-part article mentions the president’s name three times, virtually of them in passing. The name of the secretary of state, the woman who was ultimately responsible for the safety of the ambassador to Libya and his staff, is mentioned not at all.
The Times might as well have skipped the whole story and just asked, “at this point, what does it matter?”
Check out the Issa interview on “Meet the Press” and Herridge’s report on America’s News Headquarters here.