Opinion

Did most media outlets get latest Benghazi report wrong?

While liberals are insisting a House Intelligence Committee report on the Benghazi terror attacks exonerated the Obama administration of any wrongdoing in the scandal, Fox News poked holes in the document.

What happened and who was to blame has been under debate ever since the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Most media outlets are not reporting that the report shows the administration wrongfully blamed an Internet video for the attack.

“Whatever the larger policy issues, the conclusion that ‘protests’ were fully ‘rooted in a video’ was incorrect, as were the underlying early intelligence estimates concerning the video,” the report said.

The mainstream media has completely ignored the fact that the administration built its entire narrative around this fallacy and that the report has wholeheartedly discredited that claim.

Michael Morell, who was acting director of the CIA when the attacks happened, edited the administration’s talking points. Republicans have accused him of making the edits as a form of damage control on the Obama administration’s behalf.

“The administration was telling a false story about the demonstration and the video when it was clearly a terrorist attack,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a member of the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News “The talking points were doctored.”

The network also took particular issue with the report’s claims that the CIA’s base chief, referred to only as “Bob,” did not wait to send a rescue team to the U.S. Consulate as it took fire. That perspective does not mesh with firsthand accounts by witnesses who spoke to Fox News’ Bret Baier in September.

“I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta … we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’ you know?” CIA contractor John Tiegen told Baier. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down. You need to wait.’”

Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta did not take issue with Tiegen’s account when he spoke to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in an Oct. 7 interview.

“I have no reason not to believe them,” Panetta told O’Reilly.

The report also suggested that the CIA annex was not involved in collecting weapons, though testimony cited in the report’s appendix confirmed weapons were moving from Libya to Syria.

Such questions were squashed by the Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who said the information was classified.

Fox News also found that several people involved in the scandal now work for Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm tied to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely considered the prime contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

No matter how many reports are released, questions about the Bengahzi attacks will always be disputed.

Carmine Sabia

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