Media continue to whitewash Benghazi

The Unablogger

The Unablogger

Earlier this week, a bipartisan report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the September 11, 2012 terror attacks on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya laid fault for the U.S. vulnerability to such attacks to incompetence and terrible management decisions on the part of the Obama Administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But you’d never know that from coverage by the mainstream media. The coverage of the report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is illustrative.

The report was significant in that senators from both parties, in a body controlled by the President’s party,  set partisan differences aside and joined together publicly to blame the Administration. Of course, partisan considerations did water down the report by using vague obfuscatory language like “analysts,” “officials,” “policymakers” and classically “those in decision-making positions in Washington, D.C.” instead of identifying either President Barrack Obama or former Secretary of State (and likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton by name. But anyone who read the report got the point.

The bipartisan report’s official conclusion was that it was “imperative” both that the U.S. intelligence community position itself to anticipate, rather than just react to, potential terrorism hotspots and, most significantly, that “those in decision-making positions in Washington, D.C. heed the concerns and wisdom of those on the front lines and make resource and security decisions with those concerns in mind.”  The bipartisan report concluded pointedly, “The United States government did not meet this standard of care in Benghazi.”

Readers of the Post-Dispatch wouldn’t know that. While the paper did cover the report the next day with the Number 3 front-page article totaling 30 column inches (counting the jump to a back page and headlines on both pages), the report’s official conclusion wasn’t even mentioned. (In contrast, two days earlier, the Post devoted more space (34 column inches) to the week-old controversy about the closure of lanes to a Fort Lee, NJ bridge by the administration of potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie.)

So how do you cover a report without mentioning its official conclusion? The Post‘s highlighted bullet points leading the article in the print edition distributed to subscribers (which does not appear in the current online version of the article) spun three of the report’s 14 specific “Findings” that led to the report’s official conclusion:

  • A tamer finding that operations in Benghazi continued although the mission crossed ‘tripwires’ that should have led to cutting staff or suspending work. (Finding #5)
  • “Analysts” referred “inaccurately” to a protest at the mission, “leading officials” to make “incorrect” statements. (Finding #9) [The report never said that the references to a protest “led” officials to make incorrect statements; the report merely stated that erroneous reports “influenced” the public statements of policymakers.]
  • Blamed deceased Ambassador Chris Stevens for twice declining extra security help (based on facts recited in Finding #2).

The lead in the print edition stated, “The account spreads blame among the State Department, the military and U.S. intelligence for missing what now seems like obvious warning signs.” The current online version blames “systemic failure of security for U.S. diplomats overseas.”

As to former Secretary Clinton, whom the Post and other mainstream media are actively seeking to insulate from blame, instead of identifying her as one of the key policymakers who failed to heed the concerns and wisdom of those on the front lines or to make resource and security decisions with those concerns in mind, the Post wrongly inferred that the report had cleared her. Both the print and online versions state deceptively, “The report does not name Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time and now is a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.” In the print edition, that statement appeared under a bolded subhead “CLINTON NOT NAMED.”

In one candid moment, though, the Post account in the print edition did concede that that the Administration’s original characterization of the assault as a spontaneous mob protest against an anti-Islamic video was due to the Administration’s “relunctan[ce] to deal publicly with a terrorist attack weeks before the presidential election.” That validates Republican charges that the Administration deliberately lied to the American public in order to continue its pretense that it had kept the country safe from terrorism. The observation was scrubbed entirely from the current online version.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by steven j.baechle on January 17, 2014 at 2:49 am

    my son is in the 82nd airbourne out of ft. bragg within 3yrs.he has attained serg. he has been to afghan. and he has been asked to join the army ranger program, he was proud, I was proud and supported the potential appt.,but because of the military snubbing by Obama and Clinton, the bengazi fiasco,the lack of passion by our “commander and chief”jake will be discharging in dec,.obama, is a mess he has alienated our allies, they look at him as a arrogant idiot, jake feels that he and his buddies will not be safe under this admin. My son has said, dad he is anti-Christian, anti-constitution,,clinton maybe president ,if we don’t have in God we trust we are doomed, dad let me out.


  2. Posted by Sammy Finkelman on January 17, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I don’t think that “analysts,” is a code word for President Barrack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is a real problem in the CIA – they got rid of the Director! And they never came clean on how the “mistake” was made.

    “officials,” “policymakers” and the last “those in decision-making positions in Washington, D.C.” could be President Barrack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but it depends on the context, and in many cases might mean people like Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. In some cases it may not be clear at all who made a decision – who passed on a matter..


  3. Posted by Sammy Finkelman on January 17, 2014 at 10:04 am

    The Obama White House did not lie about what happened in Bengazi in the week after the attacks.

    They were mistaken, because they were relying on the CIA.

    There was Sooper Sekrit intelligence that it was caused by a video, and the New York Times heard the same thing at the timer. Only the New York Times said there were conflicting stories, while the CIA was much less noncomittal..

    Now you could say people in the CIA should have some common sense, and also not disregard other information, but that’s another story.

    Personally, really, I think it is impossible really for people to be so stupid – these people in the CIA must have been moles. Saudi moles, probably.

    Obama was told as the attack was happening that it was a terrorist attack — not a “spontaneous protest” as Rice repeatedly described it days later

    That was before the Sooper Sekrit intelligence came in!! From Libyan and some foreign intelligence agences.

    Sooper Sekrit intelligence saying that it wasn’t planned and it was caused by a video.

    Nobody seems to understand this. Why is this so hard to comprehend???

    It’s perfectly obvious that this is what happened.

    You think Susan Rice would have gone on television with her story if she thought it would come apart right away? And it is not a miracle is fell apart.

    They believed it at the White House, – it is clear from he Benghazi e-mails – and it was such “good news” they had to get it out there.

    That was not what (Prince Bandar?) [ the Saudi chief of intelligence, go-to man on the Arab Spring, in special charge of Saudi Syrian policy, and probable killer of Vincent Foster back in 1993, but that’s a whole long story] had intended.

    The disinformation was intended to remain closely held, and then it might have worked, although there’s obviously still a lot of disinformation being accepted, because they are not getting anywhere with finding the culprits, and the Obama Administration is doing a lot of other stupid things with regard to the Middle East.


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