Fox Uses 60 Minutes Report To Revive The Benghazi HoaxOctober 28, 2013 1:20 PM EDT ››› ZACHARY PLEAT
Fox News used a 60 Minutes report to revive the Benghazi hoax with allegations that have been refuted by congressional testimony and an independent investigation.
On October 27, CBS News' 60 Minutes aired a report about the September 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. During the report, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, who commanded a security team in Libya until August 2012, said that he warned Ambassador Christopher Stevens three months prior to the attack that the Benghazi facility was a target and that this was mentioned in his reports to both the State Department and the Department of Defense.
Running with the 60 Minutes report, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that it revealed "the U.S. government knew an attack was imminent and didn't do a thing about it."
But Kilmeade's suggestion that the government ignored actionable intelligence that could have prevented the Benghazi attacks has been refuted by congressional testimony.
In February, Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and addressed the lack of specific intelligence that could have prevented the attack:
"Unfortunately, there was no specific intelligence or indications of an imminent attack on that -- U.S. facilities in Benghazi," Panetta said. "And frankly without an adequate warning, there was not enough time given the speed of the attack for armed military assets to respond."
The Accountability Review Board, convened by the State Department to investigate the attack, also found no evidence to suggest that the administration could have prevented the attack from happening:
The Board found that intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the September 11 attacks. Known gaps existed in the intelligence community's understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.
Kilmeade also used the 60 Minutes report to revive the Fox smear that the Obama administration abandoned Americans in Benghazi:
KILMEADE: What bothers me most, and it's a little out of your auspices, but when Hicks was told there is no help coming, and had to tell those who were under attack at the annex no help is coming, I still find that -- I know that's a different page -- inexcusable and it's never been adequately explained to me.
But senior military experts have explained that military assistance was sent, though it was too far away to help before the attacks ended. During congressional testimony in September, retired Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, explained:
MULLEN: It goes to our core, when people are in trouble, to do everything we possibly can to help them out. And there were many forces that moved that night, including a special operation force in Europe that ended up in a base in southern Europe, a large special operations force from the United States which moved under direction as soon as -- as soon as they were given orders. A group of Marines that essentially were sent in from Spain into Tripoli the next day. It literally became -- this is not something you can just wish to happen instantly. There's a lot of planning, preparation, as rapidly -- to do it as rapidly as one can do it.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a CBS News interview in May that the idea that military assets should have been able to reach Benghazi during the attack is based on "sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities."
Kilmeade further politicized the tragedy by criticizing 60 Minutes for not putting the blame for the attack on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a major objective for conservatives.
For more on conservative media myths about the September 2012 attack, read The Benghazi Hoax, the new e-book by Media Matters' David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt.