Fox deceptively edited a White House official's statements to claim that the Obama administration is contradicting itself about whether the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was pre-planned.
This is Fox's second attempt to create a contradiction in the administration's position on Libya out of thin air.
On Fox & Friends today, senior Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal juxtaposed three statements by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to falsely suggest they were each inconsistent with each other.
In each case, if Leventhal had quoted more than snippets of Carney's comments, it would have been clear that Carney made three points each time: (1) the attack in Libya was under investigation, (2) that protests in the region had been sparked by an anti-Muslim video, and (3) that the administration had no evidence to "indicate that any of this unrest was pre-planned."
First, Leventhal paraphrased Carney as having said initially that "the assault was sparked by anger over an anti-Muslim video, a protest that turned ugly."
Leventhal then claimed that Carney "adjusted his position" on Wednesday and aired a clip of Carney saying: "Based on the information we had at the time, we have now, we do not yet have indication that it was preplanned or premeditated ... If that active investigation produces facts that lead to a different conclusion, we will make clear that that's where the investigation has led."
Leventhal followed up saying that on Thursday, Carney stated: "It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that's self-evident."
Despite this series of clips, which were all quoted or paraphrased, Carney's statements have been consistent with each other.
Here's Carney on Monday stating that the Libya attack is under investigation, that the anti-Muslim video sparked unrest, and that there is no evidence the attack on the consulate was pre-planned:
I think there has been news reports on this, Jake, even in the press, which some of it has been speculative. What I'm telling you is this is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have information to suggest or to tell you that would indicate that any of this unrest was preplanned.
Carney made the same three points during the Wednesday press briefing from which Leventhal aired a clip:
I think the FBI is leading an investigation that will encompass all of the information available to the White House and to the intelligence community and to the broader diplomatic community. What I can tell you is that, as I said last week, as our Ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday and as I said the other day, based on what we know now and knew at the time, we have no evidence of a preplanned or premeditated attack. This, however, remains under investigation, and I made that clear last week, and Ambassador Rice made that clear on Sunday. And if more facts come to light that change our assessment of what transpired in Benghazi and why and how, we will welcome those facts and make you aware of them.
But again, based on the information that we had at the time and have to this day, we do not have evidence that it was premeditated.
It is certainly the case that there are a number of bad actors and armed groups of extremists in Libya who might take advantage of a situation that was brought about initially as a response to the video in question. But this is under active investigation and we await the results of that investigation by the FBI before we can reach any firm conclusions about what precipitated the attacks.
Carney again made the same three points during Thursday's press briefing from which Leventhal quoted:
It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that's self-evident. I would point you to a couple of things that Mr. Olsen said, which is that at this point it appears that a number of different elements were involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in Eastern Libya.
He also made clear that at this point, based on the information he has -- and he is briefing the Hill on the most up-to-date intelligence -- we have no information at this point that suggests that this was a significantly preplanned attack, but this was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of reaction to the video that was found to be offensive.
I will simply point you to the testimony of Mr. Olsen, in which he said, based on the information that they have now -- and this is an ongoing investigation -- their judgment is that it was an opportunistic attack in which elements including, possibly, elements of al Qaeda in the Maghreb, participated.
Only Fox's imagination could dream up conflict among these statements.