Meet The Conspiracy Theorists Behind The New Benghazi Report Hyped By Fox
Research ››› ››› MICHELLE LEUNG
Fox News promoted what they called a "blistering report" on Benghazi released by the Citizens' Committee on Benghazi, a group comprised of birthers, conspiracy theorists, and fringe right-wing activists.
Citizens Committee On Benghazi Issue Absurd "Findings" On Benghazi
Citizens Committee On Benghazi Releases Findings From Benghazi Review. On April 22, the Daily Mail reported on findings from the Citizen's Committee on Benghazi, a self-selected group created by Accuracy in Media, that pushed a number of conspiracy theories regarding the attack in Benghazi, Libya. According to the Daily Mail, the report claims that the attack was a "failed kidnapping plot" of Ambassador Chris Stevens, that the U.S. had "switched sides in the war on terror," and that President Obama had coordinate with the Muslim Brotherhood to blame the attacks on a YouTube video. [Daily Mail, 4/22/14]
Fox News Hypes Citizen's Committee Findings As "Blistering New Report"
Fox News Hypes Committee Findings As "Blistering New Report." On the April 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First, co-host Ainsley Earhardt hyped the committee's "blistering new report" and repeated the claims that the attacks "could have been prevented," and that "Ambassador Chris Stevens was supposed to be captured and traded for the Blind Sheik":
EARHARDT: A blistering new report reveals the Benghazi terror attacks could have been prevented. The Citizen's Committee on Benghazi claims the U.S. allowed $500 million in weapons to flow to Al Qaeda terrorists who opposed the Libyan dictator, Muammar Gadaffi, and their rise to power lead to the embassy attack two years ago that left four Americans dead. The commission concluding the attack was actually a failed kidnapping plot. The report says that Ambassador Chris Stevens was supposed to be captured and traded for the Blind Sheik, the mastermind of the 1993 world trade center bombing. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/23/14]
Meet The Citizen's Committee Panelists: Birthers, Conspiracy Theorists, And Anti-Muslim Advocates
Capt. Larry Bailey, USN (Ret.): Obama's Birth Certificate Is A Forgery, Real Father Is Frank Marshall Davis. Retired Capt. Larry Bailey is the founder of Special Operations Speaks, an anti-Obama group of Special Operations veterans. Bailey has admitted on numerous occasions that he is a birther, telling Foreign Policy magazine in 2012 ""I have to admit that I'm a Birther" ... "If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is." Bailey has also touted the conspiracy theory that President Obama's real father was actually the late community writer Frank Marshall Davis. [Foreign Policy, 8/17/12, Media Matters, 8/8/13; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Gen. Paul Vallely (Ret.): FBI Is Covering Up Truth About Birth Certificate Out Of Fear Of A "Black Backlash." Retired General Paul Vallely, who was a Fox News contributor from 2001-2007, has claimed that Obama's real birth certificate "has never been found in Hawaii nor released from Hawaii hospital there," and that it was a "forged document." Vallely told fringe right-wing website WND that both versions of Obama's birth certificate were forgeries and alleged that the FBI and Congress were covering up the truth about Obama's place of birth out because they are "afraid of a black backlash from some of the urban areas." [WND, 6/15/11; Media Matters, 7/27/12; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Gen. Thomas McInerney (Ret.) Claimed Obama Was Not A Natural Born Citizen. On September 1, 2010 Talking Points Memo reported that Thomas McInerney had "officially joined the legions of birthers," citing McInerney's support for an Army Lieutenant who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he did not believe Obama was born in the United States. McInerney's affidavit claims:
According to our Constitution, the Commander in Chief must now, in the face of serious-- and widely held-- concerns that he is ineligible, either voluntarily establish his eligibility by authorizing release of his birth records or this court must authorize their discovery.
McInerney has also worked as a military analyst for Fox News, where he pushed other conspiracy theories including the theory that WMDs were never discovered in Iraq because Saddam Hussein hid them other countries. [Talking Points Memo, 11/1/10; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14; Media Matters, 11/1/10, 3/22/13]
Col. Allen West: Islam Is Not A Religion, It's "A Totalitarian Theocratic Political Ideology." Retired Col. Allen West is a former U.S. Representative and also a Fox News contributor, and has a history of pushing an Islamophobic narrative. After West lost his re-election bid, MSNBC reported on some of West's most outrageous claims including that "Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals stand up and say that." After the attack on a British soldier in 2013, West claimed that the violence was due to "appeasement" of "Islamists." [MSNBC, 11/20/12; Media Matters, 5/17/13, 5/23/13; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Clare Lopez Is A Senior Fellow At Two Anti-Muslim Organizations. Clare Lopez is a prominent member of two anti-Muslim groups - the Clarion Project and the Center for Security Policy. The Center for Security Policy was funded by one of America's most notorious Islamophobes, Frank Gaffney, who also sits on the board of the Clarion Project. The Clarion Project is funded by three of the seven top anti-Islam and anti-Muslim think tanks in the United States. Lopez has authored several articles for both organizations, and has made claims that Obama's administration has been infiltrated by Islamist-supporters to institute Sharia law. In a 2011 interview, Lopez claimed "the bottom line really is that, unless ethnic Europeans begin to have an awful lot more babies, the forces of shariah Islam will inherit Eurabia by sheer dint of their numbers." [Media Matters 2/20/14; Center for Security Policy, accessed 4/23/14; Clare Lopez, 12/2/09 via YouTube; Examiner.com, 3/11/11; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Benghazi Conspiracy Theorists
Adm. James Lyons (Ret.) Claimed Benghazi Was A Cover-Up. Adm. James Lyons who regularly writes for the conservative outlet, The Washington Times, is known to push old Benghazi conspiracies and debunked assertions; Lyons has claimed that he has never seen "a cover-up as intense as the Benghazi cover-up" and compared the State Department's Accountability Review Board that investigated the attack to "having the mafia investigate a crime scene." Lyons has also made an unfounded claim that Libyan militia guards protecting the Benghazi compound "were not allowed to put ammunition into their weapons," and suggested that David Patreus' affair was a cover-up for Benghazi. [Media Matters, 7/30/13, Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Wayne Simmons Has Suggested That White House Gave "Stand Down" Order. Former CIA officer Wayne Simmons, who is a frequent guest on Fox News, has pushed the debunked claim that the White House gave a "stand down" order during the Benghazi attack and that the people killed in Benghazi "were sold out." Simmons has also advocated profiling students from Muslim countries. [Media Matters, 7/30/13, 5/2/13; Accuracy in Media, accessed 4/23/14]
Citizens' Committee Is Organized By Fringe Conservative Group, AIM
Accuracy in Media (AIM) Has A History Of Promoting Conspiracy Theories. The Citizens' Committee on Benghazi is organized and supported by Roger Aronoff's fringe conservative group Accuracy in Media (AIM). AIM is responsible for promoting many conspiracy theories over the years, and is also well-known for extreme anti-gay views and hate speech. [Media Matters, 2/7/12]