10 Reasons Nobody Should Take Aaron Klein's New Benghazi Book Seriously
Research ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
WND reporter Aaron Klein is releasing The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don't Want You to Know, which claims to "expose" the "truth" about the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya. Klein is utterly devoid of credibility -- he's a conspiracy theorist who claims President Obama has an "eligibility problem," says Obama may be a Muslim who "might be with" Al-Qaeda given his "Islamic background," and previously authored books about Obama being a "Manchurian President" deserving of impeachment.
Klein Claims To Have Found "The Truth" About Benghazi. WND will publish The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don't Want You to Know on September 9. According to WND, Klein "finally exposes some of the most significant issues related to the murderous September 11, 2012, attack." [WND, accessed 9/2/14]
Reported Central Contentions Of The Book Are Already Debunked. Klein's book reportedly argues that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "was unwilling to provide additional security to the diplomatic outpost and even played a role in sending [U.S. Ambassador Chris] Stevens to his 'doomed mission.'" But those claims have been debunked, respectively, by diplomatic reporters and The State Department's Accountability Review Board. [Media Matters, 9/2/14]
Klein "Is WND's Senior Staff Reporter And Jerusalem Bureau Chief." [WND, accessed 9/2/14]
WND Is Dedicated To "Fear-Mongering And Outright Fabrications." The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that WND's "pages are devoted to manipulative fear-mongering and outright fabrications designed to further the paranoid, gay-hating, conspiratorial and apocalyptic visions of [founder Joseph] Farah and his hand-picked contributors from the fringes ... Among its enduring storylines is the 'birther' theory advanced by columnist Jerome Corsi, who asserts that President Obama is ineligible to serve because he was not born in America." [Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed 9/2/14]
WND Is The Driving Force For Conspiracies About President Obama's Birth Certificate. The Anti-Defamation League has noted that WND "has spearheaded efforts to convince the public that Obama does not have a legitimate birth certificate." In addition to publishing countless articles, including some written by Klein, casting doubt on the validity of President Obama's birth certificate, WND sells bumper stickers, signs, and t-shirts asking "Where's the birth certificate?" It also funded a campaign for birther billboards and a plane banner. [ADL, accessed 9/3/14; WND, accessed 9/2/14; WND, accessed 9/2/14]
WND Publishes Claims About Obama "Homosexual Acts," Hillary Clinton's "Lesbian Affair," And "The Second Coming." Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon writes in his book Wingnuts: Extremism in the Age of Obama of WND:
The site repeatedly published a thoroughly discredited drifter's claim that "he took cocaine in 1999 with the then Illinois legislator [Obama] and participated in homosexual acts" with him and regurgitated bilge about Hillary Clinton's "well-known bisexuality and her lesbian affair with her beautiful assistant."
All in all, it offers a relentlessly grim prognosis for America short of the Second Coming (predicted for 2015), full of plans for Obama to bring back "inquisitions" and "destroy capitalism." No wonder its primary advertiser appears to be a marketer of "survival seeds" for your very own "crisis garden" and a "crisis cooker" to "prepare hot meals when the power is off." They are profiting off the paranoia they intentionally inflame in their readers.
But the real growth industry for WorldNetDaily in 2009 was the enthusiastic advocacy of Birther claims that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president. Farah rented twenty roadside billboards that read, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" at a cost of $300,000 and collected online donations to help fund the effort. A WND-produced DVD, A Question of Eligibility, documents the claims of Birther proponents, including Alan Keyes and Orly Taitz, but darkly states that credits for the movie are being withheld by the filmmakers because "they fear reprisals from their government." [Salon, 9/2/14]
Klein Is A Birther Who Doubts Obama Is A "Natural Born Citizen." Klein has suggested President Obama is not a "natural born citizen" because his father wasn't a U.S. citizen. Klein wrote in his book Manchurian President that there is "no convincing evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, nor that his birthplace was any place other than Hawaii, his declared state of birth." However, Klein argued that because Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen, there should be a "congressional debate about whether Obama is eligible under the United States Constitution to serve as president" and asserted that "Obama may not be eligible to serve as president." He adds that "a layman's reading of readily available legal resources ... clearly indicates a series of legitimate questions about Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency, given that Obama's father was not an American citizen." [Media Matters, 5/7/10; Media Matters, 5/12/11]
Klein: "Obama's Very Presidency Could Itself Be Unconstitutional." Klein wrote a WND article with the headline, "IMPEACH OBAMA? PRESIDENCY LIKELY ILLEGAL. Central point missing from national conversation" arguing that "the nation failed to have a meaningful debate concerning the serious constitutional issue of electing someone whose father was not a U.S. citizen ... Obama's very presidency could itself be unconstitutional. And the matter has nothing to do with where the president was born." [WND, 7/18/14]
Klein: Obama Has An "Eligibility Problem." Klein repeatedly said on his WABC radio program that Obama has an "eligibility problem" because of his father not being a U.S. citizen. [WABC, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, 9/4/11]
Obama Natural Born Citizen Argument Is Nonsense. Legal experts have rejected the claim that Obama isn't eligible to be president because his father wasn't a U.S. citizen. Additionally, a 2009 report from the Congressional Research Service on the definition of "natural-born citizen" concluded that the "weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion appears to support the notion that 'natural born Citizen' means one who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States to U.S. citizenship 'at birth' or 'by birth,' including any child born 'in' the United States (other than to foreign diplomats serving their country)." [Media Matters, 5/7/10]
Klein Says "Modifications" On Obama's Birth Certificate "Raises Questions." After President Obama released his long form birth certificate in 2011, Klein repeatedly raised questions about the document's authenticity. While interviewing fellow WND writer Jerome Corsi on his WABC radio show, Klein said he hired "independent forensics experts" who "independently verified that there were modifications made ... that already raises questions. I mean, why would there be any modifications?" He complained that the media would have a field day if President Bush had a "similar situation" where he released a document that "may or may not have been a fraudulent birth certificate." [WABC, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, 9/4/11]
Klein: Unclear If Obama's Muslim, But He Attended A Church That "Is Not Christianity." In a speech posted online by Liberty News Network in November 2012, Aaron Klein said he doesn't know if Obama's a Muslim and that the church Obama attended in Chicago "is not" Christian but is "closer to Nation of Islam":
KLEIN: A lot of people ask me, "Is Obama a secret Muslim?" I don't know. Although I do know he went to a black liberation theology church and black liberation theology is not Christianity. It's closer to Nation of Islam. I don't know if Obama's Muslim or not. He did certainly spend a lot of time in Indonesia as a child but we can't hold that against him. He was a kid. But what I do know is he's empowering radical Islam around the world. [Liberty News Network, 11/6/12]
Obama Is A Christian Who Attended A Christian Church. As PolitiFact noted, "all evidence points to the fact that Obama is a Christian." Obama's church in Chicago, Trinity United Church of Christ, is a Christian church. [PolitiFact, 8/26/10; Media Matters, 3/1/07]
Klein: Obama "Might Be" In League With Al-Qaeda. Conspiracist radio host Alex Jones told Klein that the Obama administration is planning "to turn the whole Middle East and North Africa over to [Al-Qaeda] ... maybe there's something to the fact that Obama really, really is actually not even using these people, but actually might be with them." Klein replied that he Obama "might be with them" given his "Islamic background" and Chicago church:
KLEIN: He might be with them. You can look at his larger, let's say, Islamic background, growing up in Indonesia, although, you know, it's hard to hold against him where he was brought against his will as a kid. But you could also look, of course, at his church of 20-something years which was not ordinary Christianity. It was black liberation theology, an ally basically with Islamist ideology, with the Nation of Islam. [Genesis Communication Network, The Alex Jones Show, 10/8/13]
Klein's Manchurian President Book Is Filled With Falsehoods And Conspiracy Theories. In 2010, Klein released The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists. Media Matters noted that Klein's book contained numerous false claims, discredited conspiracy theories, birther arguments, deceptive editing, and guilt by association to claim Obama was tied to "an Anti-American fringe nexus." Klein's smears included claiming "Weather Underground terrorist" Bill Ayers "may have ghostwritten most of" Obama's 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father"; promoting the discredited claim that Kenyan politician Raila Odinga is Obama's cousin; claiming Obama may not be a "natural born citizen" because of his father; and pushing discredited attacks against White House officials, among others. [Media Matters, 5/7/10]
Reporters Called Klein's Book "Ridiculous Crap" And "Sensational Rubbish." WND wrote that Klein's publicist Maria Sliwa "sent a press release to key media contacts announcing the forthcoming book" and received numerous negative responses from reporters. From WND:
Sliwa, however, said she was stunned by what she described as "unprecedented" e-mail replies she received regarding the "The Manchurian President" announcement.
"Ridiculous crap," retorted John Oswald, news editor for the New York Daily News.
"Never, ever contact me again," wrote Time Magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger.
Newsweek deputy editor Rana Foroohar quipped," This is sensational rubbish that is of no interest to any legitimate publication."
"Absolute crap," replied Evelyn Leopold, a Huffington Post contributor who served for 17 years as U.N. bureau chief for Reuters until recently.
Nancy Gibbs, editor-at-large for Newsweek, fired, "Remove me from your list."
David Knowles, AOL's political writer, responded, "seriously, get a life."
Ben Wyskida, publicity director for The Nation, claimed Klein's book is "so offensive" and "so far afield."
The reporters rejected the thoroughly documented book before receiving review copies of the title.
Sliwa noted that when reporters are not interested in her releases, they normally do not reply. She said in her 10 years of working in public relations, she never has received the kind of response from reporters provoked by publicizing "The Manchurian President." [WND, 5/6/10]
Klein Cites Benghazi As A Reason To Impeach Obama. In 2013, Klein published Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office. BuzzFeed wrote of the book:
Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office cites everything from the attack on the American consulate and CIA outpost in Benghazi -- which it compares to the Iran Contra scandal in the Reagan years -- to the way Obamacare was passed, which the authors say constitutes "taxation without representation." The book, by WABC radio host Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott, an anti-Obama blogger, also includes American military action in Libya and the Transportation Security Administration's passenger screenings as impeachable offenses. [BuzzFeed, 8/20/13]
Klein: Obama Should Be Impeached To Prevent An Authoritarian State. Klein agreed with radio host Alex Jones' statement that Obama must be impeached to prevent an "authoritarian state."
JONES: If Obama gets away with this and then fades off, they've set the precedent that basically does turn America into an authoritarian state. We've got to impeach Obama. We can't just let him become a lame duck and sign a bunch of pardons.
KLEIN: Yeah, that's just it. This is not about Democrat, it's not about Republican. This is not about who has more seats in Congress or in the Senate, this is about just that. If he gets away with it, then -- somebody else -- then the precedent is there. Then the red line has been crossed. And somebody else who comes next, or in five years, twenty years, whatever it is, can do just this and much more. He already got away with it. It seems that almost nothing is going to happen, that's why it's very important to send a message with this book, and with the impeachment campaign. [Genesis Communication Network, The Alex Jones Show, 10/8/13]
Klein Article Headline: "IS OBAMA BIBLICAL 'LORD OF THE FLIES'?" In January 2013, after a fly landed on President Obama during a press conference, Klein wrote that "News reports have recounted Obama's history of attracting flies during recorded interviews and speeches. Already, religious and other websites are using the headlines to point out that a biblical reference for Satan, the Semitic deity Beelzebub, literally translates from Hebrew into 'Lord of the Flies.'" Klein added, "Those reaching to connect Obama's fly troubles with the darkest biblical references won't have much difficulty." [WND, 1/25/13, via Right Wing Watch]
Klein: "Did Ayers Ghostwrite Obama's ... Memoir?" Klein's Manchurian President book contains a section titled, "Did Ayers ghostwrite Obama's 'best-written' memoir?" Klein writes that "Weather Underground terrorist" Bill Ayers "may have ghostwritten most of" Obama's 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father. The conspiracy theory that Ayers wrote Obama's autobiography is a favorite of conservatives. [Media Matters, 5/7/10; Gawker, 3/28/11]
Klein: Huma Abedin Has "Ties To The Muslim Brotherhood And Other Islamic Supremacists." Klein is one of the main promoters of the conspiracy theory that former State Department deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The conspiracy theory has been promoted by the fringes of conservative media. [WND, 7/25/13; Media Matters, 7/23/12]
Citing Abedin, Klein Warns Of A "Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration Here In The United States." During a 2012 speech, Klein said that there's a "Muslim Brotherhood infiltration here in the United States. You may have heard of Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, who is heavily tied." [Liberty News Network, 11/6/12]
Abedin-Muslim Brotherhood Allegation Is Bogus And Has Been Condemned By Republican Leaders. The allegation that Abedin is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood has been condemned by both Democrats and Republican leaders like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The Atlantic investigated the allegations and concluded that "from person to person, you kind of have to do a somersault to get from Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood. That is, if you believe the connections at all." CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer also dismissed the conspiracy theory as "McCarthy-like." [Media Matters, 7/31/12; Politico, 7/19/12]
Klein: Liberals Want To Overload "The Financial System So That There Is Financial Chaos." Klein said on conservative radio in November 2011 that liberals "want these financial problems" and "financial chaos" since it's the way the country can "accept a new kind of currency or a new kind of--or a changed economy." Klein cited the economic stimulus bill as an example of liberals engaging in "economic shock therapy." [Right Wing Watch, 11/4/11]