CBS News is still trying to evade some uncomfortable questions surrounding its controversial 60 Minutes segment on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, which prominently featured "eyewitness" Dylan Davies, a security contractor identified by the pseudonym "Morgan Jones." A number of irregularities have emerged regarding Davies' account of the attacks, including an incident report that states he was nowhere near the compound during the attack he claimed to have witnessed, and undisclosed financial entanglements between Davies and CBS, which owns the publisher of Davies' book, The Embassy House.
Like the 60 Minutes segment, The Embassy House recounts Davies' experiences on the night of the Benghazi attacks. In the book, Davies claims to have been the first person to identify slain ambassador Chris Stevens at a Benghazi hospital, and writes that he conducted a one-man incursion into the besieged diplomatic compound after the attack had subsided. While it's extraordinarily difficult to confirm or deny much of Davies' story, there is a strange, internally inconsistent portion of his narrative in The Embassy House concerning whether Ambassador Stevens was conscious or unconscious upon arriving at the Benghazi Medical Center.
In chapter fifteen of The Embassy House, Davies writes that he and a Libyan associate sneaked into the Benghazi Medical Center and encountered a doctor who took them to see the body of an American, whom Jones identified as Ambassador Stevens. In Davies' retelling, by the time he'd arrived to the hospital Stevens had already been declared dead despite the doctors' efforts to resuscitate him. "He was brought in here unconscious," Davies quotes the anonymous doctor as saying. "He was unconscious upon arrival. We tried to resuscitate him for thirty minutes, but he had inhaled too much smoke. We could not reach him. Finally, we had to give up and accept that he was gone."
CBS News has finally offered more than a blanket statement in support of their controversial report on the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. But the network has yet to grapple with the pressing questions surrounding their reporting.
The October 27 60 Minutes segment has come under fire from veteran journalists following the revelation that the Benghazi security contractor "witness" featured in the report had apparently changed his story about the night of the attack. The supposed "witness," later identified as Dylan Davies, told CBS that he had gone to the diplomatic compound that night and confronted an attacker. But his story on CBS didn't match his company's incident report, which indicated that he "could not get anywhere near" the compound the night of the attack. The contractor claimed that he had lied to his boss about his whereabouts that night, but told the truth to CBS and in his book about the attacks, which was featured during the segment.
Media Matters founder David Brock has called on CBS News to form an independent investigative committee to review the report, similar to the one established after questions were raised about a 2004 story on President George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard.
One of the leaders of that investigation, former Associated Press CEO and president Louis Boccardi, told Media Matters that the lesson of that review -- to get the facts quickly and disclose them publicly -- should not be forgotten as the Benghazi report comes under scrutiny.
But CBS News has shown no inclination to take that advice.
Last week, a spokesman would say only that the network stands behind their story. In a November 5 interview with the New York Times, Lara Logan, the correspondent who anchored the report, claimed that they had "killed ourselves not to allow politics into this report" and offered the obviously false statement, "If you read the book, you would know he never had two stories. He only had one story." Even Davies himself has acknowledged giving a different story to his boss than he provided to CBS and in his book -- the question is which time he lied.
CBS did acknowledge one ethical misstep in the report -- their failure to acknowledge that Davies' book, which the report promoted, was published by a CBS subsidiary.
But the network has failed to answer key questions that continue to swirl around the report, and has apparently been dodging questions from other reporters - behavior that points to having less faith in their reporting then they are claiming publicly.
Here are the questions that CBS News should answer to demonstrate the credibility of their work:
1) Was CBS News aware of the incident report indicating that Davies "could not get anywhere near" the Benghazi compound on the night of the attack prior to releasing their story?
2) Did CBS News learn at any point during their year-long Benghazi investigation that Davies had previously offered a contradictory take on his activities? If so, why didn't they reveal that to their audience?
3) What steps did CBS News take in attempting to verify that the story Davies had told them was true?
4) Was CBS News aware that another reporter says he spoke "a number of times" to Davies but ceased communication "when he asked for money"? Did Davies ever ask CBS News for money?
5) Will CBS News revisit the story on-air now that new details have emerged that bring their original story into doubt?
Rather than answer these key questions, CBS News has claimed that criticism of their report is political. But as Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone noted, "It's not. It's Journalism 101."
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan confessed that the network "erred" by failing to disclose the financial connection it shared with the subject of a widely criticized 60 Minutes report on the 2012 Benghazi attacks. But the network's admission of an ethics violation did not extend further, and Logan issued a general defense of the report's accuracy without addressing the persisting questions that surround the report's source's conflicting accounts of the night of the attacks.
On November 5, The New York Times reported that Logan and CBS News were standing by the network's Benghazi reporting, despite a stark admission by Logan that the network made a "mistake" in its failure to disclose that a subsidiary of CBS was publishing a book written by the report's source, Dylan Davies. Jeffrey Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, added that he regretted keeping the connection under wraps. From the Times:
CBS News, under fire from critics who dispute details in a "60 Minutes" report on the Benghazi attacks last year that was broadcast on Oct. 27, aggressively defended the report's accuracy on Tuesday and the account of its main interview subject.
At the same time, the correspondent on the report, Lara Logan, said the broadcast erred by failing to acknowledge that a book written by the interview subject was being published by a subsidiary of CBS.
CBS said that Jeffrey Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of "60 Minutes," said on Tuesday that he regretted not making the connection between Mr. Davies and CBS public.
Ms. Logan said, "Honestly, it never factored into the story. It was a mistake; we should have done it, precisely because there's nothing to hide. It was an oversight."
The controversy stems from the October 27 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes, in which Davies, who used the alias Morgan Jones, claimed to be an "eyewitness" of the September 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. He claimed that during the attack he entered the compound, confronted an attacker, and later went to a Benghazi hospital where he claimed to have seen Ambassador Chris Stevens' body -- a story that, according to The Washington Post, did not match the account in an incident report he gave in which he said he "could not get anywhere near" the compound the night of the attack.
After the revelations from the Post, Media Matters chairman David Brock called on CBS to retract its report. Many veteran journalists and media ethicists criticized 60 Minutes' reporting. Facts also emerged about the connection between CBS and Davies' repeated attempts to "profit off his brush with disaster," according to Foreign Policy magazine:
Jones has other ways of cashing in as well. This week, his book titled The Embassy House was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is a part of CBS Corporation, which owns 60 Minutes -- a fact not disclosed in the 60 Minutes story. His book is also going to make it on the silver screen. In October, Thunder Road acquired The Embassy House for a feature on the Benghazi attack produced by Basil Iwanyk and executive produced by Taylor Sheridan.
Despite admitting error in failing to inform viewers on the financial conflict, CBS still "aggressively defended the report's accuracy," including Davies' account of the attacks, according to the Times. What's more, Logan, who interviewed Davies for 60 Minutes, blamed "intense political warfare" for the criticism of her report and claimed that, despite the fact that he admitted he lied in at least one of his accounts of the attacks, Davies "never had two stories. He only had one story." Logan failed to specifically address any of the problems with the report.
On Twitter, Huffington Post senior media reporter Michael Calderone called CBS out for its omissions. Calderone characterized CBS' defense of its reporting by saying 60 Minutes "defends Benghazi report without actually answering key questions about its source," and pointed out that "Logan won't explain whether she knew her Benghazi witness gave significantly different account year before her story" even while she "attributes criticism to 'intense political warfare' rather than CBS witness telling two different accounts."
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.
A controversial report from CBS News' 60 Minutes on the September 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, claims that a response team from the CIA annex facility that wanted to go to the aid of Americans at the main compound received "orders to wait." But months ago, that claim was denied by the CIA and debunked by the State Department's independent review of the assault -- facts that went unmentioned during the CBS segment.
CBS' allegation has already been highlighted by congressional investigators, who issued an October 31 letter calling on the State Department, Defense Department, and CIA to address the claim, which they say "again calls into question decision making by government officials in aggressively rescuing American personnel at the Benghazi compound."
The October 27 report has come under fire from Media Matters and a host of journalism veterans following the revelation that a security contractor presented by CBS News as a witness to the attacks had previously filed a report with his security contractor employer saying that he "could not get anywhere near" the compound the night of the attack. The segment, which also attempted to revive the long-answered "lingering question" about why no U.S. military forces from outside Libya came to the aid of Americans in the compound, was widely praised by conservative media and Republican politicians.
During the segment, correspondent Lara Logan claimed that "[a]bout 30 minutes into the attack" on the diplomatic compound, "a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there."
That claim was originally reported by Fox News in October 2012, with the network's Jennifer Griffin reporting:
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
At the time, a CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood flatly denied the claim, Griffin noted:
"We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi," she said. "Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades."
In December, the Assessment Review Board, an independent panel assembled by the State Department to investigate the attack, also knocked down the claim, finding (emphasis added):
The departure of the Annex team was not delayed by orders from superiors; the team leader decided on his own to depart the Annex compound once it was apparent, despite a brief delay to permit their continuing efforts, that rapid support from local security elements was not forthcoming.
Journalism veterans and media ethicists are demanding answers from CBS News in light of the revelation that the key "witness" in 60 Minutes' recent report on the September 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, had previously said he was not at the diplomatic compound on the night of the attack.
"I don't see any way that 60 Minutes would not need to offer an explanation," said Alex S. Jones, former media writer for The New York Times and current director of the Shorenstein Center on The Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "This definitely needs explaining."
The 60 Minutes segment, which aired October 27, includes a lengthy interview with a man identified by the pseudonym "Morgan Jones," who told the magazine show he was "a security officer who witnessed the attack."
The piece featured "Jones" and his seemingly heroic efforts "scaling" the compound's 12 foot wall, disabling a terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and ultimately seeing the lifeless body of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the hospital.
But The Washington Post revealed Thursday that "Jones," identified as defense contractor Dylan Davies, told his employer in a written report just days after the attack that he was far from the area at the time. According to the Post, Davies wrote that "he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa. Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, 'we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up.'" He also wrote that he had heard of Stevens' death from a colleague.
That revelation drew concern and complaints from those who monitor media ethics and have worked in newsrooms for decades. Several called for a correction or at least further explanation.
Among them is Kevin Z. Smith, chair of the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists and deputy director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at Ohio State University, who called for CBS to "internally review its reporting on this story given the latest information that has surfaced. They need to pursue this new information and story angle with the same fairness and intensity that they did in the original reporting."
In a letter to CBS News' president and chairman, Media Matters founder David Brock called for such a review, modeled on the independent investigation the network conducted after questions were raised about a report on President George W. Bush's Air National Guard service.
Smith said two questions arise from the situation. "First, did Lara Logan and her staff test the accuracy of the information that was given them and exercise care to avoid error?" he asked in an email. "Second, if they are wrong in their reporting, they should show accountability and make needed corrections to their reportage to reflect any mistakes made. That is a key component to establishing and maintaining trust and credibility with the public."
Following the revelation that a key "witness" featured in this week's CBS 60 Minutes report on Benghazi previously claimed that he never got near the besieged diplomatic compound on the night of the attacks, Media Matters chairman David Brock is calling on CBS to retract its story.
On October 27, CBS aired a report on the Benghazi attacks that featured the claims of a supposed eyewitness using the pseudonym "Morgan Jones." Today, the Washington Post revealed that Jones, whose real name is Dylan Davies, previously filed a report with his security contractor employer saying that he "could not get anywhere near" the compound the night of the attack.
In his letter to CBS executives, Brock writes that the story should be "immediately retracted and an independent investigative committee needs to probe all aspects of how the story was reported."
The full letter to CBS is below.
Mr. Jeff Fager
Chairman, CBS News
Mr. David Rhodes
President, CBS News
I am writing to express my concern about a 60 Minutes segment on the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that CBS aired on October 27. As Media Matters for America noted earlier in the week, the segment revived long-answered questions about the attack and, even more troubling, a Fox News correspondent said that he had spoken to one of the witnesses interviewed "a number of times" about the attacks but stopped after the man "asked for money."
Today, The Washington Post revealed that the very same witness previously said he never got near the diplomatic compound the night of the attack. This completely contradicts what was reported on air by correspondent Lara Logan, who said that during the attack, the witness "scaled the twelve-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters." In the interview, the witness told Logan he had personally struck one of those terrorists in the face with his rifle butt and, following the attack, he went to the Benghazi hospital and saw Ambassador Chris Stevens' body.
According to Post, the witness revealed none of those details in the incident report he wrote following the attack. Instead, he said that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa and learned of Stevens' death from a colleague. This paints a damning picture of the credibility of the supposed eyewitness -- and thus of the CBS report itself.
A network spokesman told the Post, 'We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday." This is not sufficient. When questions were raised about documents involving President George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard, CBS appointed an independent panel "to help determine what errors occurred in the preparation of the report and what actions need to be taken." Similar standards must be applied in this case.
The 60 Minutes story should be immediately retracted and an independent investigative committee needs to probe all aspects of how the story was reported and get answers to the following questions:
- Were witnesses paid to talk?
- Did anyone bother to compare the witness' story to the written report he filed at the time?
- If the network was aware of the incident report, why did no one acknowledge the discrepancy in the witness' story?
- Who worked on the story at all levels?
- How was the story vetted and by whom?
The committee's findings should be public to and, if necessary, appropriate disciplinary action should take place.
In my most recent book, The Benghazi Hoax, I chronicled how the media has, for over a year, twisted the facts about what happened the night of the attacks. CBS' report was a new low. I hope you take this opportunity to reassure your viewers of your standards and accountability.
Chairman, Media Matters for America
It's clear that CBS correspondent Lara Logan truly admires Dylan Davies, the British security contractor with a starring eyewitness role in the 60 Minutes report that has galvanized new attention on the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Asked in a CBSNews.com Q&A about why Davies (identified by CBS with the pseudonym "Morgan Jones") had decided to speak with the network, Logan said he "is tortured by guilt that he was not able to save his friends in the U.S. Compound, that he wasn't able to save Sean Smith's life or Amb. Stevens' life."
"That may sound ridiculous to people who couldn't think of anything more insane than rushing towards a burning building that is overrun with al Qaeda terrorists," Logan continued, "but Morgan Jones is the kind of man who would do that and who did do that. And when he failed the first time, he went back again."
There's just one problem. The story Davies told CBS diverged wildly from the account he gave his superiors in an incident report that was obtained by The Washington Post.
The October 27 60 Minutes segment featured Davies and his seemingly heroic efforts "scaling" the compound's 12 foot wall, disabling a terrorist "with the butt end of a rifle" and ultimately seeing the lifeless body of Ambassador Chris Stevens in the hospital. But according to the Post, Davies wrote in his incident report the day after the attack that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa and learned of Stevens' death from a colleague.
The Post reports that Davies' co-author told them that he was unaware of the incident report "but suggested that Davies might have dissembled in it because his superiors, whom he contacted by telephone once he was informed that the attack was underway, told him to stay away from the compound." A CBS spokesman told the paper, "We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday."
Fox News had previously interviewed Davies several times but stopped after he asked the network for money; his new book, billed as an "Explosive Eyewitness Account" of the attack, was released two days after the 60 Minutes report and has already been optioned for a movie. These are all factors that undermine Davies' credibility and should have given CBS pause.
The 60 Minutes report was the result of a year-long investigation by Logan and producer Max McClellan. In the Q&A, they describe what Logan terms an "exhaustive" interview process, speaking with what McClellen describes as "dozens and dozens and dozens" of background interviews over "months and months.
"Journalism is not about making a case, it's about finding the facts," Logan said. "In this story, you had to work really hard to find the facts and not be seduced by anybody."
The Benghazi "witness" featured in a CBS 60 Minutes report that galvanized new discussion of the administration's response to the attack previously said he never got near the diplomatic compound on the night of the attack, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The revelation comes just days after Fox News reported that they had previously been using the same man as a source, but broke contact after he asked the network for money. Two days after the CBS report aired, Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon and Schuster that "specializes in conservative non-fiction," published the supposed witness' book, The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There. According to the Post, the book "largely comports with the 60 Minutes account."
Together, these details paint a damning picture of the credibility of the supposed eyewitness -- and that of the CBS report which promoted his story.
During the October 27 report, which was based on a year-long investigation by correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McCellan, Logan described the man, identified as "Morgan Jones, a pseuodonym he's using for his own safety," as "a security officer who witnessed the attack." She explained that during the attack, "Jones scaled the twelve-foot high wall of the compound that was still overrun with al Qaeda fighters"; during an interview, he told her he had personally struck one of those terrorists in the face with his rifle butt. After the attack, "Jones" claimed in the report that he went to the Benghazi hospital and saw Ambassador Chris Stevens' body.
"Jones" also told CBS' audience that he had been worried about the compound coming under attack, and that Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, who died in the assault, had shared similar concerns with him.
But according to the Post, "Jones," whose real name was confirmed as Dylan Davies, revealed none of those details in the incident report to his security contractor employer that he wrote following the attack. Instead, he wrote that he never got near the compound that night and learned of Stevens' death from a colleague. From the Post:
In Davies's 21 / 2-page incident report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, he wrote that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa. Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, "we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up."
He learned of Stevens's death, Davies wrote, when a Libyan colleague who had been at the hospital came to the villa to show him a cellphone picture of the ambassador's blackened corpse. Davies wrote that he visited the still-smoking compound the next day to view and photograph the destruction.
The Post reports that Davies' co-author told them that he was unaware of the incident report "but suggested that Davies might have dissembled in it because his superiors, whom he contacted by telephone once he was informed that the attack was underway, told him to stay away from the compound." A CBS spokesman told the paper, "We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday."
The 60 Minutes report, which also attempted to revive the long-answered "lingering question" about why no U.S. military forces from outside Libya came to the aid of Americans in the compound, was widely praised by conservative media and received 47 minutes of coverage on Fox News the day after it aired. In response to the CBS segment, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would block the confirmations of all administration nominees until Benghazi witnesses testify to Congress.
UPDATE: The New York Times reported that two FBI officials it spoke with corroborated the version of events described in the Blue Mountain incident report, further undercutting 60 Minutes' claim that their source has been consistent and truthful about his experiences on the night of the Benghazi attacks. CBS News has signaled that a correction could be forthcoming if it determines Davies misled the network.
On October 28, Fox News devoted more than 47 minutes over the course of 13 total segments to discussing a flawed report by CBS' 60 Minutes on the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Conservatives are out in force this morning claiming Lara Logan's segment on CBS' 60 Minutes is evidence their yearlong effort to convert the tragedy in Benghazi into a political scandal was warranted.
Far from it -- it is the latest Benghazi Hoax.
From watching the 60 Minutes segment, you would be led to believe there is a "lingering question" involving the U.S. military's response to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The report did not let viewers know that an anti-terrorism team was deployed from Spain, along with Special Forces based in the United States and Croatia. None of these forces even made it to Libya until 11 hours after our diplomatic and CIA teams had been evacuated.
Furthermore, the belief that the military did not do everything it could to rescue those in Benghazi has been contradicted by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, and former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates.
Claims that the military didn't do everything it could to help those in Benghazi go hand-in-hand with the conspiracy that a "stand down" order was issued to a Special Forces team in Tripoli. Even congressional Republicans have debunked this claim:
"Contrary to news reports, Gibson was not ordered to 'stand down' by higher command authorities in response to his understandable desire to lead a group of three other special forces soldiers to Benghazi."
While those interviewed during the 60 Minutes report decried the lack of funding for embassy security, the program failed to note:
For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department's Worldwide Security Protection program -- well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration's request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012.
The 60 Minutes piece follows the same pattern as every other element of The Benghazi Hoax we've witnessed for the past 13 months. Supposedly new revelations promoted by different media outlets are simply worn-over versions of the same hoaxes debunked months before; context that would provide critical information to viewers or readers is missing; and the right-wing media exaggerate the new allegations to something unrecognizable from the original report.
Nothing in the 60 Minutes report implicated Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in any wrongdoing leading up to the attack in Benghazi -- in fact their names were never mentioned. But conservatives are already on the attack against the president and former secretary of state. Evidence, context, and truth don't matter as long as tragedy can be converted into political scandal.
Already this morning, cheered on by Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is using the CBS report as the pretext for blocking every Obama appointment before the United States Senate until "the survivors [of Benghazi] are being made available to the Congress" -- never mind that they have already answered questions from numerous investigators and that the Senate has access to those interviews.
Once again, rather than do the country's business, conservatives, led by their media, would rather halt the work of government in an attempt to score political points with their base.
CBS' 60 Minutes is trying to revive the long-answered "lingering question" about why no U.S. military forces from outside Libya came to the aid of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi during the September 11, 2012 attacks.
Last night the program ran a segment reporting out the results of correspondent Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan's year-long investigation of the Benghazi attacks. The segment has caused a feeding frenzy on the right, with hosts and contributors at Fox News claiming that the reporting justifies their 13-month effort to turn the tragic attacks into a phony political scandal for the Obama administration.
During an interview with former deputy chief of mission Greg Hicks, Logan echoed long-running conservative claims that more military aid should have been sent to help the Americans under attack in Benghazi.
LOGAN (VOICEOVER): [T]he lingering question is why no larger military response ever crossed the border into Libya -- something Greg Hicks realized wasn't going to happen just an hour into the attack.
LOGAN: You have this conversation with the defense attaché. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says--
HICKS: Effectively, they're not. And I -- for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn't believe the answer. And then I made the call to the annex chief, and I told him, "Listen, you've got to tell those guys there may not be any help coming."
LOGAN: That's a tough thing to understand. Why?
HICKS: It just is. We--for us, for the people that go out-- onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it's not, it's a terrible, terrible experience.
Contrary to Hicks' claims, military assets were on their way. Shortly after the attack began, a Marine anti-terrorist team in Spain and special operations teams in Croatia and the United States were ordered to deploy. But the Marines arrived in Tripoli, Libya, roughly 11 hours after the last Americans had been successfully evacuated from Benghazi, while the special operations teams reached a staging base in Italy at around that same time.
Here are four senior military experts who have answered Logan's "lingering question" by pointing out that help was sent, but due to logistical issues, none arrived until hours after the attack concluded:
Admiral (ret.) Mike Mullen, Former Joint Chiefs Chairman. During a September congressional hearing, Mullen, who co-chaired the State Department's independent investigation of Benghazi, said that he had repeatedly reviewed the military's response that night and determined that in spite of the "questions being raised about it,""The military did everything they possibly could that night. They just couldn't get there in time." He 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.
In an attempted rebuttal of Media Matters' e-book The Benghazi Hoax, the Republican research group America Rising points to no falsehoods and attempts to deceptively spin the facts to criticize Hillary Clinton's handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
In an interview with Politico previewing Media Matters' new e-book The Benghazi Hoax, Media Matters founder David Brock tells Maggie Haberman that "politicizing a tragedy that results in American deaths crosses a line."
You can read the full article here.
The day after Congress finally signed off on legislation that would end a weeks-long government shutdown and prevent a debt ceiling crisis, Fox News sent a correspondent to the White House to shift the conversation to the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen devoted nearly ten minutes of the October 17 White House press briefing to questioning Press Secretary Jay Carney about the federal government's response to the Benghazi attacks.
As Mediaite's Tommy Christopher noted, at one point during the exchange Carney accused Rosen of "creating an exchange here for Fox." The network has been a central force in the right-wing media's effort to use phony conspiracy theories and blatant falsehoods about Benghazi to smear President Obama and members of his administration.
Rosen's line of questioning concerned questions raised by House Republicans at a week-old House Armed Services subcommittee hearing about a September 10, 2012, White House press office release detailing a meeting Obama had with key national security officials to ensure that steps were being taken to ensure the protection of U.S. personnel and assets on the September 11 anniversary. Rosen asked Carney "how closely vetted" the 13-month-old press release was and for more information about the meeting.
Later in the exchange, Rosen said that "the posturing of the military in a volatile time around the world" at the time of the Benghazi attacks "was so poor as to make rescue or remedy impossible." After Carney suggested that "the 'poor' statement is a reflection of an assessment made by Republicans who have, as you know, attempted, unfortunately, to make this a partisan issue," Rosen replied that "the fact that the posturing was such that it made remedy or rescue in that situation impossible is not a conclusion solely of the House Armed Services Committee or of Republicans, it is a self-evident fact."
Rosen's comments is consistent with the "cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces" that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has ascribed to conservatives who claim that the Obama administration should have been able to send additional support to the aid of Americans in Benghazi. "The one thing our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way," Gates said in May, "and there just wasn't time."
Similarly, during a September hearing, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, a co-chairman of the State Department Accountability Review Board that examined the attack, explained that he had reviewed the force posture of the U.S. military and the "military did everything they possibly could that night. They just couldn't get there in time." Mullen's co-chair Ambassador Thomas Pickering added that America has "over 270 consulates and embassies around the world in some very isolated and strange places" and "we are not able to count on the U.S. military, as Admiral Mullen said, always being positioned to come in short notice to deal with those issues."
Rosen ended the exchange by asking whether the administration would "be willing to make any of those documents associated with that press release available, as you did with the Susan Rice talking points?" Carney replied "James, I think we're done here," and exited the briefing room.
With hearings scheduled in the House for later this week to investigate the "unanswered questions" about Benghazi, conservatives have once again been revving up their attacks on the administration.
In a column for The Washington Post detailing a September 16 event at the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation, Dana Milbank highlights just how far off the rails conservative and Republican scandal-mongering over Benghazi has gotten.
During the event, which was organized by the clownish, conspiracy-prone right-wing group Accuracy in Media and featured Republican congressman Frank Wolf and a panel of experts discussing the terror attack, AIM director Cliff Kincaid reportedly asserted that administration has "a policy of supporting al-Qaeda." According to Milbank, this assertion was elaborated on by panelist Clare Lopez, a former CIA officer, who wondered whether the United States has "flipped our policy" in such a way that it is using its assets "to help the forces of Islam, of al-Qaeda, of the Muslim Brotherhood, of jihad and sharia." Milbank reports that Rep. Wolf endorsed Lopez's point:
The lunacy began when Cliff Kincaid, a leader of Accuracy in Media, the group holding the gathering, suggested that the Obama administration is covering up events regarding Benghazi because the CIA operation there was secretly arming the enemy. "This administration has a policy of supporting al-Qaeda, the same people behind the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11," he declared.
One of the panelists, former CIA officer Clare Lopez, picked up the theme. "Have we flipped our policy," she asked, "to where we are placing the power, the influence, the might, diplomatic assets, military assets, intelligence assets, financial assets, at the service of al-Qaeda in the Middle East to bring to power forces of Islamic jihad? . . . Are we involved in the Middle East to help the forces of Islam, of al-Qaeda, of the Muslim Brotherhood, of jihad and sharia?"
Wolf's reply: "I think Clare makes a very good point." And this is the man leading the effort to create a "select committee" to investigate Benghazi.
So the Obama administration, which dispatched Osama bin Laden and decimated al-Qaeda with drone strikes, is now in cahoots with the terrorist network? Sorry, Congressman. I've got an appointment back on Earth.
After more than a year of desperate, often-misleading attacks on the administration over Benghazi, the scandal-mongering has reached the point where conservatives (including a member of Congress) are speculating about a supposed administration "policy" of aiding al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists. (Milbank also points to Lopez speculating that "that the administration covered up the Benghazi events because Obama wants to make it illegal to criticize Islam.")