The New York Times’ Benghazi Revisionism
By Matthew Vadum
To help put Hillary Clinton in the White House, the once-great New York Times has published a dubious report swallowing the Obama administration’s lies about the Sept. 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
In an act of journalistic malfeasance, the agenda-setting newspaper of record concluded over the weekend that the once-obscure “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video sparked the armed assault that left four Americans dead at the height of last year’s presidential election cycle. The newspaper also concluded that al-Qaeda wasn’t involved, ignoring the mountain of evidence suggesting al-Qaeda was involved.
Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
Evidently the Old Gray Lady didn’t look too hard for the truth.
From the outset the Obama administration said that what happened in Benghazi was a spontaneous riot identical to what had taken place in Cairo, Egypt, a short time before.
The administration claimed that the Benghazi violence was a spontaneous protest that somehow got out of hand. The official line was that a demonstration outside the U.S. mission in Benghazi grew increasingly violent and that protesters unconnected to terrorist groups eventually stormed the facility.
Not long after the attack National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Fox’s Chris Wallace that,
the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya and that then spun out of control.
Weeks later the Obama administration changed its tune, admitting as more and more evidence accumulated that terrorist groups were involved in planning and carrying out the attack.
After Rice’s TV appearance, the State Department said that there were no protests whatsoever outside the consulate before the attack. The tale that Rice told of “mobs” and “protests” spiraling out of control was an utter fabrication. It was a bald-faced lie told with a straight face to the American people on national TV.
Why would the administration go on with this charade? Mostly likely to downplay the threat of Islamic jihad during Obama’s reelection campaign. President Obama had gone to great lengths to declare that al-Qaeda was in decline thanks to his efforts. It is clear that the Benghazi attack was premeditated and planned, though the exact details of for how long and by whom remain a bit fuzzy.
Like radical leftist fabulist Oliver Stone laboring to create his crazy-quilt alternative myth explaining the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the New York Times is attempting to rewrite the narrative about what really happened in Benghazi and afterwards. It is trying to resurrect the Obama administration’s original line of argument in order to create wiggle room for Hillary Clinton who has been scathingly criticized by Republican lawmakers and the occasional Democrat for bungling the Benghazi saga.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi saga, was not impressed, saying a proper congressional investigation is urgently needed to clear the air.
“This is why I introduced my discharge petition to force a full investigation into the Benghazi attacks with full subpoena power,” Stockman, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told FrontPage. ”So far we have had only partial, limited investigations. I hope Speaker Boehner will immediately bring my petition to the floor so justice can be served.”
Stockman’s discharge petition, House Resolution 306, would establish “a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.” Boehner has been blocking Stockman’s request for months.
Amidst White House stonewalling, intimidation of witnesses, and Republican gutlessness, little has been done to move the ball forward in the investigation surrounding the deaths on Sept. 11, 2012, of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods at U.S. facilities in eastern Libya.
But on “Fox News Sunday,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), rejected the New York Times story. “I dispute that, and the intelligence community, to a large volume, disputes that,” he said, adding several times that the article was “not accurate.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), also on the show, also rejected the newspaper report, saying “intelligence indicates al-Qaeda was involved.”
On Saturday, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a member and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News the contention in the NYT article that the militia group Ansar al-Shariah — not al-Qaeda — led the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, was an exercise in semantics.
“It’s misleading,” said King, given that Ansar al-Shariah is widely believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. “It’s a distinction without a difference.”
The New York Times article, allegedly the work product of a team of researchers, also contradicts the testimony of Greg Hicks, the deputy of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was murdered during the attack. Hicks said the “Innocence of Muslims” video, which portrayed the Islamic prophet Mohammed in an unflattering manner, was “a non-event in Libya” at that time and didn’t precipitate the Benghazi attack.
As previously noted, the obvious goal of this breathtakingly dishonest move is to insulate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from criticism for her role in the affair. It is no understatement to suggest that there is a vast left-wing media conspiracy aimed at maintaining the political viability of the woman who coined the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” as a red herring to explain away the problems of her corrupt, lawbreaking husband, then-President Bill Clinton.
The Left’s coverup of the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Benghazi saga began as soon as the attack got underway a little over 15 months ago. A coordinated effort to deflect blame from President Obama, at that time involved in a competitive reelection fight, was directed by the White House with the assistance of dupes in the media.
Even the hapless Candy Crowley got involved in defending Obama when during a televised presidential debate she slapped down GOP candidate Mitt Romney for correctly stating that “it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.” Obama got more support from the left-wing media and the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America, which went on to publish a book titled The Benghazi Hoax, by Media Matters founder and confessed liar David Brock, in order to provide progressive dupes with talking points to regurgitate.
The New York Times story comes as Democrats grow increasingly nervous about an electoral wipeout in the congressional elections in November 2014. Evidence of Democrat jitters abounds. Republicans lead Democrats in the generic congressional ballot by 5 percentage points as public disapproval of President Obama and Obamacare continue to rise.
The Obama White House is preparing to flood the airwaves with pro-Affordable Care Act propaganda showing alleged Obamacare success stories. Over the weekend the Democratic National Committee sent out a mass email to Obama supporters warning that Republicans are preparing to impeach the 44th president. The email referred to the “I-Word” and said that “Republicans are actually excited about the idea.” Actually, only a handful of Republican lawmakers would like to move forward with impeachment proceedings. Members of the GOP leadership are terrified of taking action out of a paralyzing fear of being tarred as bigots by left-wingers who characterize virtually all criticism of Obama as motivated by racial antagonism.
The Left will do whatever it takes to decouple Hillary Clinton in the public mind from the fiasco in Benghazi.
Expect many more blatant media attempts to rehabilitate her stained legacy as Secretary of State to come.