Amid claims being made that the New York Times has exonerated the Obama administration of the charge that it misled the public by claiming the attack on Benghazi was motivated by an anti-Islamic video, I’m left to wonder, has ANYONE ACTUALLY READ THE TIMES STORY.
The Sunday piece, supposedly based on ten years of research, or something, doesn’t really make much sense.
On the one hand, the author, David Kirkpatrick stipulates:
Contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
But he also notes the following:
The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.
By 7 a.m. on Sept. 11, guards at the American Mission had spotted a man taking photographs with a cellphone on the second floor of an unfinished building next to the Venezia Restaurant across the street, according to interviews with the compound’s Libyan guards as well as the State Department report.
At 9:42 p.m., according to American officials who have viewed the security camera footage, a police vehicle stationed outside turned on its ignition and drove slowly away.
A moment later a solitary figure strolled by the main gate, kicking pebbles and looking around — a final once-over, according to the officials.
On the one hand, Kirkpatrick describes the attack as an eruption related to the video. On the other, he describes obvious planning by obvious terrorists who hate the United States and admire al Qaeda, and whose leader, one Ahmed Abu Khattala, stood outside the U.S. compound directing the assault.
Kirkpatrick throws in statements like this:
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack.
Spontaneous elements? How does that get you to saying the attack was “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
Kirkpatrick says the initial wave of the assault was prompted by the video. And yet he also writes this:
The attack began with just a few dozen fighters, according to those officials. The invaders fired their Kalashnikovs at the lights around the gate and broke through with ease.
The evidence Kirkpatrick offers for a video-inspired assault is flimsy. Here, in fact, is the sum of it:
A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.
That’s it. What’s more, he acknowledges that many showed up at the scene because of a rumor that Americans were shooting Libyans.
Contrary to what you may have read, Kirkpatrick does not quite claim that there was no al Qaeda connection. He says he didn’t uncover any evidence of one. But any conclusion that al Qaeda was not at all involved is contradicted by both Republican and Democratic members of the House intelligence committee.
Here they are Sunday on Fox News:
Even the Obama administration isn’t really still claiming this assault was provoked by a video. I’m not sure the White House will make much use of this story. What Hillary will do with it is another matter. Benghazi is probably more critical to her future than Obama’s.
What should be causing an uproar, actually, is Kirkpatrick’s claim that the United States knows who is behind this, and isn’t going after him:
By last summer, United States investigators had interviewed hundreds of witnesses and formally asked the Libyan government to arrest Mr. Abu Khattala, along with about a dozen others wanted for questioning. The United States military also prepared a plan to capture him on its own, pending presidential approval, officials said. But the administration held back, fearing that unilateral United States military action could set off a backlash that would undermine the fragile Libyan government.
Yet another example of Obama failing to take bold action to back up a promise, in this case that we would hold the murderers of our people accountable. Now that’s the news here. Unless, with some justification, you claim that Obama reneging on a promise isn’t new anymore.