Soon after Ambassador Chris Stevens and several others were killed in an attack at the consulate in Benghazi, both UN Ambassador Susan Rice and WH press secretary Jay Carney told the American public that the impetus of the attackers was limited to Muslim outrage at the anti-Islam youtube that helped to spark protests in many ME nations (as in: copycat protests). They also maintained that the attacks were spontaneous, came without warning (as in no previous intelligence), and were perhaps camouflaged inside a large protest outside the consulate at 10:00 pm, which, it turns out, may not have occurred at all according to some sources (I’m agnostic on the point). Both stuck to their stories, Carney for twelve days, and Rice a week or better.
Several days after the attack on the consulate, a CNN correspondent found a journal on the floor that contained seven pages’ worth of Stevens’ writings; CNN notified the family, and apparently told them that they would honor the family’s wishes in not reporting the contents, and reported those facts on the 15th.
According to Huffington Post:
“On Wednesday on his show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” Cooper told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that “a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi and specifically about the rise in Islamic extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.” The source, Cooper continued, “also mentioned [Stevens] being on an al Qaeda hit list.”
But what Cooper didn’t reveal at the time was that CNN’s sourcing was tied, at least partially, to Stevens’ thinking as written in his personal journal.”
The Cooper CNN video is here.
After the broadcast, according to Glenn Greenwald:
“In response to this reporting, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines issued a blistering, unusually aggressive attack on the news network. Denouncing CNN’s conduct as “disgusting”, Reines invoked Stevens’ family to insist that CNN had done something unconscionable.”
Quoting Reines, Greenwald then answers his question (my bolds throughout):
“Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?”
The answer to that question is: any journalist worthy of the name. CNN’s first obligation is to disclose to the public information that is newsworthy, not conceal it. Had they not reported this information, that would have been an inexcusable breach of their obligation – then the word “disgusting” would have been appropriate. What they reported had nothing to do with Stevens’ personal life and everything to do with his role as a government official; his family’s “permission” was therefore irrelevant.”
Well of course it’s irrelevant; the public needed to know a bit more of the truth, and congratulations to CNN for stepping up to the plate; it’s a rare thing for any mainstream media to Commit Journalism these days. CNN has actually been defending itself, which is bogus on the face of it, but even Howard Kurtz had this to say:
So what are we to make of the blistering reaction from the State Department? That depends, of course, on your perceptions. For Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings, the reaction was all about besmirching Clinton’s legacy. After reporting his views, he was also blasted in emails by Philippe Reines. This was Reines’ response after Hastings asked him to give answers that weren’t bullshit:
“I now understand why the official investigation by the Department of the Defense as reported by The Army Times The Washington Post concluded beyond a doubt that you’re an unmitigated asshole. How’s that for a non-bullshit response? Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, have a good day. And by good day, I mean Fuck Off.”
Ah; such a diplomat, eh wot?
On the other hand, Hastings had had this to say (and more) about Hillary and Foggy Bottom:
“Perhaps the real question here,” CNN responded to the State Department criticism, “Is why is the State Department now attacking the messenger.”
That is the real question, and State Department’s bizarre criticism of CNN gives clues to the answer. Foggy Bottom is now in full-on damage control mode, with the primary goal of keeping Hillary Clinton’s legacy in Libya — and in Washington — intact.” [snip]
Hastings opines that the politics of this, and the situation in Libya in general, won’t matter much to OBomba’s electoral chances, but:
“But on policy, what happened in Benghazi raises serious concerns about the actual success of the Libya intervention. It’s not a slam dunk, as previously advertised by Clinton. (“We came, we saw, he died,” she said upon hearing news of Qaddaffi’s death.)
He also mentions Ryan Lizza’s Clinton puff piece on Libya, elevating her to rock star status, and creating the term ‘leading from behind’ about Obomba.
Glenn Greenwald is a bit more direct about it. After linking to a NYT piece about the consulate attack demonstrating that a larger contingent of CIA were in county, even allegedly surprising Libya’s ‘sovereign government’, he writes:
“Yet again, western military intervention spawns vast instability and leads to the proliferation of weapons into the hands of extremists deeply hostile to the US. As Jonathan Schwarz, referring to the US support of the pre-Al-Qaeda mujahdeen in Afghanistan, sardonically noted in the aftermath of the 11 September Benghazi attack: “with practice and better technology, we’ve really cut down the turnaround time between arming Islamists and them killing Americans on 9/11.”
We see this over and over and yet never learn the lesson. The New York Times editorial page today declared the Iraqi government “on the wrong side” by virtue of its alignment with Iran and Syria and suggested that US aid – only a fraction of what is necessary to rebuild that country after the US destroyed it – should be cut off if such insolence continues. US-enabled regime change, time and again, exacerbates the very problems it is ostensibly intended to resolve.
If the Iraqi government continues to side with Iran, how much longer will it be before calls for regime change in Iraq are renewed? And how much longer will it be before we hear that military intervention in Libya is (again) necessary, this time to control the anti-US extremists who are now armed and empowered by virtue of the first intervention? US military interventions are most adept at ensuring that future US military interventions will always be necessary.”
Susan Rice, of course, is in line for Secretary of State if it turns out that OBomba needs one in the future. I feel your pain.
As an aside, rather than meeting in any one-on-ones prior to his scheduled speech the following day at the UN General Assembly, OBomba chose to tape a visit to ‘The View’, during which time he apparently said that it was necessary to take a deeper look at what happened in Benghazi, yada yada. When asked what he’d like to do during his post-Presidency years, he waxed on about… helping children. It all sounded very…sweet.