For the past two months, I’ve been fairly furious with Fox News and the right wing media for creating a lot of conspiracy theories about the events in Benghazi on Sept. 11. Now, I’m pissed off at the mainstream media. There are some very simple facts about the event that are being forgotten or ignored while people search for answers about Susan Rice’s appearances on the Sunday talk shows. Trashing Rice has become more important than the deaths of four Americans that day.
Here is the simplest fact of all: “Benghazi” was two separate facilities. The consulate was under State Department control. The “annex” was 1.2 miles away and under CIA control.
On September 12, at 2:53 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Reuters News Service, through The Guardian, one of the United Kingdom’s major newspapers, posted on-line a video from Benghazi. It was taken the night of the attack, sometime after midnight. It shows the consulate burning. There is a Libyan in the video explaining that the attack was caused by the “Mohammed movie.” You can’t get much clearer than that.
Two weeks ago, a senior official in the CIA gave the American public a timeline for the attack. The attack on the consulate began just before 9:40 p.m. local time (2:40 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). At or around 10:05 p.m. (3:05 p.m. EDT), a team of six security operatives left the annex to assist at the consulate. Shortly after they left the compound to spend 25 minutes trying to round up heavy weapons and reinforcements from the Libyans, the annex came under fire.
Got that? Two separate attacks at two separate locations. One of the men involved or a witness to the attack on the consulate was very clear that it was a protest to the movie. The man spoke English. There was no chance his words were being mis-translated. The attack on the annex was clearly a terrorist attack.
Later on the 12th, there was more news video from Benghazi, again from a British journalist. It was a walk-through of the scene at the consulate. And again, the witnesses had told the reporter that there was a protest and after a short time the armed men arrived in pick-up trucks and hurled diesel fuel at the consulate and set it on fire.
The consulate was evacuated by 11:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. EDT). At that time, no one knew where Ambassador Stevens was. At 5 a.m. local time, Sept. 12, the annex came under mortar attack while the personnel were being evacuated. That is when Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died. By that time, additional personnel had arrived from Tripoli and a military rescue team had been assembled.
So, where was the confusion? Two separate facilities. Three separate attacks. Two agencies, the military’s EuroCom and AfriCom. If you know anything about our government, you would be shocked out of your mind if there wasn’t confusion. Hell, I’ve known men in the government after the creation of Homeland Security who couldn’t tell a judge what agency they worked for. I’ve seen the confusion caused by two Marshal’s offices in two different states trying to deal with getting warrants to go into a cross-border swamp for a drug raid. This isn’t just a matter of the right hand never knowing what the left hand is doing. These agencies are so damned jealous of their jurisdictional territories that they withhold information from each other. “Full disclosure” and “co-operation” are not words in the Federal government’s dictionary.
This is the damned CIA we’re talking about. The House Oversight Committee hearing on Benghazi was shut down because Rep. Jason Chaffetz suddenly realized they were showing satellite photos of a facility that was supposed to be top secret. While Gen. Petreaus might have thought the attack was terrorists (and in the case of the annex he was completely right) by the time Ambassador Rice was appearing on the Sunday news shows on Sept. 16, the videos from Benghazi, from the foreign press stationed in Benghazi, had clearly and irrefutably shown for three days that there was a protest preceding the armed attack.
Ambassador Susan Rice did and said nothing wrong on those talk shows. The information the White House had after four days was exactly what she related. There was a protest AND there was a terrorist attack.
I don’t tolerate stupid very well, especially from people who ought to know better. The mainstream press ought to know better. They have been railing against the conspiracy theories on Fox and the attacks on Ambassador Rice, without offering the evidence that shows she was being given accurate information, without discussing the information that has already been provided by both the intelligence community and the military, the evidence that says Fox News has been lying through their capped teeth for two months. They have not publicly discredited the “experts” Fox is using. One is a retired general who hasn’t been in the military for 10 years but “knows” what the philosophy of the Panetta Pentagon is, the other is a conspiracy theory nut who was in military intelligence at one time, but finished out his military career in a training unit because he was hawking his 9-11 conspiracies all over the right wing media.
I like MSNBC’s The Cycle. There is a nice give-and-take among the four commentators on the show. Today, however, they showed exactly why Fox News gets away with so much misinformation and disinformation. S. E. Cupp, their resident conservative, gave her take on Ambassador Rice. Krystal Ball’s response was to show a clip of the Ambassador’s very qualified statement on September 16. The split screen showed Cupp’s tsk-tsk-ing irritation at Ball’s view of the statements. Neither Ball, nor Steve Kornacki nor Touré could come back with the facts that I have set out here, facts that are available to anyone who has a computer and receives news stories on it. Facts I have had since September 12th.
Nature abhors a vacuum. In the presence of a vacuum, Nature will rush in with air, water, whatever, to fill that vacuum. Silence is a vacuum, and when that vacuum is not filled with facts, then “truths” will rush in to fill that vacuum. This is how Fox News and right wing radio have succeeded in filling so many people’s heads with so much misinformation and outright lies. The professionals of the mainstream media are failing to fill the vacuum first and that failure may cost a very competent, capable woman her rightful place as our new Secretary of State.