Next to wasting taxpayer money to destroy Obamacare, Benghazi Bingo has been the Republicans’ favorite game. It’s pretty much the only work they do in order to justify their continued glad handing with their Koch Brother masters. Just to be precise, Fox News did 1,100 reports on Benghazi in the first 20 months after the attack. Sean Hannity was muttering “Benghazi” in his sleep, and Bill O’ Reilly was screaming it at his wife right before he would drag her down the stairs.
But the fact remains that their 24-7 obsession with Benghazi has largely just been a symptom of their overall Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell thrashed Fox News’ latest unverifiable Benghazi narrative, calling a report that says the Obama admin knew that the attacks were planned in advance, inaccurate. Morell blasted Fox News for perpetually trying to “scandalize” the Benghazi attacks based on incomplete or erroneous claims.
‘The only thing that newly released document proves,’ Morell wrote, ‘is that the people who trot out these reports do not understand the world of intelligence and do not take the time to ask the right people the right questions before publishing the ‘news.’ (Media Matters)
The DIA report in question was an ‘Intelligence Information Report’ or IIR. It is what we term ‘raw intelligence.’ It was not the considered view of DIA analysts. Often from a single source, these bits of information represent one thread that some intelligence collector has picked up. The all source analysts in the Intelligence Community are charged with looking at that snippet of information and every other bit of available information from communications intercepts, human intelligence, open source material and much more to come up with an overall judgment.
Those all source analysts–without any input or pressure from above–looked at all the available information and determined that there wasn’t significant amount of planning prior to the attacks. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can look at the briefing slides produced by the National Counterterrorism Center (which is not part of CIA) and coordinated across the Intelligence Community. These slides were declassified over a year ago and were appended to the report on Benghazi produced by the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee. In describing the attacks at the State Department facility, the slides say ‘attackers moving in multiple directions,’ ‘attackers do not appear well coordinated’ and ‘no organized effort to breach every building.’ Not the words one would expect to see associated with an attack planned well in advance.
Not willing to stop there, Morell proceeded to scold Fox for also cherry-picking from the indictment of Abu Khattala, the only participant in the attacks currently in U.S. custody, to support its Benghazi claims. For example, Fox News’ Special Report host Bret Baier previously quoted the indictment in order to perpetuate the network’s erroneous notion that the attack had been pre-planned, claiming that it had noted “premeditation” and demanding Morell answer whether the indictment was incorrect. However, Morell pointed out that Baier left out crucial context from the indictment that indicated “the grand jury found no evidence of planning before the day of the attack.”
What my interviewer failed to share with his viewers were these words from the indictment: ‘Beginning on a date unknown to the Grand Jury but no later than on or about September 11, 2012…defendant Khatallah did knowingly and intentionally conspire….’ (emphasis mine). What does this mean? It means that the grand jury found no evidence of planning before the day of the attack either. Exactly the point of the intelligence community analysts, wrote Morell. (Media Matters)
Notwithstanding, do not expect Fox News to stop playing Benghazi Bingo anytime soon. With the 2016 GOP circus firmly in place, one can expect to hear Benghazi more than the word, “Yeah!” in a rap song.
Featured image via Media Matters