By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
One major aspect of the Benghazi cover-up has been to denounce the words of witnesses in favor of higher officials’ assertions. This is true not only for those CIA contractors who responded to the attacks, but also for the families of the victims.
In a recent interview with The Conway Daily Sun of New Hampshire, journalist Tom McLaughlin asked Hillary Clinton who, from among the attendees at the Andrews Air Force Base “transfer of remains ceremony,” was lying. He was referring to the family members of the four Americans killed during the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11 and 12, 2012. Mrs. Clinton responded, “Not me, that’s all I can tell you.”
“Not, ‘no one is lying,’” criticized Megyn Kelley of Fox News in a segment with members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, the quick-reaction force whose story is the basis of the book that inspired this month’s forthcoming film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. “Not, ‘let’s not impugn anyone’s motives here,’” added Kelly. “Not, ‘I reject the premise of your question.’”
Given that she has lied about virtually every aspect of Benghazi and her private email server, reporters ought to approach Mrs. Clinton’s claims with skepticism. Instead, The Washington Post continues to avoid calling Hillary Clinton on her lies even within its own Fact-Checker columns.
In October, Post Fact-Checker Glenn Kessler assigned two Pinocchios to presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) for calling Mrs. Clinton a liar for blaming the attacks on a YouTube video while simultaneously telling her daughter, Chelsea, the Egyptian prime minister, and Libya’s president that it was a terrorist attack.
“She certainly spoke about the video, but always in the context of the protests that were occurring across the Middle East,” wrote Kessler in October. In his latest fact check on January 4th, Kessler refused to assign blame to any party at all. The truth, he argues, cannot be found in the dispute between the families of the deceased and Mrs. Clinton.
“Perhaps it all started with a comment made by Rice (who two days later would famously go on national television and make a direct link between the video and the attack, thus spoiling her chance to become secretary of state),” writes Kessler. “Perhaps the question of who said what at what moment got jumbled over time. Or perhaps Clinton mentioned the video privately to just two people—and not to others.”
“Clearly we cannot come to a resolution that would be beyond dispute,” Kessler writes. Kessler is trying to insinuate that the family members of the victims have faulty memories of what happened when they met Mrs. Clinton. True, memories do shift over the years. That is why Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, has perhaps the most convincing story.
Woods provided Kessler with photographic evidence of his September 15, 2012 calendar entry about Mrs. Clinton’s statements. Woods also called in to the Lars Larson show just over a month after the attacks, on October 23, 2012, and told the radio host: “And she did not appear to be one bit sincere at all, and, you know, she mentioned that thing about, ‘We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.’” Shortly thereafter, he appeared on The Blaze making similar comments.
Woods also went on the One America News Network this week and challengedMrs. Clinton to take a lie detector test, along with him, to determine which one is telling the truth.
Townhall cites not two, but four, family members claiming that Mrs. Clinton is an outright liar. But, according to Kessler’s account, the family members claiming she told them about the video are only two: Patricia Smith, the mother of information officer Sean Smith—who died along with Ambassador Chris Stevens at the Special Mission Compound—and Woods.
The other family members—Barbara Doherty, Cheryl Croft Bennett, and Jan Stevens—Kessler writes, told him that Mrs. Clinton did not mention the video.
Kessler does admit that he did not speak to all of the family members. However, his treatment of Kate Quigley raises suspicions as to his overall method.
To add to the appearance of ambiguity, Kessler’s January 4th article casts Quigley, sister of the other deceased security contractor, Glenn Doherty, as having told him that Mrs. Clinton “made no mention of a video, but did refer to a ‘spontaneous protest.’”
In the previous month, according to Mediaite’s Alex Griswold, Quigley directly accused Mrs. Clinton of lying about blaming the attack on the video during the funeral.
“I know what she said to me and she can say all day long that she didn’t say it. That’s her cross to bear,” Quigley told Boston Herald Radio, according to Griswold. Patricia Smith also told the House Government Affairs Committee that a number of administration officials, from President Obama to Susan Rice to Hillary Clinton, all told her that the video was to blame.
What Kessler casts as anecdotal conjecture amounts to far more substance: it is congressional testimony, photographic evidence, and contemporaneous accounts. Yet Mrs. Clinton emerges unscathed from the Post not because she has admitted the truth, but because the liberal media remain loath to challenge her.
Instead, news organizations such as The Hill continue to claim that pursuing the truth behind the Benghazi attacks is a wasteful partisan anti-Hillary vendetta.
“Committee Republicans have long denied allegations that they are bent on a purely political mission to smear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, rather than being motivated by a desire for the facts surrounding the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya,” reported The Hill’s Julian Hattem in his January 4th article covering the Select Committee on Benghazi’s latest round of closed door hearings. The Select Committee interviewed former CIA Director David Petraeus for the second time on Wednesday, and will interview former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday.
“Democrats have opposed the existence of the special committee since it was created in 2014,” Hattem reports. “Two GOP lawmakers and one former Republican committee staffer added fuel to the fire last year, by claiming that a core goal of the committee was to tear down Clinton’s presidential ambitions.” Wechallenged that claim at the time. Hattem also claimed that there was no “damning evidence” against Mrs. Clinton’s job performance and integrity from the October hearing.
No further evidence is necessary to implicate Mrs. Clinton in the Benghazi cover-up. She has deleted half of her emails, provided the State Department with altered messages, lied about having classified information on her private email server, and worked with the White House to blame an attack on a YouTube video while fully aware that this video had nothing to do with the Benghazi terror attacks. But the mainstream media are more concerned with ensuring that Hillary Clinton attains the presidency than vetting her as a candidate.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, appeared on Fox News on January 7th talking about the status of the hearings, the work of the Select Committee, and when he expects the committee to complete their work. Gowdy said that he is eager to wrap it up, having already interviewed 65 witnesses and received about 100,000 documents. He said, “I am waiting on documents from the White House, the CIA and the State Department.” He said that he believes he’s getting close, that he has about a dozen more witnesses to interview, and that he wants to wait for the remaining documents. In the end, Gowdy said that “I trust my fellow citizens to judge the full body of our work.”
I can assure Chairman Gowdy that we at the Citizens’ Commission on Benghaziwill be judging the full body of their work. But if they are waiting until all relevant documents are handed over, the Obama administration will surely run out the clock on them. As we have repeatedly documented, the key aspects of this multi-layered scandal are already well established and on the record. The challenge for the Select Committee is to effectively explain the Benghazi narrative in an environment where a hostile and corrupt news media will be attempting to dismiss and discredit their final report in an effort to protect and defend President Obama and Hillary Clinton.