Sharyl Attkisson on Benghazi: “The media’s not always consistent in the vigor that they use to pursue a given topic”
posted at 8:01 pm on May 16, 2013 by Allahpundit
Via the Brody File, here’s big-media’s most dogged Benghazi reporter confirming, as tactfully as she can, that she too thinks the press is in the tank. Lest you doubt her conclusion about a certain, shall we say, curious incuriosity among her colleagues, look around at the news today and see how many reporters you find asking obvious follow-up questions about the Benghazi e-mail dump last night. The most obvious: Are there any key e-mail exchanges from September 12 and 13? Last night’s document string starts on the 14th, three days after the attack and with the CIA somehow already having concluded that the whole thing was “spontaneously inspired” by the protests at the embassy in Cairo. How did they arrive at that? And where oh where is the determination, long since debunked but repeatedly mentioned by Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice in the immediate aftermath, that the Mohammed movie had anything to do with this? That’s not in any version of the talking points. Did Hillary and Rice simply assume that that’s what inspired the Cairo protest, ergo it must have indirectly inspired the Benghazi attack too? Because, as Tom Joscelyn convincingly argues, the Cairo protest was intended not so much to protest the film as to celebrate Al Qaeda on the anniversary of 9/11 — starting with the fact that it was Ayman al-Zawahiri’s own brother who helped organize it:
In October, an Egyptian propaganda outfit named Al Faroq Media released a video showcasing Mohammed al Zawahiri’s role in sparking the 9/11 Cairo protest. The video was first translated by the SITE Intelligence Group and can be viewed in full at the beginning of this article.
Al Faroq Media is not an official al Qaeda propaganda arm, but it is openly pro-al Qaeda. The group regularly promotes Mohammed al Zawahiri’s work on its Facebook page and other outlets. In addition to Zawahiri, three other prominent al Qaeda-linked jihadists were featured in the Al Faroq video. Together, they helped incite the protest-turned-riot in Cairo and turn it into a pro-al Qaeda affair.
Thus, the 9/11 protest in Cairo was not simply the result of an unorganized mob’s reaction to a little-known You Tube video promoting Innocence of Muslims. The protest, which resulted in the American flag being replaced by al Qaeda’s black banner on top of a U.S. Embassy, was intended to show that al Qaeda’s ideology lives, even as senior al Qaeda terrorists are killed.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri said as much in a video released the day before, on September 10, 2012. Al Qaeda’s “message has spread amongst our Muslim Ummah, which received it with acceptance and responded to it,” the older Zawahiri said in the video, which was disseminated by al Qaeda’s official media arm.
The chants outside the embassy included “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!” Were they protesting the video, then, or were they simply engaged in a form of “Al Qaeda lives!” taunting 11 years to the day after their signature operation? And again, who was it — CIA or someone else — who seized on the video as a possible explanation? It’d be nice to know if that was bad intel or bad politics.
One other obvious question: Why was Victoria Nuland, State’s spokesperson, included in the interagency intelligence e-mails that were released last night? Breitbart’s John Sexton raised that point on Twitter; there appears to be no good explanation. It’s true that the State Department has its own intelligence operatives, but that’s not Nuland; she’s a mouthpiece, someone who specializes in spin, not intel. If you wanted to have a big interagency huddle to figure out what happened in Benghazi, that’s great — by all means, include State’s intelligence people in it. When you include State’s spin doctor, though, you make it look to all the world like the point of the huddle wasn’t to find out what happened, it was to decide what would be “safe” to release for public consumption. As Sexton noted, Nuland’s participation actually led to intelligence being subtracted from the final version of the talking points. So again, why was she or any other non-intel person privy to those discussions? I’ll bet Attkisson is wondering. Is anyone else?