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New York Times Benghazi Story Gets Some Political And Journalistic Push Back

Benghazi-Consulate

Not surprisingly, Republicans have not reacted well to the New York Times report on Benghazi which, in several key respects, pushes back on the central points of the right’s talking points regarding the attack that took place. Times editor, cites just a few examples of the political pushback that has unfolded since the report was published on the paper’s website last Saturday:

The article The Times published on Benghazi this weekend infuriated many Republicans, who ran screaming to television studios.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has made a special crusade out of the attack on the American diplomatic and intelligence compound in Benghazi, was asked on “Meet the Press” to justify Republican claims that Al Qaeda agents planned and executed the operation. (The article found no evidence that Al Qaeda was involved.)

Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC put her finger on the political question when she asked Mr. Issa why Republicans “use the term Al Qaeda.” After all, she said, “you and other members of Congress are sophisticated in this and know that when you say Al Qaeda, people think central Al Qaeda. They don’t think militias that may be inspired by Bin Laden and his other followers.”

“There is a group there involved that is linked to Al Qaeda,” Mr. Issa said. “What we never said — and I didn’t have the security to look behind the door, that’s for other members of Congress — of what the intelligence were on the exact correspondence with Al Qaeda, that sort of information — those sorts of methods I’ve never claimed.”

I’m still trying to parse that sentence.

On Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan insisted the story was wrong in finding that “Al Qaeda was not involved in this.”

“There was some level of pre-planning; we know that,” he said. “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya; we know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound — this is the compound before they went to the annex.”

As Rosenthal goes on to note, insisting that al Qaeda was somehow involved in the attack is important to the GOP narrative because one of the most important elements of their “theory of the case,” to borrow a legal term, is that the Obama White House pushed an allegedly phony narrative regarding a spontaneous protest that led to the raid on the diplomatic outpost, and later the CIA Annex, purely in response to street protests regarding an anti-Muslim film that had sparked protests in Egypt earlier that day after Islamist preachers uncovered previously obscure video on YouTube and used it to hype anti-Western fervor among Egyptians in order to draw attention away from al Qaeda involvement so close to the 2012 Elections. Previously, they argue, the Administration had made the claim that the President had “decimated” the organization a central part of the re-election campaign. Indeed, one of the taglines you heard quite often from campaign surrogates such as Vice-President Biden and others that “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden” is dead or that “we’ve got al Qaeda on the run,” or words to that effect. If it had become public prior to the election that al Qaeda was involved in a raid that resulted in the first death of a U.S. Ambassador in more than 30 years, then it could have had a serious impact on the election. That’s why there’s been so much attention on the whole issue regarding what U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on the Sunday morning following the attack, the talking points she was given prior to that appearance, and the revisions made to those talking points before she received them. According to the GOP theory, advisers close to the President were scrubbing the the talking points of any reference to al Qaeda or the fact that the attack may have been pre-planned, because of the potential for political damage.

The Times report seems to contradict that theory both regarding the role the video may have played in setting the mood in Benghazi leading up to the attack and in identifying the involvement of al Qaeda in the attack itself.  At the same time, though, it’s important to note that the Times report does not adopt previous Administration claims that the attack was the result of a spontaneous street protest. Indeed, the principal author of the report has said in television interview since Saturday that, as previous reports have indicated, there were no spontaneous street protests in Benghazi prior to the attack and that the attack was pre-planned in at least some sense and carried out by people with some kind of advanced guerrilla training rather than just random citizens at a protest.  The main areas where the Times report agrees with the Administration narrative lie in the assertions that the video, or at least news reports about the protests in Egypt regarding the video, did become known in Benghazi that day and appear to have played some role in what happened and that the groups that involved in the attack were not linked to al Qaeda.

Since the Times report was published, though, there has been push back from several journalists who have also been covering the Benghazi story from the beginning, specifically on the question of al Qaeda involvement. For example, Eli Lake at The Daily Beast contends that there is indeed evidence linking al Qaeda to Benghazi:

Some fighters who attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi are believed to be from a group headed by a former top lieutenant to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda. When Egyptian authorities raided the home of Mohammed al-Jamal, who was an operational commander under al-Zawahiri’s terrorist group in the 1990s known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, it found messages to al Qaeda leadership asking for support and plans to establish training camps and cells in the Sinai, creating a group now known as the Jamal Network. In October, theState Department designated Jamal Network as a terrorist group tied to al Qaeda. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the participation of the network in the Benghazi attacks, and the group’s participation in the attacks has also been acknowledged in the TimesThe New York Times Benghazi investigation makes no mention of the Jamal Network in their piece.

On Fox News Sunday, Schiff, a Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the intelligence indicated that al Qaeda did play a role in the attack. The intelligence community knows this, he said, from insights gleaned from eavesdropping on the night of the attack. Speaking of the Times report, Schiff said “they did not have the same access to people who were not aware they were being listened to. They were heavily reliant obviously on people they interviewed who had a reason to provide the story they did.” But Schiff also said sometimes eavesdropping has its limits as well. “Sometimes though the intelligence which has the advantage of hearing to people when they don’t know they are being listening to, that can be misleading as well, when people make claims, they boast of things they were not involved in for various purposes,” he said.

(…)

No one has disputed the participation of a local Islamist militia known as Ansar al-Sharia. The Times describes Ansar al-Sharia in Libya as a group formed in 2012 to protest the support other militias had for elections but an organization separate and distinct from al Qaeda. An August 2012 report commissioned by a Pentagon terrorism research organization found that Ansar al-Sharia “has increasingly embodied al Qaeda’s presence in Libya, as indicated by its active social-media propaganda, extremist discourse, and hatred of the West, especially the United States.” Not everyone however agreed.

(…)

In October, Tunisia’s Prime Minister told Reuters that “there is a relation between leaders of Ansar al-Sharia, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia in Libya.” The Times also states, “the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with al Qaeda’s international terrorist network.” On Fox News Sunday Rogers stuck to his guns. “Do they have differences of opinions with al Qaeda core? Yes,” he said. “Do they have affiliations with al Qaeda core? Definitely.”

In this regard, it’s worth noting that the very idea of defining who is and is not part of al Qaeda. In that regard, it’s well worth remembering that, even since the September 11th attacks led the United States to attack Afghanistan, organization known has al Qaeda appears to have changed significantly. Rather than an organization centrally run from Afghanistan or Pakistan, it quickly seems to have turned into one where regional affiliates more or less affiliated with whatever is left of  ”al Qaeda core” have more extensive discretion than they might have in the past. Over the years, we’ve learned of such affiliates in Yemen, Somalia, among the groups that fought U.S. troops in Iraq and now fight alongside the rebels in Syria and, in the wake of the collapse of authority, Libya, most especially in the southern deserts and the areas around and near Benghazi. Lake does a fair good job of connecting the dots between those Libyan groups and other elements in al Qaeda. If, as the Times report indicates, these groups were involved in the attack, then at the very least it makes sense to say that the attack was carried out by groups with some sense allegiance or alliance with the al Qaeda we knew when we attacked Afghanistan in 2001. In some sense, this kind of decentralized al Qaeda poses far more of a threat than its predecessor since it makes it far harder to determine where an attack may come from from.

Finally, The Wire’s Danielle Weiner-Bronner notes that the Times report leaves many questions unanswered:

Despite the impressive reporting and valuable new details, The New York Times has left us just where we started in terms of understanding the larger picture of what happened in Benghazi. We still have no clear answers about who started the assault, how much they planned it, what their connection is to larger terrorist networks, or what could have been done to stop. As Politico’s Blake Hounshell explains, those questions will never be settled, in part because people don’t want them settled. There are too many ideological questions at stake, and too much disagreement on the very terms of the debate. (Like “spontaneous” versus “planned” and “terrorist” versus “rebel.”) And as Josh Rogin of The Daily Beast adds, “you can’t prove a negative,” so how can anyone say with any certainty that al-Qeada wasn’t involved.

That’s the unfortunate part about the extent to which the Benghazi story has become a political football. Rather than trying to find real answers to the important questions that it raises both regarding the nature of the terrorism threat in Libya and elsewhere, it ignores the question of why none of the Americans on the ground seemed to have any idea of the forces arrayed against them prior to September 11th of last year, or why security at both the diplomatic post and the CIA Annex were seemingly so lax despite the fact that there had been an increasing number of attacks on Western targets in the months leading up to September 11th. These are not the type of “sexy” questions that Republicans can use to bash the President, and they aren’t the types of questions that Democrats who have largely lined up to defend the Administration want to touch on for fear of the answers they might lead to. So, once again, our representatives are failing us.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. The bottom line about the “al Qaeda” part of the narrative is linked to a) what the definition of “al Qaeda” is, and b) what constitutes “links” thereto.

    The broad GOP narrative has al Qaeda as a massive, monolithic entity Out to Get Us.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

  2. Steve V says:

    I am at the point now where I basically tune people out when they start justifying something because of someone’s “ties” and “links” (and now “affiliations”). These words are subject to tremendous abuse and are made to do way too much work in these discussions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  3. @Steve V: Indeed. This is certainly a lesson that we should all have taken away from Iraq.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  4. dazedandconfused says:

    it ignores the question of why none of the Americans on the ground seemed to have any idea of the forces arrayed against them prior to September 11th of last year, or why security at both the diplomatic post and the CIA Annex were seemingly so lax despite the fact that there had been an increasing number of attacks on Western targets in the months leading up to September 11th. These are not the type of “sexy” questions that Republicans can use to bash the President, and they aren’t the types of questions that Democrats who have largely lined up to defend the Administration want to touch on for fear of the answers they might lead to. So, once again, our representatives are failing us.

    You are begging the question of what the NYT article is about. There was an ARB and multiple hearings about the questions you did raise.

    Pickering and Mullen’s ARB is the only one that has ever been made public. I consider it a masterpiece of diplomacy. Read it from the perspective of knowing that Chris Stevens was the guy calling the shots. It was operating under a security waiver, kinda “volunteers only”.

    Why was security “lax”? The simple answer is it was an office, not a fort.

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  5. I think one of the reasons I have had a hard time with the Benghazi! types is that the events were what they were, and the outcome what it was whether “al Qaeda” was involved or not. Was it s security failure? Clearly. Was it an intelligence failure? Yes. But I see no evidence of these being failures of a scandalous nature. Indeed, in a situation like Libya’s, it is not at all surprising that such failures would have occurred. That doesn’t mean that there should be no consequences for those who failed, nor does it make the outcome an less tragic, but it should place it all in perspective.

    The involvement, or lack thereof, of “al Qaeda” does not strike me as the game-changer that many seem to think it must be.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  6. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There doesn’t seem to be some kind of membership committee at Al Qaeda Central reviewing applications for new branches. Pretty much anyone who wants to call themselves “Al Qaeda” can do so, and does. I’m not even sure all of those are “out to get us.”

    The al Qaeda of 2001 was very different from the various al Qaedas of 2013.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  7. @Mikey: Indeed. To be clear: I think that the narrative that treats AQ like a monolith is incorrect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    Josh Marshall makes a good point:

    The salient point in this whole non-scandal – from the start – has been that the fog of war makes it very difficult to know with certainty who attacked you in the middle of the night, why they did it or who they were taking orders from.

    There are certainly some holes in the NYT report but Issa’s partisan witch hunt is all holes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  9. Anonne says:

    Of course there would be pushback, because they need whatever they can get if and when Hillary Clinton decides to run for office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  10. Mikey says:

    @Anonne: The flip side of that is the position of some GOP’ers that the NYT story is a whitewash done for the express purpose of providing cover for Hillary Clinton’s upcoming Presidential bid.

    Not saying that’s true, just relaying what I’ve heard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug:

    … the Times report does not adopt previous Administration claims that the attack was the result of a spontaneous street protest. … there were no spontaneous street protests in Benghazi prior to the attack

    I’m not sure anyone ever flatly said “the attack was the result of a spontaneous street protest,” and it’s important to realize that there was solid support for statements that sounded close to that.

    The original CIA memo said this:

    We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo

    “The protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” is an obvious reference to the video, because those protests were undoubtedly about the video. It was not wrong for Rice (et al) to tell us what CIA told her. And those CIA words are pretty close to these words: “the attack was the result of a spontaneous street protest.”

    Also, it seems there was indeed a protest (link):

    Witnesses in Benghazi said a small crowd gathered Tuesday night outside the consulate, a villa in a walled compound, to protest the anti-Muslim video… Some in the crowd had learned of the protest through Facebook. Others had heard of the video from Libyan students abroad or seen TV images of the Cairo protest. About 10 p.m., Abdel Monem Monem, a former advisor to the leader of the rebels’ transitional government, went to check and found about 50 people demonstrating without violence. … About 11:30 p.m., armed men drove up in about 20 cars bearing Islamic slogans. Sheik Mohamed Oraibi, a young Islamic preacher of the hard-line Salafist movement who was involved in the peaceful protest, watched as what he called “religious extremists” armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades arrived and began firing at the consulate.

    Many people cite the ARB’s finding “that no protest took place prior to the attack.” The key word there is “prior.” The report I cited indicates that the demonstrators and the attackers arrived at roughly the same time. And the demonstrators were small in number and peaceful, so it’s not hard to understand why people inside the compound at night would not necessarily be immediately aware of them.

    The attackers (at least the heavily armed ones) were not peaceful demonstrators who spontaneously became violent, but it appears that peaceful demonstrators were actually present.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Ameda says:

    Not surprisingly, Republicans have not reacted well to the New York Times report on Benghazi which, in several key respects, pushes back on the central points of the right’s talking points regarding the attack that took place

    Not surprisingly, Republicans continue to run this phony investigation. I wish Issa would dispense with this kabuki and draft articles of impeachment. Maybe he already has? The House will impeach, the Senate will not convict. We’ve been here before. Perhaps Issa is hoping that the Senate goes Republican in November?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  13. stonetools says:

    I’m afraid, Doug, you’re going to have to say a little more than this. You posted repeatedly about this, pushing the conservative mantra that the video had NOTHING to do with the assault. You attacked Ms. Rice’s statements based on that. You also repeated the conservative mantra that the Obama Administration did not call it a “terrorist attack.”

    Well, guess what, not only was it a terrorist attack ( and was called so at the time by Obama), it was also directly inspired by the video. I think you should do one better than Jenos and just admit you were wrong, mate.
    Now you end with a “both sides do” coda, as is your style, but there is no question WHICH side made it a political football first, and which side harped on it for months, and guess what, is still pushing wild conspiracy theories about Obama calling on Special Forces to “stand down.”
    As to why there was weak security, maybe you want to ask the side that cut embassy security funding? Just sayin’ ….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  14. KM says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Why was security “lax”? The simple answer is it was an office, not a fort.

    THIS.

    How many offices do you know – even in hostile territory- that can hold their own against a mob actively trying to break in? Even an embassy on full lockdown won’t hold for long – they’re not military bases, they’re administration.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. Todd says:

    Ok, so people who’ve spent over a year hyping this fake “scandal” are going to push back on a story that further undermines their cause. Shocking.

    Beyond that though …

    I’m still of the opinion that none of this has any business being in the press anyway. This was an attack on a CIA outpost. The type and extent of security that was there, and even what should have been there, is/was almost certainly classified … and with good reason.

    The proper forum for examining what went wrong, and what can be done to prevent these sort of incidents in the future, is closed, classified, hearings (period)

    I know that we citizens “have a right to know”. But too often, it seems like the only reason some people want to know, is so that they can make (largely uniformed … because they’ll never have ALL the relevant information) criticisms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  16. jukeboxgrad says:

    stonetools:

    I’m afraid, Doug, you’re going to have to say a little more than this. You posted repeatedly about this, pushing the conservative mantra that the video had NOTHING to do with the assault.

    Exactly. For example (5/9/13; link):

    somehow, the nonsense about the YouTube video got stuck into official talking points … As for the Administration’s initial insistence on tying the Benghazi attack to that YouTube video, it’s really quite baffling

    I think there are many other examples.

    I think you should do one better than Jenos and just admit you were wrong, mate.

    Yes, he should.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  17. stonetools says:

    For those who may not know of or forgotten Doug’s position in this, read this thread, especially this comment:

    Cycloptichorn,

    We can start with insisting for two weeks that this had anything to do with a movie when we knew within 24 hours that this wasn’t the case.

    It’s worth noting that Kirkpatrick said all this at the time. From a Ron Beasley comment:

    Ron Beasley says:

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:02

    David D Kirkpatrick yesterday:

    To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence. (bold mine)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. jukeboxgrad says:

    they did it in retaliation for the video

    Yes. NYT reported that at the time, and there were many other reports saying the same thing. Including National Review (link).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. @stonetools:

    it was also directly inspired by the video

    Well, I think we an say that some of the activity that night was inspired by the video. I don’t think we can say with any certainty as to the exact motivations that drove the main, planned, attack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. @KM:

    Even an embassy on full lockdown won’t hold for long – they’re not military bases, they’re administration.

    It depends on the embassy. You should see the one in Bogota, Colombia. It is a fortress.

    Having said that, yes: this annex was basically a walled compound with a few buildings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t think we can say with any certainty as to the exact motivations that drove the main, planned, attack.

    FWIW, the NYT article says this:

    Anger at the video motivated the initial attack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. @jukeboxgrad: You are correct. I am trying to be fair in terms of what is known for certain and what is not, but I had overlooked that sentence.

    I will say that I find the evidence pretty compelling that many people who joined in were angered by the video. And while I find it plausible that the initial attack was planned in response to the video, I find the evidence as to the exact role played by the video to be a bit murky.

    Still, I have thought from the beginning that some sort of role was played by the video, if anything because of what had happened in Egypt prior to the attack as well as what happened across the region for days after.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    Fair enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. rudderpedals says:

    Adding to the confused atmosphere, there were two distinct attacks separated by many hours. The first at the consulate, the second at a “Villa” that was only recently acknowledged to be a CIA facility.

    Our host might want to reconsider his first judgment about Rice’s credibility vis-a-vis the duties of an American diplomat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  25. stonetools says:

    Don’t want to beat a dead horse too much, but Doug’s statements were many and vehement, e.g :

    @stonetools:

    You can chose to ignore it, but U.S. intelligence knew the basic truth about the attack within 24 hours.

    We may not know everything about Benghazi, but THAT was wrong.
    What I am angry at was the way Rice was crucified by conservative pundits who were usual , dead wrong and absolutely certain in their wrongness.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  26. dazedandconfused says:

    @Todd:

    Ok, so people who’ve spent over a year hyping this fake “scandal” are going to push back on a story that further undermines their cause. Shocking.

    Beyond that though …

    I’m still of the opinion that none of this has any business being in the press anyway. This was an attack on a CIA outpost. The type and extent of security that was there, and even what should have been there, is/was almost certainly classified … and with good reason.

    The proper forum for examining what went wrong, and what can be done to prevent these sort of incidents in the future, is closed, classified, hearings (period)

    I know that we citizens “have a right to know”. But too often, it seems like the only reason some people want to know, is so that they can make (largely uniformed … because they’ll never have ALL the relevant information) criticisms.

    Contrast this behavior with Reagan and HW Bush’s silence while running for president during the Iran hostage crisis. Reagan was something of an outsider but HW had paid his dues. A lifetime of government service, even head of the CIA. He “knew the ropes”, like Eisenhower did, and had a fairly boring presidency as well . Nowadays, that would be disqualifying for service as President. We want only inexperienced people! As if inexperience results in honesty or something.

    I try my best to give our modern-day Jacksonian Democrats the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I almost convince myself they simply don’t know, and since complexity frightens them, they react by seeking to tear everything that is difficult to understand down. Some of them do know though. They have placed party above all. They will pursue false arguments to the point of sacrificing credibility with all those outside of their base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    Previously, they argue, the Administration had made the claim that the President had “decimated” the organization a central part of the re-election campaign. Indeed, one of the taglines you heard quite often from campaign surrogates such as Vice-President Biden and others that “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden” is dead or that “we’ve got al Qaeda on the run,” or words to that effect. If it had become public prior to the election that al Qaeda was involved in a raid that resulted in the first death of a U.S. Ambassador in more than 30 years, then it could have had a serious impact on the election.

    That, of course, is complete nonsense, since no one in the Administration or Democratic Party ever claimed that al Qaeda had been completely defeated or was no more. There’s a world of difference between “we’ve got them on the run” and “they can never harm us ever again.” I mean, it’s contradictory to believe that Obama simultaneously claimed that the Qaeda was no more while at the same time running a very active drone and ground campaign in Afghanistan and Pakistan against them.

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  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    no one in the Administration or Democratic Party ever claimed that al Qaeda had been completely defeated

    And it’s pretty ironic, given what GWB said on 9/27/04 (link):

    Taliban no longer is in existence

    And the best part is that later on he said that he never said that. So the Taliban either exists or does not exist, depending on which GWB you ask. It’s the quantum Taliban. Link.

    It’s also fun to remember the $43 million Bush sent to the Taliban. Link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  29. Rafer Janders says:

    You know, Doug, that’s a pretty long and meandering post when a simple “I was completely wrong” would have sufficed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  30. Rafer Janders says:

    or why security at both the diplomatic post and the CIA Annex were seemingly so lax

    The key word there is “seemingly”. Unless it’s a fort with manned by the military, basically no place will be able to withstand a sustained assault by attackers armed with heavy machine guns, RPGs, and mortars. Security almost everywhere is “lax” like that because we’re manning offices, not castles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. Davebo says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Well you project some dignity on him. Why I have no idea.

    Hence his vociferous defense of his past statements that were brought up here tonight.

    Crickets.
    Toss stuff on the wall, see if any of it sticks. If someone mentions your making a mess slink away. Tomorrow it all begins again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  32. MarkedMan says:

    Doug has come a long way over the past several years but, c’mon, admit he was wrong? As far as I know he has never, ever admitted error. If there are examples, even trivial ones, I would be obliged if someone posted a link.

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  33. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Doug is an attorney. The ability to admit any sort of fault or weakness in writing goes against all of his training and professional experience. He will never do it. It’s just what it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  34. Stonetools says:

    Doug’s refusal to admit he is wrong is ironic, given his post on evolution. How , he wonders, can anyone deny what is so obviously true? How, indeed.
    Maybe someone needs to look into a mirror.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  35. bill says:

    so the nyt article was just an attempt to remove “al qeada” from the benghazi narrative? and toss that stupid film back in……brilliant. that’s a lot of words for nothing – it’s not like al qeada members carry id’s or something, so let’s get real and just say this is nothing more than another attempt by the nyt to assist the current administration and a future candidate.
    once again the nyt has shown it’s true colors, and they’re getting redder each year.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  36. Tyrell says:

    I presume that the photo is of one of the suspects. I would assume that with this they should get a lot of people who can positively identify this creep. Has this person been arrested ? If not why not? The time has passed for arresting people and getting some trials started. Secretary Kerry and the President need to set some deadlines. They should have consequences if they are not met.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  37. bill says:

    @Tyrell: the fashion cops should also be involved, cuffs/sandals and a white t-shirt with cut off sleeves… really?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  38. Lounsbury says:

    @Tyrell:

    Arrested? By who in particular?

    While silly poorly educated provincials may imagine the entire world works like USA-land or like American Action Movies where Interpol is an actual police force rather than a mere clearing centre, in the real world its not up to foreign powers or foreign citizens looking at photos…

    Blithering on about deadlines for arrests of unidentified persons in photos about events that occurred in other sovereign nations is empty idiocy (particularly coming from citizens of a nation that regularly does not observe its treaty obligations regarding foreign nationals arrested on its own territory due to its own Federal-State inanities, a bit of rank and gross hypocrisy that is not overlooked outside its borders).

    Insofar as the putative national government of Libya can not adequately even secure the personal security of its own bloody ministers in the national capitol, talk of setting “deadlines” with “consequences” is playground posturing by immature whankers.

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  39. John425 says:

    Al Qaida or not? The NYT further discloses that they had a reporter at the scene “talking” with the attackers. I guess who they were wasn’t on the talking points list.

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  40. Grewgills says:

    @John425:
    I didn’t realize that reporters were law enforcement.

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  41. John425 says:

    @Grewgills: Don’t be a dildo. What reporter, worthy of being called a reporter, wouldn’t ask who or what they represent?

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