A few days ago New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick released an intense and, in his mind, exhaustive account of what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. His story seems to vindicate both the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (who is never actually mentioned in the piece). Kirkpatrick’s months of investigating concludes that there is some kind of murky middle ground between al-Qaeda organized attack and spontaneous protest. He also continues to attribute the rationale of the attack to a short YouTube video that insults Islam and its founder, Mohammed.
Sadly for the New York Times, as soon as the story was released nearly everyone as attacking its veracity. From the people on the ground who lived through that horrible night, to the Congressmen most closely associated with all of the events that transpired that night – Republican and Democrat both. It seems that the New York Times piece does not pass the smell test, and in the words of Republican Congressman and House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, “the article was intended to ‘clear the decks’ for Hillary in 2016.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was recently on Fox News with Dana Perino to discuss this NYT piece.
PERINO: Congressman, what do you think the New York Times got wrong?
GOWDY: Well, first of all I want to congratulate the NYT. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi, so maybe in another 15 months their report will actually catch up with the truth.
I’ll tell you two things they got wrong. No. 1, the video was translated into Arabic in early September 2012. What in the world explains the violence in Benghazi prior to the video being translated and released? Our consulate was attacked way before the video was released. The British Ambassador was almost assassinated before the video was released. The International Red Cross was attacked twice in Benghazi.
So if the video is really the impetus for the violence, what in the world explains the violence prior to the release of the video?
Secondarily, with respect to al-Qaeda, whether it was al-Qaeda or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, “what difference does it make?” Who cares whether it was al-Qaeda proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead and it wasn’t a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned.
Perino references a Republican and Democrat in Congress saying the NYT report was wrong. She asks who the American people should believe.
GOWDY: Well, I’ll tell who they should believe. They should believe Mike Rogers [R-MI] who is a former FBI agent and Adam Schiff [D-CA], who happens to be in a different party but I respect him greatly. He is a former federal prosecutor. Both men have dedicated their lives to following the facts, wherever they take you, without respect to trying to prop up anybody’s political career, without respect to trying to damage anyone — wherever the facts go, that’s where they go.
The fact that Adam and Mike Rogers both debunk this NYT article, in addition to the people on the ground that night — good investigators talk to everybody, not just folks whose testimony may buttress your position, they talk to everybody. The fact that so many people are coming out today and debunking the mythologies reported by the NYT reporter, I think is instructive.
PERINO: Does the report tell us — does his reporting, David Kilpatrick of the “New York Times,” and also the reporting that the committees have done on the Hill, does it tell us that maybe we had some intelligence failures of our own that we need to address so that we can make sure that our embassies are protected?
GOWDY: We had no business being in Benghazi. We were the last flag flying in Benghazi, so to the extent that this NYT article tells us what we already knew, we had no business being in Benghazi. That begs a bigger question? Why were we there? Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi that night? I’ve read this NYT article six times, Dana. I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the Secretary of State was when Benghazi happened, because her name wasn’t mentioned a single, solitary time in this exhaustive NYT piece.
PERINO: Yet most people assumed that the NYT was trying to clear the decks so that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have to deal with this in a potential presidential run.
GOWDY: Oh heavens, no. That couldn’t possibly have been their motivation. Would it be? To support a Democrat who is running for the White House? Oh heavens, no.
PERINO: I gotta tell you Congressman, I love your cynicism.
GOWDY: Well, it is cynicism.
PERINO: And I mean that in all sincerity.
Gowdy: Well, the fact that the editor of the NYT had to explain today that they haven’t yet endorsed anyone for 2016 — all you have to do is read the paper and you can tell who they’ve endorsed, whose political ideology they’ve endorsed, but again, I congratulate them on figuring out that Benghazi happened and that it’s a really big deal.
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