Why doesn’t the Benghazi attack story have legs?

The media have hardly been ignoring the story of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

That’s not the same, however, as saying the story has legs.

If it has legs, it leads newscasts and has a synergy that engages the energy of a lot of reporters.

Some conservatives believe there is a media conspiracy to keep that from happening. I don’t know the answer, other than to say that if there is one, I’m not part of it. Also, in a 30-year career that includes gigs at several newspapers and one news service in New York City, I’ve never seen evidence of competing news outlets conspiring with each other.

I can’t imagine what would make them do that.

But there has been some interesting reporting on Benghazi lately, mostly under the radar.

First, Fox News published this story a few days ago citing sources that say a CIA team near the consulate was told to “stand down” when requesting permission to offer aid during the attack on Sept. 11. A few of them ignored the order and came anyway.

When the attack turned on the CIA safe house, superiors again denied requests for military support, the story said.

The attack at the CIA annex continued for four hours. That was plenty of time for air support from a base 480 miles away to come.

Also, Fox reported that surveillance drones were sent to Benghazi soon after the attack began, capable of sending video back to Washington.

The CIA has denied that it wouldn’t provide support. Even if that were true, support was not provided in any way approaching what was necessary. The obvious question is how high up in the government were people aware of, and monitoring, the attack? Did the White House know what was going on?

More good reporting has come from the New York Times. This story, published two weeks ago, describes how Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the men believed to be a leader in the attack, sits in the open on the patio of a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe as he mocks the United States.

Obama has vowed to bring the people responsible for the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans to justice, but Khattala says it’s all just election-year politics.

This Times piece provides a measured look at the warnings that violence was imminent in Benghazi. It says Republicans won’t find the smoking gun they seek in the form of evidence that clear warnings were ignored. Instead, evidence shows the State Department had a security strategy “formulated in a very different environment a year earlier.”

The Benghazi angle that does seem to have been mostly ignored, however, is the Obama administration’s initial response to the attack, which was to blame an obscure anti-Muslim movie made by an American and published on YouTube.

This was mostly brushed aside in the second presidential debate, thanks to moderator Candy Crowley who helped everyone get hung up over whether the president blamed terrorism early on.

This is the sort of issue that has to be carried by pundits — columnists and editorial writers. Hard reporting may reveal some new facts about who knew what when, but the story about the administration’s initial response is fairly straightforward. Officials such as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney were publicly blaming the video for days after the attack.  The administration tried to pressure YouTube to remove the video, and the man who produced it was thrown in jail, ostensibly for violating the conditions of his parole for an unrelated crime.

The obvious angle for criticism here concerns the First Amendment. In the United States, we value the freedom to publish just about anything we wish, even if it offensive. There are good reasons for honoring that freedom and it ought to be one of the core principles we try to export to the rest of the world.

Instead, the administration used the video as a catalyst to arrest the filmmaker on unrelated charges that, frankly, were a stretch.

Taken together, all of these aspects to the story point to some key missing information. What really was going on in Benghazi that would prevent the military from a full response and prompt the administration to divert attention to an obscure video?

These sound like the sort of questions that ought to give real legs to a story.

About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.

69 comments

  1. John

    Forget about whether the story has legs. The American Navy Seals who died alone as they defended our embassy had legs, too. The fact that they died unassisted (while we fretted about needing more details) is unbelievable. We have a Commander in Chief (Obama) who said that directives came from him. So let him answer for this. Why did he do nothing? Ask him.

  2. Gphillip

    The President says he gave a clear order to secure American personel at the site. The Sec. of Defense says he discussed it with Gen. Ham and Gen. Dempsey and THEY decided to do nothing. Is the President lying, or did we just witness the first ever breakdown in civilian leadership of the military? This question is critical and must be answered. If the President is telling the truth, then the Sec. of defense countermanded a direct order from the President and should resign, or be dismissed, immediatly. Since that inaction resulted in deaths of Americans, the Sec. of Defense may be subject to criminal charges and civil action by the families of the fallen heros is in order. The American people deserve the truth. The blood of the fallen heros demands justice.

  3. Suzie

    Please investigate why General Ham of Africam was arrested and then retired. The story is that General Ham wanted to disobey the STand Down Order and rescue the Ambassador. Also, why did Admiral Gaoette get relieved of duty?? He to was ready to send help to rescue the Ambassador — where are these two High Ranking Officers?????? THIS GIVE LEGS to the story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Krick backman

    It MUST be remembered that when the military failed to respond, they were basically hanging all 30 or so Americans out on the limb. Several mortars were fired; we were very fortunate only two individuals died at the second location. Reports were that there were about 30 moved to Tripoli that night (ask Charlene Lamb) and that it took two flights. Where are those people??? Apparently, two of them talked to Jennifer Griffin and look at the bombshell information we now have that she absolutely backs up. Arrange for me and I will go and interview the remaining survivors and we would have the truth as fast I could write. There appears to be little curiosity about these people who witnessed and know what happened. Where are being kept and why aren’t they talking? It doesn’t take much of a conspirosy theory to figure out there are people who know but are saying nothing. It was they whose lives were gambled that night.

  5. erika

    A nicely written piece, I think. Now let’s hope IT has some legs, and gets out there.

    Here’s what has shaken my formerly held unqualified support for President Obama. I think I am being objective and thoughtful – - but I am confused why I haven’t read what I am going write her in the press yet.

    Our President says “the safety and security” of our Ambassador and our personnel are and were always his #1 priority. How does that comment fit with the widely reported (and testified to) facts that the situation in Libya and Benghazi in particular for over six months had gone from bad to extremely bad (where the British and Red Cross abandoned their presence there), and where several reports of same, and requests for increased security were made but denied by the WH because (again, according to published reports) the concern of WH and State Department under Hillary Clinton was to keep as low a profile as possible so as to help the pro American faction (in really there is any) in the nascent Libyan “government” (in quotes since by its own admission, it as yet has been unable to govern any part of Libya or even organize itself) and not make it seem like the US was an imposing, controlling, or occupying force in Libya.

    So which President do we have in office? The one who makes the “safety and security” of our Ambassador and our personnel priority #1 or the one who dumps that priority to in favor of a naively envisioned, untested and unfounded geo-political/diplomatic experiment – - one that was already proving itself a failure and wrong-headed well before the attack on the consulate on Sept 11?

    And how, if to the President and Commander in Chief, the safety and security of our Ambassador and personnel is priority #1, could we have delegated the role of security and safety of the Ambassador and our personnel to a foreign, ill-trained, ill-equiped, ill-qualified, and in-experienced mercenary force of local Libyans (would they really lay down their lives to protect Americans against the opposing anti-American pro-Al Queda Libyan militias)rather than our own best trained, equipped and qualified American servicemen/women?

    It seems to me, and Hillary Clinton all but came out and said this, the safety and security of the Ambassador and our personnel was NOT priority #1. So let them stop insulting our intelligence and come out and try to explain that to us. If they can’t explain it, then they should never have done it. That they now don’t even try to explain it, but keep side-stepping any explanation under the guise of “an ongoing investigation” suggests to me that they too know how ill chosen and wrong headed their original diplomatic experiment was – -and how because of that, and them in particular, it blew up in their faces, and got our Ambassador and personnel murdered.

    Am I off in my thinking on this?
    Frankly, I confess, it is a terrible realization.

    • Krick

      Erica, very interesting angle. I agree that if they take our money and we pay big bucks to be there, I don’t mind if we have an army around our people. As I have visited my daughter at her husband’s embassy-posts around the world, including Africa, I found comfort in the fact that the military showed up every day at her house any time of day or night to do security checks; I did not care what the neighbors thought about this, and I don’t care how it looks; if you don’t want us here, we’ll take our money and run. (Her neighbors always seemed to be very friendly.) We want to be your friend, we will help financially, but please protect our people; and wherever we go, we can fly there without permission to use your sky. Let’s decide all that up front, not during a crisis.

    • Mike

      You have to be looking through some pretty thick partisan glasses to not see the troubling signs. The author laid it out very well.

      • Bob

        Troubling signs are everywhere, you can’t worry about all of them, just the ones that mean the most to you.

    • Krick

      Bob, please say anything but this. You don’t have to study this for hours like I have. (My son- in-law is a diplomat assigned to an embassy, hence I pray continually my daughter and four grandchildren would be protected in a similar event.) I admit I am unusually interested for personal reasons. I also admit I want this to be a big political issue. Events like this make up the very things we are voting about.
      For you to casually dismiss this as a non-issue is so intellectually dishonest on so many levels, they could not be addressed here. I could literally debate the white house staff for six hours about this event. Just how is it that you and your friends at MSNBC are so sure of yourselves.
      (By the way, MSNBC just mentioned global warming as the possible cause of Sandy.)

      • Bob

        At the moment I have no family involved with foreign service. However I do have one grandchild with a serious cancer, one family destroyed by poor business decisions, two families destroyed by illegal drugs, four great grandchildren taken from their mothers and living far away in adopted families. And a whole bunch of other problems. Consequently, I don’t get too worked up about what people say about political things. Especially without proof of their validly.

        I think the foreign service, including the military, is mainly a business thing. And is generally voluntary. I do not place a greater value upon the life of a diplomat than on the grunt soldiers who is being killed by the folly of bad leaders.

        I believe the fuss about the killing of the diplomat is politically driven by the hate for our black president.

    • SSMD

      David Inatius, a columnist in the liberal Washington Post, is starting to notice, as he said in his Oct 30 column: “The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has become a political football in the presidential campaign, with all the grandstanding and misinformation that entails. But Fox News has raised some questions about the attack that deserve a clearer answer from the Obama administration.”

    • Karl

      It is not necessary to speculate about who did or did not give orders to protect Americans. There are several indisputable facts: the siege lasted for many hours, the U.S. has capability to respond anywhere in the world in much less time than that and failed to do so.
      There are also indisputable facts about the failure to prepare in advance: anyone with a 3rd grade education knows Libya is a dangerous place, Sept. 11 is an important date to anti-American terrorists, and an Ambassador is a personal representative of the U.S. and deserves better protection. Either the Obama administration is not “smarter than a 3rd grader” or has another agenda that it placed above the protection of the Ambassador and his colleagues.

  6. sarah lancer

    Ask the President “What did you know and when did you know it?” Watch his ears when he answers.

  7. Other Bob

    @Bob

    So just what is the truth? I am in search of it and the mainline media seems to be burying it. I have searched for unbiased sources, and it is beginning to appear to me that the administration didn’t want to risk another “Blackhawk Down” episode right before an election.

    • Mike

      Good explanation. This seems to be a somewhat reasonable approach to the situation. But why then use the video as a distraction? (why not say that they didn’t know of the cause?) No matter how I try to parse all this, they look like they are hiding something.

    • Big Dave

      Black Hawk Down was a result of going into an entire city all armed to the teeth and not having adequate air cover. The tragedy of the Libya disaster was that there were only a couple hundred terrorists and these bad guys could have been easily wiped out by an F15 providing air support.. but someone told our US forces to “stand down”. This attack lasted 7 long hours and was video streamed in by our drones flying over head … right into the White House and State Dept. Barack Obama has proven to be a coward and political opportunist who obviously cared more about hiding this terror attack and thus preserving his phony foreign policy before an election. The man is undeserving of the title of commander and chief.

  8. Big Dave

    The bottom line – Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton lied about the video being the cause of the attack. Barack Obama did not protect Americans in harms way even as he watched the attack play out live for 7 hours. American jet fighters were only 1 hour away and Navy Seal Tyrone Woods had located the main terrorist mortar battery with this laser sight for the fighters … but no fighters came because “someone” told the fighters to stand down. 4 Americans died… but to Barack Obama this was just a “bump in the road”. Disgusting!!!

    • erika

      I think the word he used at his only “press conference” on this on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” was “not optimal.”

      And it bothers me that the President keeps referring to the militant who planned, trained, organized, and then attacked our consulate and the annex and killed our Ambassador and defenders, as “folks.” (not militants, not murders, not anything judgmental, but as “folks.”)
      When I think of “folks” I think of grandma and grandpa types sitting on rocking chairs on a porch, or Americans any age and race sitting around a dining room table eating dinner together, or in a living room reading, knitting, or playing. But maybe I’m just off.
      Is it just me, or does it sound odd and off for the President to keep and only refer to these perpetrators as “folks.”

  9. erika

    Now how about checking into when exactly Hillary Clinton’s current absence from the States (and our media) on her various visits abroad was put together?

    If the failure of providing adequate security (and rather the outsourcing or our security on a wing-and-a-prayer to a local Libyan mercenary militia – -than had “trouble” even getting to the site on time to be of any consequence) leading up to and during the attack was part of a thought-out, determined, political, diplomatic agenda (helping to support/encourage/build/encourage a pro-American gov’t in Libya by keeping an extremely low American military presence there)then Hillary Clinton was part and parcel of that decision making process and enactment. It would also explain why, even when under attack, we kept our military presence at bay and out of the fight – - in order not to undue the myth we were and are trying to create in Libya, that the US is not a presence there and is not behind the effort to create a secular pro-American gov’t there.
    Can that that be the case?
    One thing is clear – - Hillary Clinton is staying clear of the press and the press is staying clear of her.

    • mike

      No, I think you are exactly right. But no mention of this oddity among the MSM. Another example of their bias left. Here’s another example: on Jon Stewart, he said that the deaths were ‘not optimal’. Compare this to the left’s response to Binders and Bird Bird. The media bias towards the left is disgusting and dangerous. If Romney gets elected despite the media propaganda machine, it will be amazing.

      • erika

        In 2008, it seems to me, Obama lifted the political campaigns to a higher level – - speaking like a statesman about big issues that went to the heart of who we were and wanted to be as individuals and as a nation. I was rallied, enthused and hopeful.
        Today he has gone, it seems to me, completely silent on those issue, and actually in some cases completely in reverse. He has re-introduced, in my mind, a word, a way of thinking, a phrase that in my family, growing up, we was considered wrong and unacceptable – - to refer to people as being part of one “class” or another (that was for India, where there were “castes” or for Daddy Warbucks time). We were brought up not to think in terms of low class, or middle class, or high class. Low income, middle income, or high income, but not “class.” President Obama re-introduced and re-legitimized that “class” way of thinking and I find it offensive. Poor people have class too! And some very very rich people have no class as well!
        But the president seems to have taken the low road this time, completely opposite of his prior image which I fell for. And its revealing I think. Nor do I appreciate anyone being laughed at for his or her reasonable views as VP Biden did and does (and Pres. Obama said he’s proud of him for doing). I wanted to hear what Paul Ryan had to say and make up my own mind. Instead VP Biden laughed and interrupted him like a bully – - something that I thought we all were now trying to stop (bullying, that is). So our VP is now the poster person for bullying and insulting and intimidating and being disingenuous (“my friend”). It makes me now re-consider what I previously gave candidate Obama a pass on last time – - how could a person sit in someone’s church for 20 years (and call that person his mentor) when week after week the pastor slammed white people and the US, unless he shared or at least could relate to those views? And how could a mother allow her young daughters to sit in that church listening to that stuff – - being indoctrinated to hate. How could a father and mother do that, even if it was only to get politically connected and win the votes of that community, how could they have done that. Watching and listening to President Obama these days, I realize I don’t know much if anything about him.

  10. Krick

    I am offering to help establish a survivors’ fund to assist in gathering information from those with whom the truth lies. Will someone please ask Jay (Carney, the other Jay) how and where to get in touch with these mystery guests? I suppose these protected witnesses are at the top of the list to be questioned during any and all investigations. But I would like to do my own investigations, if that’s OK, because I have not heard or read a word about these folks who almost died in the midst of the mortar attacks.

  11. Roland Kayser

    The video in question caused riots in several Middle-Eastern cities. Until we had more intelligence, it was not illogical to assume that this was also the case here.

    • Mike

      It might not be illogical but it is irresponsible. Currently the administration is tight-lipped because they want to await details that come out through an investigation. But why did they go around propagating the lie in the first place?

      • Big Dave

        the administration is tight lipped because not only did they lie about the video causing the attack but they also sat and watched as our Navy Seals were gunning down … and they did nothing. They had 7 hours to respond and help our brave Seals but instead our Seals sat alone – screaming for help – and they were left alone by the direct order of our supposed commander and chief. This would obviously be political death for Obama but being the coward that he is he buttoned it all up until after the election.

    • Krick

      Roland, not so fast, there. It might have been logical to consider this video for about ten minutes. And that is only if you consider a couple of teenagers walking by the horrific scene as serious sources of intelligence, which I don’t, and neither did anyone else, ever. I have 1000s of articles to back up this “opinion”, by the way.

    • Len

      Re: “Until we had more intelligence, it was not illogical to assume that this was also the case here [hysteria over a purported movie trailer].”

      True, but irrelevant.

      In addition to firsthand accounts, situation reports, urgent requests for assistance, and a coded “in extremis” flash, the White House had footage of the situation as it was developing, as it went down, and for some time afterwards.

      Assumptions were no longer necessary.

      Nor was detailed response planning — both AFRICOM and CENTCOM had detailed, vetted, approved, rehearsed, and self-executing “in extremis” non-combatant evacuation [NEO] plans, as well as ready assets available to execute them. They would have to have been waived off, at secretarial-level or above, not to execute.

      Assumptions weren’t necessary, but, once rescue was waived off, coverup apparently was.

    • Big Dave

      You obviously haven’t been paying any attention to the latest intel released on the attack. Obama KNEW that this was a terror attack the day of – in fact the White House had live streaming video from a drone flying over head AND they had reports from the state dept and CIA that this was a coordinated terror attack. The White House cooked up the video story to attempt to hide the fact that Obama had been caught napping and allowed a terror attack … and 4 Americans killed … and all of this right before the election. Obama is a coward and a lair and these are facts backed up by the latest intel and the congressional investigation.

    • cindyh

      That offending video was put out in JULY – why did it not get offensive until 9/11? The people who made the video said they did so to incite violence – and they are supposedly Christian? Nothing in this scenario adds up.

  12. erika

    Keep coming back to this and appreciating reading the thoughtful comments – - its reassuring.

    I saw somewhere that one of the administrations reasons for not sending jets overhead during the battle in Benghazi was that we (the US) did not want to violate the airspace of a sovereign foreign nation without permission.

    did anyone else see that from any reliable source?

    If that is, in fact, something someone in the Administration actually said with regard to this battle – - we must consider this:
    (1) Why, after helping to liberate that population from its dictator, did we not obtain a standing agreement with the newly elected leaders of that country that we could send military to defend our personnel there as necessary without first having to ask their permission?
    (2) Even if we didn’t have such a standing agreement, why didn’t we ask (demand?) permission at the time?
    (3) And even if we were refused permission, why didn’t we just do it?
    It seems to me the answer to all three questions is going to be the same. The US had in place a philosophical and ideological plan that it was following before, during, and even now after the battle there. It is to try to do the impossible – - to allow these countries to have democratically elected governments that will not be anti-American (its too much and too early to hope they might be pro-American – - we’re just hoping they won’t be anti-American – - which simply means they will allow us to market and sell our good there and maybe not harbor terrorist organizations.

    Which if true, is true for all of the Middle East as well, and true for everything that happens or might happen there as well. For example, the President has NEVER said the US will PREVENT Iran from attacking Israel. He has only said the US has Israel’s back! and if Iran attacks Israel the US will attack Iran. Well, that must be comforting for Israelis. They can relax now, knowing that, like with Benghazi, if Iran attacks Israel (Israel by the way is being attacked daily with rockets coming from Gaza right now) then the US will investigate and bring the “folks” who did it to justice – - after the fact. Consider too, as pointed out in the last debate) after all the lives and money give to “freeing” Iraq, the US (we) does NOT have a status of forces agreement with Iraq. We would have to get permission it would seem then to fly over Iraq to attack Iran. Do you ever see that happening?

    It seems to me, and this is my point – - the answer to the Benghazi/Libya questions will reveal a lot more than just what happened there. It will reveal our (the US’s) official foreign policy approach worldwide.

    • silo

      “did anyone else see that from any reliable source?” – Erika

      In that one sentence, you’ve pinned the very issue on all the Benghazi discussions. Many, many posts filled with assumptions, conspiracies and opinions. Nothing tangible, nothing non-partisan, in the way of citations. The greatest volume of those claims coming from the far right critics of this administration. The same body of critics who were strangely silent during similar events of the previous administration.

      It creates the strong impression that these posts have nothing to do with learning the truth, or honoring the dead, or upgrading our foreign policies. They simply seek desperately to pin something on the current administration and hope that it sticks for another week.

      • erika

        Exactly. That is why I asked the question. What are facts and what have been merely conjecture or opinion get all mixed into the mess and no one can discern the truth.

        But that works to the advantage of the guilty and those who seek to avoid responsibility as well. They simply argue that what are facts are really just conjecture or opinion and no one has the time or energy to sort it out and hold them responsible.

        So I googled “Panetta, Benghazi, and Sovereign nation” and found this from CBS News:
        “Even if the team had been ready in time, confusion about what was happening on the ground in Benghazi — and State Department concerns about violating Libyan sovereignty — made a military rescue mission impractical, officials say.”
        http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57540473/panetta-unclear-early-info-slowed-benghazi-response/

        How does this affect your thinking then on what happened or more precisely didn’t happen and why?

  13. Charles

    “…I’ve never seen evidence of competing news outlets conspiring with each other.”

    Outright, over conspiracy would never work. There would be a story to write about right there.

    No, I think what we are seeing in this case is what we see in many other cases which is just the natural result of “group think.” Far too many newsrooms think that diversity has something to do skin color or which bathroom a person uses, rather than with their world view, experiences, and even personal political biases. When part of a group with a dominant thought process, world view, and narrative, it can be very difficult even for someone who does have different views to speak up.

    Notice how criminal misuse of guns is so often national news for days on end even as legal self defense of guns tends to get much shorter play and then usually only in the local market where it happened. Notice that white on black crime gets much more media attention that black on white crime even though the latter is far more common than the former.

    There is no overt conspiracy to bury the Libya story. There are just not enough reporters and columnists who are willing to damage Obama right now. And near as anyone can tell right now the effects of this story on the president range from not good, to really really bad. The standard news room group think is just that our president is doing a good job, is way better than the alternative, and so it would take a lot of individual initiative and integrity to actually work on a story that might be damaging to the president’s re-election. Maybe even beyond the ability for too many in such an environment to believe could have happened. Good people, OUR good people, don’t do bad things is easy enough to believe when convenient. No conspiracy. Just outside the group think.

  14. UtahBlueDevil

    This conspiracy chatter is must humorous.

    When 400 US Marines died in Lebanon from a bombing attack that the Reagan administration knew was threatened, and later the US Embassy there was bomber killing hundreds more, do you think really the Reagan sat idly by and allowed those events to take place?

    When the Bush administration claimed to the world that the US had proof positive that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only later to not be able to find any such weapons, do you think that they purposely misled the US public?

    How is it possible that in these two examples, both administrations were given the benefit of doubt that they thought they had done the right thing with the information they had, leading to the deaths of hundreds in one case, and tens of thousands in the later, can people then suppose that this case here rises to a conspiracy of government and media to surpress information to the American public.

    In the early hours and days following the shooting of the US Boarder Patrol agent, drug lords using fast and furious guns were accused as being the source of the chaps life – only to find out that it was friendly fire that killed him.

    How is it that 2,700 Americans lost their lives to one of the biggest single breaches of security was the then government given the benefit of the doubt that it was a security lapse and the confusion afterward were gaps in the system…. and yet now, after the deaths of 4 americans in an unsafe country, that these people knew the risks they were going into, does this rise to some form if gross governmental incompetence.

    What is most encouraging is most media have resisted the pull to dive into partisan attacks on this event before all the facts are known. Fox has its own agenda…. and that is not to find the facts, but to blame and criticize at a partisan level. What exactly was the political affiliation of the two generals in charge… why not go after them.

    Ifs just another example of partisan reporting going amuck. In time, we will have a full investigation. Until then, it is un-named sources that helps sell headlines and advertising slots. Pretty sick.

    • Krick

      Bob “At the moment I have no family involved in foreign service,”
      Good comment until the hate black president thing. I guess i’d have to hate my grandson from Ethiopia, as well.
      .”Utah blue devil”
      Funny how so many people on both sides relied upon the same intelligence. Bush is still paying the political price, but at least we know there was intelligence in support of what happened. Just about everybody was all systems go. What advantage was it to Bush to lie about intel?
      And, by the way, if it turns out that Obama had “concrete” intelligence upon which little Jay Carney went out and said over and over again: the video, the video. ( I honestly thought the press room was going to errupt with laughter – but they didn’t and I knew in that second that we were in trouble.) I hope I will have the intellectual honesty to deal with it. Until then, I remain politically driven, as well as personally. This matter could be settled in an hour of honest questions and answers.

  15. Su

    Why would a general not follow through when usually these guys are hot-wired to get in the fight. They were monitoring the battle and their screams and cries for help in real time. The President is lying.

  16. Hutterite

    None of this effort to make President Obama look any worse makes WillyMitt look any better. You’re going to vote for whom you vote, and I for whom I will vote.

  17. Memorie Durfee

    I hate to be a conspiracy nut, but this story ought to be explosive. Why does it keep getting stuffed? Who is stuffing it? I know people are afraid to sway an election by releasing a bombshell just weeks before the election, but this is incredibly important to the future of our nation. Either someone in the administration (this doesn’t imply just Obama) deliberately set Ambassador Stevens up, or somebody is incredibly incompetent. Obama has a Middle-east adviser with family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. We may have an Al-Qaeda mole in the current administration.

  18. mark

    Does anyone, at all, care to provide any evidence, whatsoever, to back any aspect of your conspiracy theories?

    Jay, as editor of the D News, it might behoove you to know the issues much, much better that you talk about. If you did any study, at all, you will find insight into the concerns you have. It is actually quite sad to read your opinion piece, and realize how terribly ill informed you are on this issue. It does not speak well for your newspaper, unfortunately.

  19. Jake Hack

    Jay your excusing the media for not reporting or investigating the truth of this situation is pathetic. It is a case of clear and obvious media bias. We have four murdered American heroes. One of them was raped. The president’s administration watched and did nothing after repeated requests for help. Flatly ignoring the details this attack and not reporting it makes those in the news media also culpable in a cover up of murder and rape.

    How are other ambassadors and our military and others in harm’s way feeling about their country protecting them right now?

    How empowered are terrorists feeling right now? How much surge in recruitment is this act inspiring for them?

    How about, at the very least, a report from the news media of the amazing heroism of the ex-seal who was told to “stand down” but instead saved thirty American lives. If not for him, the death count would be 34.

    How about the way the president mocked Mitt Romney in the debate when questioned on the lives he didn’t protect. “Not optimal”

    Jay, if you think you can help shape public opinion on this matter in favor of the failure of the Administration you are fooled. People are angry. By buying into the “non-reporting” if this issue you are fooling yourself or you are part of the group trying to protect the guilty. You are a reporter. You should know better than this, or you do, and you are trying to deceive us.

    • Jay Evensen

      Jake, how am I excusing the media? I am raising a lot of questions as to why the issue isn’t getting more coverage. But the report you suggest about the ex-seal who ignored orders to stand down has indeed been reported. It was in one of the reports I linked to in my blog.

  20. Kyle

    I’m very upset at how this has been handled by the President and the media. I think we (the public) have been deliberately misled and I don’t understand why the media and people in general don’t care more about this.

  21. Lamar

    I did not see NBC, ABC, CBS mentioned in the article. Remember the sheen lady who opposed the War when Bush was commander in Chief. She got alot of TV time. The father of the Navy Seal when has he been on abc, cbs or nbc. The saying now is When obama calls the seals respond when the seals ask for help obama says no.

  22. lamar

    where does Jim Matheson stand on this issue. He is suppose to be a stand up man not a obama puppet. When Sec. Clinton asked the question when she was running for Pres. Who do you want answering the red phone at 3 in the morning. We now know how obama answered his 3 am call. As a father of a son I would not want my son serving under this commander. The seals answered his call why did he not answere their call.

  23. JWB

    I don’t know about a media conspiracy but I do believe the administration had shortfalls and didn’t address them when they should have before the President went to Las Vegas. Was there a leg in the situation room? Our dedicated diplomatic servants and support personnel for the United States of America gave their all believing that aid would be coming. They waited but still took actions believing they wouldn’t be forgotten since the Ambassador had requested updated or upgraded security in August 2012. He knew that they were deficient under the circumstances prior to 9/11/2012.

    Why was the Ambassador in Benghazi at a less secure site than Tripoli the day of the 11th anniversary of 9/11/2001? Why would he not have appropriate security when visiting that Consulate? He was in an accident waiting to happen and what extraordinary circumstances required him to be there in one of the most insecure sites in northern Africa?

    Military and intelligence people in all agencies have taken a big hit from the current administration. The former CIA director or now the Secretary of Defense had full access to the President. The current CIA director, a former 4-star general, and commander over people in the two wars of this past decade definitely knew the assets and abilities of personnel and equipment that could have aided these valiant men in harm’s way.

    Almost two months later and the administration is not fessing up to the real story. A city with many cells of adversaries aimed at the consulate was a known fact of the Ambassador. Why was he there?

  24. Charles D. Coleman

    The reason the Benghazi story has no legs is because the editorial boards of the New York Times as well as AP and UPI who provide the majority of news to the local papers has actively suppressed the information that Fox News is reporting in order to get President Obama elected. These news outlets have become a true threat to our national security by providing cover for a cover-up by the Obama administration. They are actively playing a deceptive game to the American public because they have only one goal, to get Obama re-elected. History will ultimately judge these people very harshly and will show that the Benghazi was far worse and Nixonian than Watergate. However, I am sure that this corrupt administration will still go down on November 6 and all the filth they have done will be exposed. I am nauseated by what the President and his campaign is doing in this cover-up and the complicity of the New York Times and it’s affiliates deserve the same condemnation.

  25. Manolo

    Contrary to most of the others, I don’t believe this to be a “nicely written piece.” It remains consistent with what clearly has been a policy of DesNews, and the rest of the left and radical left media, to not write anything that is critical of President Obama or his administration. It would be interesting and courageous of the editor and opinion writers of this paper to explain the details and reasoning for this policy. I’m sure the readers would like to know why you find it necessary to handle this administration differently from others.

    Regardless, this opinion does anything but point out that a controversy exists. Rather, it arrives at a neutral position that there may be, but also equally might not be any scandal. Further, I don’t see how anyone could conclude that the DesNews opinion writers did a “good job” when they didn’t conduct any investigation on their own. Instead, they relied upon what other news reporters wrote.

    And it seems strange that in this case the DesNews “opinion” is that the DesNews doesn’t have an opinion. Huh?

    Some media outlets believe it’s their right and power to control and shape public opinion, rather than providing the news. And that, perhaps, belies Fox News’ success in that they are willing to investigate news worthy items you refuse to.

    • Manolo,
      Come now, do you really expect a newspaper in Salt Lake to conduct its own investigation into this matter? We simply don’t have the resources for such a thing. I wish we did. As for your assertion that we treat this administration differently than others, that is not true. We have been highly critical of Obama administration when we have felt it necessary, which has been often. Given much of what I have written over the last four years, your comments are stunning. Check the archives.
      In this matter, however, it is clear from a dry-eyed view of the facts that there is little hard evidence yet to substantiate a lot of the wild accusations being thrown around in these comments. I think the matter deserves more attention, especially by the news outlets with the resources to delve into it, which is what I have said. By adding my voice to that idea, I hope to help build pressure for it to happen. You are awfully quick to jump to conclusions about us refusing to do this or that. You also seem to like to throw out statements without substantiating them, such as about positions we have taken regarding the president. This most likely speaks to the care you take in shaping your views of the world.

      • John Brown

        Fair enough. DN doesn’t have the resources to do national investigative journalism.

        But that just confirms my point below that many outlets simply server as signal boosters. Someone else decides what to feed you in this matter.

        However, that doesn’t mean DN staff can’t do analysis on what’s being fed to you. You can do your own in-depth analysis on everything we’ve learned up to this point. That would be useful content.

        I do want to applaud you for wading into the comment morass. It’s rare that a writer will do that. And many times it’s not worth beating your head against the not-listening wall we commenters create.

      • Krick

        Jay, please find out about the survivors for us. That’s the story of the year. From what I have read and studied, I believe I am the only curious person about this issue in the entire United States. In the 1000s of articles I have seen, I have not read one word about “Hey, let’s talk to those 30 people who went from the annex to the airport and got on those two flights to Tripoli and were debriefed by Charlene Lamb,” ( the state department lady clearly over her head in this matter.) These survivors had just spent several hours right next to the four who lost their lives. Are they officially not talking until after the election? Did two of them talk to Jennifer Griffin? They are hiding them somewhere. No conspiracy, just politics?

  26. JWB

    Fox news will do the reporting for this but the Obama administration, Department of State and other agencies and departments aren’t cooperating with Fox. Even Jason Chaffetz won’t discuss some of the information the Senator Kyl will discuss. Kyl has been around the block and knows more buttons to push. Jason Chaffetz is a great representative for Utah but is most likely tagged as a Tea Party person. He needs someone from the Senate to chime in with him that has the ability and power to do so.

    Mrs. Clinton got caught in this event and I am not sure the 3 a.m. call was effective for her and her employees in Benghazi.

  27. John Brown

    You’ve never seen journalists conspire?

    Evensen, did you suddenly forget about Journolist? Good grief, man. Retract your head from the sand.

    For those who don’t know what that was, Google or Wikipedia it. And then ask yourself: did these “journalists” feel and display such great shame that you can feel confident they didn’t just find another way to “talk”?

    Evensen, really.

    Furthermore, many articles are nothing more than repeats of what someone else has already written. For example, every time you print an AP piece you take space from original analysis and replace it with something someone fed you. That’s not adding a variety of voices. That’s repeating the same voice.

    As a recent example, look at the recent AP “analysis” the Deseret News repeated a couple of days ago that Obama is poised to eke out a victory. That’s news? A no link to the supporting data? Not the fact that Rasmussen and Gallup on the very same day show Romney ahead in Ohio and tied in Wisconsin? Not even a mention of that? No, it was brain off and repeat whatever AP sends us.

    You do the same thing every time you boost the signal of some narrative over other competing narratives. Nobody dedicated any time to Pad Caddell’s recent speech at the Accuracy in Media conference. No, instead everyone runs with bits about Candy Crowley as a moderator.

    The press needs to be hunting for stories. Not looking for cheap content to fill its pages.

  28. mark

    “there is little hard evidence yet to substantiate a lot of the wild accusations being thrown around in these comments. ”

    Little hard evidence YET? You have got to be kidding me. Like you really think there is going to be hard evidence to back up these claims?

    “You also seem to like to throw out statements without substantiating them,”

    Many of the questions you have in your opinion piece have already been addressed, sir, and yet you pretend that they are open questions that the real media, not the D News clearly, need to investigate. It is your type of reporting that stirs the ugly response that you see in these comments. There is absolutely no indication, whatsoever, of a scandal, or a cover up of any kind.

    When there is any evidence at all to indicate a scandal get back to me. And yes, the media needs to do its job, but its job is not to try to stir up impropriety with no evidence. When you have something get back to me. Mr. Everson, you know as well as I do that the media will not hide anything if it is a scandal. Don’t act like they would. You are embarrassing yourself.

    As far the posters, I keep asking for this, and nobody can deliver: if you have any evidence to back up any of your wild claims, present it. But be precise, and cite your sources.

  29. Harold Springer

    The administration was gun-walking SA-7 AA missiles out of the Benghazi Annex, through Turkey, to Syrian Al Qaeda groups. This “secret” was important enough for Panetta & Obama to throw an ambassador, 4 ex-seals, Susan Rice & Mr Carney under the bus. Sort of a mega Iran-Contra.

    link to: http://tinyurl.com/9rb3tgm

  30. John Pack Lambert

    The problem is not conspiracy in the news media, but an overwhelming liberal bias on the part of reporters that clouds the way the report and how they report. We need more political balance in reporting teams.

  31. JWB

    Thanks again, for this article and comments posted.

    I understand that some media is noting the problem but hiding it within their newspapers, etc.

    It is sort of like the Newspapers that put out their endorsements. Some of those 40 listed in the DN gave statements in their endorsement that would sound as if they would not support the President due to his “failures, missteps and lack of planning and keeping his promises”.

    Then they endorse that person. I thought journalists in Newspapers had some sort of code of ethics. When you see the NY, LA and DC endorsements and read their comments it shows there is no integrity.

    That would be similar to CNN making their comments about the problems with Benghazi and hiding that in the back away from any headline ability.

  32. Paul S

    Looks like we may have an Obamagate. This could be worse than the
    Watergate matter, for which an American president was impeached and resigned in dishoner. Maybe we will have another impeachment – will it go further, with the president being tossed out of office or resign? If he is not reelected, then would he be subject to go before the law? Interesting questions. I guess we will see!

  33. Paul S

    Adding to my original post, Nixon was impeached, not for the breakin, but for lying about it and his attempted cover up. If President Obama is doing the same thing, if could be bad for him. Better for him to come clean, but he is not about to do that before the election for fear the American people would turn against him and he would not be reelected. He may come clean after the election, if he wins, but watch, he will put blame somewhere else – he will have a scapegoat.

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