On Sunday evening, CBS News’ 60 Minutes featured an investigative report on the Benghazi attacks by Lara Logan. Logan’s reporting confirmed that the Obama administration had been warned, months in advance, about inadequate security at the U.S. facility in Benghazi, and that it knew the story about a YouTube video was untrue. It was a reversal for CBS News, which played a key role in the Benghazi cover-up in 2012.
A year ago, CBS News released a previously unaired clip of an interview for 60 Minutes with President Barack Obama on Sep. 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, in which the president suggests clearly that the attack on the U.S. consulate was premeditated. The interview contradicted Obama’s subsequent claims that the attack had been a response to an anti-Islam YouTube video, repeated to the public for several days.
CBS News had withheld that portion of the Sep. 12 interview until Oct. 19, choosing instead to release a portion in which Obama criticized rival Mitt Romney’s condemnation of the administration’s response to events–a repeated theme as the media helped Obama deflect responsibility. Romney had attacked the White House’s apology for the video during the attack on the Cairo embassy, not knowing of the deaths in Libya.
After the election, Kroft continued to insist that there was “no information that anything’s been covered up” by the media or the Obama administration about the Benghazi attacks. That statement was wrong based on what was known at the time, and looks even worse today, after whistleblowers testified to Congress earlier this year they were pressured by Clinton’s chief of staff not to cooperate with congressional investigators.
Logan’s investigation featured an interview with one of those whistleblowers, Greg Hicks, who had been the deputy to slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Logan also interviewed “Morgan Jones” (pseudonym), a former British soldier who had been advising the U.S. on security in Benghazi and had warned the State Department that Libyan guards being trained to guard the compound were not up to the job.
Morgan’s warnings came to fruition on Sep. 11, 2012, when he saw the guards disperse after being told by the attackers: “We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans.” Morgan did what little he could to stop the attack. A second attack at the CIA Annex was partly fought off by a small group that saved five American lives and has since, Logan reported, earned “the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross” for its bravery.
Yet the Obama administration did not send any assistance throughout the night, and is thought to have issued a stand-down order to prevent any intervention. What Logan’s report makes clear is that there is no way that President Obama or his Secretary of State could plausibly claim that a YouTube video had inspired a spontaneous act of violence on that scale against the U.S. consulate, the CIA annex and their personnel.
That story was a lie when it was told–and it was a lie aided and abetted by the mainstream media, including CBS News and 60 Minutes, which could have exploded the administration’s YouTube video alibi even as Obama and Clinton were telling it to the families of the victims, to the voting public, and to the world. The Sunday night report is commendable, but as an attempt to atone for malpractice, it is far too little, too late.