Tonight, the State Department blasted CNN for releasing any details at all regarding the discovered diary of Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. In fact, the State Department seems far more concerned about CNN reporting on a legitimately-obtained news story than they were about Benghazi’s security situation. It gets worse. The State Department was so upset about the partial defection of their palace guards at CNN that they released their statement to Huffington Post and motivated leftist reporter Michael Calderone, just to ensure that it got proper treatment from their political lackeys.
Longtime Hillary Clinton spokesperson Philippe Reines gave Huffington Post the following statement:
Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.
What they’re not owning up to is reading and transcribing Chris’s diary well before bothering to tell the family or anyone else that they took it from the site of the attack. Or that when they finally did tell them, they completely ignored the wishes of the family, and ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the Unites States of Chris’s remains.
Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?
When a junior person at CNN called, they didn’t say, ‘Hello, I know this is a terrible time, but I’m sure you want your son’s diary, where do you want it sent?’ They instead took the opportunity to ask the family if CNN could report on its contents. Contents known only to Chris Stevens, and those at CNN who had already invaded his privacy.
When the seniormost levels of CNN were finally reached, they needed to be convinced to do the right thing. But not before they took a second shot at convincing the family to let them report on the contents. A family member made it crystal clear directly to CNN that they wanted Chris’s diary and would not make any other decisions until then. But that wasn’t fast enough for CNN, so they helpfully offered to send the family the transcript they’d already made and passed around, to put a rush on it for their own purposes.
It was then made clear to them, for what must have been the fourth time in the same call, that they wanted to look at it privately, together as a family before making any decisions. Period. CNN finally heard their request enough times that they had to accept it, agreed to abide by the clear wishes of the Stevens family, and pledged not to use the diary or even allude to its existence until hearing back from the family.
But the Stevens family was never given that chance. I guess four days was as long as CNN could control themselves, so they just went ahead and used it. Entirely because they felt like it. Anderson Cooper didn’t even bother to offer any other explanation as to why the network broke its promise to the family. And only did so after being contacted by a reporter asking about the diary and their convoluted sourcing.
How do they justify that? They have yet to even try to defend the indefensible. Not a proud episode in CNN’s history. I’m sure there are many good people in the CNN newsroom equally appalled by this decision and wondering who above them authorized this course of action.
For the State Department to protest at CNN reporting actual news from a properly-obtained source is absurd. For the Obama State Department to do so is mind-boggling, considering the fact that the Obama Department of Defense has repeatedly leaked crucial Israeli national security information to its favorite sources in the press.
For the Obama State Department to blast CNN’s reporting by handing their response to their favorite outlet, Huffington Post, simply demonstrates their views on the role of the press: it’s there to report what Obama wants it to report, not what is actually news.
There’s a reason the State Department is shooting the messenger here: they don’t like what’s in the diary. It puts their boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her boss, Barack Obama, directly in the limelight for their failure to provide adequate security in Benghazi, and more broadly, for turning over vast swaths of the Middle East to Islamists during the misnamed Arab Spring. So instead, State will focus on CNN’s supposed malfeasance. Better than facing up to the fact that the State Department didn’t just fail Ambassador Stevens, it failed the United States.