Friday, November 08, 2013

60 Minutes: Back in the Fold?

It must have been a tough week for the 60 Minutes staff and CBS in general.  After Lara Logan's bombshell expose on Benghazi back on October 27 chances are there were some really pissed off people, both at the network and in the administration.  Didn't they know that only Fox News cares about Benghazi and they are a bunch of partisan hacks trying to make a tragedy political?  

Curiously, after Logan's report aired there was not one CBS reporter who asked any follow up questions about it during both the White House press briefing or the State Department briefing.  Matter of fact, normal CBS State correspondent Margaret Brennan wasn't even present in the room during the week after airing, which seemed strange.

Suddenly now they tell us that wait, their report on Benghazi was wrong!   The State Department contractor responsible for security at the facility was never there--he was lying all along.  60 Minutes takes their sources seriously and they are going to do a full mea culpa this weekend.    

Here is the original report..

Ah, sorry again, apparently they've spiked the video.  RCP has a transcript here (along with an embedded CBS video that will not play).  Have they really spiked this video?  That would be something else.  
The question is whether they will now use the alleged phony testimony of Davies to scuttle the entire report despite the fact that the real bombshell was never Davies, who is writing a book, but former Green Beret Andy Wood, described in the report as "was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day".

Wood told Logan he reported to the State Department in Washington that AQ was threatening to attack and the compound was vulnerable and should be abandoned.
Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, "You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It's gonna happen. You need to change your security profile."
Lara Logan: Shut down--
Andy Wood: Shut down--
Lara Logan: --the special mission--
Andy Wood: --"Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch-- or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are-- they are-- they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they're in the final planning stages."
Time will tell if they will come back and discredit Wood's comments, or those of Deputy Ambassador Greg Hicks, also in their report.  Curiously, 60 Minutes claims they were finally convinced that Davies was a fraud when the FBI told them his after-action interrogation wasn't consistent with what he said on the show--which he claimed otherwise.  And how did they find out?   Wow, a leak from the FBI, which up to this point has encircled the case in a vacuum:
The information he provided in an F.B.I. interview was described on Thursday by two senior government officials as consistent with an incident report by the Blue Mountain security business,
Something smells very rotten here.

MORE  11/8/13

The New York Times expands on its 60 Minutes story (emphasis added):
But the program seemed to make a crucial error in going ahead with its report before it knew for certain what was in the F.B.I. interviews. Mr. Fager said CBS had made extensive efforts to determine what Mr. Davies told the F.B.I. He said the network had sources who led the program to believe that the report was “in sync” with the account Mr. Davies gave to “60 Minutes.”
Sounds like they had multiple sources telling them to trust Davies' account.  They won't give up those sources so for all we know they are the same, with 60 Minutes engaged in some kind of elaborate stunt to help close the book on Benghazi once and for all.   Wondering if the president authorized the FBI to leak the 302 interviews that now allegedly prove Davies a liar or did they come from somebody in the mailroom at State?

How about those leaked 302s, will the public get to see them?  Right now we are left to trust 1) 60 Minutes and 2) the New York Times...
Informed Thursday night by The Times that the F.B.I. version diverged from what Mr. Davies said on “60 Minutes,” CBS News quickly checked its own F.B.I. sources, Mr. Fager said, and learned that what Mr. Davies had told the F.B.I. “differed from what he told us.”
Which makes it sound like 60 Minutes was checking sources but didn't bother to check ITS OWN sources at the FBI before going to press, which is frankly unbelievable.  The rotten smell in Denmark is wafting in.

It is now confirmed that 60 Minutes removed the segment from their website, which means the testimony of  ex Green Beret Andy Wood, who tried to warn Washington about an impending AQ attack, has also been wiped out.  In some ways the tarring of Davies drags Mr Wood's credibility into the gutter, since they've pulled the segment and apologized all over themselves.  One would hope they would clarify this distinction on Sunday's mea cupla show, but what difference, at this point, does it make anyway?

MORE  11/8/13

This feels like it should be making more waves than it is.   Lee Stranahan agrees..

And this is a shared concern..

Here's his blog post, which includes some excerpts from the now-banned book.

And here are more links to some coverage..

MORE 11/9/13

As expected, this is making more noise on the left than the right.  There's a kind of feeling that the Benghazi thing itself has been exposed as a political fraud, just in outing this so-called liar "Mr. Davies".   Here's a story on Talking Points Memo playing up the idea that 60 Minutes was just trying to appeal to a more conservative set of viewers in covering the story, which is itself outlandish, as if everyone on the left thinks Benghazi was actually about the Mohammed filmmaker...
A former "60 Minutes" producer who was fired over a 2004 story about then-President George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard said Friday that CBS' now retracted story detailing the attack in Benghazi, Libya was done to appeal to conservatives.
"My concern is that the story was done very pointedly to appeal to a more conservative audience's beliefs about what happened at Benghazi," Mary Mapes told Media Matters. "They appear to have done that story to appeal specifically to a politically conservative audience that is obsessed with Benghazi and believes that Benghazi was much more than a tragedy."
The name Mary Mapes should ring a bell--she was the producer that ran with the Bush TANG documents that turned out to be forgeries. So, she might just have a tiny little reason to hold that viewpoint.

How about just giving us the truth? Anyone? Bueller?

MORE 11/9/13

Notice how the WaPo describes the fallout from this story:
CBS’s withdrawal of the story not only undermined its reporting, but that of Fox News, which apparently relied on Davies as a source for stories that have challenged the Obama administration’s account of events. Fox had cited the “60 Minutes” story repeatedly to validate its earlier reporting.
Indeed none of the major news reports on this story are commenting on whether Andy Wood's testimony presented during the same show was legit or not--he was the one who claimed to have told State (Hillary) that AQ was planning an attack. Odd, that.

Or not, especially if the goal was to de-legitimize the upcoming testimony of CIA witnesses (next week) while trying to embarrass Fox News. The White House has repeatedly tried to turn every question on Benghazi into a partisan witch hunt, questions that mostly come from Fox. Now they've got some red meat to back it up--the whole thing is just as phony as "Rather-gate". Is it within the realm of possibility that CBS took a bullet for the team?  Where are the 302s?


Perhaps as ordinary citizens we cannot handle the truth, especially if this expose is anywhere close to the truth:
It appears to be more plausible that the entire Benghazi/Syrian arms operation had been compromised by Russian intelligence, and the 9/11 attack was mounted to intercept the weapons intended for the rebels, and redirect them to either the Assad regime itself or to Hamas in Gaza for use against Israel should the conflict widen.
This would serve Russian interests by once and for all halting the massive arms shipments funneled through Benghazi to Turkey, and from there to the Syrian rebels. Clearly, in the eyes of the Russians, the Benghazi gun-running represented an unacceptable intervention by the Americans in the Syrian civil war. Russian President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly warned Obama not to meddle in the Syrian conflict.
It was widely discussed among the attendees of the G20 summit that Putin feared that the fall of the Assad regime would result in yet another unstable Islamist government, as had already resulted from the other "Arab Spring" revolts.
His theory makes more sense than anything else I've read to date. It's always been puzzling as to why AQ or AQ-backed groups would have attacked the Benghazi operation if indeed Stevens, with Turkey's help, was moving weapons into their war against Assad in Syria.  Seems self-defeating.  But if the Ansar group is actually backed by Iran the entire thing makes perfect sense and explains why the administration went to such lengths to cover up the event.

It does not, however, comport with Andy Wood's statements made on the 60 Minutes segment regarding AQ backed groups wanting to attack our mission, other than perhaps a general conclusion that "Islamic militants" were likely to attack.  There may be many shades of gray in play.  Of course, if any of the above story is even remotely true there is no way the public will be hearing about it anytime soon.  We should also expect more hijinks in the coming weeks to dissuade or confuse or diminish the testimony of anyone involved as an eye-witness.

One could make the argument that perhaps the public should not know the brutal truth, that there's a limit on sunshine in a dangerous world.  But considering the current events occurring now in the Middle East, with the administration now on a course to sign a 'peace' deal with Iran after the embarrassment of Syria--and the possible longer term consequences of such a deal--maybe we need to know.   

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