By Ben Barrack
In CBS News’ Summary of Findings against Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan, Executive Director of Standards and Practices Al Ortiz took issue with a rather irrefutable charge made by Logan in the now “discredited” 60 Minutes report on Benghazi which aired on October 27th. Apparently, Ortiz thought identifying al-Qaeda as having been involved was too much of a stretch.
CBS chairman Jeff Fager – who seems to have no problem holding up the deceptive communist and globalist Walter Cronkite as a beacon of journalistic integrity – ultimately made the decision to place Logan and McClellan on leave.
Via Washington Post:
Questions have also been raised about the role of Al Qaeda in the attack since Logan declared in the report that Al Qaeda fighters had carried it out. Al Qaeda’s role is the subject of much disagreement and debate. While Logan had multiple sources and good reasons to have confidence in them, her assertions that Al Qaeda carried out the attack and controlled the hospital were not adequately attributed in her report.
The truth is that it’s journalistic malpractice not to conclude al-Qaeda was involved. As has been reported here, Ansar Al-Sharia, the group widely accepted to have been at the heart of the attack is al-Qaeda. According to many sources, the name change was the brainchild of none other than Osama bin Laden himself. It served at least two purposes.
- Since the al-Qaeda name had become politically toxic, a re-branding effort was needed.
- Since Ansar Al-Sharia is a reference to those who follow Sharia law, bin Laden thought it would help the recruiting effort if the U.S. was seen as waging war against Sharia law itself.
In reality, identifying the attackers as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood would have been more accurate since every group that was involved rolls up under that umbrella. The systemic refusal within mainstream media circles to point this out is far more egregious and a much greater disservice to the American people than Logan accusing al-Qaeda of being involved at Benghazi. Logan very correctly went there, much to the apparent chagrin of Ortiz and Fager.
Granted, if that had been the only problem with Logan’s report, she’d probably still be there and Ortiz wouldn’t have been engaged but itemizing that as a problem is clearly an attempt to discredit the entire report instead of the account of one person featured in it – Dylan Davies.
Davies, an employee of Blue Mountain Group, which was contracted by the U.S. State Department, is apparently the Jenga piece that brought the entire report crashing down. However, if you take him out of the mix, it was an extremely credible – if less dramatic – report.
Ah, but what of those who say if any of it is found to be discredited, all of it must be?
Fine, then why isn’t that standard being applied by the media to the Obama administration? Why was Susan Rice promoted instead of fired when she knowingly lied on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012? Why wasn’t Jay Carney fired? Why wasn’t more media pressure applied to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or the President himself, all of whom blamed a video for the attack? It was a narrative pushed for two weeks until the lie could no longer be told.
Many told that lie, knowingly so, over and over and over. Obama’s 36 demonstrable lies about Obamacare only serve to bolster that argument. There is no evidence Logan attempted to mislead, only that she erroneously relied on a witness she thought was credible.
While it’s true that CBS News can’t issue pink slips to Obama administration officials, it certainly should do its job as an adversarial check on power. The high standard CBS is holding Logan to is not being applied to the branches of government that the press is supposed to hold accountable most.
Some administration officials may have even lied under oath. Logan did not. In fact, before she was put on leave, Logan issued a strong mea culpa. No one from the Obama administration – many of whom lied to the families of the victims at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, 2012 – has come close to that. In her testimony, Clinton infamously and indignantly said, “What difference, at this point, does it make?!” when pressed to answer for the discrepancy between the lie about the video and the fact that the Benghazi compound suffered a terrorist attack committed by… dare I say it, al-Qaeda, et. al.
Today, Clinton is shockingly still considered a front-runner for the Democratic Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination. Logan, who’s been through a personal hell of her own in the Middle East, is being branded with a journalistic scarlet letter she does not deserve. Shame on conservatives for not supporting her.
Even if one is inclined to believe Logan received just treatment for her Benghazi support, CBS News dishonors itself by not going after the administration with the same intensity.
Consider the one charge levied by Logan in her report that Ortiz didn’t dispute. When describing the decision made by CIA Annex personnel to go to the Special Mission Compound (SMC), Logan said they “ignored orders to wait”. That doesn’t square with the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) findings on page 23:
The departure of the Annex team was not delayed by orders from superiors; the team leader decided on his own to depart the Annex compound once it was apparent, despite a brief delay to permit their continuing efforts, that rapid support from local security elements was not forthcoming.
Again, if there were “several” problems with the 60 Minutes report – according to Ortiz – why wasn’t this one of them? Why didn’t he side with the ARB? Is it because Logan got that one right and the ARB was wrong? Why was finding fault with Logan’s claim that al-Qaeda was involved considered to be more legitimate? Just this week, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge essentially vindicated Logan in this regard. Here is what Herridge quoted House Intelligence Committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers as saying:
“I can tell you we know the participants of the event were clearly Al Qaeda affiliates, had strong interest and desire to communicate with Al Qaeda core and others, in the process — we believe before and after the event.”
Yet, Ortiz found it more warranted to further attempt to discredit Logan’s report by saying she shouldn’t have identified al-Qaeda as having been involved?! The official ARB report is supposed to be the final authority on what happened, right? Yet, Logan reported something that was at complete variance with it.
Another critical aspect overlooked by Ortiz has to do with the Blue Mountain Group employee, Davies. At the heart of the claims against Logan’s report is Davies’ claims that he too ignored orders to stay away from the compound. When evidence surfaced that Davies did not leave his villa, it conflicted with his account and he was ultimately discredited. Again, an issue no one seems to be focused on is whether Davies was ordered to stand down.
When asked by the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake about the discrepancy between what he told 60 Minutes about going to the compound and what he allegedly told his boss (Robert), Davies did say something that is consistently being overlooked:
Davies said he lied to Robert about his actions that night because he did not want his supervisor to know he had disobeyed his orders to stay at his villa.
This is the claim that has not been discredited.
If, as an employee of a company contracted by the U.S. State Department, Davies was ordered to stand down, it would indicate stand down orders being issued by both the CIA (at the Annex) and the State Department. That would point to high level coordination.
Instead of aggressively defending Logan, conservative media pundits either shake their heads and begrudgingly concede that CBS News did the right thing or give the story of Logan’s treatment a passing mention.
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” – Sir Edmund Burke
The treatment of Logan isn’t just unfortunate; it’s a travesty. Perhaps an even greater travesty is the fact that more people aren’t defending her, especially in light of who she deserves being defended against.
“Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” – Saul Alinsky’s Rule number 4
When people like Logan are not defended, it’s a sign that such an evil rule works.