Did CNN’s Erin Burnett push two ‘Conspiracy Theories’?

Earlier this week, we wrote about a curious chain of events – beginning on July 24th – leading up to the announcement by the FBI that it would be filing criminal charges in the Benghazi attacks on August 7th. This occurred one day after CNN aired a special entitled, “The Truth About Benghazi: An Erin Burnett Outfront Special Investigation.”

The report, a full 40-plus minutes in length, clearly took months to produce. That it aired one day before the FBI charges being announced was… well, curious.

CNN's Erin Burnett: Stevens alive in this photo.

CNN’s Erin Burnett: Stevens alive in this photo.

In response to the protestations of those who would call us conspiracy theorists for questioning the timing of this report’s release, we introduce two excerpts from Burnett’s special in which she makes a couple of interesting claims.

One such claim serves to further debunk the narrative that the anti-Muhammad video was to blame for the attack; the other gives credibility to an al-Qaeda leader who claimed Stevens was not killed by smoke inhalation and that he was pulled out of the compound alive.

First, note that Burnett says the attackers ‘headed straight for the ambassador’s residence’. This is in line with EXHIBIT Y in our original report. That exhibit is a video in which Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier relays accounts from witnesses on the ground who say in a book yet to be released, that Stevens was clearly the target of the attackers.

Second, Burnett shows the now infamous photo of Stevens being dragged outside the compound and says, “This is the last image of Chris Stevens, alive.” This claim lends a degree of credibility to the claims made by al-Qaeda terrorist Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, reported first by Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon, which we also included in our original report.

Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim was that Stevens was pulled from the compound alive and killed by lethal injection later. If the latter is true, why wouldn’t the attackers keep him alive for a prisoner exchange? Stevens was a high-value target, right? If it was a kidnapping operation gone bad, Stevens may have known too much. Again, if we accept Burnett’s claim as the statement of fact she issues it as, we must conclude he died after the photo. That’s not our claim, that’s Burnett’s claim.

So, if there was any collusion between CNN and the Obama administration or even the more believable sympathetic treatment from the network in the very curious chain of events leading up to the FBI announcement one day after Burnett’s report, why would the Axelrods of the world want these two passing mentions of uncomfortable facts put into Burnett’s report?

One such reason might be that the administration sees them as truths that are going to come out and it would rather be ‘out in front’ of them than caught flat-footed (Ironically, Burnett’s program is called, ‘Out Front’). Isn’t that kind of what happened during the second debate between Obama and Romney last year? When Romney called out Obama for the Rose Garden speech one day after the Benghazi attacks, the president hung his hat on using the words “acts of terror” while speaking generally.

It should be noted – due to the context of this post – that it was CNN’s Candy Crowley who had Obama’s back in this exchange:

Of Obama’s Rose Garden comments on September 12th, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Mr. Obama did make reference to the fact that “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,” but his comments that day also appeared to reference the video, when he said, “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” The administration changed its description of the attack, eventually describing it as a terror attack linked to al Qaeda sympathizers.

It’s obvious that Obama wanted the video meme to take root. When it didn’t, his inclusion of the word “terror” saved his hide (along with Crowley’s uncanny preparedness to help him do it).

The point of Burnett’s passing – yet shocking – admissions in her report is that if those truths become part of future debates, the administration can amplify those admissions from Burnett when necessary. To this point, they may be quietly placed for future use.

If this is the case, Stevens was indeed specifically targeted and he did not die inside that safe room. Barely more than two months ago, CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson reported the following on her discussion with a U.S. official:

According to the official, U.S. officials aren’t certain to this day whether Stevens was still alive when local Libyans made cell phone video recordings of his body being carried or dragged from the U.S. mission…

What does Burnett know that Atkisson doesn’t?

In reality, these were huge revelations by Burnett but she seemed to quietly mention them as insignificant factoids.

As for Stevens being specifically targeted, check out how Fox’s Baier delivers the claim as the news item it is (EXHIBIT Y from our original – and ongoing – report):

**NOTE: This post is not the Benghazi Bomshell**


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