Sixth in a series about Fox News’s Oct. 26 story on Benghazi.
On Oct. 26, Jennifer Griffin of Fox News filed a resounding story hammering alleged incompetence and slow-footedness by the Central Intelligence Agency’s ”chain of command” in responding to the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. interests in Benghazi, Libya — events that ended in the deaths of four Americans. The story alleged that the CIA twice told security “operators” to “stand down,” rather than rush from a CIA annex to defend a U.S. diplomatic compound that had come under attack, and that agency brass denied requests for military backup.
A week later, in briefings conducted with news organizations, a senior intelligence official took issue with the conclusions of the Fox News story and provided a timeline of events. That counternarrative surfaced Friday in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The gist was that the CIA never issued stand-down orders and security officials responded quickly to the call for help from the compound, which is about a mile away from a key CIA annex.
Then came the counter-counternarrative: Fox News on Saturday, under the byline of Adam Housley, challenged the challenge to the original Fox story. It alleged that the intelligence official’s timeline didn’t paint a complete picture of the troubles brewing in Benghazi. Signs of trouble at the diplomatic compound, charged the story, surfaced far earlier than intelligence officials have acknowledged.
The official story is that the CIA annex got a call for assistance from the compound at 9:40 p.m. and moved expeditiously to provide help. Housley’s report came up with a competing timeline:
Both American and British sources say multiple roadblocks set up by fighters believed to be with Ansar al-Sharia were in place in Benghazi several hours before the 9:40 p.m. timeline and that communications also alluded to “heavily armed troops showing up with artillery.” Fox News was told by both American and British contacts who were in Benghazi that night that the CIA timeline rolled out this past week is only “loosely based on the truth” and “doesn’t quite add up.”
Yesterday the Erik Wemple Blog attempted to goad the CIA into rebutting Fox’s rebuttal, thereby kicking off a second round of Fox-CIA pugilism. No dice: The agency declined to comment on the matter.
The series so far: