January 23, 2013
Fox on Benghazi: Too much? (Esam  Omran al-Fetori/Reuters)

Part of the media tumult following the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. diplomatic installation in Benghazi, Libya, related to video. “Real time” video, that is. All kinds of administration officials, if we are to believe certain reports, watched the attacks as they unfolded. Sean Hannity, for example, made a priority of stating that State Department people were linked right into the hostilities. From an early November edition of Fox News’s “Hannity”:

HANNITY: But let me ask you this: We don’t know where the president was on the night of 9/11, when this happened. We don’t know what he knew. He denied for two weeks what was — what we know our State Department watched in real-time, according to this woman [State Department official Charlene] Lamb, who testified [before Congress on Oct. 10].

He referenced this real-time wonder many other times.

A State Department official previously told the Erik Wemple Blog that “nobody” at State watched real-time video of the attacks against the diplomatic compound and, later in the night, against a nearby CIA annex.

In her Senate testimony on Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton went into great detail about all the things she did on the afternoon and evening of Sept. 11, 2012. Here’s a rough breakdown of what Clinton said she did after news of the attacks hit:

• She was in continuous meetings.
• She instructed “senior department officials and diplomatic security personnel to consider every option.”
• She ordered her people to “break down the doors of Libyan officials to get as much security support as possible.”
• She spoke with National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon “several times.”
• She “sought all possible support from the White House.”
• She spoke with the chargé in Tripoli to “get situation updates.”
• She spoke with then-CIA Director David Petraeus.

And look: She watched some secure video. Secure video, that is, of herself in a teleconference with top officials from the intelligence community, the White House and the Defense Department. No mention of “real-time” video of the actual attacks.

Perhaps more detail on this matter will spill out from today’s hearings before Senate and House committees.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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