In many ways, David Kirkpatrick’s bombshell Dec. 28 New York Times article “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi” was par for the course given the paper’s unabashed cheerleading for the Obama administration and its obvious intention to promote a Hillary Clinton presidency.
But a stunning new revelation that the Times had a reporter on the scene during the 2012 attack on the U.S. Benghazi consulate is turning this into a scandal for the Times — one that raises questions about its journalistic ethics.
Kirkpatrick wrote there is no evidence of involvement by al Qaeda or other international terrorist organizations in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans: Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. He also claims a major motivation for the attack was an anti-Islam video.
These contentions ignore a mountain of evidence to the contrary and findings by Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other Obama officials have been accused of lying about the Benghazi terrorist attack to prevent it from hurting the president’s re-election chances by claiming the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration in response to the anti-Islam video.
Kirkpatrick’s article appears to be an attempt shore up these claims to protect President Obama’s legacy and to prevent this issue from being used against Clinton if she runs for president.
Accusations that Kirkpatrick’s article is pure political advocacy has struck a nerve at the Times and led its editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal to make an unusual public defense of Kirkpatrick, noting that the paper has not yet endorsed a candidate in the 2016 presidential race. He also “definitively” stated “there was no editorial/newsroom conspiracy of any kind.”
To paraphrase Hamlet, methinks Rosenthal doth protest too much.
Rosenthal may need to weigh in again as Kirkpatrick’s story has sparked a new scandal: The New York Times had a reporter on the ground who was “talking to the attackers during the attack.” Kirkpatrick tweeted this information on Dec. 30. (Click here
to read Kirkpatrick’s Twitter posts.)
This raises several serious ethical questions.
Why was this information withheld for 15 months and not published in September 2012?
Are there ethical guidelines for Times reporters that would bar them from being embedded with terrorists in the act of conducting a terrorist attack? How could a reporter stand by and watch a U.S. Embassy be attacked and burned?
Didn’t this reporter and the Times have a moral obligation to immediately contact U.S. officials about the attack? Did the reporter have a cell or satellite phone that he could have used to alert U.S authorities or his New York Times editor in New York?
What does this reporter know about the death of Ambassador Stephens? Has he told Congress what he knows?
Kirkpatrick concedes in his article that the attack on the embassy was not spontaneous although he says it was not “meticulously planned.” If the Times had a source in Benghazi during the consulate attack, it knew this in September 2013 and also knew Obama officials were lying about this issue to the American people in the final stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign.
This means it's conceivable The New York Times withheld crucial information about the Benghazi consulate attack that could have prevented Barack Obama from being re-elected.
It seems to me, Mr. Rosenthal, there clearly is a New York Times editorial/newsroom conspiracy here.
Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently Chief Analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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