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Sunday, December 29, 2013

NYT: Anti-Islam video was behind Benghazi

A former CIA analyst poured cold water over the New York Times' new report suggesting al-Qaida was not involved in the September 11, 2012 attack against American targets in Benghazi, Libya --- calling the article "an effort to revive this discredited theory that the anti-Islam video was behind it."

Fred Fleitz spoke with Fox News' Jamie Colby about the "bombshell" New York Times report publishedSaturday, which claims the murder of Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was carried out by Libyans angry over an American-made anti-Islamic video posted on months before the attack.

That was the line peddled by the State Department's Susan Rice immediately following the attack. But a slew of reports in the days and weeks that followed forced Rice and the Obama administration to backtrack, after it became clear that international Islamic terrorists --- including al-Qaeda --- had planned and executed at least a portion of the assault. The New York Times article is the first news contradicting that account in well over a year.

"I read this report and I was really incredulous," Fleitz began. "It's seems to be an effort to revive this discredited theory that the anti-Islam video was behind it. But when you read behind the article closely, there's various statements where the author seems to downplay the links to terrorist groups. He says the main leader of the attacks did not have clear terrorist links, but he also says that this leader participated in a convoy of trucks in Benghazi in June 2012 where they were flying the black radical Islamist flag."

Fleitz noted that many other outlets have run recent reports directly contradicting the author's claim that Anwar al-Sharia, the group behind the attack, is not affiliated with al-Qaida. He also noted the story directly counters the claims of high-ranking lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee.

"This article is based on interviews with Libyans," he pointed out. "Most of the Libyans deny they had anything to do with this attack. Well of course they're going to say that. They don't want to be prosecuted. They don't want to be arrested."

Fleitz wondered whether the New York Times was attempting to deliberately discredit Republican talking points against the Obama administration. "I thought it was a politicized article," he said. "It tries to say that Anwar al-Sharia --- that the Republican attempts to tie that to terrorism is a stretch, when even CNN says they're at least sympathetic to al-Qaida."

The former CIA analyst claimed the article "really doesn't" pass the smell test. "I think there were a lot of omissions," he continued. "I think there were a lot of statements about terrorism that really don't add up . . . Al-Qaida has changed it's tactics. It is now a decentralized organization. It is relying on affiliated organizations and franchises. It is encouraging terrorist attacks through this decentralized organization. That should have been discussed in this article so the reader would understand the real threat."

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