WashPost Sneers at Benghazi Hearings as a 'Promised Fall Assault' on Obama

The Washington Post is being incredibly transparent: it hates hearings into Benghazi. Who needs accountability when our diplomatic posts lack security? The Post portrays this as a partisan exercise. But the very partisan Post has openly worried in its news pages about how the terror attack there will complicate Hillary Clinton’s reputation.

On Monday morning, Post editor Karen DeYoung was blunt (at the bottom of page A-2). The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee isn’t planning hearings. The Republicans are beginning their “promised fall assault” on Team Obama:

House Republicans will begin their promised fall assault on the Obama administration's conduct before, during and after the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, with the publication Monday of a report updating their investigation of the incident and a hearing Wednesday with testimony from a high-ranking State Department official.

DeYoung’s story on the new House committee report – which was “a draft of which was provided by the committee to The Washington Post on the eve of its release” – doesn’t offer a single quote from the report or from committee chair Darrell Issa. She can't find a single Benghazi "whistleblower" like Greg Hicks or his lawyer for their viewpoint. But DeYoung does quote from the statement of former reporter Douglas Frantz, spinning for Team Obama:

Virtually all the issues raised in the report have been examined at previous hearings, although Issa has alleged that the State Department and the CIA - in charge of a second Benghazi facility attacked the same night - have withheld key documents and prevented some officials from testifying or speaking in private to committee investigators.

In a statement Sunday night, Douglas Frantz, the assistant secretary of state for communications, said that "the idea that facts are being hidden and people shielded from questioning is wrong on its face." Calling the response to the Benghazi attacks by the administration and the ARB "thorough and transparent," the statement said that "twisting the facts to advance a political agenda does a disservice to those who lost their lives and those who have devoted the past year to understanding what happened" and making sure it does not happen again.

The administration has said that no one has been coerced not to testify, although it has resisted allowing diplomatic security agents present on the night of the attack to appear before Issa's committee on the grounds that it would compromise their testimony in future criminal proceedings against the perpetrators. The FBI has said it is investigating the attacks and has issued several sealed indictments against Libyans. But no arrests have been made.

The State Department and the CIA have denied Issa's assertion that employees have been polygraphed to ensure that they have not cooperated with his panel.

Notice here that the Post doesn't seem to be making any independent attempt to confirm or refute Team Obama's claims that there is no attempt to shut up whistleblowers. Wouldn't you think that journalists would be offended by such a thing, at least offended enough to look into the charges?

Last Wednesday, on the one-year anniversary of the bombings, DeYoung wrote an article (buried on page A-6) which quoted Issa, and then let John Kerry denounce these “old news” hearings:

"What we've learned in a year is that stalling, delay and information that goes unchallenged is part of how you make it an old story to make it go away," Issa said in an interview last week, adding that the administration "didn't heed the warnings in advance, didn't respond . . . or even try to" once the attack on the diplomatic facility and a nearby CIA annex began, and "made false statements" in its aftermath.

On Tuesday, Issa sent a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry complaining about the State Department's unwillingness to facilitate testimony by two Diplomatic Security agents who were at the CIA facility in Benghazi during the attack, one of whom was severely wounded and remained hospitalized this summer.

Kerry is clearly irritated by GOP pummeling of what he considers an issue that already has been examined exhaustively. "I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi," he told a House committee in April. Last week, he snapped at a Republican lawmaker who interjected Benghazi accusations into a House briefing on Syria.

Issa's committee will hear from former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Gen. Mike Mullen on Thursday -- as well as relatives of the Benghazi victims.

The "Post TV" video on the one-year anniversary of Benghazi is incredibly lame. It features Obama claiming  he sent out Matt Olsen of the National Counterterrorism Center on September 19, 2012 to assert Benghazi was a terrorist attack -- but didn't notice Obama denied it was a terrorist attack after that -- at a Univision town hall on September 20, and on ABC's The View on September 24.

PS: Earlier Obama gushing by DeYoung: In a front-page story, editor Karen DeYoung oozed Obama’s withdrawal plan from Iraq came “just a day after he transformed the domestic political landscape with a breathtakingly bold budget plan.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis