At least one prominent liberal Democrat well-acquainted with intelligence on the matter disputes the conclusions of the New York Times regarding the deadly September 11, 2012 attack on an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) rejected the Times’s conclusion that al Qaeda wasn’t responsible for the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans," reported Julian Pecquet today, adding (emphasis mine):
She also took issue with the notion that the Libya strike was sparked by a U.S.-made anti-Islam video online.
“I believe that groups loosely associated with al Qaeda were” involved in the attack, she told The Hill last week. “That’s my understanding.”
She also disputed the notion that the Sept. 11, 2012, assault evolved from a protest against the video, which was widely disseminated by Islamic clerics shortly before the attack.
“It doesn’t jibe with me,” she said.
The months-long Times investigation, which was published late last month, “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” It concluded, after talking to actors on the ground, that “contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
A spokesman for the senator took issue with The Hill’s characterization of Feinstein’s comments.
“When Senator Feinstein said ‘loosely affiliated’ she clearly was referring to groups not directly connected to (or taking orders from) core AQ in Pakistan — which was essentially the conclusion of The New York Times as well,” said Brian Weiss. “So to say she ‘rejected’ the conclusion of The New York Times is an overstatement.”
Still, Feinstein’s comments represent a departure from the Times’s reporting. The Dec. 28, 2013, article pinned the blame on Ansar al-Sharia, which it deemed a “purely local extremist” organization and “Benghazi’s most overtly anti-Western militia.” Critics say the Times was overly reliant on militants’ assertion that they had no link to al Qaeda.
So Feinstein doesn't believe the New York Times's account which basically backs up the false narrative the Obama administration knowingly peddled from day one, yet she feels compelled to insist she "essentially" agrees with the Times and ergo with the administration's party line.
It's abundantly clear that Democrats in the know are trying to walk a thin line safeguarding their credibility and intellectual honesty while trying to defend the administration -- and the New York Times -- as much as they can:
Other members of the panel did not impugn the Times’s motives, but said its conclusions were flawed.
Asked what the report got wrong, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told Fox News the day after the report was published: “That al Qaeda was not involved in this.”
“There was some level of pre-planning; we know that,” Rogers said. “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya; we know that.”
“I agree with Mike that, however, the intelligence indicates that al Qaeda was involved,” colleague Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), agreed on the same show. “But there are also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al Qaeda that were involved.”
It remains to be seen what larger media outfits do about this ongoing story, but we're guessing not much of anything. If you believe otherwise, I've got a bridge to sell you in Fort Lee, New Jersey.