The New York Times invariably casts any GOP inquiry into the intelligence failures that led to the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, as a purely partisan venture. The pattern was noted last year by the paper's own Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who wrote before hearings in May 2013, "The Times has had a tendency to both play down the subject, which has significant news value, and to pursue it most aggressively as a story about political divisiveness rather than one about national security mistakes and the lack of government transparency. Many readers would like to see more on that front, and so would I."
But the Times is still at it. Friday's story by Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer reduced a deliberative investigative effort by GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy to a politically motivated ploy to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential run in 2016: "Democrats Wary of Benghazi Inquiry Stretching Into ’16 Election Season." They also reveal that Benghazi is an outrage only for "the Republican Party's most conservative voters."
A House Republican-led investigation of the 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, will extend well into next year, and possibly beyond, raising concerns among Democrats that Republicans are trying to damage Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential prospects.
Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the House select committee on Benghazi, said his go-slow investigation was not motivated by politics. He said that he had gone out of his way to maintain good relations with Democrats on the committee, asking Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s ranking Democrat, to join him in private meetings in July with family members of the four Americans killed in Libya in July.
But concern is rising, both among Democrats and among those who note that most select committees tend to conclude far more quickly. For instance, the select bipartisan committee to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 took a year from its formation to complete a 361-page report. The bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, took a year and a half.
The Benghazi committee, which was formed in May, could take much longer, and leaders arebudgeting as much as $3.3 million for the investigation this year alone, a sum greater than the entire budget of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Gowdy said he would spend less than that, and he has set the panel’s first public hearing for September, to review enactment of the State Department’s security recommendations after the attack. Other than that, there have been few outward signs of progress.
After the midterm elections two months away, Republican attention is likely to shift sharply to Mrs. Clinton, the secretary of state at the time of the deadly assault and a possible Democratic presidential contender for 2016.
Again, the Times portrays the deadly acts in Benghazi as something that only concerns the hard-core right:
The attack on the compound in Benghazi, which took the life of a United States ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, has outraged the Republican Party’s most conservative voters.
But Mr. Gowdy’s methodical, under-the-radar approach has offered up little for partisans to seize upon, at least for now.
To Democrats, such deliberation is suspicious in light of what is already known. Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said a declassified version of his panel’s Benghazi report could be released in September. He said the committee found no intelligence failure ahead of the attack. Intelligence agents did warn of increased threats but “had no specific tactical threat” before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, he said. And there was no “stand down” order issued to military officers to hold off a rescue.
The Times put the Republican investigator, not the failures of the Obama administration, on the defensive:
Mr. Gowdy defended the length of time he expects the investigation to take. “I know it seems too logical for members of Congress, but the length of any investigation is dependent upon the level of compliance from others,” he said. “The documents are in many instances in the custody of others, and the schedules of potential witnesses are completely outside of our control.”
But the committee’s senior Democrats appear to be losing what enthusiasm they could muster when they reluctantly agreed to serve on it.
Apparently Democrats, unlike Republicans, don't have any nasty partisan motivations.