Right on schedule, the New York Times has published a 7,500-word account of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that all but ignores Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role and quotes a terrorist saying a supposedly anti-Islam video insulting the Prophet Muhammad "might well have justified" the killing of four Americans.
With their hero, President Obama, flagging badly and in jeopardy of becoming a lame duck even before the mid-term congressional elections, the piece states that "months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”
The Times also concludes that "contrary to claims by some members of Congress, [the attack] was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam."
To be clear, the Times couldn't care less about the Sept. 11 attack, when heavily armed terrorists poured over fences into the Libyan consulate, setting the building ablaze and killing the ambassador. The paper has done virtually no investigative work to uncover exactly what happened that night.
And rather than setting the record straight, the lengthy piece finds that the "reality in Benghazi" was "murkier" than once thought.
Still, reporter David Kirkpatrick declares in one sweeping statement that "Anger at the video motivated the initial attack." And this: "There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers."
To refresh your memory, that video, "Innocence of Muslims," was posted on YouTube in July 2012. Vanity Fair said the 13-minute video was "clearly designed to offend Muslims, portraying Mohammed as a bloodthirsty murderer and Lothario and pedophile with omnidirectional sexual appetites."
The claim that the video caused the attack was put forward in Sunday talk shows by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who also said attackers gathered "spontaneously." In the days and weeks after the attack, the White House, State Department and even President Obama distanced themselves from that claim, saying that it was preliminary information that, for some reason, they blurted out before confirming.
Remember, too, that Hillary Clinton would not be questioned for months and months about the attack. First she was too busy, then State said she suffered some sort of medical condition and had fallen, hitting her head.
When she finally did appear before congressional overseers, she grew progressively angry at the questioning. Eventually, she spat out: "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
Most amazing about the Times piece is that Clinton does not appear -- not once, not even in the section titled "Aftermath." She is simply missing, but not in an AWOL way, only in a "it-can't-have-been-my-fault-I-wasn't-involved" way.
The report came up on the Sunday talk shows.
“I find the timing odd,” Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I find it interesting that there is this roll-out of stories” on Benghazi.
Even a Democratic lawmaker questioned the Times report.
“They didn’t have the same access to people who were not aware that they were being listened to,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. The paper, he said, was “heavily reliant, obviously, on people they interviewed who had reason to provide the story that they did.”