The very last scene of 60 Minutes’ now-discredited “scoop” on Benghazi — in which the Project Manager (alternately described as the Security Manager) for the project, whom 60 Minutes names Morgan Jones and WaPo names Dylan Davies describes his own heroism that didn’t appear in the official report — features a 60 Minutes cameraman “discovering” Ambassador Chris Stevens’ itinerary for September 12.
The discovery is just the latest in a series of what I call “Left Behind” novels associated with the Benghazi story — the remarkable discovery by media outlets of paper documents left behind the scene of the crime. Other instances are:
- September 22, 2012: CNN’s discovery of Chris Stevens’ diary
- October 3, 2012: WaPo’s discovery of a slew of official papers, including Blue Mountain Group contracting documents
- November 1, 2012: “Unsigned printouts of messages to local and national Libyan authorities” raising concerns on the morning of September 11 about compound surveillance
And now we’re supposed to believe that over two years after the attack on Benghazi, journalists are still finding paper documents that magically survived a fire that killed State IT guy Sean Smith and would lead to the death of Chris Stevens.
What’s interesting is this latest Left Behind novel purports to be one of the very same documents the WaPo found on October 3 — Chris Stevens’ itinerary. Except it differs in content, showing Stevens meeting with the Arabian Gulf Oil Company rather than the Italian Consul.
There’s nothing inherently suspicious about there being two different versions of Stevens’ itinerary. The WaPo version includes hand-written additions, as if it were a draft. But I do find it remarkable that these documents keep appearing in a compound that got devastated by fire and then lay unguarded for years.
Oh. One more thing. Almost every single document that was “found” by these journalists could have been a Blue Mountain Group document. Except, of course, Chris Stevens’ diary.
But I’ll come back to that in a later post.
Meanwhile, something major seems to be missing from the narrative of Dylan Davies AKA Morgan Jones.
In the latest narrative, he’s the one who “trained” security guards at the compound. Elsewhere, his role might better be described as the one who hired locals with zero fighting experience and paid them so little they would be easy to buy off and over five months on the ground never fixed this obvious problem. He’s also the one who hired two guys who earlier in the summer just happened to attack the compound.
Blue Mountain hired about 20 Libyan men – including some who say they had minimal training – to screen visitors and help patrol the mission at Benghazi, according to Reuters interviews.
Some of the guards sustained injuries and said they were ill-prepared to protect themselves or others when heavily armed militants last month stormed the rented villa that was serving as the mission.
They also described being hired by Blue Mountain after a casual recruiting and screening process.
State Department security officials had their own concerns about some of the guards at the mission months before the recent attack, according to emails obtained by Reuters this week. One guard who had been recently fired and another on the company’s payroll were suspected of throwing a homemade bomb into the U.S. compound in April. They were questioned but not charged.
[snip] Several of Blue Mountain’s Libyan employees told Reuters that they had no prior security training or experience.
“I was never a revolutionary or a fighter, I have never picked up a weapon during the war or after it,” said Abdelaziz al-Majbiri, 28, who was shot in the legs during the September 11 assault.
The Libyan commander in charge of the local guards at the mission was a former English teacher who said he heard about Blue Mountain from a neighbor. “I don’t have a background in security, I’ve never held a gun in my life,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.
When hired, the commander said he was told “you have great English and get along with everyone and are punctual; we want you to be a guard commander.”
Whatever else Blue Mountain Group was — and I think that remains an active question — it was a contractor that provided guard service that might be tailor made to make this kind of attack on the compound easy as pie. I’m flabbergasted that this hasn’t been a more central part of efforts to figure out who Dylan Davies AKA Morgan Jones is and why he might be coming forward with a dramatically different story now.
One final point, for now.
For no apparent reason, 60 Minutes explains that Dylan Davies AKA Morgan Jones went to the compound the day after the attack and took this picture, which he reportedly gave to the FBI.
60 Minutes says that one of its team members (whose role it doesn’t elucidate) went to the compound earlier last month and took footage, including this image.
I’m not saying these are the same picture. They differ in some interesting ways, even setting aside time of day.
But these should depict what happens to an unguarded compounded between a time just hours after a brutal attack and a time over two years later. Let me know in comments what you think of these pictures.
Update: As a number of people have noted, 60 Minutes pitched Dylan Davies AKA Morgan Jones’ story in conjunction with the publication of his book on the topic. The book was published by Simon and Schuster’s Threshold Edition. Yet not even Media Matters’ coverage of this notes that Threshold is Mary Matalin’s imprint.
In other words, we’re seeing the very same tactics we saw used in the Iraq War coming out of an imprint run by one of Dick Cheney’s top propagandists.