November 14, 2013

CBS shouldn't really even bother with their "internal review" of what went so terribly wrong with Lara Logan's Benghazi report after McClatchy's withering, line-by-line deconstruction.

The report repeatedly referred to al Qaida as solely responsible for the attack on the compound, and made no mention of Ansar al Shariah, the Islamic extremist group that controls and provides much of the security in restive Benghazi and that has long been suspected in the attack. While the two organizations have worked together in Libya, experts said they have different aims – al Qaida has global objectives while Ansar al Shariah is focused on turning Libya into an Islamic state.

It is an important distinction, experts on those groups said. Additionally, al Qaida’s role, if any, in the attack has not been determined, and Logan’s narration offered no source for her repeated assertion that it had been.

“I think there are definitely connections, but I am not sure there is command and control” between al Qaida and Ansar al Shariah, said Aaron Y. Zelin, the Richard Berow fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who studies insurgent activity in North Africa.

Logan claimed that “it’s now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaida in a well-planned assault.” But al Qaida has never claimed responsibility for the attack, and the FBI, which is leading the U.S. investigation, has never named al Qaida as the sole perpetrator. Rather it is believed a number of groups were part of the assault, including members and supporters of al Qaida and Ansar al Shariah as well as attackers angered by a video made by an American that insulted Prophet Muhammad. The video spurred angry protests outside Cairo hours beforehand.

In a Sept. 12, 2012, statement about the attack, Ansar al Shariah suggested its members had participated in the attack, though the group said it did not order it.

Moreover, questions remain over how far in advance the attack on the U.S. compound was planned. Rather than a long-planned attack, investigators have told McClatchy the attack was likely planned hours, rather than days, in advance.

Go read the whole thing. Don't forget that Logan's husband was a psyops contractor in Iraq, and ask yourself where she found her unnamed sources.


I don't think there's much doubt that Logan has very strong beliefs about the al-Qaeda threat and believes she's doing something important. But being an advocacy journalist, as she obviously is, (although undeclared and misrepresented as "objective" by 60 Minutes) does not relieve you of an obligation to get the facts straight and tell the whole truth. This piece clearly failed to do that on almost every level.

It wasn't designed to get the facts straight and tell the whole truth. It was designed to resurrect a long-dead issue that the extreme right wing, including crazy generals, want flogged.

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