Sharyl Attkisson Brings Us Up To Date On Benghazi


Not everyone has forgotten about Benghazi.  Among those who’ve been pursuing the story, none has been more dogged than CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson.  A few days ago, she tweeted out the current state of affairs.  Here are the collected tweets:

As promised, I will give an update on the Benghazi info CBS asked the Admin. to provide last Oct. I tweeted out the outstanding questions a month ago. Since then, while the Admin. hasn’t provided CBS additional info some of the questions were asked by Congress, and some of them were answered. So let’s go through the answered and as-yet-unanswered. This is to the best of my knowledge. Since answers weren’t provided to me, I’ve tried to find them in hearings, etc.

UNANSWERED: What time was Ambassador’s Stevens’ body recovered, what are the known details surrounding his disappearance and death, including where he/his body was taken/found/transported and by whom?

UNANSWERED: Who made the decision not to convene the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) the night of the Benghazi attacks?

UNANSWERED: We understand that convening the CSG a protocol under Presidential directive (“NSPD-46”). Is that true? If not, please explain..

UNANSWERED: …. if so, why was the protocol not followed?

UNANSWERED: Is the Administration revising the applicable Presidential directive? If so, please explain.

ANSWERED AT CONG. HEARINGS: Who is the highest-ranking official who was aware of pre-911 security requests from US personnel in Libya? Secy Clinton said she was unaware of Stevens’ security concerns/requests & that Undersecy Kennedy was highest official below her who knew. However, Chmn of Jnt Chiefs Dempsey & Def Secy Panetta testified they knew of the security requests, but State didn’t ask for their aid.

UNANSWERED: Who is/are the official(s) responsible for removing reference to al-Qaeda from the original CIA notes?

UNANSWERED: Was the President aware of Gen. Petraeus’ potential problems prior to Thurs., Nov. 8, 2012?

UNANSWERED: And What was the earliest that any White House official was aware? Please provide details

UNANSWERED: What is your response to the President stating that on Sept. 12, he called 911 a terrorist attack, in light of his CBS interview on that date in which he answered that it was too early to know whether it was a terrorist attack?

UNANSWERED: Is anyone being held accountable for having no resources close enough to reach this high-threat area within 8+ hours on Sept. 11

ANSWERED: and has the Administration taken steps to have resources available sooner in case of emergency in the future? Chmn of Jt Chiefs Dempsey testified that troops in the region were put on higher alert status after the 9/11/12 attacks he said he wasn’t sure how long the higher alert status could be maintained. He didn’t address the alleged lack of certain aircraft at major US naval base very close to libya

UNANSWERED: A Benghazi victim’s family member stated that Mrs. Clinton told him she would find and arrest whoever made the anti-Islam video. Is this accurate? If so, what was Mrs. Clinton’s understanding at the time of what would be the grounds for arrest? If true, what is the Administration’s view regarding other videos or future material that it may wish were not published, but are legal?

PARTIAL ANSWER: We requested timeline of Pres. Obama’s actions and decision making on Benghazi night. Secy Clinton testified Pres. Obama didn’t speak to her that night or throughout the attacks. After the initial briefing on LIbya and other matters at the very outset, Chmn of Jt Chiefs said Pres. Obama didn’t communicate with him and Def Secy Panetta testified Pres. Obama didn’t speak with him either throughout the attacks. Officials have said Pres. Obama was very much kept informed of what was happening.

UNANSWERED: White House still will not respond to our request for any White House photos taken Benghazi nite.

UNANSWERED: Admin. still hasn’t provided Benghazi surveillance video originally promised for public release around last Thanksgiving

UNANSWERED: Admin. hasn’t provided accounting of Benghazi survivors or the transcripts of their interviews done shortly after the attacks.

At a press conference 11/14/12, President Obama stated that his Admin. has provided all info regarding “what happened in Benghazi.” No agency has provided documents responsive to our Freedom of Info (FOI) requests on Benghazi. We’ve asked the NSA, State Dept, Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA. So far, not one piece of paper generated by these public agencies on Benghazi nite is deemed a document the public is entitled to see.

Let’s be real: if enough people in the public, media and Congress don’t ask, then any Administration has the option to not answer. I’m a big fan of FOI (Freedom of Info) but the Administrations I’ve covered (both Dem & Repub) seem to have made an art form out of ignoring

One more thing. The White House reportedly has turned over a stack of Benghazi-related documents to the Senate Intel Committee and there are reportedly a lot of blacked out pages.

Some of these questions, and the lack of White House response, and quite damning in and of themselves.  We are evidently supposed to believe that the President was kept fully informed of events on the ground, even as he didn’t communicate with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of State as they unfolded.

It also seems that the Pentagon’s highest levels were aware of requests for more security by a  State Department embassy, but the Secretary of State was not.

Attkisson is right about the FOI problem.  Many Republicans had hoped that Benghazi would prove to be Obama’s Watergate, or at least his Tet Offensive.  But even in the case of Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein could only go so far.  The fact is that the case only really got moving once Congressional investigators, with their subpoena power, got involved.  And even then, it took the intervention of a federal judge to get the most damaging information released.  With Congressional Republicans proving to be inept investigators, and the press having lost interest in the story since, oh, September 12, it’s hard to see where additional pressure will come from.

If you’re on Twitter, though, and not following @SharylAttkisson, you should be.