Monday, October 28, 2013

Benghazi: 60 Minutes & 60 Minutes Overtime

In case you missed the 60 Minutes report on Benghazi, which aired on Sunday, you can watch the video below.

But first, here's a few excerpts from a Q & A session with 60 Minutes Overtime, where Lara Logan and 60 Minutes producer Max McClellan discuss the Benghazi report.

It's worthwhile to note what Lara Logan says at the onset of the Q & A:

"We left about 98 percent of what we learned on the floor - didn't even report it," Logan said, "because unless we could substantiate it with primary sources that we truly trusted and whose motivations we trusted, then we didn't even go there."

Hence, there's no way of knowing how much damaging information 60 Minutes received but didn't report - all in the name of so-called "honest journalism." Bear in mind, this is CBS we're talking about. And while I do believe that, over the last couple of years, Lara Logan has become ever-so-slightly disillusioned with the Obama administration's foreign policy, her disillusionment is, nevertheless, minuscule, for ultimately eradicating years and years of entrenched Liberal bias is extremely difficult.

Excerpts from the Q & A:
Q: What kind of obstacles did you encounter along the way?

Lara Logan: An extraordinary amount of pressure on the people involved not to talk. And an extraordinary amount of pressure on anyone in the government--the military side, the political side--not to say anything outside of official channels. I mean, to the point where people that we've known for years would call people who were no longer in their positions, and they would call someone else that we knew, and messages would be delivered like that because there couldn't be any trail linking you directly to our story.

The administration is cracking down so hard on leakers: no one wants to put anything in writing, everybody is scared to talk over the phone, people want to meet in person - all of that makes it that much harder to investigate anything...

Lara Logan: To us, it was staggering that the U.S. diplomat who was coordinating the response in Libya knew an hour into the attack - which still lasted another six hours - that there was no help coming. And that had a huge impact for the guys on the ground...

And it became evident to us during the course of our research that very little is known publicly about the true nature of al Qaeda's network in Libya. And that has consequences beyond Benghazi and beyond Libya. It has consequences that speak to the national security interests of the United States of America. That is important - it's more important to us than rehashing old ground over who should have done what. [Editor's Note: That last several words in the previous sentence is indicative of Logan's inability to discard her entrenched Liberal bias.]

Q: Why did your sources - Andy Wood, Morgan Jones, and Greg Hicks - decide to talk to 60 Minutes on camera about the attack in Benghazi?

Lara Logan: .... Andy Wood has an extraordinary amount of guilt because he served with Amb. Stevens for a long time and warned him - warned the Department of Defense, reported it back to Washington repeatedly - that he saw this attack coming. [And] he wasn't able to do anything about it...

Greg Hicks, his motivation is a sense of duty to Amb. Stevens to correct the record. He said he had to break 22 years of tradition in order to talk [to us] because it's ingrained in officials from the State Department not to speak to the public. And he's paid for that, of course, because he certainly doesn't have a sparkling diplomatic future, but that was a price he was willing to pay to set the record straight on Amb. Chris Stevens.
And, here's a few excerpts from the 60 Minutes Overtime interviews - excerpt which were not aired on Sunday - with the video links:

Morgan Jones, an eyewitness, British citizen and security officer at the Benghazi compound, who uses the pseudonym Morgan Jones to protect his safety:
"When I got into work that morning, September 11, the guard got a hold of me and said, "we caught somebody taking photos of the compound." So they told me what happened: It was a guy dressed as a policeman. So they went out and confronted him... and they asked him what he was doing. And he just said it has nothing to do with you. He was armed, my guys obviously weren't. And he just got in his police car and left. [My guys] were worried sick and they wanted answers. They [called] the Chief of Police in Benghazi wanting answers to find out who this guy was, and what he was doing. And they never got any answers.... We all knew it was a bad sign....."
Morgan Jones:
"There were actually two [security] incidents [at the U.S compound prior to the September 11 attacks]. One happened April 6. One of the guards who previously worked at the mission threw a grenade over the wall. He was arrested, but not charged. Even though he was caught doing it, the police let him go. [In a second incident], around June time, somebody put up an IED against the front of the mission wall, near the gate... It blew up and blew a large section of the wall down. And apparently [the bomber] got got out of the car, dressed in an original Afghan dishdasha [robe] - which you don't see much of that in Libya - and he shouted "Alla Akbar". He probably knew that the guards weren't armed because he would have known he stood a good chance of getting shot. So they probably had been watching us for a while."
Morgan Jones:
"[On my first drive through Benghazi, I saw] quite a few pickup vehicles with black [Al Qaeda] flags on the back... So I asked the driver, "who are these guys?" He mentioned a couple of militias and he said, "Don't worry about it, they're no problem..." But, having worked where I've worked [in Iraq and Afghanistan], it didn't feel right. [The black flags meant] Al Qaeda, terrorists... If you saw a black flag like that in Afghanistan and Iraq, you would turn around. You wouldn't drive past that; You'd go back... You don't go near a black flag."
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, was the commander of a 16-member group of special operations soldiers who left Libya in August of 2012. Wood has said that that he wanted to stay in Libya, and that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens – one of the four Americans killed – wanted him to stay as well. Wood also testified at a congressional hearing, earlier this year, that requests for more diplomatic security in Libya had been made prior to the September 11 attacks, but that the State Department told Americans stationed in Libya to stop requesting additional security.

Wood on 60 Minutes Overtime:
"I felt like our adversaries had gotten a jump on us... Where we were trying to figure them out and block their work there, they were able to get ahead of us and attack us before we were able to get them. [It was a significant defeat for the U.S] and a huge recruiting [tool] for the enemy as well. [It was a huge win for Al Qaeda worldwide.] They'll all run this through all their little cells and networks everywhere. They'll be able to talk about how they accomplished this. And that's my biggest fear [that they'll do it again]. I don't want to see this perpetrated again. An ambassador is the President's personal representative; he is the Commander-in-Chief while we're in Libya. There isn't anybody that outranks him. He's a four-star general equivalent in military protocol. That speaks a lot to a military man. And to lose a man of that rank and stature... I think we were set back 25 years when we lost him. That's a huge blow to U.S. diplomatic relations... I think Al Qaeda is more established in Libya than America. Our influence wanes, while theirs grows stronger."

The regular version of 60 Minutes which aired on Sunday - Video:

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