A central element of the New York Times' recent Benghazi revisionism was the assertion that foreign terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda, were not involved in the attacks. A key snippet from correspondent David Kirkpatrick's controversial piece:
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 attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
Gregory Hicks -- who was the State Department's second in command on the ground in Libya on September 11, 2012 -- addressed the YouTube video element in sworn Congressional testimony last year. He said the clip was a "non event" in Libya, and repeatedly attested to the fact that the deadly raid had been a pre-planned terrorist attack (which internal State Department emails sent on 9/12 confirmed). When the Times claimed that neither Al Qaeda nor any other "international terrorist group" had any role in the slaughter, a bipartisan group of House Intelligence Committee members pushed back against that report. The chairman of that committee has even called the attacks an "Al-Qaeda led event." CNN reported in May that US officials believed that three members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had participated in the assault, and reports have surfaced that an Egyptian extremist group has also been linked to Benghazi. The Washington Post delivers another body blow to the New York Times' infamous article:
U.S. officials suspect that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee played a role in the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorist organization, according to officials familiar with the plans. Militiamen under the command of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah, participated in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, U.S. officials said...Qumu, 54, a Libyan from Darnah, is well known to U.S. intelligence officials. A former tank driver in the Libyan army, he served 10 years in prison in the country before fleeing to Egypt and then to Afghanistan. According to U.S. military files disclosed by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Qumu trained in 1993 at one of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps in Afghanistan and later worked for a bin Laden company in Sudan, where the al-Qaeda leader lived for three years. Qumu fought alongside the Taliban against the United States in Afghanistan; he then fled to Pakistan and was later arrested in Peshawar. He was turned over to the United States and held at Guantanamo Bay. He has a “long-term association with Islamic extremist jihad and members of al-Qaida and other extremist groups,” according to the military files. “Detainee’s alias is found on a list of probable al-Qaida personnel receiving monthly stipends.”
Mr. Qumu was detained at Gitmo, trained with bin Laden, fought with the Taliban, and probably received an effective salary from Al Qaeda. It certainly sounds like he would qualify as an "international terrorist," doesn't it? Major premises of that New York Times story have been razed to the ground by subsequent reports and existing evidence. It's important to once again emphasize that we're ultimately focusing on minutiae by parsing and refuting the Times piece. Critical questions about the scandalous lack of security in Benghazi in the weeks preceding the assassinations remain unanswered. What was really happening in Benghazi, Libya that night? What were our president and Secretary of State doing throughout the seven-hour nightmare, and why was our government's rescue efforts virtually nonexistent during critical hours? Beyond those questions, the full extent of the administration's post-attack cover-up and misdirection still isn't clear. And zero people have been held accountable for what happened, both at home and abroad. I'll leave you with this:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography