Fox invented a contradiction between a reported August 16 cable from State Department officials stating concerns about security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the Obama administration's statements that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack on the consulate.
Fox is reporting that it has exclusively obtained a classified cable from State Department officials on the ground in Libya to the office of the Secretary of State warning that the “Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi, and the consulate could not defend against a 'coordinated attack.' ”
In a segment on the cable, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted: “The big question still remaining for so many people is, who came up with the narrative about the video tape? Because it was pretty obvious that a month before there were security concerns with regard to possible terror. So who came up with the idea that floating the videotape idea would be enough to carry through the discussion quite possibly until after the election?”
But Fox's narrative is self-debunking. In addition to saying that officials had security concerns, the cable also reportedly said that officials had no information that militants in Benghazi “were targeting Americans.”
Thus, the reported cable does nothing to contradict the administration's narrative that an anti-Islam video was a catalyst for the attack. Indeed, the people responsible for the attack reportedly said that they attacked the consulate because of the video.
Also, the report that there were growing security concerns in Benghazi, but no specific threats against the consulate is not news. For instance, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a September 27 briefing that there had been no specific, actionable threat in advance of the Sept. 11 consulate attack:
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY: There was a thread of intelligence reporting that groups in the environment in western -- correction -- eastern Libya were seeking to coalesce, but there wasn't anything specific and certainly not a specific threat to the consulate that I'm aware of.
Nevertheless, Fox hyped the reported cable a “smoking gun.”