Fox Excises Itself From Role In Creating Conspiracy Theory Surrounding Khattala's Capture

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Fox News attempted to legitimize its hosts' conspiracy theory that the timing of Ahmed Abu Khattala's capture was “curious” by pretending the speculation originated outside the network.

Ahmed Abu Khattala was taken into U.S. custody on June 17 for his role in helping lead the 2012 attacks on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.   

Immediately, Fox anchors questioned the “curious timing” of Khattala's capture, speculating that it was intended to help President Obama in the polls or to give Hillary Clinton a good headline for an upcoming Fox News interview. After the breaking report on Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott pointed out that Khattala had given media interviews before his capture, and said the “obvious question” is “why now?” Minutes later on Outnumbered, the hosts called the arrest “too neat” and “too cute,” speculating that it was timed to be “a great thing to announce” during Clinton's Fox interview.

On June 18, Fox hosts concealed that the speculation of “curious timing” began on their own network, noting that “some” people had made serious claims that the timing looked suspicious without identifying the origin. On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy spouted:

It was yesterday that it was announced that we finally went in and got him. And to some, they said, 'Now isn't that curious timing? The same day that Hillary Clinton is showing up on Fox News, they are able to announce we got the bad guy.'

Contrary to Fox's suggestion, the Washington Post reports the “joint Special Operations and FBI mission had been planned for months” and an earlier plan to capture the Benghazi suspect was “postponed because of violent uprisings against the Libyan government.”   

The New York Times points out that a senior American diplomat “rebuffed any notion that the timing of the raid had been arranged by the Obama administration,” and explained that “there was a significant degree of planning.” Other military experts and CNN's Pentagon correspondent have emphasized the complicated logistics of Khattala's capture, explaining why the arrest took time.