Fox Reverts To Discredited Benghazi Narratives To Attack Hillary Clinton

Bret Baier

Fox News reverted to long debunked Benghazi myths to attack Hillary Clinton for her Tuesday interview on Fox, during which she stood by the fact that intelligence at the time linked the Benghazi terror attacks to an inflammatory anti-Islam video.

Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured Sunday by U.S. military and law enforcement in response to an indictment for murder in connection with his role as a suspected ringleader of the Benghazi attacks.

Fox hosts Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren interviewed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday and devoted nearly 40 percent of the interview to Benghazi and raised already-answered questions.

On the June 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade discussed the interview, criticizing Clinton for standing by “the administration mantra” that the 2012 Benghazi attacks were linked to the inflammatory anti-Islam video. Kilmeade argued that Clinton defended the link despite the fact that former CIA acting deputy director Mike Morell said that there was “no way” the attacks had “anything to do with the video,”  while Doocy accused the administration of pushing the video link to protect the administration “in advance of an election.” Baier followed suit on America's Newsroom, criticizing Clinton for asserting “the fact that a video was a part of the situation on the ground in Benghazi”:

But Fox's line of attack contradicts Abu Khattala's own account, in which he reportedly attributed the attack on the consulate to his reaction to the anti-Islam video. Abu Khattala told Libyans the night of the attack “that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video,” according to The New York Times:

What he did in the period just before the attack has remained unclear. But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.

An earlier demonstration venting anger over the video outside the American Embassy in Cairo had culminated in a breach of its walls, and it dominated Arab news coverage. Mr. Abu Khattala told both fellow Islamist fighters and others that the attack in Benghazi was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.

In an interview days after the attack, he pointedly declined to say whether he believed an offense such as the anti-Islamic video might indeed warrant the destruction of the diplomatic mission or the killing of the ambassador. “From a religious point of view, it is hard to say whether it is good or bad,” he said.

The Times article is consistent with media reports from the scene of the attack that suggested the anti-Islam video had been a motive for at least some of the attackers.

Fox's claim that the administration falsely linked the video to the attacks has also been discredited by findings from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as well as Morell's own testimony. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a review in January that revealed “some intelligence suggests” an inflammatory video linked to violent protests around the region led terror groups to conduct “similar attacks with advanced warning.” Former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell testified that the CIA chief of station in Libya believed at the time that the video may have motivated the attackers, as it sparked the protests at the Embassy in Cairo resulting in “65 embassies or consulates around the world” issuing “emergency messages about threats of violence.”