Fox News' argument that the Obama administration deliberately abandoned Americans in Libya to let them die in the Benghazi terrorist attack is apparently so odious that even Fox's own experts and commentators are rebelling against the narrative.
Fox News hosts and contributors have repeatedly suggested that the Obama administration made a “political decision” to allow Americans to be killed in the September 11 Benghazi, Libya, attack on an American compound, even though U.S. agents and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli rushed to aid the compound during the attack, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that the attack was over before the U.S. military had sufficient information on which to act.
On the November 2 edition of Fox & Friends, retired Gen. Jack Keane discussed claims that, in the words of guest co-host Eric Bolling, the Obama administration “did not call on the only response team that may have been able to intervene during the attack.” Keane responded:
KEANE: Here's what did happen. The national security apparatus, at the request of General Hamm, who's the commander of AFRICOM -- and he's had responsibility from a security aspect to respond to this crisis -- our national mission response force, our most classified force on the highest state of readiness, was alerted and moved from the United States to Sigonella [Naval Air Station in Italy], and they bring with them their own aircraft, their own helicopters and C-17s. Another classified special operations force was moved out of Central Europe to Sigonella as well. The fact of the matter was the CIA base was evacuated prior to their arrival at Sigonella, so they were never employed.
When Bolling claimed that there were military assets in the region, and “we certainly could have had some sort of response into the consulate earlier, sooner than -- boy, I don't even think they've ever even showed up yet,” Keane responded:
KEANE: The fact of the matter is, what took place in terms of response to the consulate and response to the CIA base was pretty significant from inside the country, and the reality is the quick response force that came out of the CIA base moved in 24 minutes -- now we know for a fact based on surveillance tapes, from the time the consulate called for help -- and clearly, what those people did is miraculous and certainly courageous in rescuing everybody was still alive. Also, a reaction force was organized from Tripoli and moved to the CIA base, which was under attack for four hours, and also strengthened that CIA base and then was able to safely evacuate them to the airport and back to Tripoli.
Later in the show, Fox host Geraldo Rivera more actively pushed back against the Fox narrative, stating that while there are legitimate questions about what happened before and after the attack, “I take umbrage with what has been said” about the military response. Rivera said that after discussing the issue with Keane, “I am convinced that the military did whatever it could have done under the circumstances. I am similarly convinced that the State Department and the CIA also did, once the attack happened, everything they could.”
Bolling said, “So Washington, the State Department, the CIA does nothing, sends no help,” Rivera retorted, “That is an obscene lie. ... You are a politician looking to make a political point.” When Bolling continued to press his narrative, Rivera said again: “You are misleading the American people because you want to make a political point.” Rivera added: “We have never in the history of this republic mounted a raid on the circumstance described here ever. We have never done it. The Israelis, when they rescued their people in Entebbe, it took them seven days to mount that operation. This was seven hours.”
Rivera went on to say that Charles Woods, father of one of the Navy SEALs killed in the Benghazi attack, “is being led down the primrose path by misinformation that is making it look as if the president of the United States went gambling in Las Vegas when he could have been saving our people in Benghazi, and that's a lie.”
Rivera concluded: “When I hear people with no combat experience suggest that, 'Oh, my goodness, we saw it in real time,' it makes it sound like bureaucrats scratching their belly and watching our people die, and that's not what happened. ... There was no Snoopy AC-130 gunship waiting on the strip in Italy.”
This is not the first time Fox's own analysts have contradicted the network's anti-Obama narrative on Libya. On the October 25 edition of Happening Now, Gen. Keane denounced criticism of the military response to the Benghazi attack as “second guessing at its worst,” adding that “what we do know would suggest that the response was pretty good.” Former NATO ambassador Nick Burns concurred, saying, “I really think it's appropriate to keep politics out of this, keep this out of a partisan environment.” When host Jon Scott asked Keane why the U.S. didn't send an F-16 to “make a low pass over the area where our embassy and our safe house were under attack,” Keane responded: “So we're going to use noise now to intimidate militia groups that a year ago were dealing with aircraft overhead constantly? I don't believe it would intimidate them.”
In an October 22 opinion piece for The Hill, Fox commentator Juan Williams offered three “corrections” for what he describes as “deliberate misinformation” from Republicans about the Benghazi attack. Fox News has been pushing those same misleading narratives.