A slew of new reporting this morning debunks Fox News reports claiming that the Obama administration withheld assistance during the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya. With these revelations, the combined conservative narrative as led by Fox News — that the Obama administration failed to respond adequately during the attack and that mainstream media has not covered Benghazi enough — is in further disarray.
The Los Angeles Times’ version of the CIA’s role focuses the most heavily on pushing back on Fox’s spin:
“At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”
Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin claimed in an “exclusive” report last week that the CIA denied Tyrone Woods, one of the four Americans killed in the attack, permission to help repel the assault. Griffin’s reporting spun off into a bevy of conspiracy theories on the far right. The Pentagon, White House, and CIA had all previously denied refusing requests for support. The New York Times reports on the Pentagon’s involvement:
[A] senior official also sought to rebut reports that C.I.A. requests for support from the Pentagon that night had gone unheeded.
In fact, the official said, the military diverted a Predator drone from a reconnaissance mission in Darnah, 90 miles away, in time to oversee the mission’s evacuation. The two commandos, based at the embassy in Tripoli, joined the reinforcements. And a military transport plane flew the wounded Americans and Mr. Stevens’s body out of Libya.
The new reports also contain previously unreported details about the CIA’s role in Benghazi. President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta did order U.S. forces into the region, but the CIA was the first to respond to the attack, arriving on the scene in under half an hour.