By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media
While the Administration continues to assert that the IRS and Benghazi scandals are “phony” distractions, Accuracy in Media (AIM) has joined with a distinguished group of retired military officers and intelligence professionals in an effort to expose the truth behind the latter scandal with its new Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, launched July 30 at the National Press Club. “There are conflicting stories” about Benghazi, said Roger Aronoff, editor of AIM, at the event. “There’s conflicting evidence…”
During the Question and Answer session , Retired General Thomas McInerny said that he had “been approached in parking lots by people” who told him, “General, keep doing what you are doing.”
In contrast, Press Secretary Jay Carney recently asserted that “…what we’ve seen as time has passed and more facts have become known—whether it’s about the attacks in Benghazi and the talking points, or revelations about conduct at the IRS—that attempts to turn this into a scandal have failed.”
Accuracy in Media has repeatedly debunked the notion that the IRS scandal is a “phony” scandal, or that liberal groups received the same level of scrutiny that conservative groups did. Likewise, the new Commission will delve into the details of the Benghazi scandal to ascertain the facts and expose the Administration’s cover-up of its actions and missteps in the lead-up to and the events following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2012. In fact, if the Benghazi scandal is so “phony,” then why is CNN reporting that some CIA operatives “involved in the agency’s missions in Libya” are undergoing monthly polygraphs? “The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress,” reports CNN.
“For the two months between the incident in Benghazi and the presidential election the media were basically AWOL on this story,” asserted Aronoff at the press conference. “Our plan is that on September 16th we’re going to be holding an all-day conference.” This conference, which will feature members of the Commission, will attempt to get to the bottom of what really happened in Benghazi, Libya a year ago.
“Our job is to—along with members of Congress—who have the strength and the courage and the conviction to come along with us, and help us get to the bottom of this—our job is to get those answers!” said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer, at the press conference. “My job is to look at the intelligence, to look at the reports we can get declassified, and let’s figure out—along with the press, I might add—find out what happened!”
The speakers stressed the importance of the press, the Fourth Estate, in continuing to call for answers. Unfortunately, the George Soros-funded Media Matters, which attended the event, hyper-focused on the praise at the event for Fox News’ reporting, calling AIM a “fringe” group promoting “outlandish conspiracies about the incident” which had questioned the credibility of generals and repeated the “stand down” controversy. When questioned about the role that Fox has played in the Benghazi scandal—a question posed, in fact, by Media Matters—Simmons told Media Matters that he “would suggest that, fortunately for the country, that Fox had the foresight to recognize early that there really was something dramatic and very important to the country that happened in Benghazi and the decision makers at Fox chose to not allow that to fall to the wayside.” Fox continues to poll to see whether reporting on this issue remains important to the public. The most recent poll indicates that 59% of voters are following Benghazi coverage at least “somewhat closely.”
In forming the Commission, AIM joins the press and the public in their search for answers. “We do not have preconceived positions,” said Retired General McInerney. “We have preconceived questions that trouble us in our previous command positions that would not have been acceptable to us.”
“Has the U.S. military gone down that far? I don’t think so.”
Retired Admiral James “Ace” Lyons condemned the work of the Accountability Review Board (ARB), which released its report last December (pdf). The ARB investigation was conducted by former and current State Department officials who declined to interview then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “We had the Accountability Review Board do their study,” said Lyons. “The only question they answered, that they did disabuse [was] that there was no demonstration as a result of the 14-minute video, but everything else was useless. …It was like having the mafia investigate a crime scene.”
Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) sent a letter thanking AIM for creating the Commission. “After a year of investigations in five House different committees, we still don’t know exactly what happened that night, no one has been held responsible for any intelligence failures and none of the terrorists have been brought to justice,” writes Rep. Wolf. “The American people also have yet to hear publicly from any of the survivors. It now seems like the only way the public—and Congress—is going to hear their story is through two upcoming books about the attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex.” Wolf added, “Is it any wonder that the American people are losing confidence in their government.” The Commission will be inviting the authors of Benghazi: The Definitive Report and Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi to join the conference on the 16th.
There are likely to be several more members of the Commission in the near future. They are inviting whistleblowers, journalists, first-hand survivors, State Department officials, and others to come share their stories and their information with the Commission. The Commission’s website has just gone live this week, and is likely to become a significant resource for people who want to learn more about what happened as it relates to last year’s attack in Benghazi.
Bethany Stotts is a freelance writer, and former staff writer for Accuracy in Academia. She blogs at http://bethanystotts.wordpress.com/.