The targeted work is “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” by radio host, reporter and New York Times bestselling author Aaron Klein.
Media Matters has been claiming the purported quotes come from Klein’s book, attacking the work for something it never stated.
Media Matters has numerous times smeared “The REAL Benghazi Story” book in recent weeks, taking particular interest in sections that expose Hillary Clinton’s personal role in the Benghazi scandal.
In a blog post Wednesday titled “Conservative Media Attack Clinton Allies In Desperate Ploy To Smear Her Over Benghazi,” Media Matters claims Klein’s book “attempted to smear another Clinton ally: former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.”
Continued Media Matters: “Klein suggested that Morell was ‘given’ his new job at the consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies (co-founded by Philippe Reines, a Clinton adviser), ‘in exchange for his silence in the talking points scandal.’”
However, those quotes never appear in Klein’s book. Thy were entirely fabricated by Media Matters.
Klein’s book never states Morell was “given” his job, nor does the quote “in exchange for his silence in the talking points scandal” appear anywhere in the book.
The relevant section of the book states: “Morell served 33 years in the agency and was a frontrunner for CIA director; it is doubtful he resigned to become a family man. Morell later reemerged as a counselor to Beacon Global Strategies, a consult group particularly close to Hillary Clinton. The firm is led by Philippe I. Reines, who served from 2009 to 2013 as Clinton’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications and Senior Communications Advisor.”
Media Matters goes on to mislead readers about the so-called talking points scandal, an issue to which Klein devoted an entire chapter in “The REAL Benghazi Story.”
States Media Matters: “Of course, there was no talking points ‘scandal’: multiple investigations have found the talking points that then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was given ahead of media appearances following the Benghazi attacks were edited to preserve an ongoing criminal investigation, not for any nefarious political reasons.”
Despite Media Matters’ claim, no government investigation concluded the talking points were edited to protect an ongoing criminal investigation. That was a claim originally made by Morell and other administration officials to explain why edits were made to the talking points.
On Nov. 28, 2012, CBS News further quoted the CIA stating the edits to the talking points were made “so as not to tip off al-Qaida as to what the U.S. knew, and to protect sources and methods.”
That same report quoted a source from the Office of the Director for National Intelligence telling CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that James Clapper’s office made the edits as part of the interagency process, because the links to al-Qaida were deemed too “tenuous” to make public.
As Klein notes in his book, in perhaps one of the most damning sections of the Republican House Interim Progress Report on the events in Benghazi, lawmakers who penned the investigative report wrote they were given access to classified emails and other communications that prove the talking points were not edited to protect classified information but instead to protect the State Department’s reputation.
“Evidence rebuts administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” the report states, directly contradicting Morell’s claims.
The report charges that the talking points were “deliberately” edited to “protect the State Department.”
The interim House report authors said they went through email exchanges of the interagency process to scrub the talking points. They wrote the emails do not reveal any concern with protecting classified information.
“Additionally, the bureau (FBI) itself approved a version of the talking points with significantly more information about the attacks and previous threats than the version that the State Department requested. Thus, the claim that the State Department’s edits were made solely to protect that investigation is not credible.”
Clinton allies obsessed with Benghazi book
Meanwhile, the latest attack is at least the fourth Media Matters article to smear Klein’s book in recent weeks.
Media Matters’ initial piece smeared the book while giving no indication it actually reviewed it. Instead, as WND reported, its misinformed claims were based, according to Media Matters’ own report, solely on a four-sentence description regarding the contents of the book published in the Washington Examiner.
Media Matters followed up with a second hit piece, “10 Reasons Nobody Should Take Aaron Klein’s New Benghazi Book Seriously.”
Without making the case, the progressive group labels Klein “a conspiracy theorist” who is “utterly devoid of credibility.”
According to Media Matters, Klein lacks credibility because he authored a book documenting the case for impeaching President Obama.
The group does not inform readers that impeachment calls have gone mainstream within the Republican Party.
Nor does it cite a single example of a factual error in “Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Office,” co-authored with Brenda J. Elliott.
The journalistic investigation boasts nearly 1,000 end notes to make its case. The publisher did not issue a single correction or retraction in any subsequent printings.
Media Matters used a speech posted online by Liberty News Network in November 2012 to interpret a statement to mean Klein said Obama could be a Muslim.
However, Klein actually stated he does not know Obama’s true faith, while pointing to the president’s self-declared Islamic background.
Klein stated: “A lot of people ask me, ‘Is Obama a secret Muslim?’ I don’t know. Although I do know he went to a black liberation theology church, and black liberation theology is not Christianity. It’s closer to Nation of Islam. I don’t know if Obama is Muslim or not. He did certainly spend a lot of time in Indonesia as a child, but we can’t hold that against him. He was a kid. But what I do know is he’s empowering radical Islam around the world.”
Media Matters also takes issue with factual articles written by Klein regarding the general legal definition of “natural born citizen,” the constitutional requirement to serve as president.
Media Matters wrongly claimed those articles makes Klein a “birther” who doubts Obama’s citizenship.
Klein only cited legal arguments about the constitutional definition of “natural born citizen,” pointing out some mainstream scholars believe both parents must be U.S. born.
Regarding Media Matter’s false “birther” charge, in Klein’s book “The Manchurian President” he wrote there is “no convincing evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, nor that his birthplace was any place other than Hawaii, his declared state of birth.”
Without quoting from the Benghazi book, Media Matters cites a report from the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, who said Klein argues Hillary Clinton “was unwilling to provide additional security to the diplomatic outpost and even played a role in sending Stevens to his ‘doomed mission.’”
Gertz assumes Klein’s contention references what the Media Matters blogger calls “the long-debunked conservative claim that the then-Secretary of State personally signed off on cables rejecting requests for additional security.”
Gertz claimed that contention was debunked because “diplomatic reporters noted that every cable sent to the State Department from overseas facilities is addressed to the secretary … even though the secretary rarely reviews them.”
He further quotes from Clinton’s memoirs, “Hard Choices,” in which the former secretary wrote she never saw the cables requesting additional security.
“That’s not how it works. It shouldn’t. And it didn’t,” Clinton writes.
However, Gertz’s assumption is wrong. Klein’s book was not simply referring to cables requesting more security.
“The REAL Benghazi Story” documents Clinton personally signed waivers that allowed the facility to be legally occupied, since it did not meet the minimum official security standards set by the State Department.
While some of the required waivers technically could have been issued by lower-level State Department officials, several could only have been approved by Clinton herself, including what is known as the “co-location” requirement.
The “co-location” requirement refers to the unusual housing setup in Benghazi in which intelligence and State Department personnel were kept in two separate locations.
Asks Klein in his book: By signing the waivers, “did Clinton know she was approving a woefully unprotected compound?”
“If not then at the very least she is guilty of dereliction of duty and the diplomatic equivalent of criminal negligence.”
Further, Klein shows Clinton’s top deputies, including officials known to be close to her, were responsible for some major denials of security at the compound.
In one example, it was Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy who canceled the use in Tripoli of a DC-3 aircraft that could have aided in the evacuation of the Benghazi victims.
Kennedy also denied permission to build guard towers at the Benghazi mission and approved the withdrawal of a Security Support Team, or SST, a special U.S. force specifically maintained for counter-attacks on U.S. embassies or threats against diplomatic personnel.
Klein contends it defies logic that Clinton was not informed of the general nature of security at the Benghazi facility, especially since she was known to have taken a particular interest in the compound. She reportedly called for the compound to be converted into a permanent mission before a scheduled trip to Libya in December 2012 that eventually was canceled.
Meanwhile, Media Matters wrongly writes the contention that Clinton “played a role in sending Stevens” to the U.S. special mission in Benghazi was also “debunked.”
Gertz quoted the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, which has been criticized as being too soft on the State Department, as reporting Stevens “made the decision to travel to Benghazi independently of Washington, per standard practice.”
Media Matters also selectively quoted Gregory Hicks, the former State Department deputy chief of mission and No. 2 under Stevens, as testifying to Congress that Stevens “chose to go” to Benghazi.
Media Matters missed the fact that in his full testimony, Hicks said Stevens went to the compound that day in part because Clinton wanted to convert the shanty complex into a permanent mission in a symbol of the new Libya.
Hicks said Clinton wanted to announce the establishment of a permanent U.S. State Department facility during her planned visit there in December 2012.
Apparently Stevens was up against a very specific funding deadline to complete an extensive survey of the mission so the compound could be converted.
Hicks explained: “According to [Ambassador] Chris [Stevens], Secretary Clinton wanted Benghazi converted into a permanent constituent post. Timing for this decision was important. Chris needed to report before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, on the physical and the political and security environment in Benghazi to support an action memo to convert Benghazi from a temporary facility to a permanent facility.”
Hicks revealed the directive to convert the compound came from the State Department Office of Near Eastern Affairs, headed by acting Assistant Secretary Beth Jones. Money was available to be transferred to Benghazi from a State Department fund set aside for Iraq, provided the transfer had been done by Sept. 30.
He further testified that in May 2012, in a meeting with Clinton, Stevens promised he would give priority to making sure the U.S. facility at Benghazi was transformed into a permanent constituent post. Hicks said Stevens himself wanted to make a symbolic gesture to the people of Benghazi that the United States “stood behind their dream of establishing a new democracy.”
Toward the end of the hearing, the chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked Hicks to summarize his testimony on why Stevens went to Benghazi.
“At least one of the reasons Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi was to further the secretary’s wish that that post become a permanent constituent post and that he was also there because we understood the secretary intended to visit Tripoli later in the year,” Hicks reiterated.
“We hoped that she would be able to announce to the Libyan people the establishment of a permanent constituent post in Benghazi at that time.”
Close Clinton ties
Media Matters is known for its close ties to the Clintons. The group’s founder, David Brock, is a close Hillary Clinton associate. Hillary Clinton reportedly played a central role in helping to secure angel funding for Media Matters.
Last month, it was reported the Clinton machine was gearing up to target Klein’s book.
The Washington Times reported: “Author Aaron Klein’s upcoming book, ‘The REAL Benghazi Story,’ is also reportedly being targeted by the Clinton team and Media Matters.”
Politico quoted a publishing source predicting Klein’s Benghazi book “would appeal to a different audience, the publishing source said, a subset of readers deeply interested in the Benghazi attacks and convinced of an administration coverup.”
Klein’s “The REAL Benghazi Story” advertises itself as “a ground-breaking investigative work that finally exposes some of the most significant issues related to the murderous Sept. 11, 2012, attack –information with current national security implications.”
A sampling of what the publisher says is contained in the book:
- From the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission.
- Information that raises new questions about what really happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens that fated night.
- The central role Hillary Clinton actually played in the scandal.