Saturday, September 22, 2012

Obama's Shaky Libya Narrative

Source: The Daily Beast

In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”

Two U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the intelligence community is currently analyzing an intercept between a Libyan politician whose sympathies are with al Qaeda and the Libyan militia known as the February 17 Brigade—which had been charged with providing local security to the consulate. In the intercept, the Libyan politician apparently asks an officer in the brigade to have his men stand down for a pending attack—another piece of evidence implying the violence was planned in advance.

“I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true before waiting for all the facts to come in,” says one senior retired CIA official.

On the other hand, a U.S. intelligence official stressed that it was still early days for the investigation. “It is important to accept that with events like this it takes time to figure out what happened and determine which data points are relevant and accurate,” this intelligence official said. “That process is happening right now.”

U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High

Source: Gallup

Americans are clearly down on the news media this election year, with a record-high six in 10 expressing little or no trust in the mass media's ability to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. This likely reflects the continuation of the trend seen in recent years, combined with the increased negativity toward the media that election years tend to bring. This is particularly consequential at a time when Americans need to rely on the media to learn about the platforms and perspectives of the two candidates vying to lead the country for the next four years.