90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Update: NYT Reporter Stands By Benghazi Reporting

David Kirkpatrick is Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times. (Photo via Twitter)

David Kirkpatrick is Cairo bureau chief for The New York Times. (Photo via Twitter)

In Congressional hearings last week, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton said it was a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The Obama administration has completely backed away from an earlier statement by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice that the attack was fueled by a spontaneous protest to an anti-Islam YouTube video.

And that prompted one of our listeners to ask whether “the hearings totally debunk the story that the Benghazi attack was all about a Youtube video as put forth by NY Times reporter [David Kirkpatrick] in an interview on H&N?”

We contacted David Kirkpatrick, and he stands by his reporting. He said his colleagues were on the ground when the attack was happening.

“The people in the crowd were saying they were motivated by this video,” Kirkpatrick said. “That crowd definitely included members of organized militant groups, including Ansar al-Shariah. We reported, at the time, there were fighters with pick-up trucks labeled with the Ansar al-Shariah logo outside.”

Kirkpatrick said that the militants could have planned the attack in short order.

“In the tinderbox of Benghazi, it doesn’t take very much advanced planning or preparation to pull off an attack like this, because there are lots of well-organized, heavily armed brigades or battalions just sitting around, waiting to go. And some of them adhere to an ultra-conservative or extremist Islamist ideology.”

Kirkpatrick says people need to understand that the attack was not the result of a singular event.

“It’s a false dichotomy to say either this was an organized attack, or it was a response to the video,” Kirkpatrick said.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • AvJoe

    The truth is rarely black or white. Politicians and the media like to oversimplify events and the underlying causes for their own interests. Unfortunately, this often results in ineffective or even dangerous actions or policies. Thank you for revisiting Kirkpatrick’s reporting.

  • Brad1h

    Here’s what I wamt to know…..Why is this narritive or interpretation not heard in the general discussion throughout the media? 

     Why didn’t Sec. Clinton say this instead of the whole “What Does It Matter?!” ? (I did not see entire hearing, did I miss something, maybe?)

    I heard the H&N original piece w/ Kirkpatrick when whole story was firing up,  fanned by election partissonhip ,  and thought …..”YES,  this seems to be a perfectly plausable, reasonable and certainly re. Sec. Rice’s statements that the GOP & FOX keep ranting on, explainitory assesment of situation on the ground which absolutely had to be wild a** crazy as it was more or less all over the region. 

    Yet never heard this narritiveanywhere else.  Not MSNBC, certainly not FOX, but neither elsewhere on NPR.  I am no news or politics junkie, far from it, but exactly my point, any reasonable awareness of issue from more than one source should have heard this a couple of times.  Why is this very presentation not a Democratic talking point?  Really….I don’t understand. 

    • J Frog

       Probably because the evidence is super-weak.  Listen to the Times reporter’s original interview.  He wasn’t at the scene.  It was a local stringer.  And this unnamed”stringer” was savvy enough to get to the scene of the crime before it went cold, but clueless enough to have not even heard about the Youtube video until people at the scene told him about it.  This is his beat and he hadn’t even heard about it.  It smells fishy.   MSNBC probably doesn’t want to put their reputation (weak as it may be) on the line defending this red herring.

      • Brad1h

        That certainly makes sense JFROG. 

        Will give that orig. story a relisten.  Was aware Kilpatrick not on scene but   not aware of credability prob w/ those who were.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

        I don’t think your interpretation of the stringer is logically sound, you may be right, not neccesarily.

        • J Frog

          I don’t say I know.  But I think Brad1h’s point about peer review is a good one.  You’d think other news orgs would be running with this.  Not that I’ve looked that carefully, but I haven’t seen any others.  Anyone seen any?  The Obama Admin is certainly running from the story.  That fact speaks volumes,  considering this narrative would help them politically.
          Perhaps Kirkpatricks original report was nuanced…but the orignal H&N headline was “Reporter Says Militants Attacked Because Of Video, Not 9-11″  …Not very nuanced at all.  It took a side.

  • Patrick Goggins

    It amazes me that there is not more discussion about the Kirkpatrick article. Here we have the Benghazi thing exploding all over the blogsphere, and apparently the only person who’s ever done any reporting on the actual motivation and amount of planning that the attackers used is being ignored.

    I’m sure that the FBI/CIA are still investigating this and we may or may not hear anything about the results of their investigation. But when Kirkpatrick’s report is consistent with Susan Rice statement that the attack was in response to the Innocence of Muslims video, AND the GOP has failed to offer an alternate theory…where’s the controversy?

  • nounjb

    It really does not matter what is said in response to the NYT item containing data and names that fit the situation and actions noted.

    The Obama Haters Association will simply deluge this Internet with enough trash talk to overcome the arguments given to bury it with verbiage enough to hide it ASAP.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 1 4 Comments

Breastfeeding Gets A Boost From Philadelphia Hospitals

The city's major birthing hospitals have stopped sending new moms home with baby formula, to encourage breastfeeding.

August 29 Comment

World Championship Tug-Of-War Is ‘A Thing Of Beauty’

This weekend's competition in Wisconsin is a bit more intense than it was in your grade school gym class.

August 29 Comment

Repelling Mosquitoes With A Natural Sticky Patch

The Kite Patch releases odors that block the bug's carbon dioxide receptors, sending them in another direction.

August 28 3 Comments

Catching Up With The Polyphonic Spree

The choral rock band out of Dallas, Texas, has been thrilling audiences with its live performances for over a decade.