Fox News’ morning show, Fox & Friends, is taking a surprisingly skeptical approach to GOP claims that the Obama administration and the entire U.S. government engaged in a massive cover-up of the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya in an effort to re-elect the president and protect him from scrutiny.
On Monday, the trio of hosts invited Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) — a regular fixture on cable television and a critic of Obama’s handling of the September 11, 2012 attacks — to discuss the House Republicans’ upcoming hearing with three witnesses who claim that the administration prevented them from speaking out about the incident. “We were certainly misled at every step of the way,” Chaffetz said, arguing that officials manipulated the findings of the Accountability Review Board, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points, and told military officials on the ground not to interfere or protect American interests during the attack.
The hosts then tore into Chaffetz’s theory, wondering if Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen, who headed the review, the entire CIA, and Republican-appointed officials could all be “complicit” in such a massive conspiracy:
BRIAN KILMEADE: Are you saying that admiral Pickering and Mullen are complicit because they did the review board? Are you saying that the CIA is complicit because they allowed their talking points to be edited? … What about Admiral Mullen and Pickering? Why would they sacrifice their reputation for a report that isn’t accurate? [...]
STEVE DOOCY: Congressman, it sounds like what you’ve described, it sounds like there has been a cover-up, but what were they trying to cover up? [...]
GRETCHEN CARLSON: But Congressman, it’s an interesting question because it does involve so many high-level people. You had the former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta — who was revered by both sides of the fence — coming out and saying, ‘hey, we couldn’t have gotten anybody there.’ So you have him on the line. You have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, President Obama, Admiral Mullen. Would all of these people go to bat just to get President Obama reelected?
KILMEADE: What about David Petraeus?
Chaffetz couldn’t offer a convincing answer, initially blaming the media for failing to report on the cover-up and then saying that the ongoing investigation will reveal the motive.
During a separate appearance on Fox News Sunday, Chaffetz accused the Department of State of repeated threats and intimidation against witnesses to the attack. But when pressed by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace for examples, he could offer none.
The House Oversight Committee will hold another hearing on the Benghazi attacks on Wednesday.