Most of us have figured out that the CIA was present in Benghazi and there for one thing: to secure the weapons the Obama administration had given to the al-Qaeda -linked Libyan rebels. The 2 ex-Navy SEALs were with the CIA and in Libya looking for MANPADs, shoulder-fired missiles. The truth will finally become clearer after the election on Tuesday.
NEW YORK — U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis,provided reporters Thursday with the most detailed explanation yet of the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Libya, and the agency’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, while also identifying the two former Navy SEALs killed that night as being employed by the CIA.
But some news organizations, including the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post, already knew that the two former SEALs — Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were working for the CIA and had agreed not to publish the information at the government’s request.
While AP, the Times and the Post held back this detail following an official request, reporters at other news outlets may also have known or assumed the men were not security contractors given the nature of their work in Libya. ABC News, for example,reported that Doherty had been working to “round up dangerous weapons” in the country. One national security reporter told The Huffington Post that it was an “open secret” in national security circles that the former SEALs were working for the CIA.
However, that detail wasn’t widely reported or, if it was, was quickly pulled back .
On Sept. 21, AP reported that Doherty and Woods “were in Libya on contract with the CIA,” but removed the line in later versions of the story and didn’t describe the men’s status in that way again until after Thursday’s briefing.
“We omitted mention of the two former SEALs’ CIA connection in subsequent versions of the story after CIA officials insisted that other lives would be endangered,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Over the past six weeks, the Benghazi compound has been primarily described as a consulate or diplomatic mission, even though it’s now being reported that just seven of the more than 30 people evacuated from the city were working for the State Department. As The Wall Street Journal wrote Thursday night, “the U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation.”
And now it’s clear the former SEALs killed that night were not part of a security detail for U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who also died in the attack, but were working for the CIA — a fact that, if presented earlier, might have helped reframe the murky narrative from an attack on a diplomatic mission to an attack on a location primarily used for intelligence gathering.
It’s not as if news organizations before Thursday had ignored the CIA’s presence in Benghazi in covering the attack and its aftermath.