The tangled web linking Sidney Blumenthal, CBS News, and a secret Clinton spy network starting to come to light

This is a story that has the feel of a slightly implausible spy thriller.  Unfortunately, it is all too real, and it suggests that hidden forces have indeed been at work shaping the narrative on the Benghazi attack that was so deftly manipulated in the lead-up to the 2012 re-election of Barack Obama.  The complicated story (as much of it as we know at present) is laid out by Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard:

In March, an investigation by ProPublica and Gawker revealed that a “secret spy network” that was not on the State Department payroll, run by longtime Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, was “funneling intelligence about the crisis in Libya directly to the Secretary of State’s private account starting before the Benghazi attack.” Now the WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who was working directly with Blumenthal as a member of Clinton’s spy network, was concurrently working as a consultant to CBS News and its venerable news program 60 Minutes.

According to WEEKLY STANDARD sources, Drumheller was active in shaping the network’s Benghazi coverage. His role at the network raises questions about what went wrong with the retracted 60 Minutes report on Benghazi that aired in October 2013. Despite his former life as a high ranking CIA official, Drumheller was laden with political baggage, making him a curious choice to be consulting with a major news operation—especially so given that he was working directly with Sidney Blumenthal, whose primary occupation appears to be manipulating media coverage on behalf of the Clintons.

The president of CBS News is David Rhodes, brother of Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications of President Obama.

The ins and outs of the story, and the career of Drumheller, former CIA head of clandestine services in Europe and darling of the left after he retired in 2005 and began debunking Bush Iraq policy (only to be severely contradicted by former CIA head George Tenet) are convoluted, to say the least.  CBS News comes across very badly in its choice of advisors to shape coverage and in its behavior.  Readers will remember the crucial turning point in the Romney-Obama debate when Candy Crowley stepped up with a quote in hand to seemingly make the point that Obama did in fact promptly call the Benghazi attack terror.  (It was an ambiguous quote, presented as fact by moderator Crowley.)  Hemingway supplies this insight on CBS’s role in creating the Crowley-Obama campaign narrative:

Former CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson pointed the finger at her former network for helping the Obama administration obfuscate on this point; the day after Benghazi attack, in an interview with 60 Minutes’s Steve Kroft, President Obama said it was "too early to know" whether the attack was terrorism. As the election neared, whether or not Obama had called the attack terrorism emerged as a major election issue with Republican candidate Mitt Romney attacking Obama for failing to label Benghazi a terror attack for 14 days, and the issue became a flashpoint during the second presidential debate.

Despite the fact the interview would have been especially newsworthy, CBS didn't show the clip, and only leaked a transcript of Kroft's interview days before the election

Factor in the now infamous retracted Lara Logan report and Drumheller’s function at CBS News at the time, and the words “set up” start to come to mind.

It would be enlightening for the Benghazi Special Committee to subpoena Drumheller and start to get to the bottom of all this.  Unfortunately, he is now departed, having died last year of cancer.

We may never get the truth about how the Benghazi story was manipulated, but the election prospects of Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 are both profoundly impacted by the story.  Read the Hemingway piece, and weep for our country.

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