The State Department is upset that CNN is reporting news.
It seems CNN folks visited the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and another American facility there and somehow found a handwritten journal penned by Ambassador Chris Stevens who, along with three other Americans, was killed in attacks on September 11.
A State Department official is now lashing out criticizing the network for “reading and transcribing” the Ambassador’s diary before informing his family and forwarding it to them.
We are not buying the complaint. It is totally unrealistic to expect any news organization which finds such a document — which reportedly contained newsworthy information (Steven’s concerns about the security situation in Benghazi) — and not report on it.
CNN could legitimately be criticized if they gratuitously released personal information from the diary that had no bearing on the tragic events of 9/11/12 – but they did not.
And they could be criticized if the information they released someone put in jeopardy other U.S. citizens still in the area — but they did not.
Our only beef with the network is that originally when they reported on information from the journal they hid how they learned of Stevens’ concerns reporting:
“A source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’ thinking says that in the months before his death, he talked about being worried about what he called the never-ending security threats specifically in Benghazi. This source telling us that the ambassador specifically mentioned the rise in Islamic extremism, the growing al Qaeda presence in Libya, and said he was on an al Qaeda hit list. … What we don’t yet know is why, given all that Ambassador Stevens thought, why he traveled with such an apparently light security detail, why he was allowed to?”
Senior State Department officials say CNN’s actions were “indefensible.” Not to us. It is not hard at all to explain why CNN reported on what they found – information which could be considered embarrassing to the State Department. What is harder to explain is why U.S. officials didn’t find the diary first.