(Politico) – Like clockwork, every several weeks, someone discovers a new document that, to their minds, “proves” that what the administration and the intelligence community have been saying about Benghazi is a bunch of lies. But time and again these documents don’t add up. They don’t show what the pundits think they show—and the Benghazi broadsides miss their mark anew.
Here is a recent example: Earlier last week a handful of number of news organizations, including Fox News, breathlessly reported that they had just gotten their hands on a Defense Intelligence Agency report—acquired through a FOIA request by Judicial Watch—that they say proves that the government knew very soon after the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12 that they had been planned ten or more days in advance. These news organizations suggest that this document puts the lie to what I and other current and former intelligence officials have been saying—that there was little planning before the attacks.
But the only thing that newly released document proves is that the people who trot out these reports do not understand the world of intelligence and do not take the time to ask the right people the right questions before publishing the “news.” The DIA report in question was an “Intelligence Information Report” or IIR. It is what we term “raw intelligence.” It was not the considered view of DIA analysts. Often from a single source, these bits of information represent one thread that some intelligence collector has picked up. The all source analysts in the Intelligence Community are charged with looking at that snippet of information and every other bit of available information from communications intercepts, human intelligence, open source material and much more to come up with an overall judgment.