A Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee noted that he read the New York Times piece “six times, and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of State was when Benghazi happened.”
“Because her name wasn’t mentioned a single solitary time in this exhaustive New York Times piece. Not once,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said on Fox.
Asked whether it was clearing the decks for a presidential run by Hillary Clinton, Gowdy quipped, “Oh, heavens no. That couldn’t possibly have been their motivation, would it be, to support a Democrat who was running for the White House? Oh, heavens, no.”
“And the fact that the editor of the New York Times had to explain today that they haven’t yet endorsed anyone for 2016, all you have to do is read the paper, and can you tell who they have endorsed, and what political ideology they have endorsed. But, again, I congratulate them on figuring out that Benghazi happened and that it’s a really big deal.”
NYT editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal wrote a blog post calling this theory by GOPs “hilarious”:
For anyone wondering why it’s so important to Republicans that Al Qaeda orchestrated the attack — or how the Obama administration described the attack in its immediate aftermath — the answer is simple. The Republicans hope to tarnish Democratic candidates by making it seem as though Mr. Obama doesn’t take Al Qaeda seriously. They also want to throw mud at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who they fear will run for president in 2016.
Which brings us to one particularly hilarious theme in the response to the Times investigation. According to Mr. Rogers, the article was intended to “clear the deck” for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said today that The Times was “already laying the groundwork” for a Clinton campaign. Other Republicans referred to Mrs. Clinton as our “candidate of choice.”
Since I will have more to say about which candidate we will endorse in 2016 than any other editor at the Times, let me be clear: We have not chosen Mrs. Clinton. We have not chosen anyone. I can also state definitively that there was no editorial/newsroom conspiracy of any kind, because I knew nothing about the Benghazi article until I read it in the paper on Sunday.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said he didn’t want to “speculate” on the NYT’s political motives.
“I just am shocked that a major newspaper in the United States would have the same talking points that the administration had the day after the event,” he said.
“I can’t attest to the purity of the New York Times’ piece,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on CNN. “I just want the truth. You cannot take the New York Times’ piece, lay it before the families and say this is conclusively what has happened.”
“…And for Hillary Clinton, five months after the attack, to suggest what difference does it make? That is highly offensive and not something we are going to forget about. We want the truth so it never, ever happens again.”