Topics: Barack Obama

CBS's Benghazi sources faced 'extraordinary amount of pressure' from Obama administration

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Barack Obama,CBS,Hillary Clinton,Benghazi,Terrorism,Islamic Jihad,Media,Libya

Of all the obstacles CBS faced in gathering information about the Benghazi terrorist attack, obstacles erected by the Obama administration loomed the largest, according to the journalists who put together the Oct. 27 "60 Minutes" report.

"The administration is cracking down so hard on leakers: No one wants to put anything in writing, everybody is scared to talk over the phone, people want to meet in person; all of that makes it that much harder to investigate anything," said CBS's Lara Logan.

Logan said that government sources and people "involved" with Benghazi face "an extraordinary amount of pressure" from the government not to talk to the media about the attack.

"I mean, to the point where people that we've known for years would call people who were no longer in their positions, and they would call someone else that we knew, and messages would be delivered like that because there couldn't be any trail linking you directly to our story," she said.

Logan reported that "about 30 minutes into the attack, a quick reaction force from the CIA annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there."

Another small team flew in from Tripoli during the attack, but no more help was forthcoming.

"[F]or us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us," said Gregory Hicks, one of the top State Department officials working in Libya at the time of the attack, while discussing what it was like to learn that no "military assets" outside the country would come to the rescue.

"That our back is covered. To hear that it's not, it's a terrible, terrible experience," he told Logan.

Logan's assessment of the Obama administration's efforts to suppress the news media's efforts to get to the bottom of the Benghazi massacre of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, comes on the heels of a damning report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Written by former Washington Post managing editor Leonard Downie, the CPJ report described the Obama administration's chilling of sources in government who previously were conduits of critically important information needed by the public to assess accurately the performance of government.

“This is the most closed, control freak administration I've ever covered,” said David E. Sanger, veteran chief Washington correspondent of the New York Times, told Downie.

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