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New York Times, Washington Post Both Fail to Report Real Reasons for Hagel Filibuster

02/15/2013 11:26 pm ET | Updated Apr 17, 2013

Paul Kane of the Washington Post framed the whole Chuck Hagel filibuster as one big tea-party plan that risks national security. Kane's lede even went so far as to erroneously claim the Hagel confirmation vote delay was because of a new GOP request to look further into the nominee's background. In a front page, above the fold quote for the president, Kane also gratuitously allows Obama to lament "this kind of politics."

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times, too, framed the story as Republicans defiantly risking the nation's national security. An actual assessment of the facts couldn't possibly lead an unbiased reporter to this spin. Peters, like Kane, couldn't grasp the real reason for the Hagel filibuster: the unanswered pleas from multiple GOP senators for factual information on what the White House's role was in the Benghazi, Libya attack.

Peters and Kane fail to see that it is the White House playing politics with a national security issue. A White House that has been blaming the GOP for a "political controversy" since the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2012. Unfortunately, the media dutifully play along. Perhaps it's because they're biased or maybe because they simply follow the others. But reporters are failing to ask President Obama probing questions and are all too reluctant to buy his spin.

From the moment Mitt Romney called the Administration's response to the 9/11 attacks "weak," the Obama team has led the Democrats in stonewalling, evading and deliberately misleading the American people about what really happened and their role in it. Within minutes of Romney's original 9/11 critique, the Obama campaign pounced to blame Republicans for politicizing the Libya tragedy. The Obama campaign narrative was echoed by most every main stream reporter. The fact is: President Obama and his appointees have never taken the GOP inquiries seriously despite the growing evidence that the President's national security team failed to recognize a growing problem and respond appropriately once the attacks occurred.

The Post's Kane laughably goes on to say that the 2014 Republican primary elections are behind the filibuster and falsely claims the vote delay is because of a new request from Senator Ted Cruz to review Hagel's past speeches. While Cruz has made the request for additional time, the GOP filibuster has been and continues to be over the White House's political game-playing on the Benghazi attacks. Kane never once tells the reader that the White House has not answered and has evaded very real questions of what really happened in Libya on September 11.

Hillary Clinton didn't even read the top-secret State Department cables where the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was pleading for more security because of the growing terrorist threats. On the very day Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed by extremists he sent a request for additional security -- a cable that the Secretary of State testified she never even saw. We still don't know who did see the cables and what they did with the requests. So why wouldn't Kane and Peters mention this fact? It certainly gives context as to the seriousness of the GOP senators' requests.

Peters twice referenced the Hagel filibuster as "the first time in history" and "an opposition tactic rare for cabinet-level nominees" but doesn't reference the Democrats' filibuster of John Bolton (Kane doesn't mention Bolton either). Bolton, despite having the support of the majority of the Senate, was not confirmed for a national security post because then-Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Harry Reid played politics. Despite Kane's and Peters' selective memory, filibusters for national security positions aren't unique, sadly.

I'm sorry if Leon Panetta has to continue serving his country a few more weeks but we have a national security crisis that isn't being taken seriously by the President of the United States, Paul Kane or Jeremy Peters. We still need answers so we can be sure it never happens again. While a filibuster for top-national security posts is regrettable, so is stonewalling legitimate inquiries about a terrorist attack that killed a U.S. Ambassador on 9/11.