"Fox & Friends": Why does the public need to know about troops in Africa?

"Fox & Friends" co-host believes the public is only looking for a scandal — but didn't believe that about Benghazi

By Charlie May

Published October 24, 2017 1:39PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

"Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade thinks that the American public is only seeking for answers on the botched mission in Niger because they are hoping to find a scandal.

"You have an incident happen. People want to get to the bottom of it, and you have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff come forward and say this is what we know so far, we'll give you the latest," Kilmeade said on Tuesday's "Fox & Friends" broadcast.

Details about the Oct. 4 reconnaissance mission in Niger, which have been largely kept from the public, have also been changed by the Pentagon numerous times since the incident, which left four American soldiers dead.

Reports from a survivor of the ambush call the timeline even further into question.

President Donald Trump did not utter a word about the incident, despite the fact that the White House had been notified immediately that the mission went awry, until 12 days after the event. His first comments were false statements about previous presidents not calling the families of slain soldiers. It lit the fuse to his feud with a Democratic Congresswoman and the widow of one of the slain U.S. soldiers, that lasted an entire week.

But Kilmeade, a Trump supporter and the co-host of the president's favorite morning show, doesn't believe the public's questions are well-intentioned.

"And of course, the family members need to know details as soon as we get it. And now I'm just curious why the American people need to know how many people are doing what in West Africa?" Kilmeade said. "It seems like now — it seems like people looking for some type of scandal. I need to know how many troops are in West Africa? Really?"

He added, "Just know that Al Qaeda, al-Shabaab, ISIS are fanning out there and they're doing it not for fun but in order to train others to stop terrorists from eventually coming over here."

Of course, things were different in the case of the Benghazi scandal for Kilmeade, who has tweeted several dozen times about the incident. It was acceptable for the public to ask questions then.

"Are you ready for Benghazi gate. Facts of this terror attack emerging. Questions run deep. What do you still need to know?" Kilmeade tweeted in September 2012.

"Could Benghazi attack have been prevented?" he wrote less than a month later.  

Even four years later, Kilmeade was still seeking answers, but it was quite obvious that his hyperpartisan rhetoric was starting to ring hollow.

There are still many questions the public deserves to know the answers to about the mission gone-wrong in Niger, including why U.S. counterterrorism efforts have rapidly expanded across the continent of Africa and what evidence the government has that proves a military-first strategy to be effective.

These questions should be applied when seeking answers on any U.S. covert military operation, especially when lives — on any side — have been lost. Kilmeade doesn't seem to grasp a fundamental pillar of journalism: holding those in power accountable, regardless of who, or what political party, actually holds the power.

Charlie May

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Brian Kilmeade "fox & Friends" Media Niger Pentagon President Donald Trump Trump Administration