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Fareed Zakaria Dismisses GOP Charges Against Obama On Libya as 'Highly Politicized'

New reports (and denials) that the CIA told its members in Benghazi to stand down during the embassy attacks are nothing but "an argument for ideologues" and no election game-changer, sounded CNN's Fareed Zakaria Friday afternoon on CNN.

"I think this is a highly politicized set of charges and countercharges," added Zakaria. This from the man who reportedly was considered for a post in Obama's next administration.

[Video below the break. Audio here.]

That all changed after Zakaria was caught for plagiarizing. But as Tim Graham of NewsBusters put it, "How long has Zakaria been under 'favorable consideration' and how might that bend the arc of his journalism?" President Obama also personally sought him out for expertise on foreign affairs, a story which made headlines in May of 2011.

On Friday afternoon, CNN's Don Lemon brought up "reports that CIA leaders denied repeated requests for their people in Benghazi to help in the fight. And just yesterday, a senior official denied that to CNN, that that ever happened." He asked, "do you think that this will have any impact on who wins or do you think this is just an argument for ideologues here?"

"I think it's the latter, Don," answered Zakaria. "I think this is a highly politicized set of charges and countercharges. I think the Republicans have been searching for some entry point to criticize Obama on foreign policy."

"They didn't know what was happening. They got out some wrong information," he lamely offered for the Obama administration. "But then to go to deceit and deception and even treason, it seems to me there is absolutely no evidence for this," he slammed Republicans.

And perhaps columns like this one further support the assumption of Zakaria's pro-Obama bias. He did announce on CNN that he was voting for Obama in 2008.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on November 2 on CNN Newsroom at 3:23 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

DON LEMON:  Okay. Let's talk now, Fareed, about the September 11th attack in Libya that killed four Americans. The right and conservative media outlets have been going after the administration over reports that CIA leaders denied repeated requests for their people in Benghazi to help in the fight. And just yesterday, a senior official denied that to CNN, that that ever happened. That whole back and forth, they say, never happened. And so just days before this election, on November 6th, do you think that this will have any impact on who wins or do you think this is just an argument for ideologues here?

FAREED ZAKARIA: I think it's the latter, Don. I think this is a highly politicized set of charges and countercharges. I think the Republicans have been searching for some entry point to criticize Obama on foreign policy. Obama has had what the public regards as generally a pretty successful foreign policy. Libya proved to be one place they could go in, because there was a – there was mishandling of the events right after the assassination, the murder of the ambassador. They didn't know what was happening. They got out some wrong information.

But the idea that there was some kind of purposeful, you know, cover-up, that there was deception or that there was some kind of treasonous behavior, many of these implications go beyond clumsiness and incompetence. I think it's fair to say there was a certain amount of clumsiness and incompetence. But then to go to deceit and deception and even treason, it seems to me there is absolutely no evidence for this. There is – we don't even know whether there was – whether it's fair to say that they were prepared for this. Remember, we have got 265 consulates and diplomatic postings around the world. On any given week, 25 of them asked for more security and, you know, you've got limited resources, you make decisions you can. In retrospect, of course, we should have reinforced Benghazi. But we know that in retrospect. It's not always as easy to tell at the moment which of those places you should reinforce. So I think we need an investigation, but it should be an impartial investigation, done by experts, not by politicians in the heat of a campaign.


-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center