Was an FN F2000 assault rifle used during the Benghazi Consulate attack that led to the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens?
Well, according to CNN, it was.
But, wait a minute. What is this CNN report based on?
Here’s what the anchor says (00:40-00:50):
An expert at GlobalSecurity.org tells us it is likely that the rifles being used were AK-47s and Belgian F2000s. The country is littered with these, from its many years of war.
In these two sentences, which took 10 seconds to be pronounced, several things are not accurate. Let’s focus on one thing: Libya could hardly be littered with FN F2000 assault rifles, since only 367 of these were sold to Gaddafi in 2008, shipped in 2009 and used by the 32nd “Khamis” Brigade in 2011 against protesters, at first, and opposition fighters thereafter. For more information about the F2000s delivered to Libya, see here.
While it is possible that the Sep. 11, 2012 attackers were equipped with FN F2000 assault rifles, this assumption needs to be verified on the ground. We contacted the GlobalSecurity.org website, which denied having said that this was the case to CNN. CNN did not reply to our emails asking whether they had tried to gather evidence to support their claims. The US State Department did not wish to comment on an ongoing investigation. In the meantime, UPI ran a story based on CNN’s information.
This story is anecdotal. But there’s some wisdom in it. Nobody talked about it in Belgium. Maybe because nobody saw the CNN, or UPI reports. If anything else, it shows the importance of documenting cases on the ground and it could stand as a lesson for journalists who have to deal with and report on the arms trade and armed conflicts. Accuracy is paramount. Many inaccurate things can be said in 10 seconds. And they will be talked over for days. What would bring a public debate based on pieces of information that are not accurate? It will take days to document a case, to dig deep and check the facts. The result of this kind of work is more interesting.