Research: The Obama Administration’s Response to the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi
SEPTEMBER 9, 2012
Two Days Before The Attack, Libyan Leader Mohammed El Gharabi Warned Three U.S. Officials Of The Deteriorating Situation In Benghazi, Telling Them ‘No One Is Safe.’
“Two days before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Americans in Libya, three U.S. officials met pro-government militias working to provide security in the city of Benghazi. In that meeting, which included the American economic and political counselors, Mohammed el Gharabi, a leader of a prominent militia, says he warned the Americans that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating. Assassinations are becoming rampant; no one is safe, including militiamen like himself, he says he told the Americans. He asked for help to secure Benghazi and suggested scaling back or possibly closing diplomatic missions until conditions were more secure. He didn’t cite any specific threat, but reminded the Americans that there had been an attack in June on the fortified U.S. Consulate, which is enclosed by a high wall, topped with concertina wire. They didn’t heed his warning, he says.” (Leila Fadel, NPR News, “Libyan Militiaman Says He Warned U.S. Of Dangers,” September 20, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 12, 2012
In Statement, President Obama Characterizes Benghazi Attacks As “Senseless Violence”.
“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.” (Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi, September 12, 2012)
In Remarks, President Characterizes Attacks In Libya As “Acts Of Terror”.
“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” (Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya, September 12, 2012)
Secretary Clinton: “Heavily Armed Militants Assaulted The Compound And Set Fire To Our Buildings,” Terms This “Senseless Act of Violence”, and Says “We Are Working To Determine The Precise Motivations And Methods Of Those Who Carried Out This Assault.”
“Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings…This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault.” (Remarks on the Death Of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Declines To “Speculate” On Whether Events In Libya Were Planned Terrorist Attacks.
”QUESTION: Jay, does the U.S. — does the White House believe that the attack in Benghazi was planned and premeditated?
”MR. CARNEY: It’s too early for us to make that judgment. I think — I know that this is being investigated, and we’re working with the Libyan government to investigate the incident. So I would not want to speculate on that at this time.
”QUESTION: Are you guys worried about al Qaeda in Libya? They seem to be growing. We just saw a report –
”MR. CARNEY: Again, I want to be careful about making statements that are based on speculation about this incident and its causes. It’s under investigation, obviously, and as we find out information that can be made available I’m sure we will.” (White House Press Gaggle En Route To Las Vegas, Nevada, September 12, 2012)
Many News Sources Confirm U.S. Knew Within 24 Hours That Libya
Attack Was Al-Qaeda-Linked Terror Plot
Wired Reports, “It Was Not A Simple Mob That Attacked The U.S. Consulate In Benghazi on Tuesday, Killing Four Americans”…”What Happened In Benghazi Was A Battle.”
“It was not a simple mob that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, killing four Americans. Benghazi was the scene of a pitched battle, one in which unknown Libyan assailants besieged American diplomats with small-arms fire for over four hours, repelling several attempts by U.S. personnel to regain control of it.” (Spencer Ackerman, Wired/Danger Room, “What Happened In Benghazi Was A Battle,” September 12, 2012)
According Three Intelligence Officials Who Spoke To Newsweek/The Daily Beast, “WITHIN 24 HOURS…U.S. Intelligence Agencies Had Strong Indications Al Qaeda-Affiliated Operatives Were Behind The Attack,” That Attack Was Planned.
“Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya… They said U.S. intelligence agencies developed leads on four of the participants of the attacks within 24 hours of the fire fight that took place mainly at an annex near the Benghazi consulate. For one of those individuals, the U.S. agencies were able to find his location after his use of social media. ‘We had two kinds of intelligence on one guy,’ this official said. ‘We believe we had enough to target him’… Another U.S. intelligence official said, ‘There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours. These guys have a return address. There are camps of people and a wide variety of things we could do.’” (Eli Lake, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, “U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates,” September 26, 2012)
Fox News Sources Confirm: “U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda”
“U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.” (Fox News, “US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm,” September 27, 2012)
Yahoo News Source Confirms: “American intelligence reached the conclusion that the assault on the consulate was terrorism “on Day One” and “the Brits, the French, Italians all said the same thing … within 48 hours.”
“Friendly Libyans were saying almost immediately that the organized attackers (not the protesters) seemed to be mostly foreigners. By the 13th, people were beginning to be identified and rolled up,” the source, who has been critical of the administration in the past, told Yahoo News. One early asset: Social media, where videos and photos of the attack gave intelligence officials early clues to what really happened. ”In this case, the intel has been spot-on from the beginning,” the source said. American intelligence reached the conclusion that the assault on the consulate was terrorism “on Day One” and “the Brits, the French, Italians all said the same thing … within 48 hours.” The source agreed to detail the American response to the tragedy on condition of anonymity. (Oliver Knox, Yahoo News, “U.S. responded to Benghazi attack as terrorism on ‘Day One’: Source”, September 27, 2012)
President Obama’s Response
President Obama Says Libya Aftermath Is “Not The Time For Politics,” His Job Is “To Focus On Security For Our people, Making Sure That We Gather All The Facts, Making Sure That We’re Advancing American Interests.”
“Obama [said] in an interview with Telemundo that he has made clear “this wasn’t the time for politics…As president, my obligation is to focus on security for our people, making sure that we gather all the facts, making sure that we’re advancing American interests,” he said in an excerpt of the Telemundo interview aired Wednesday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” (Politico, “Obama: Libya Aftermath ‘Not The Time For Politics’,” September 12, 2012)
6:10 PM PDT, President Obama Speaks At A Campaign Fundraiser In Las Vegas, Nevada. (White House Schedule, September 12, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
Administration Begins Campaign To Blame Anti-Muslim Video
Jay Carney Casts Blame On Video For Unrest In The Middle East.
“I think it’s important to note with regards to that protest that there are protests taking place in different countries across the world that are responding to the movie that has circulated on the Internet.”
State Department Refuses To Say Attack Was Spontaneous Or Premeditated, Whether It Was Work Of Al Qaeda-Sympathizing Groups, Suggests Video Provoked The Attack
QUESTION: Toria, can you tell us whether there’s been any progress towards determining whether the Benghazi attack was purely spontaneous or was premeditated by militants, and also whether there’s been any further determination about the extent to which the Cairo, Benghazi, and now Yemen attacks were related in some way other than just by theme?
MS. NULAND: Well, as we said yesterday when we were on background, we are very cautious about drawing any conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, what their motivations were, whether it was premeditated, whether they had any external contacts, whether there was any link, until we have a chance to investigate along with the Libyans.
That said, obviously, there are plenty of people around the region citing this disgusting video as something that has been motivating. As the Secretary said this morning, while we as Americans, of course, respect free speech, respect free expression, there’s never an excuse for it to become violent.
QUESTION: Toria –
QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, though, this – these incidents all boiled out of the anniversary of 9/11 as well. There seems to be a detail that’s kind of missed in all of this. Is there any indication in that that there’s possibly al-Qaida sympathizers involved?
MS. NULAND: Again, I can’t draw any conclusions as to the who and how they were affiliated. We just can’t do that right now, and we won’t until we have more information. What I would say is that, as you have probably seen, what we’re seeing on social media, what we’re seeing in some of the local commentary, is largely related to this reprehensible video. (Victoria Nuland, State Department Spokesperson, Daily Press Briefing, September 13, 2012)
Anonymous “Senior Official” Contradicts Administration Line, Says “It Was Not An Innocent Mob”…A “Clearly Planned Military-Type Attack.”
”‘It was not an innocent mob,’ one senior official said. ‘The video or 9/11 made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective but this was a clearly planned military-type attack.’” (CNN, “4 hours of fire and chaos: How the Benghazi attack unfolded“, September 13, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 14, 2012
Jay Carney Insists Attacks Are “In Response To A Video” — “Not To United States Policy, Not To Obviously The Administration, Not To The American People,” Denies The Administration Has Any Information to Suggest Attack Was Planned.
CARNEY: “We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.”
”MR. CARNEY: Jake, let’s be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region –
”QUESTION, JAKE TAPPER: At Benghazi? What happened at Benghazi –
”MR. CARNEY: We certainly don’t know. We don’t know otherwise. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of, or to U.S. policy.
”TAPPER: But the group around the Benghazi post was well armed. It was a well-coordinated attack. Do you think it was a spontaneous protest against a movie?
”MR. CARNEY: Look, this is obviously under investigation, and I don’t have –
”TAPPER: But your operating assumption is that that was in response to the video, in Benghazi? I just want to clear that up. That’s the framework? That’s the operating assumption?
”MR. CARNEY: Look, it’s not an assumption –
”TAPPER: Because there are administration officials who don’t — who dispute that, who say that it looks like this was something other than a protest.
”MR. CARNEY: I think there has been news reports on this, Jake, even in the press, which some of it has been speculative. What I’m telling you is this is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have information to suggest or to tell you that would indicate that any of this unrest was preplanned.
“MR. CARNEY: Jake, again, what we have seen is unrest around the region in response to a video that Muslims find offensive, many Muslims find offensive. We have seen incidents like this in the past, in reaction to other actions — cartoons and other actions that have been taken, that have been — have led to protests and violence in the region. And we have managed those situations, and we are working to ensure that our diplomatic personnel and our diplomatic facilities are secure as we deal with the response to this video, which we believe is offensive and disgusting.
TAPPER: So that’s a no? Entirely the fault of the filmmaker?
MR. CARNEY: Again, I don’t think — I think you have to understand what is happening currently in the region and what it is a response to. This is not — this has been in –
TAPPER: I don’t think I need to understand that. I think the people who protect the embassies need to understand it.
MR. CARNEY: The cause of the unrest was a video, and that continues today, as you know, as we anticipated. (White House Press Briefing, September 14, 2012)
Carney Says It Is “Absolutely Wrong” To Suggest The Administration Had “Any Intelligence In Advance That An Attack Could Take Place,” Stating, “We Were Not Aware Of Any Actionable Intelligence.”
“QUESTION: On the Libya attacks, was there any intelligence in advance that some kind of attack could take place, especially because so many embassies were taking precautions because of 9/11? Was there any advance warning at all?
“MR. CARNEY: I have seen that report, and the story is absolutely wrong. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false….
“QUESTION, JAKE TAPPER: My colleague from the Associated Press asked you a direct question, was there any intelligence suggesting that there would be an attack on the U.S. consulates. You said that a story — referred to a story being false and said there was no actionable intelligence. But you didn’t answer his question. Was there any intelligence, period — intelligence, period — suggesting that there was going to be an attack on either the embassy –
“MR. CARNEY: There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks. It is — I mean, I think the DNI spokesman was very declarative about this that the report is false. The report suggested that there was intelligence that was available prior to this that led us to believe that this facility would be attacked, and that is false.” (White House Press Briefing, September 14, 2012)
At the Ceremony Transferring Murdered Americans Back to U.S., Hillary Clinton Refers to “Rage and Violence Directed At American Embassies Over An Awful Internet Video That We Had Nothing To Do With”
“This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.” (“Remarks at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” September 14, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 16, 2012
Ambassador Susan Rice Claims On Multiple National Television Shows That The Attack On Benghazi Consulate Was “Spontaneous,” “Not Premeditated,” “A Reaction…Sparked By This Hateful Video.”
On ABC’s This Week:
RICE: “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.
“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.
“We’ll wait to see exactly what the investigation finally confirms, but that’s the best information we have at present.” (Transcript, ABC’s This Week, September 16, 2012)
On CBS’s Face the Nation:
RICE: “But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy–sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that– in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
“SUSAN RICE: We do not– we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?
“SUSAN RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.” (Transcript, CBS’s Face the Nation, September 16, 2012)
On CNN’s State of the Union:
RICE: “Candy, first of all, let’s recall what has happened in the last several days. There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the internet. It had nothing to do with the United States government and it’s one that we find disgusting and reprehensible. It’s been offensive to many, many people around the world.
“That sparked violence in various parts of the world, including violence directed against western facilities including our embassies and consulates. That violence is absolutely unacceptable, it’s not a response that one can ever condone when it comes to such a video. And we have been working very closely and, indeed, effectively with the governments in the region and around the world to secure our personnel, secure our embassy, condemn the violent response to this video.
“And, frankly, we’ve seen these sorts of incidents in the past. We’ve seen violent responses to “Satanic Verses.” We’ve seen violent responses to the cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in an evil way. So this is something we’ve seen in the past, and we expect that it’s possible that these kinds of things could percolate into the future. What we’re focused on is securing our personnel, securing our facilities.” (Transcript, CNN’s State of the Union, September 16, 2012)
On NBC’s Meet the Press:
RICE: “First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that– that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent. In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some– some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to– to reinforce our facility…”
“…Well, first of all, David, let’s put this in perspective. As I said, this is a response to a– a very offensive video. It’s not the first time that American facilities have come under attack in the Middle East, going back to 1982 in– in Beirut, going back to the Khobar Towers in– in Saudi Arabia, or even the attack on our embassy in 2008 in Yemen…his has– this has happened in the past, but there– and so I don’t think that– that we should misunderstand what this is. The reason we provide aid in Egypt and in Libya is because it serves American interests because the relationships…” (Transcript, NBC’s Meet the Press, September 16, 2012)
The Same Day Ambassador Rice Misled The American People, Libyan National Congress President Mohamd Magariaf Says Explicitly That Her Claims Are “Preposterous”
He Said On NPR: “The Idea That It Was A “Spontaneous Protest That Just Spun Out Of Control Is Completely Unfounded and Preposterous,” Says They “Firmly Believe This Was Precalculated, Preplanned Attack That Was Carried Out Specifically To Attack the U.S. Consulate.”
“The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous…We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate.” (Leila Fadel, NPR News, “Consulate Attack Preplanned, Libya’s President Says,” September 16, 2012)
On CBS’s Face The Nation, President Magariaf Said He Had “No Doubt” It Was A Planned Terrorist Attack Linked With Al Qaeda.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: About fifty people have been arrested. And who are these people?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF (voice overlapping): Yeah.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: You have said that they were connected to al Qaeda. Are they all foreigners?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: Yes, few of them are.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: And who are the others?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The others are affiliates and maybe sympathizers.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you think the foreigners are from, Mister President?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: They entered Libya from different directions and some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.”
“BOB SCHIEFFER: Was this a long-planned attack, as far as you know? Or what– what do you know about that?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we– and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no– this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined– predetermined.
“BOB SCHIEFFER: And you believe that this was the work of al Qaeda and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is that– is that what you are telling us?
“MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: It was planned– definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who– who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their– since their arrival.” (Transcript, CBS’s Face the Nation, September 16, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
State Department Spokesperson Won’t Call Benghazi Attack “An Act of Terror,” Says “I’m Not Going To Put Labels On This…I Don’t Think We Know Enough.”
“QUESTION: Simply on the basis of what Ambassador Rice has publicly disclosed, does the United States Government regard what happened in Benghazi as an act of terror?
“MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not going to put labels on this until we have a complete investigation, okay?
“QUESTION: You don’t – so you don’t regard it as an act of terrorism?
“MS. NULAND: I don’t think we know enough. I don’t think we know enough. And we’re going to continue to assess. She gave our preliminary assessment. We’re going to have a full investigation now, and then we’ll be in a better position to put labels on things, okay?” (Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, Daily Press Briefing, September 17, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 18, 2012
Carney Continues To Blame Anti-Islamic Video For Benghazi Attacks, Says “The Video Was A Precipitating Cause To The Unrest In The Region And Specifically In Libya,” Despite Considerable Resistance From Press Corps.
“I would point you to what Ambassador Rice said and others have said about what we know thus far about the video and its influence on the protests that occurred in Cairo, in Benghazi and elsewhere…”
“…What we have seen is broad unrest across the region and elsewhere in response to this video, which we have made clear we view as reprehensible and disgusting, and a video that is in no way connected to the United States government and does not reflect the values that we hold as a people.
“QUESTION: Do you think the video led protesters to get rocket-propelled grenades –
“MR. CARNEY: What I know, Ed, and I know you know is that Libya, as I just said, is a very volatile place that has just gone through a revolution and a war, and where there is an abundance of weapons, including heaving weapons. And there are certainly groups that carry those weapons and look to take advantage of circumstances, as there are around the region and the world…”
“…QUESTION: I wanted to go back to the conflict between — the conflicting reports I guess between the administration and Libyan officials over what happened. On Friday, you seemed to cite that the videos were definitely part of it, but I get the sense that you’re backing away from that a little bit today. Is there something that you’ve learned since?
“MR. CARNEY: No, no. I think what I am making clear and what Ambassador Rice made clear on Sunday is that reaction to the video was the precipitating factor in protests in violence across the region. And what I’m also saying is that we have — we made that assessment based on the evidence that we have, and that includes all the evidence that we have at this time.”
“…I’m saying that based on information that we — our initial information, and that includes all information — we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack; that we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. ..
“QUESTION: Would the administration still say that it was spontaneous?
“MR. CARNEY: Based on the information that we have now, it was — there was a reaction to the video — there was protests in Cairo, then followed by protests elsewhere, including Benghazi, and that that was what led to the original unrest.”
“…based on what we knew at the time, knew initially, what we know now, the facts that we have, the video was a precipitating cause to the unrest in the region and specifically in Libya.” (White House Press Briefing, September 18, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 19, 2012
Director of The National Counter-Terrorism Center Matt Olsen Describes Benghazi Events As “A Terrorist Attack,” Says It Appears Al Qaeda Was Involved.
“’I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.’… As for who was responsible, Olsen said it appears there were attackers from a number of different militant groups that operate in and around Benghazi, and said there are already signs of al Qaeda involvement. ‘We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,’ he said.” (Matt Olsen quoted in Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, “Obama Official: Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack,” September 19, 2012)
Director Olsen Says There Were Intelligence Reports “Detailing Generally The Threat That Was Faced To U.S. And Western Individuals And Interests In Eastern Libya From…Armed Militants As Well As Elements Connected To Al Qaeda.”
“So there were reports detailing those attacks and detailing generally the threat that was faced to U.S. and Western individuals and interests in Eastern Libya from, again, armed militants as well as elements connected to al Qaeda…There was no specific intelligence regarding an imminent attack prior to September 11th on our post in Benghazi.” (Matt Olsen quoted in Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, “Obama Official: Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack,” September 19, 2012)
Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME) Says Her Intelligence Briefings Indicate It Was “A Premeditated, Planned Attack That Was Associated With The Anniversary Of 9/11.”
“First, I will tell you that based on the briefings I have had, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion and agree with the president of Libya that this was a premeditated, planned attack that was associated with the date of 9/11, the anniversary of 9/11…I just don’t think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity — and they are many — with the Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was premeditated.” (Senator Snow quoted in Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy, “Obama Official: Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack,” September 19, 2012)
“Intelligence Sources Tell Fox News They Are Convinced The Deadly Attack On The U.S. Consulate In Benghazi, Libya, Was Directly Tied To Al Qaeda – With A Former Guantanamo Detainee Involved.”
“Intelligence sources tell Fox News they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda — with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.”
“That revelation comes on the same day a top Obama administration official called last week’s deadly assault a ‘terrorist attack’ — the first time the attack has been described that way by the administration after claims it had been a ‘spontaneous’ act.” (Fox News, “Al Qaeda, ex-Gitmo detainee involved in consulate attack, intelligence sources say,” September 19, 2012)
Intelligence Sources Say “There Was No Major Protest In Benghazi Before The Deadly Attack Which Killed Four Americans.”
“Other sources, including an intelligence source in Libya who spoke to Fox News, have echoed those claims. The intelligence source even said that, contrary to the suggestion by the Obama administration, there was no major protest in Benghazi before the deadly attack which killed four Americans. A U.S. official did not dispute the claim.” (Fox News, “Al Qaeda, ex-Gitmo detainee involved in consulate attack, intelligence sources say,” September 19, 2012)
Yet Jay Carney Again Says There Is “No Evidence” Attack Was Premeditated.
“What I can tell you is that, as I said last week, as our Ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday and as I said the other day, based on what we know now and knew at the time, we have no evidence of a preplanned or premeditated attack…Based on the information that we had at the time and have to this day, we do not have evidence that it was premeditated. It is a simple fact that there are, in post-revolution, post-war Libya, armed groups, there are bad actors hostile to the government, hostile to the West, hostile to the United States. And as has been the case in other countries in the region, it is certainly conceivable that these groups take advantage of and exploit situations that develop, when they develop, to protest against or attack either Westerners, Americans, Western sites or American sites.” (White House Press Briefing, September 19, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 20, 2012
In Abrupt Shift, Carney Says It Is “Self-Evident” That The Benghazi Attack Was A Terrorist Attack, Concedes Al Qaeda Likely Involved.
“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident…”
“…QUESTION: Can you — have you called it a terrorist attack before? Have you said that?
“MR. CARNEY: I haven’t, but — I mean, people attacked our embassy. It’s an act of terror by definition.
“QUESTION: Yes, I just hadn’t heard you –
“MR. CARNEY: It doesn’t have to do with what date it occurred.
“QUESTION: No, I just hadn’t heard the White House say that this was an act of terrorism or a terrorist attack. And I just –
“MR. CARNEY: I don’t think the fact that we hadn’t is not — as our NCTC Director testified yesterday, a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly in the Benghazi area. We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates, in particular al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.” (White House Press Briefing, September 20, 2012)
At The Univision Forum, President Obama Casts Blame For “What We’ve Seen Over The Last Week And A Half” On The Anti-Islamic Video.
What we’ve seen over the last week, week and a half, is something that actually we’ve seen in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is obviously something that then is used as an excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts directed at Westerners or Americans. (Transcript, Fox News, President Obama’s Remarks At Univision Town Hall, September 20, 2012)
Asked Specifically If The Libya Attack Was A Terrorist Attack And If Al Qaeda Was Involved, President Obama Returned To The Video. Though Prompted, He Refuses To Describe As A Terrorist Attack.
QUESTION: We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you have information indicating that it was Iran, or al Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests”
QUESTION: Al Qaeda?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we don’t know yet. And so we’re going to continue to investigate this. We’ve insisted on and have received so far full cooperation from countries like Egypt and Libya and Tunisia in not only protecting our diplomatic posts, but also to make sure that we discover who, in fact, is trying to take advantage of this. (Transcript,
Fox News, President Obama’s Remarks At Univision Town Hall, September 20, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 21, 2012
Secretary Clinton Says “What Happened In Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack.”
“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says it was a ‘terrorist attack’ that killed the American ambassador to Libya and three others, and she says the U.S. will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice. Clinton told reporters Friday at the State Department that, quote, ‘what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.’ And she said the U.S. would track down, quote, the ‘terrorists who murdered four Americans.’” (AP via Fox News, “Sec Clinton: What Happened In Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack,” September 21, 2012)
CBS News Says “There Was Never An Anti-American Protest Outside Of The Consulate. Instead, They Say It Came Under Planned Attack. That Is In Direct Contradiction With The Administration’s Account.” (CBS News, This Morning segment viewable at The Weekly Standard website)
Newsweek/The Daily Beast Reports That Attackers “Had Staked Out And Monitored The U.S. Consulate In Benghazi Before The Attack, A Move That Suggests Pre-Planning,” And That Intelligence Had Intercepted Communications In Which A Libyan Politician Asked The Consulate’s Libyan Guards To “Stand Down” (As Senator Collins Alleged Two Days Earlier).
“One current U.S. intelligence officer working on the investigation into the incident told The Daily Beast that the attackers had staked out and monitored the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the attack, a move that suggests pre-planning. What’s more, two U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the intelligence community is currently analyzing an intercept between a Libyan politician whose sympathies are with al Qaeda and the Libyan militia known as the February 17 Brigade—which had been charged with providing local security to the consulate. In the intercept, the Libyan politician apparently asks an officer in the brigade to have his men stand down for a pending attack—another piece of evidence implying the violence was planned in advance.” (Eli Lake, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, “Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative,” September 21, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
Asked Point Blank On ABC’s The View Whether The Events In Libya Were A Terrorist Attack, President Obama Again Refuses To Use The Phrase.
JOY BEHAR: “I want to talk about Libya for a second, because on 9/11 of this past year, our embassy was attacked there, and we lost four people including the ambassador, and it was reported that people just went crazy and wild because of this anti-Muslim movie – or anti-Muhammad, I guess – movie. But then I heard Hillary Clinton say that it was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?”
PRESIDENT: “Well, we’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. We don’t have all the information yet, and so we’re still gathering it. But what’s clear is that around the world there’s still a lot of threats out there.” (President Obama on ABC’s The View, video via CNS News, Fred Lucas, “Obama: Libya ‘Wasn’t Just A Mob Action’”, September 25, 2012)
SEPTEMBER 26, 2012
Carney Says The Position Of The Administration Is Now “That It Was A Terrorist Attack,” Can’t Explain Why President Refuses To Use The Phrase.
“CARNEY: The President — our position is, as reflected by the NCTC director, that it was a terrorist attack. It is, I think by definition, a terrorist attack when there is a prolonged assault on an embassy with weapons.
“QUESTION: Is there any reason why the President did not — he was asked point-blank in The View interview, is this a terrorist attack, yes or no? Is there any reason why he didn’t say yes?
“MR. CARNEY: No, there’s — I mean, he answered the question that he was asked, and there’s no reason that he chose the words he did beyond trying to provide a full explanation of his views and his assessment that we need to await further information that the investigation will uncover. But it is certainly the case that it is our view as an administration, the President’s view, that it was a terrorist attack.” (White House Press Briefing, September 26, 2012)
Libyan President On The Today Show Says Once Again: “No Doubt” Attack Was A Pre-Planned Act Of Terrorism, Says That Movie “Has Nothing To Do With This Attack” And That 500 Mortars Were Used In The Assault.
ANN CURRY: “Would you call the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi an act of terrorism?”
PRESIDENT MAGARIEF: “I have no doubt about that. And it’s a pre-planned act of terrorism directed against American citizens.”
ANN CURRY: “What is your evidence that it was a pre-planned act of terrorism?”
PRESIDENT MAGARIEF: “Number one is choosing the date, 11th of September, has all the significance. If we take the facts about the way it was executed, we can see that there is enough proof that it is a pre-planned act of terrorism.”
ANN CURRY: “President Obama is not calling it a terrorist attack. He has stopped short of calling it a terrorist attack.”
PRESIDENT MAGARIEF: “This is how I’m calling it as a Libyan responsible, or a Libyan official, but it is for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to describe it the way they like and they feel right. I mean, you have your terminology and we have our terminology. It’s an act of terror.”
ANN CURRY: “How many mortars were used?”
PRESIDENT MAGARIEF: “Over five hundred.”
ANN CURRY: “Do you think the movie had anything to do –”
PRESIDENT MAGARIEF: “Of course – ”
ANN CURRY: “– with this attack.”
PRESIDENT MAGAREIF: “Not on this attack. Not on this attack. It has nothing to do with this attack.” (NBC’s Today Show segment, September 26, 2012)
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa Writes In Letter To Secretary Clinton That “Multiple U.S. Federal Government Officials Have Confirmed That…The U.S. Mission In Libya Made Repeated Requests For Increased Security In Benghazi.”
“Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012…In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.” (Congressmen Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz, Letter to Secretary Clinton, October 2, 2012)