More Questions About Obama's Libya Narrative

- October 10, 2012

The State Department Says It Never Agreed With Obama's Claims That The Benghazi Attack Was Linked To Protests


The State Department Revealed That "Prior To The Attack On The U.S. Mission In Benghazi Late In The Evening On Sept. 11, There Was No Protest Outside The Compound." "Prior to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi late in the evening on Sept. 11, there was no protest outside the compound, a senior State Department official confirmed today, contradicting initial administration statements suggesting that the attack was an opportunistic reaction to unrest caused by an anti-Islam video. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, two senior State Department officials gave a detailed accounting of the events that lead to the death of Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The officials said that prior to the massive attack on the Benghazi compound by dozens of militants carrying heavy weaponry, there was no unrest outside the walls of the compound and no protest that anyone inside the compound was aware of." (Josh Rogin, "State Department: No Video Protest At The Benghazi Consulate," Foreign Policy 's The Cable , 10/9/12)

"The State Department Says It Never Concluded That An Attack That Killed The U.S. Ambassador To Libya Was Simply A Protest Gone Awry, A Statement That Places The Obama Administration's Own Foreign Policy Arm In Sync With Republicans." "The State Department says it never concluded that an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was simply a protest gone awry, a statement that places the Obama administration's own foreign policy arm in sync with Republicans. That extraordinary message, appearing to question the administration's initial description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, came in a department briefing Tuesday - a day before a hearing on diplomatic security in Libya was to be held by the Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee." (Larry Margasak and Bradley Klapper, "State Dept. Description Of Attack In Sync With GOP," The Associated Press , 10/10/12)

  • State Department Officials Told Reporters That It "Was Not Our Conclusion" That The Libya Attack Was Linked To Protests Against The Anti-Muslim Video. "Briefing reporters Tuesday ahead of the hearing, department officials were asked about the administration's initial - and since retracted - explanation linking the violence to protests over an American-made anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet. One official responded, 'That was not our conclusion.' He called it a question for 'others' to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far." (Larry Margasak and Bradley Klapper, "State Dept. Description Of Attack In Sync With GOP," The Associated Press , 10/10/12)

The State Department's Statement Raises "Further Questions About Why The Obama Administration Initially Used That Explanation After Assailants Killed Four Americans There." "A senior State Department official says his department never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam, raising further questions about why the Obama administration initially used that explanation after assailants killed four Americans there. Briefing reporters Tuesday, officials provided a more detailed rundown of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi. They said the attack came without warning and involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. But asked about the administration's initial explanation linking the violence to the video, one official said, 'That was not our conclusion.' The official called it a question for 'others' to answer." (Larry Margasak, "State Department: We Didn't Link Libya Attack To Video," The Associated Press, 10/9/12)


The Obama Administration Vehemently Denied That The Benghazi Attack Was Anything More Than A Protest Gone Awry

On September 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Insisted That The Attack Was In Reaction To The Film, Despite Being Told That The Pentagon Had Briefed The Senate That The Attacks In Benghazi Were Staged By Terrorists. ABC's JAKE TAPPER: "While we were sitting here, Secretary Panetta and the vice chair of the joint chiefs briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the senators came out and said their indication was that this - for the attack on Benghazi - was a terrorist attack organized and carried out by terrorists, that it was premeditated, a calculated act of terror. Levin said - Senator Levin, I think it was a planned premeditated attack, the kind of equipment that they had used. There is evidence it was a planned premeditated attack. Is there anything more you can - now that the administration is briefing senators on this, is there anything more you can tell us?" WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "Right. Well, I think we wait to hear from administration officials. Again, it's actively under investigation, both the Benghazi attack and incidents elsewhere, you know. And my point was that at - we don't have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this was not in reaction to the film." (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 9/14/12)

On September 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Said The Administration Viewed The Benghazi Attack As "Almost A Copycat Of The Demonstrations Against Our Facility In Cairo, Which Were Prompted Of Course By The Video." NBC's DAVID GREGORY: "You talked about this as spontaneous. Can you say definitively that the attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens and others there was spontaneous? Was it a planned attack? Was there a terrorist element to it?" AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE: "The best information we have at present, first of all, there's an FBI investigation that's ongoing and we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo. Almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya and it escalated into a much more violent episode. Obviously, that's our best judgment now. We'll await the results of the investigation, and the president has been very clear we'll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 9/16/12)

Faced With Mounting Evidence Pointing To A Terrorist Attack, The Obama Administration Changed Its Story

After Days Of Linking The Attack To Protests Against An Anti-Islam Video, The Obama Administration Finally Reached The "Belated Conclusion" That The Attack Was A Coordinated Assault By Terrorists With Connections To Al Qaeda. "For days after the attack, intelligence officials and the Obama administration said it was likely the outgrowth of protests sparked by an anti-Islamic video made in the U.S. Intelligence officials now believe the attack was carried out by local militants who were in contact with regional members of al Qaeda-affiliated groups, using the eruption of protests elsewhere as an opportunity to mount an assault on U.S. installations. That belated conclusion has raised questions about the adequacy of intelligence and security preparations at U.S. diplomatic posts abroad as they confront both old and newer risks." (Siobhan Gorman And Matt Bradley, "Militant Link To Libya Attack," The Wall Street Journal, 10/1/12)

  • On September 19, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen Told The Senate Homeland Security Committee That Ambassador Stevens Had Been "Killed In The Course Of A Terrorist Attack On Our Embassy." SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): "So, let me begin by asking you whether you would say that Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans died as a result of a terrorist attack." NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER DIRECTOR MATT OLSEN: "Certainly on that particular question, I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy." (Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/19/12)
  • The Next Day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Said It Was "Self-Evident" That The Benghazi Attack Was An Act Of Terrorism. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: "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. I would point you to a couple of things that Mr. Olsen said, which is that at this point it appears that a number of different elements were involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in Eastern Libya." (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 9/20/12)
  • On September 21, Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton Confirmed That "What Happened In Benghazi Was A Terrorist Attack." SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: "Yesterday afternoon when I briefed the Congress, I made it clear that keeping our people everywhere in the world safe is our top priority. What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans. And we are taking aggressive measures at all of our posts to protect our staffs and their families along with locally employed people who provide so many important contributions to the work of our missions." (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Washington, D.C., 9/21/12)

But Days Later, Obama Still Refused To Acknowledge The Assault On The Benghazi Compound As A Terrorist Attack

When Asked On "The View" If The Attack In Benghazi Was A Terrorist Act, Obama Said It "Wasn't Just A Mob Action," But Refused To Label It Terrorism. "President Barack Obama said Monday that the Sept. 11 attack that claimed the life of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans 'wasn't just a mob action,' but he stopped short of explicitly labeling the assault as an act of terrorism. Obama's comments came as he taped an interview with 'The View' during a brief trip to New York to address the annual United National General Assembly. He had been asked whether the attack on the U.S. Consulate compound in the city of Benghazi was a terrorist act." (Olivier Knox, "Obama: Libya Attack 'Wasn't Just A Mob Action,'" Yahoo News' The Ticket, 9/24/12)

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