Why Won't Obama Call The Benghazi Attack Terrorism?

- September 26, 2012

The White House And Obama Have Different Takes On The Assault On The U.S. Consulate In Benghazi

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)


U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice Said The "Best Information" She Had Did Not Point To A Preplanned Terror Attack But A "Spontaneous" Protest That Had Been Hijacked By "Extremist Elements." 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)

National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen Later 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)

After Olsen's Testimony, Press Secretary Jay Carney Said It Was "Self-Evident" That The Benghazi Attack Was An Act Of Terrorism. 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)

Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton Confirmed, "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." 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, DC, 9/21/12)

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