The Rise and Fall of General David Petreaus–Leaks and Lying: Lessons Learned–Obama Lied and Americans Died–Email Evasion of Privacy–Benghazigate–Videos

Posted on November 20, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Computers, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Politics, Psychology, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Petraeus – Benghazi Scandal: Best Explanation out there today!!! Glenn Beck 11.12.12

Benghazi-gate Obama Cover-Up

Benghazi Gate – Obama Admin & The Cover-up Continues

Obama Admin Are You Lying About Benghazi To Get Elected? – Judge

Obama and his Press Secretary Blaming the Video for the Benghazi Attack

Rice: Libya attacks spontaneous

LIBYA Susan Rice: Embassy Attack By Extremists Is Spontaneous, Heavy Weapons Accessible

Ambassador Rice: Anti-Islam Film Responsible For Attacks, Not Administration’s Policy

Chris Wallace Grills Robert Gibbs Over Obama Admin.’s Insistence That Libya Attack Was Spontaneous

Innocence of Muslims Full Movie HD 1080P Trailer

SHOCKING: OBAMA Knew Libya Attack Was Terrorism Within 24 Hours

Glenn Beck discusses Benghazi and Petraeus with Judge Napolitano

Glenn Beck – Sex, Lies, and Libya Part 1

Glenn Beck – Sex, Lies, and Libya Part 2

Obama Has Crossed A Line – TheBlaze

GBTV: President is lying

Rush Limbaugh – Obama Lied About the Benghazi Terrorist Attack

James Clapper, Dir. of Nat’l Intelligence, is making Gen. Petraeus “an offer he can’t refuse” (Beck)

Benghazi Libya – James Clapper Taking The Blame?

Intelligence chief on Benghazi

The O’Reilly Factor Recorded Nov 16, 2012

US CONSULATE In LIBYA Was Actually ATTACKED By AL-QAEDA

Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

Gowdy Calls for Clear Answers on Benghazi from the Administration

Judge Napolitano on Fox News: Libyan Embassy Attack Is Blowback 10/22/12

Petraeus, Allen, Gaouette, Ham: The Benghazi Story The Media Isn’t Telling You

General Petraeus Sex Scandal…

Benghazi why not what

Petraeus wants to clear up confusion

Gen. Petraeus Testimony Ends GOP Benghazi Scandal Or Does It?

David Petraeus Affair Scandal Fallout: ‘This Week’ Roundtable Discussion

CNN: FBI Raids Home Of General Petraeus Mistress

Benghazi Attack Exposed – G Edward Griffin Speculates on the Conspiracy – Is Petraeus a Scapegoat?

Was There A Libya Cover-Up? – Pat Caddell Democratic Pollster On O’Reilly

BENGHAZI-GATE “Sex, Lies and Obama’s Smoking Gun” (Part 1)

In Part 1 of Benghazi-gate, Christopher Greene investigates the Obama Administration’s massive cover-up that killed Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the Libyan embassy on Sept 11, 2012.

Bombshell: Clinton Ordered More Security In Benghazi, Obama Denied Request

Petraeus testifies in Congress behind closed doors

‘Commander curse in Afghanistan both domestic rivalry & policy backfire’

The US campaign in Afghanistan has suffered a military-grade blow with at least two celebrity generals and veterans of the intervention falling from grace. A sex scandal that started with revelations of the ex-CIA chief having an affair, has now claimed the reputation of the current Afghan campaign commander.

Dr. Sreeram Chaulia, from the Jindal School of International Affairs in India believes the generals’ main mistake was total failure in Afghanistan.

Petraeus Gagged? ‘Scandal timing may mean political cover-up’

Death And Deceit In Benghazi – Did Obama Amind Try Hide The Truth? – W Bret Bair

Benghazi Attack: Ambassador Patrick Kennedy Opening Statement

General Petraeus’ sex scandal: CIA vs FBI?

General David Petraeus’ resignation as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency came after the FBI investigated complaints of harassing emails. This lead to the discovery of Petraeus’ love affair with his biographer and many believe that the rivalry between the FBI and the CIA had something to do with the leaked information. So does the FBI have the power to search emails without a warrant? Trevor Aaronson, author of the book The Terror Factory, gives us his take on the scandal.

General Petraeus leaked secret info on Benghazi attack to his mistress?

General David Petraeus has been making headlines for his extramarital love-affair and his lack of judgement during the Benghazi attacks on the US consulate in Libya among other things, but the mainstream media has not held Petraeus accountable for his controversial action during his military career. So what is going on with the fourth estate? Retired Colonel Morris Davis joins us with more on Petraeus’ career and relation with the media.

David Petraeus Resigns from CIA Over Affair

David Petraeus Scandal: Truth Behind Resignation, Paula Broadwell

Petraeus’ Fall from Grace; Details of Former CIA Director General Petraeus’ Extramarital Affair

The Real Reason Petraeus Resigned

Glenn Beck on David Petreaus sex scandal

Petraeus Sex Scandal: FBI Agent Who Launched Investigation ID’d as Frederick H

Barack Obama Questions Petraeus in September 2007

The Benghazi Gates Part 1, A Two Pronged Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya

Benghazi Gates Part 2, What Happened to Ambassador Stevens?

Michael Savage on New Benghazi Information Uncovered – 10/26/12

[youtubr=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Eo3sP1gn4&feature=related]

Killed U.S. Ambassador Illustrates Obama’s Disastrous Foreign Policy in Libya

The Obama Libya Cover Up Explained pt1

The Obama Libya Cover Up Explained pt2

Background Articles and Videos

Insider! CIA is Purging The U.S. Military in Globalist Coup!

Chris Stevens, U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Rocket Attack, Served As Envoy During Revolution

Muhammad Movie Trailer : “Life of Muhammad” (US ambassador killed over this film.)

U.S. Envoy Chris Stevens Delivers Remarks on the Situation in Libya

Remembering U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens

Hillary Clinton address regarding Libya Killing of Chris Stevens

Benghazi Libya Attack: State Department’s Charlene R. Lamb Opening Statement

GEN Petraeus Exit Interview

A Conversation with Gen. David Petraeus

Top GOP lawmaker pressures Clapper to explain altered talking points on Libya

By Catherine Herridge

“…The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is demanding an immediate explanation from the nation’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, for what the chairman says were inconsistent statements to Congress and to the public on who was behind changes to the CIA talking points on the Libya consulate attack in September.

Critics say the Obama administration initially minimized the role of terrorism despite evidence of a coordinated attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault.

Testimony last week on Capitol Hill raised additional questions about the administration’s changing story on the attack, putting new pressure on Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the Intelligence Committee chairman, “looks forward to discussing this new explanation with Director Clapper as soon as possible to understand how (his office) reached this conclusion and why leaders of the intelligence community testified late last week that they were unaware of who changed the talking points,” Rogers spokeswoman Susan Phalen told Fox News.

Fox News was told by one source that Clapper, in a classified session on Thursday, was “unequivocal, and without hesitation insisted the changes were made outside the Intelligence community. He didn’t know who but was emphatic he would find out.”

A day later, former CIA Director David Petraeus also stated changes were made after his agency drafted the talking points, adding no one imagined how changing the language would end up being such a big deal.

But late Monday night, Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner said in a series of briefings for reporters that the intelligence community was solely responsible for “substantive” changes to the talking points, which were finalized on Sept. 15 – four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial appearance on five Sunday talk shows, when she described the attack as spontaneous violence that grew out of protests of an anti-Islam film.

Along with changing “al Qaeda” to “extremists,” the new talking points timeline stated the FBI apparently wanted a change in the language from the U.S. “knew” Islamic extremists were involved to “there are indications.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News the timeline reinforces his view the changes were driven by security considerations, not politics.

“To anyone who was listening, it was clear from General Petraeus and other intelligence officials who testified last week that the talking points were amended to protect classified sources of information and were not subject to any political spin by the White House or ambassador to the U.N.,” Schiff said.

John Bolton, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in the George W. Bush administration, said Clapper must now explain the genesis of the administration’s initial statements, which blamed a video for sparking a demonstration that was hijacked by terrorists, when the available and immediate raw intelligence strongly supported a pre-meditated terrorist attack.

“I think Clapper has to say publicly whether he advocated the YouTube video theory, whether he pressed it on the White House and others in the intelligence community,” Bolton told Fox News. “And if so, did he do that at the direction of the White House?”

The new timeline on the talking points – released by Clapper’s office – does not address another inconsistency, first reported by the Daily Beast. After the Sept. 11 attack, diplomatic security agents were evacuated from the Benghazi consulate to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. By Sept. 14, two days before Rice’s Sunday show appearances and one day before the talking points were finalized, the FBI had learned from consulate agents that there was no demonstration when the attack unfolded. This single data point appeared to gut the administration’s anti-video protest theory.

Fox News asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for specifics on the timeline, as well as for comment on Rep. Rogers’ claims, but calls and emails were not immediately returned.

A Capitol Hill source who asked not to be identified, given the sensitive nature of the topic, noted this seemed to be the second time Clapper’s office had “fallen on its sword” in the Benghazi matter. On Sept. 28, in a statement released late in the day, spokesman Turner explained their “evolving” understand of the assault. Turner said the initial view, that the attack spontaneously grew out of a protest of the anti-Islam video, was now abandoned, and the evidence supported a “deliberate and organized terrorist assault.” …”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/20/top-gop-lawmaker-pressures-clapper-to-explain-altered-talking-points-on-libya/#ixzz2CsyuIp91

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BmHHKOf_T4

Topic: James Clapper

CBS: DNI Changed Talking Points

Alana Goodman

“…CBS reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence removed references to terrorism from the CIA talking points before distribution:

CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes. …

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too “tenuous” to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information — the reference to al Qaeda — in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers. …

The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.

Brennan says her source wouldn’t confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies.

First, the CIA answers to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so the whole notion that the CIA “agreed” to the changes is moot. They “agreed” to the changes because they were told to by the ODNI. Second, Clapper is clearly sprinting from this — the responsibility for the changes is pinned vaguely on the “Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” without much mention of him. The article actually leaves open the possibility that somebody else within the ODNI changed the talking points without running the changes by Clapper first, as if that’s believable. …”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/topic/james-clapper/

Scapegoating James Clapper Won’t End Benghazi Scandal

“…Cover-Up: Intel chief James Clapper taking blame for dishonest talking points won’t cauterize the Benghazi scandal. The country was still lied to about terrorists killing four Americans for the sake of Obama’s re-election.

As Benghazigate became a major pre-election embarrassment for the president, a number of commentators quipped to Obama defenders who minimized its significance that, unlike in Libya on Sept. 11, “nobody died in Watergate.”

Watergate is an apt comparison in some ways. The whole underlying purpose of the 1972 attempted bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters was to get President Nixon re-elected. The whole underlying purpose of lying about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and ex-Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, was to get President Obama re-elected.

In Watergate, the objective was to collect information that could persuade people not to vote for the Democratic nominee for president.

In Benghazigate, the objective was to suppress the truth that al-Qaida had organized a Sept. 11 attack with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades on a vulnerable diplomatic post in Libya so that the president’s convention speech claim that “al-Qaida is on the path to defeat” would not be exposed as false.

In Watergate, the fiction was that, as Nixon put it, “no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

In Benghazigate, the fiction was, as America’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice claimed on Fox News two months ago (and in four similar TV appearances), that “the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack, that what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . .. as a consequence of the video” insulting Mohammad.

CBS News last week reported that it was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by Clapper, that “cut specific references to ‘al-Qaida’ and ‘terrorism’ from the unclassified talking points given” to Rice “with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.”

CBS assures us that “the White House or State Department did not make those changes.” But the DNI was established in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to centralize authority over intelligence, to “manage the national intelligence program and oversee the agencies that contribute to it.”

Clapper is the president’s man . For all practical purposes, he is White House staff, as much as the national security adviser. He attends Oval Office meetings and discerns the wishes of the president and senior staff.

As the DNI told CBS News, “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” And as CBS noted, “That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, would have been privy to.”

The upshot: Clapper being the fall guy shortly after Obama’s re-election ends Benghazigate about as much as G. Gordon Liddy going down shortly after Nixon’s re-election ended Watergate.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112012-634215-blaming-intel-chief-wont-end-benghazigate.htm#ixzz2CsTNGab5

Benghazigate: Obama’s Many Lies About Libya

By Daniel Greenfield

“…In his interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama claimed to take offense at, “The suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.”

That sentence is not only incredibly convoluted, shifting the blame not just to the intel, but to the perception of that intel held by some vague group of “We’s” who may include anyone in the administration. But it’s a ridiculous finger wagging moment from a man who repeatedly blamed the video for a heavily armed assault on an American consulate.

The man who only told the American people about the Libyan War several days after it began, who has lied about Fast and Furious, who even in the language of his own media supporters runs the least transparent administration since King George III has no right to act offended when he is challenged for putting out gross misinformation and locking up a filmmaker based on that misinformation.

The feigned self-righteousness is Obama’s version of Clinton’s “finger-wagging” moment over accusations of improprieties.

Libya is to Obama as Monica was to Clinton.

1. Obama lied about the cause of the war in the form of a supposed massacre of 70,000 people that threatened Benghazi.

2. Obama lied about the purpose of the war, claiming that the goal was not regime change. He lied about this to the UN and to the American people.

3. Obama lied about our level of collaboration with the rebels, which was not supposed to exist at all, but involved coordinating their movements and attack plans

4. Obama lied about the duration of the war and about ending American participation in the war shortly after it began

5. Obama lied about having American personnel on the ground during the war, as reported by the New York Times

With all those lies, his show of self-righteousness is pathetically misplaced.

The official fallback story is that Obama had “bad intel” on what happened in Benghazi. This “bad intel” somehow caused Obama and his officials to continue spouting nonsense about a video and a protest, at a time when even those of us in the cheap seats were accurately reporting that this had been a planned attack. So either our “intel” is better than the CIA’s, or the problem wasn’t with the intel. Not when one of the first reports had already nailed Ansar Al-Sharia as the perpetrators and everyone knew that heavy weaponry, completely inconsistent with a spontaneous protest, had been used against the consulate.

But reporters are now carefully phrasing leading questions for Obama and his cronies, complete with “bad intel”. These questions wouldn’t be allowed in court, but they’re fine for the professional class of journalists who include the alibi as a premise in their questions.

A classic example of this travesty took place on Morning Joe. “Scarborough aided and abetted him by asking, “Was it the intel community giving you bad information early on because the stories keep changing?”

The real question here is why the stories have kept changing. Scarborough tries to cover for Obama by blaming the bad intel for the obvious problem of the changing stories. But there is no evidence of bad intel. There is evidence of changing stories. And changing stories mean either incompetence or deceit.

Former National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane has said, “To have known what he had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party. ” …”

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/benghazigate-obamas-many-lies-about-libya/

McClatchy: Obama admin changed story on Benghazi to blame video 3 days after attack

posted at 8:41 am on October 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

“…Barack Obama insisted in the presidential debate on Tuesday night that he had called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” in his Rose Garden address the next day. Fact-checkers called shenanigans on that claim, but McClatchy notes that Obama did call it an “act of terror” the next day at campaign stops in Colorado and Nevada on September 13th. On the same day, the State Department refused to link the Benghazi attack to the YouTube video that media outlets like the New York Times and AFP had. Hillary Clinton called it a terrorist attack that evening.

However, the next day, things began to change, as McClatchy’s Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay report in their in-depth look at how the narrative shifted toward the YouTube video instead of an al-Qaeda attack:

With images of besieged U.S. missions in the Middle East still leading the evening news, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney became the first official to back away from the earlier declaration that the Benghazi assault was a “complex attack” by extremists. Instead, Carney told reporters, authorities “have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.” He added that there was no reason to think that the Benghazi attack wasn’t related to the video, given that the clip had sparked protests in many Muslim cities.

“The unrest that we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims, find offensive,” Carney said.

When pressed by reporters who pointed out evidence that the violence in Benghazi was preplanned, Carney said that “news reports” had speculated about the motive. He noted again that “the unrest around the region has been in response to this video.”

Carney then launched into remarks that read like talking points in defense of the U.S. decision to intervene in last year’s uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi: that post-Gadhafi Libya, he said, is “one of the more pro-American countries in the region,” that it’s led by a new government “that has just come out of a revolution,” and that the lack of security capabilities there “is not necessarily reflective of anything except for the remarkable transformation that’s been going on in the region.”

By that Sunday, Sept. 16, the evolution of the narrative was complete when Rice, the U.N. ambassador, showed up on all five major morning talk shows to make the most direct public connection yet between the Benghazi assault and the incendiary video.

While she couched her remarks in caveats – “based on the information we have at present,” for example – Rice clearly intended to make the link before a large American audience.

Why did the story change? State had watched the attack unfold in real time at Foggy Bottom through its security video system, a fact that got revealed at the House Oversight Committee hearings. That’s why State insisted that they had never considered this a “spontaneous demonstration” that “spun out of control,” as Rice insisted on five Sunday talk shows and as Carney tried to claim two days earlier. Similarly, the intel community has leaked on more than one occasion that while the data they had was conflicting, they didn’t conclude it was a demonstration that got out of hand — and several days later, that should have been even more clear.

Allam and Landy hit the nail on the head in their connection of this to Obama’s intervention to decapitate the Qaddafi regime. The rise of radical Islamist terrorist groups in eastern Libya, including al-Qaeda, comes as a direct result of that intervention. The central government in Tripoli has no control now over the Benghazi region. Furthermore, everyone knew before the intervention that AQ and other radicals operated in the eastern part of the country, and a regime decapitation would set those elements free.

The cover story was designed to mislead the American public so that they would not connect those dots. That intervention in Libya, coming with no effort at all to control the outcome on the ground, has made us much less safe, especially in that part of the world.

By the way, as a measure of how little control Tripoli now has over AQ’s new stomping grounds in the east, the New York Times reports that the prime “suspect” in the Benghazi terrorist attack doesn’t even plan to go into hiding. In fact, he’s doing media sessions:

Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.

Libya’s fledgling national army is a “national chicken,” Mr. Abu Khattala said, using an Arabic rhyme. Asked who should take responsibility for apprehending the mission’s attackers, he smirked at the idea that the weak Libyan government could possibly do it. And he accused the leaders of the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”

Mr. Abu Khattala’s defiance — no authority has even questioned him about the attack, he said, and he has no plans to go into hiding — offered insight into the shadowy landscape of the self-formed militias that have come to constitute the only source of social order in Libya since the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

A few, like the militia group Ansar al-Shariah that is linked to Mr. Abu Khattala and that officials in Washington and Tripoli agree was behind the attack, have embraced an extremist ideology hostile to the West and nursed ambitions to extend it over Libya. But also troubling to the United States is the evident tolerance shown by other militias allied with the government, which have so far declined to take any action against suspects in the Benghazi attack. …”

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/19/mcclatchy-obama-admin-changed-story-on-benghazi-to-blame-video-3-days-after-attack/

Attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi

‘…On September 11, 2012 in Libya, a heavily armed group executed an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, also referred to as the Battle of Benghazi.[4][5][6][7] The attack began at night in a U.S. diplomatic compound for the consulate, and ended early the next day at another diplomatic compound nearby where the U.S. intelligence was posted. Those killed included U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of his diplomatic mission, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and U.S. embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Two other Americans and seven Libyans were also injured. The Benghazi attack was strongly condemned by the governments of Libya, the United States and other countries around the world.

There were peaceful demonstrations on September 12 in Benghazi and Tripoli condemning the attack; people held such signs as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. On September 21, about 30,000 Libyans protested against armed militias in their country including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia alleged to have played a role in the attack, and stormed several militia headquarters, forcing the occupants to flee. On September 23, the Libyan president ordered that all unauthorized militias either disband or come under government control. Militias across the country began surrendering to the government and submitting to its authority. Hundreds of Libyans gathered in Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government.

Almost immediately after the attack ended various news, government, and intelligence sources were reporting on what the state of security was at the consulate before and at the time of the attack, suspected perpetrators and their motives, how the assault on both compounds was executed, and how U.S. military forces might have (or should have) intervened during the engagements. Questions about whether Obama administration officials — and President Obama himself — should have stated or did state that this was a terrorist attack created a controversy in the U.S., where the U.S. 2012 Presidential election was underway. The U.S. investigation of the attack is being conducted separately by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Background

In an October 2, 2012 letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) compiled a list of more than a dozen attacks and events in the 6 months prior to the September 11 attack—including car jackings, kidnappings, assassination attempts, and gun battles—all of which indicated “a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi.”[8]

  • In April 2012, two former security guards for the consulate threw a homemade “fish bomb” IED over the consulate fence; the incident did not cause any casualties.[9] Just 4 days later, a similar bomb was thrown at a four vehicle convoy carrying the United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, exploding just 12 feet from the UN envoy’s vehicle without injuring anyone.[10]
  • In May 2012 an Al-Qaida affiliate calling itself the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross (ICRC) office in Benghazi. On August 6 the ICRC suspended operations in Benghazi. The head of the ICRC’s delegation in Libya said the aid group was “appalled” by the attack and “extremely concerned” about escalating violence in Libya.[11]
  • The Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades released a video of what it said was its detonation of an explosive device outside the gates of the U.S. consulate on June 5, which caused no casualties but damaged the consulate’s perimeter wall,[12][13] described by one individual as “big enough for forty men to go through.”[8] The Brigades claimed that the attack was in response to the killing of Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan al-Qaeda leader who had just died in an American drone attack, and was also timed to coincide with the imminent arrival of a U.S. diplomat.[14][15] There were no injuries, but the group left behind leaflets promising more attacks against the U.S.[16]
  • British ambassador to Libya Dominic Asquith survived an assassination attempt in Benghazi on June 10. Two British protection officers were injured in the attack when their convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade 300 yards from their consulate office.[17] The British Foreign Office withdrew all consular staff from Benghazi in late June.[18][19][20]
  • On the day of the attack:
    • Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri declared that al Libi’s death still needed to be avenged.[21]
    • In Egypt, 2000 Salafist activists protested against the film at 5pm EET (11am EDT) at the US embassy in Cairo.[22]
    • President Obama was attending a 9/11 ceremony in the morning, and in the afternoon he visited with wounded veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for two-and-a-half hours about the time the Benghazi attack began.[23]

After the attack, CNN reported that a Benghazi security official and a battalion commander had met with U.S. diplomats three days before the attack and had warned the Americans about deteriorating security in the area. The official told CNN that the diplomats had been advised, “The situation is frightening, it scares us.”[24]

On September 14, CNN correspondent Arwa Damon found Ambassador Stevens’ diary at the unsecured site of the attack. In it, Stevens expressed his concern about the growing al-Qaeda presence in the area and his worry about being on an al-Qaeda hit list. The U.S. State Department later accused CNN of violating privacy and breaking its promise to Stevens’ family that it would not report on the diary.[25]

The attack

The Benghazi attack consisted of military assaults on two separate U.S. diplomatic compounds. The first assault occurred at the main compound, approximately 300 yards long and 100 yards wide, at about 9:40 pm local time (3:40 pm EDT, Washington DC). The second assault took place at a CIA annex 1.2 miles away at about 4 am the following morning.[26]

Assault on the Consulate

Between 125 and 150 gunmen, “some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants,” are reported to have participated in the assault.[27][28][29] Some had their faces covered and wore flak jackets.[30] Weapons they used during the attack included rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, AK-47 and FN F2000 NATO assault rifles, diesel canisters, mortars, and heavy machine guns and artillery mounted on gun trucks.[31][32]

The assault began at nightfall, with the attackers sealing off streets leading to the main compound with gun trucks.[27] The trucks bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a group of Islamist militants working with the local government to manage security in Benghazi.[27]

The area outside the compound before the assault was quiet; one Libyan guard who was wounded in the attack was quoted as saying “there wasn’t a single ant outside.”[28] One witness said he saw the militants before the assault “gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film.”[27] No more than seven Americans were in the compound, including Ambassador Stevens, who was visiting Benghazi at the time to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.[33] Ambassador Stevens had his last meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat and escorted him to the main gate at about 8:30 pm (local time). The street outside the compound was calm; the State Department reported no unusual activity during the day outside.[34] Ambassador Stevens retired to his room about 9 pm; he was alone in the building, according to guards interviewed later.[35]

About 9:40 pm (local time) large numbers of armed men shouting “Allah Akbar” descended on the compound from multiple directions.[28][36] The attackers lobbed grenades over the wall and entered the compound under a barrage of automatic weapons fire and RPGs, backed by truck-mounted artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns.[27][35] A Diplomatic Security agent viewed on the consulate’s security cameras “a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound.”[34] He hit the alarm and started shouting, “Attack! Attack!” over the loudspeaker.[37] Phone calls were made to the embassy in Tripoli, the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington, the Libyan February 17 Brigade, and a U.S. quick reaction force located at a second compound (the annex) a little more than a mile away.[29][38] Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli to tell him the consulate was under attack. Mr. Hicks did not recognize the phone number so he didn’t answer it, twice. On the third attempt Mr. Hicks answered the call from Ambassador Stevens.[39]

Diplomatic Security special agent Scott Strickland secured Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management officer, in the main building’s safe haven.[38][40] Other agents retrieved their M4 carbines and tactical gear from another building. They tried to return to the main building but encountered armed attackers and retreated.[38]

The attackers entered the main building and rattled the locked metal grille of the safe haven.[37] They carried jerrycans of diesel fuel, spread the fuel over the floor and furniture, and set fires.[37][38] As thick smoke filled the building, Stevens, Smith, and Strickland moved to the bathroom and lay on the floor, but they decided to leave the safe haven after being overcome by smoke.[40] Strickland exited through the window, but Stevens and Smith did not follow him. Strickland returned back several times but couldn’t find them in the smoke; he went up to the roof and radioed other agents.[40]

Three agents returned to the main building in an armored vehicle; they searched the building and found Smith’s body, but not Stevens.[40]

A quick reaction force from the CIA annex arrived and attempted to secure the perimeter and locate the ambassador but were unable to find Stevens in the smoke-filled building. The team then decided to return to the annex with the survivors and Smith’s body. While en route back to the annex, the group’s armored vehicle was hit by AK-47 rifle fire and hand grenades. The vehicle was able to make it to its destination with two flat tires, however.[26]

Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, the spokesman for Libya’s Supreme Security Committee, said roads leading to the Benghazi consulate compound were sealed off and Libyan state security forces had surrounded it.[41]

Immediate Reaction in the United States

Diplomatic security officers informed their headquarters in Washington about the attack just as it was beginning at about 9:40 local time (3:40PM Eastern Time). By 4:30 Eastern, Pentagon officials informed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the attack. The Pentagon ordered an unmanned aerial vehicle that was in the air conducting surveillance on militant camps to fly over Benghazi. The drone arrived at 5:11 and began providing a video feed to Washington. At 5:41, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned CIA Director David Petraeus to coordinate. The CIA, which made up most of the US government’s presence in Benghazi, had a ten-member security team at its annex and the State Department believed that this team would assist the consulate in the event of an attack.[42]

Recovery of Ambassador Stevens

At about 1 am the body of Ambassador Stevens was found by local citizens and taken to the Benghazi Medical Center. At the hospital Stevens was administered CPR for 90 minutes by Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid.[43] According to Abu Zeid, Stevens died from asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation. A 22-year-old freelance videographer, Fahd al-Bakoush, later published a video[44] showing Libyans trying to extract the unconscious ambassador from a smoke-filled room,[45][46] where he was found unconscious, which confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire.[47]

Some of the Libyans who entered the compound tried to rescue Stevens after they found him lying alone on the floor in a dark smoke-filled room with a locked door accessible only by a window. A group of men pulled him out of the room through the window, and then placed him on the courtyard’s stone tile floor. The crowd cheered “God is Greatest” when Stevens was found to be alive. He was then rushed to the hospital in a private car as there was no ambulance to carry him.[48]

Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid was the Libyan doctor who treated Stevens. He said Stevens died of severe asphyxiation, that he had no other injuries, and that he tried for 45 minutes to revive him.[49] The doctor said he believed that officers from the Libyan Interior Ministry transported the body to the airport and into United States custody. State Department officials said they do not know who took Stevens to the hospital or transported the body to the airport and into U.S. custody.[49]

Assault on the CIA annex

After the consulate attack and before the annex attack, Libyan government forces met up with a group of Americans (believed to be eight reinforcements from Tripoli including Glen Doherty[50]) that had arrived at the Benghazi airport and went with them to the CIA annex at about 4am to assist in transporting approximately 32 Americans at the annex back to the airport for evacuation. As they were at the annex arranging for the transportation back to the airport a single shot rang out, quickly followed by RPGs and then a mortar that hit the annex roof killing Doherty and Tyrone Woods while operating their machine gun[51] while 31-year-old David Ubben suffered shrapnel injuries and several broken bones. According to Ubben’s father, “The first [mortar] dropped 50 yards short and the next two were right on target.”.[52]

Evacuation

The bodies were taken to Benina International Airport and flown to the capital, Tripoli, and scheduled to fly to a U.S. airbase in Germany. From Germany, the four bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, DC, where President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet held a ceremony in honor of those killed.

After the attack, all diplomatic staff were moved to the capital, Tripoli, with nonessential personnel to be flown out of Libya. Sensitive documents remained missing, including documents listing the names of Libyans working with the Americans, and documents relating to oil contracts.[53]

A U.S. Army commando unit was sent to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy the night of the attack but did not deploy to Benghazi.[54]

Fatalities and injuries

Members of U.S. diplomatic mission who died in Benghazi, Libya
J. Christopher Stevens Sean Smith (diplomat) Glen Anthony Doherty.jpg Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.jpg
J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Sean Smith, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Glen Doherty Tyrone S. Woods

Four Americans died in the attack: Ambassador Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith,[55] and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods,[56][57] both former Navy SEALs.[58][59] Senior intelligence officials later acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as previously identified,[60] and were part of a Global Response Staff (GRS), a team that provides security to CIA case officers and countersurveillance and surveillance protection.[61] On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the United States. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the Benghazi victims at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Initial reports indicated that ten Libyan guards died; this was later retracted and it was reported that seven Libyans were injured.[62] Three Americans were injured in the attack and treated at an American Military Hospital in Germany. [63]

Glen Doherty

Glen Anthony Doherty trained as a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before joining the United States Navy. Doherty served as a Navy SEAL including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the Navy, he worked for a private security company in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kenya and Libya.[64] In the month prior to the attack, Doherty as a contractor with the State Department told ABC News in an interview that he personally went into the field in Libya to track down MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them.[65]

Tyrone S. Woods

Tyrone Snowden Woods worked for the State Department Diplomatic Security[66] as a U.S. embassy security personnel,[67] working under a service contract.[68] Since 2010, Woods had protected American diplomats in posts from Central America to the Middle East.[69]

Aftermath

Libyan response

Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur’s office condemned the attack and extended condolences, saying: “While strongly condemning any attempt to abuse the person of Muhammad, or an insult to our holy places and prejudice against the faith, we reject and strongly condemn the use of force to terrorise innocent people and the killing of innocent people.” It also reaffirmed “the depth of relationship between the peoples of Libya and the U.S., which grew closer with the positions taken by the U.S. government in support of the revolution of February 17.”[70] Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, the President of the General National Congress of Libya, said: “We apologise to the United States, the people and to the whole world for what happened. We confirm that no-one will escape from punishment and questioning.”[71]

There were demonstrations in Benghazi[72] and Tripoli[73] on September 12, condemning the violence and holding signs such as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. The New York Times noted that young Libyans had also flooded Twitter with pro-American messages after the attacks.[73] It was noted that Libyans are typically more positively inclined towards the United States than their neighbors.[74] A 2012 Gallup poll noted that “A majority of Libyans (54%) surveyed in March and April 2012 approve of the leadership of the U.S. — among the highest approval Gallup has ever recorded in the… region, outside of Israel.” [75] Another poll in Eastern Libya, taken in 2011, reported that the population was at the same time both deeply religious conservative Muslims and very pro-American, with 90% of respondents reporting favorable views of the United States.[76][77]

Ali Aujali, the ambassador to the United States, praised Stevens as a “dear friend” and a “real hero” at a reception in Washington, D.C., alongside Hillary Clinton. He also urged the United States to continue supporting Libya as it went “through a very difficult time” and that the young Libyan government needed help so that it could “maintain…security and stability in our country.”[78]

The Libyan response to the crisis was praised and appreciated in the United States, and President Obama emphasized how the Libyans “helped our diplomats to safety” to an American audience the following day,[79] while a New York Times editorial criticized Egypt’s government for not doing “what Libyan leaders did.” [80]

Anti-militia demonstrationsOn September 21, about 30,000 Libyans marched through Benghazi calling for the support of the rule of law and for an end to armed militias.[81][82] Carrying signs with slogans such as “We Want Justice For Chris” and “Libya Lost a Friend,” the protestors stormed several militia headquarters, including that of Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia who some allege played a role in the attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel on September 11.[83][84] At least 10 people were killed and dozens more wounded as militiamen fired on demonstrators at the headquarters of Sahaty Brigade, a pro-government militia “operating under the authority of the ministry of defence.”[81][84][85]

By early next morning, the protestors had forced militia members to flee and seized control of a number of compounds, releasing four prisoners found inside.[83][84] Protesters burnt a car and a building of at least one facility, and looted weapons.[81][82][84] The militia compounds and many weapons were handed over to Libya’s national army[82] in what “appeared to be part of a coordinated sweep of militia bases by police, government troops and activists” following the earlier demonstrations.[83][84] Some militia members accused the protestors of being Qaddafi loyalists, looking to disarm the militias in the wake of the revolution.[82]

Government campaign to disband militiasOn September 23, taking advantage of the growing momentum and rising anger against the militias evinced in the earlier anti-militia demonstrations,[86] the Libyan president declared that all unauthorized militias had 48 hours to either disband or come under government control.[87][88] The government also mandated that bearing arms in public was now illegal, as were armed checkpoints.[87]

It has been noted that previously, handling the militias had been difficult as the government had been forced to rely on some of them for protection and security.[86][88] However, according to a Libyan interviewed in Tripoli, the government gained the ability to push back against the militias because of a “mandate of the people.”[88]

On the 24th, the government commenced with a raid on a former military base held by a rogue infantry militia.[89]

Across the country, militias began surrendering to the government. The government formed a “National Mobile Force” for the purpose of evicting illegal militias.[90] On the same day as the declaration, various militias in Misrata held meetings, ultimately deciding to submit to the government’s authority, and handed over various public facilities they had been holding, including the city’s three main jails, which were handed over to the authority of the Ministry of Justice.[88] Hours before the announcement, in Derna, the two main militias (one of them Ansar-al-Sharia) active in the city both withdrew, leaving both their five military bases behind.[86][88][90]

Hundreds of Libyans, mainly former rebel fighters, gathered in the city centers of Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government on the 29th of September.[91]

However, the campaign has been less successful in other areas, such as the remote Nafusa Mountains, inhabited by the Nafusi-speaking Berber minority, where the Emirati news agency The National reported on 23 September that arms were being hoarded. The National also reported arms being hoarded in Misrata, despite simultaneous reporting by other outlets that militias were surrendering in Misrata.[92]

U.S. government response

On September 12 U.S. President Barack Obama condemned “this outrageous attack” on U.S. diplomatic facilities[94] and stated that “[s]ince our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”[94] After referring to “the 9/11 attacks,” “troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan”, and “then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi”[94] the President then stated that “[a]s Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.”[94] He then went on to say, “[n]o 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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”[94]

After the attack, Obama ordered that security be increased at all such facilities worldwide.[95] A 50-member Marine FAST team was sent to Libya to “bolster security.”[96] It was announced that the FBI would investigate the possibility of the attack being planned.[97] U.S. officials said surveillance over Libya would increase, including the use of unmanned drones, to “hunt for the attackers.”[97]

Secretary of State Clinton also made a statement on September 12, describing the perpetrators as “heavily armed militants” and “a small and savage group – not the people or government of Libya.”[98] She also reaffirmed “America’s commitment to religious tolerance” and said “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet,” but whether true or not, that was not a justification for violence.[99] The State Department had previously identified embassy and personnel security as a major challenge in its budget and priorities report.[100]

On September 12 it was reported that the United States Navy dispatched two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the USS McFaul and the USS Laboon, to the Libyan coast.[101] The destroyers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. American UAVs were also sent to fly over Libya to search for the perpetrators of the attack.[102]

In a speech on September 13 in Golden, Colorado, President Obama paid tribute to the four Americans “killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya,” stating, “We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices they make…I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.”[103]

In his press briefing on September 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “we don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this [the Benghazi attack] was not in reaction to the film.”[104] He went on to say: “There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks…. 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.”

On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the ceremony. In her remarks Clinton said, “One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said ‘Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.’ The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – ‘an act of ugly terror.’[105] She went on to say: “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.”

A report prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106] This initial assessment was provided to Executive Branch officials.[107]

On September 16 the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice appeared on five major interview shows, stating that the attacks began as a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” “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.”[108][109][110][111][112] Ms. Rice later stated that her statements were based on a report prepared by the C.I.A.[113]

In a White House press briefing on September 18, press secretary Jay Carney explained the attack to reporters: “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. And that is what we know thus far based on the evidence, concrete evidence.”[114]

On September 20, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered a question about an open hearing with the National Counterterrorism Center Director, Matthew G. Olsen, which referenced which extremist groups might have been involved. Carney said, “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.”[115] On the same day, during an appearance on Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States, President Obama stated, “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.”[116][117][118][119][120]

On September 25, in an address before the United Nations General Assembly President Obama stated, “The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America…And there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.”[33][121] He also said, “There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy.”

On September 26 Clinton acknowledged a possible link between Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the September 11 attack.[2]

On September 28, U.S. intelligence stated “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress . . . . As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.”[107]

To assist the Libyan government in disbanding extremist groups, the Obama administration allocated $8 million to begin building an elite Libyan commando force over the next year.[122]

Criticism of U.S. government response

Republican Party members took issue with the Democratic Party controlled administration, accusing the White House and State Department of overplaying the role of the protests against a trailer for a controversial anti-Islamic movie in the case of Libya and the government’s alleged reluctance to label the attack as “terrorist”.[123] Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who on the 13th of September said that the attacks had all the hallmarks of a coordinated attack by al-Qaeda,[124] has questioned whether there were any protests at all in Benghazi, saying: “I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. It was clearly designed to be an attack.”[125] According to critics, the consulate site should have been secured better both before and after the attack.

On the 20th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a classified briefing to U.S. Senators,[126] which several Republican attendees criticized.[127] According to the article, senators were angered at the Obama administration’s rebuff of their attempts to learn details of the Benghazi attack, only to see that information published the next day in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

GOP legislators also took issue with delays in the investigation, which CNN attributed to “bureaucratic infighting” between the FBI, Justice, and State. On the 26th, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) said he “cannot believe that the FBI is not on the ground yet.”[123]

On CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley on September 30, Crowley observed that “Friday we got the administration’s sort of definitive statement that this now looks as though it was a pre-planned attack by a terrorist group, some of whom were at least sympathetic to al Qaeda,” and asked the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, “why do you think and are you bothered that it has taken them this long from September 11th to now to get to this conclusion?” to which McCain replied that “it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that al Qaeda is on the wane… how else could you trot out our U.N. ambassador to say this was a spontaneous demonstration?… It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours.”[128]

On CBS’s Face the Nation on October 28, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said “we know that there were tapes, recordings inside the consulate during this fight…. So the president went on various shows, despite what he said he said in the Rose Garden, about terrorist acts, he went on several programs, including The View including Letterman, including before the UN where he continued to refer, days later, many days later, to this as a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. We know that is patently false. What did the president know? When did he know it? And what did he do about it?”[129] However, CBS News reported earlier on October 24 that the video of the assault was recovered 20 days after the attack, from the more than 10 security cameras at the compound.[130]

U.S. media response

On the last weekend of October a message posted on Facebook by a Political Action Committee (SOS PAC) claiming President Obama denied them backup in Benghazi was taken down twice by the social networking site. After the post was removed and SOS’s Facebook account suspended for 24 hours, the post was reinstated and SOS received an email from Facebook apologizing for the matter.[131]

A study released on November 2 found that leading newspapers in the U.S. framed the attack in terms of a spontaneous protest (the Obama administration’s version) four times as often as a planned terrorist attack (the Republican version).[132] The study was based on a computer-assisted analysis of 2,572 words and phrases related to the attack in 348 news stories from September 12 to October 12 in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.

On the day of that study’s release, two of the newspapers—The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal—published editorials critical of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi. The Washington Post editorial asked such questions as, “Did the Obama administration’s political preoccupation with maintaining a light footprint in Libya lead to an ill-considered reliance on local militias, rather than on U.S. forces?”[133] The Wall Street Journal editorial asked such questions as “Why did the U.S. not heed warnings about a growing Islamist presence in Benghazi and better protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex?” and “Why has the Administration’s story about what took place in Benghazi been so haphazard and unclear?”[134]

On November 4, two days before the presidential election, CBS News released a portion of its interview with President Obama for 60 Minutes that was filmed on September 12 but did not air originally on its September 23 show.[135] Journalist Bret Baier, host of Special Report with Bret Baier, noted that in these newly released portions of the interview “Obama would not say whether he thought the attack was terrorism. Yet he would later emphasize at a presidential debate that in the Rose Garden the same day, he had declared the attack an act of terror.”[136] Baier noted that President Obama had been saying that he declared the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack since his announcement in the Rose Garden on September 12 and highlighted the newly released video interview with Steve Kroft: “KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack? OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.”[136]

Investigation timeline

September 2012

September 12 The New York Times reported: “American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.” The article also noted that a senior Obama administration official told reporters that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but provided no details.[137]CBS News reported that Wanis al-Sharef (also spelled al-Sharif), a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said that an angry mob had gathered outside the consulate to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. According to al-Sharef, the mob stormed the consulate after the U.S. troops who responded fired rounds into the air to try and disperse the crowd.[138]CBS News later reported that U.S. officials said the attack was not an out-of-control demonstration as first suspected, but a well-executed assault. From the wording of the report it is unclear whether the protesters were a group distinct from the attackers or were the attackers themselves.[139]The Guardian published a video interview of a local Libyan on the consulate compound right after the attack, who presumed and empathized that the attack was in response to the anti-Islamic film.[140]The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials and Middle East analysts said that the attack “may have been planned by extremists and inspired by al-Qaeda.”[141]In a press release, the Qulliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank based in London, stated that the “military assault” was not related to the film but was to “avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.”[142]BBC reported that Libya’s deputy ambassador to London, Ahmad Jibril, named Ansar al-Sharia as the perpetrators. They also said a Libyan reporter told them that the attack was executed by as many as 80 militiamen “armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine guns.”[143][144]Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif of the Libyan government told a news conference in Benghazi that it was likely that the perpetrators had been Gaddafi loyalists, suggesting the attack could have been intended as a revenge for the extradition of Abdullah al-Senoussi (Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief) from Mauritania the previous month.[145]
September 13 The FBI opened an investigation into the deaths; a team was sent to investigate, with another team for security.[97] The FBI officials were set to arrive by September 21 in Benghazi to work with Libyan officials.[146]In a briefing to congressional staffers, State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned because it was so extensive and because of the “proliferation” of small and medium weapons.[147]CNN reported that the attackers were part of an Al Qaeda spinoff group. They spoke with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the killings were possibly linked to the terrorist group blamed for the 9/11 hijackings. According to Sen. Feinstein, “The weapons were somewhat sophisticated, and they blew a big hole in the building and started a big fire.”[148]
September 14 The Senate Armed Services Committee was briefed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about the response to the situation in Libya. Afterwards, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) was quoted as saying, “I think it was a planned, premeditated attack.” He added that he did not know the group responsible for the attack.[149]
September 15 SITE Intelligence Group released a report that said al-Qaeda claimed that the attack was in revenge for the killing of the network’s number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi.[150]Talking points prepared by the CIA, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]
September 16 In an interview with NPR in Benghazi, President Mohammed el-Megarif said that foreigners infiltrated Libya over the past few months, planned the attack, and used Libyans to carry it out.[151] According to el-Megarif: “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.” He said the attackers used the protesters outside the consulate as a cover, and there is evidence showing that elements of Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist group in eastern Benghazi, were used by foreign citizens with ties to al-Qaida to attack the consulate.[152]U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows and stated, “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– 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.”[112][153][154][155][156]Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, voiced suspicion that the attack was planned in advance and not prompted by the furor over the film. He noted that “[m]ost people don’t bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to demonstrations. That was an act of terror.”[157]
September 17 Fox News reported that an “intelligence source on the ground in Libya” said “there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi” before the attack.[158] The source was quoted as saying, “There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous.” The source also said that the attack “was planned and had nothing to do with the movie.” The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time and included fire from more than two locations. The information for the time and for multiple directions of the attack corroborates an eyewitness report.[28]Representative Mike Rogers (R) Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with Real Clear Politics that there were reports that the Consulate sustained “indirect fire, artillery type fire from mortars. They had direct unit action. It was coordinated in a way that was very unusual. They repulsed a quick reaction force that came to the facility….”[159]
September 19 The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olson, appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. During the hearing Olsen said that the Americans killed in Libya died “in the course of a terrorist attack.”[160]But he said that “the facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack,” one in which heavily armed militants took advantage of an ongoing demonstration at the Consulate.Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) disagreed with Olsen’s statement that the attack did not appear pre-planned. She said, “Based on the briefings I have had, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. I just don’t think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity—and they are many—with Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was premeditated.” Olsen told committee members that the U.S. is “looking at indications” that some attackers had connections to al-Qaeda or its North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Fox News reported intelligence sources that the attack was tied to Al Qaeda via the involvement of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.[161][162] However, a US national security official tells Mother Jones that “that report is wrong, there’s no intelligence suggesting that he was leading the attack on the consulate that evening.”[163]
September 20 Reuters reported that U.S. authorities are investigating the prospect of collusion between the militants who launched the attack on the consulate and locally hired Libyan personnel guarding the facility.[164] This corroborates earlier statements by U.S. government officials who stated there were multiple accounts of collusion between the attackers and the Libyan security guards.[160]Secretary Clinton announced the formation of a panel to investigate the attack,[165]which is separate from the FBI investigation.White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for the first time called the event “a terrorist attack.” In the same report CNN noted conflicting reports that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens “believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.”[166]
September 21 U.S. officials said that the heavily armed extremists who laid siege to the consulate used “military-style tactics” in what appeared to be a “sophisticated operation”. Intelligence reports indicated that 50 or more people, many of them masked, took part in the attack and used gun trucks and precise mortar fire.[167] Intelligence reports also indicated that the attackers set up a perimeter to control access in and out of the compound.
September 23 A report in The New York Times has stated that there were two facilities used by the Americans in Benghazi, one for the American mission and an annex a half-mile away [168]and that:

Neither was heavily guarded, and the annex was never intended to be a “safe house,” as initial accounts suggested. Two of the mission’s guards — Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs — were killed just outside the villa’s front gate.
September 25 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice seeking clarification on statements she made on the five Sunday talk shows on September 16 that the September 11 attack in Benghazi was the result of a “spontaneous reaction.” The senators wrote that the evidence clearly showed the attack was planned and coordinated.[169] Ms. Rice wrote in her reply letter, “I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me … This information represented the intelligence community’s best, current assessment as of the date of my television appearances.” The four senators replied in a statement: “Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best’ and ‘current’ assessment of the intelligence community. Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community.”[170]
September 26 The Daily Beast reported that three separate U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the attack that it was “planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.”[171]Libyan president Mohamed Magariefd, in an interview with NBC News, said that there were no protestors at the site before the attack and that the anti-Islam film had “nothing to do with” the attack.[172]“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”Eight Republican Representatives on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President Obama asking him to provide answers to questions in a classified format.[173] Their letter reads in part: “While we appreciate your willingness to provide the House of Representatives with an interagency briefing last week, many of the members’ questions were left unanswered. To that end, we are seeking additional information regarding the intelligence leading up to the attack, the security posture of our embassy, the role former Guantanamo Bay detainees may have played, as well as the way forward in Libya and, indeed, the region.”
September 28 A statement released by the Director of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, read in part:[107] “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qa’ida. We continue to make progress, but there remain many unanswered questions. As more information becomes available our analysis will continue to evolve and we will obtain a more complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack.”

[edit] October 2012

October 2 In a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) write that “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. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”[8] The letter goes on to state that the mission in Benghazi was denied increased security they repeatedly requested. Subpoenaed witnesses set to testify before the committee on October 10 are Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army.[174] According to Lt. Col. Wood, his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, one month before the assault on the diplomatic mission. Wood says that’s despite the fact that U.S. officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.[175]
October 3 The Washington Post reported that the FBI investigation team was in Tripoli and had not reached Benghazi yet.[176]
October 4 The State Department announced an Accountability Review Board “to examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks.”[177]The Washington Post reported that the FBI team arrived in Benghazi and left after about 12 hours.[178]
October 5 The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting its own investigation of the attack.[175]
October 9 In an evening briefing to reporters, the State Department said it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over the video.[179]Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Libyan officials in Tripoli, and said that investigators are examining video from security cameras at the primary Benghazi compound to help them reconstruct what happened in the attack and identify attack participants.[180]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent letters to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, asking them to respond to “specific questions regarding the shifting official explanations” about the attack.[181]
October 10

The four witnesses called to testify at the October 10, 2012 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (l to r) were Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; and Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State. An image of the U.S. compound can be seen behind Ms. Lamb.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held its hearing, “The Security Failures of Benghazi.”[174] In addition to the three witnesses originally named, a fourth witness testified: Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State.

  • In sworn testimony, Mr. Kennedy said, “…if any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, September 16th, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had at that point from the intelligence community is the same that I had at that point.”[182] However, in a briefing to congressional staffers on September 13, Mr. Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned.[147]
  • During testimony State Department witnesses acknowledged that it rejected appeals for more security at its diplomatic posts in Libya in the months before the attack.[183] The “annex” and “safe house” in the second diplomatic compound was inadvertently revealed to be a U.S. intelligence post.[184][185][186]
  • Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, said in her prepared testimony that she had a firm grasp on what happened in Benghazi, starting moments after the assault began. ”When the attack began, a Diplomatic Security agent working in the tactical operations center immediately … alerted the annex U.S. quick reaction security team stationed nearby … and the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington. From that point on, I could follow what was happening in almost real-time.”[38]
  • During testimony Representative Issa described the existence of video tape of the attack taken from consulate security cameras; the tape was not available to committee members at the time of the hearing.
October 12 U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs announced its plan to conduct a bipartisan investigation. Part of their investigation will seek to determine “why the Administration’s initial public assessments of this attack were subsequently proven inaccurate.”[187]
October 14 Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, said that “[t]he intelligence community on the ground in Libya has told Senator Corker and myself that within twenty-four hours, they communicated up to Washington that this was a terrorist attack.”[188]
October 15 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton assumed responsibility for the Benghazi attack, saying that she is in charge of her 60,000-plus staff all over the world and “the president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”[189] Republican Senator John McCain praised her “laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever” but insisted that either there were drastic failures in the national security operation in not keeping the president aware of ongoing threats, or Obama himself knew of the threats and needed to take responsibility for the shortcomings.[190]In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the two Libyan militiamen guarding the consulate denied aiding the attackers. The compound was “lazily quiet” in the hours before the assault, they said. Around 9:30 p.m., the guards heard cries of “Allahu akbar!”—”God is great”—three times from outside the walls, then a voice called out in Arabic “You infidels!” and the attackers raced inside.[191]The New York Times reported that witnesses of the attack knowledgeable of the circumstances were very convinced that it was carried out by a group of local Islamic militants in response to the video. According to local militia leaders familiar with the militant group, it was capable of carrying out the attack on short notice with only a few hour’s planning.[192]
October 17 Libyan officials report that the founder of Libya’s Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia was at the compound during the attack, but that he remains free a week after those allegations were disclosed to Libyan political leaders and U.S. investigators.[193] The militia commander, identified as Ahmed Abu Khattalah, is a former political prisoner whose fighters were also blamed for assassinating a senior military officer after he defected to the opposition during last year’s revolution against Moammar Kadafi.[194]
October 18 Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs made its first request for documents and briefings into the circumstances surrounding the attack. In separate letters to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the committee requested a classified briefing for members of the committee. The briefing is to address threat assessments before the attack, security needs, requests for security, description and chronology of the attack, and what the Obama administration knew about the attack in the immediate aftermath and “whether any initial public statements issued by members of the Administration in the days following the attack were inaccurate and, if so, why.”[195]Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the security at the compound and the initial intelligence surrounding the attack. Feinstein was quoted in an interview: “I think what happened was the director of national intelligence, which we call the DNI, who is a very good individual, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Gen. Jim Clapper, put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.”[196]
October 19 Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz sent a 10-page letter to President Obama,[197] accompanied by 166 pages of unclassified documents[198] and photos.[199] The committee stated that the “letter requests that the White House respond to questions about its role in the controversial decision to have the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya pursue a course of ‘normalization’ that was intended to help create the perception of success in Libya and contrast it to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”[200]Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to President Obama requesting him to release Intelligence Community (1) reporting that led Obama Administration officials to initially characterize the assault as a “spontaneous reaction” to a film and (2) data and intelligence that led the Administration to change its characterization from a “spontaneous reaction” to a “terrorist attack.”[201]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) renewed their request from 10 days ago that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, answer questions regarding “the shifting official explanations surrounding” the attack. The senators wrote, “Our questions should not be hard to answer, and the American people have a right to learn what our intelligence communities knew about the events of September 11, 2012, and when they knew it.”[202]U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the CIA station chief in Libya compiled intelligence reports within 24 hours of the attack that indicated there was evidence it was carried out by militants, using the pretext of demonstrations against U.S. facilities in Egypt against the film to cover their intent. The report from the station chief was written late Wednesday, Sept. 12, and reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day. It was not clear how widely the information was circulated.[203]
October 20 The Washington Post reported that talking points prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15 stated: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]CBS News reported Congress members have asked why military assistance was not sent. General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.” A unmanned Predator drone was sent to Benghazi, and the drone observed the final hours of the attack. The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella; other nearby military forces available were fighter jets and AC-130 gunships. Gary Berntsen stated, “They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”[204]
October 22 The New York Times reported that Ms. Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, “has said that the judgments she offered on the five talk shows on Sept. 16 came from talking points prepared by the C.I.A., which reckoned that the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans had resulted from a spontaneous mob that was angry about an anti-Islamic video that had set off protests elsewhere. That assessment, described to Ms. Rice in briefings the day before her television appearances, was based on intercepted communications, informants’ tips and Libyan press reports, officials said.” [113]
October 23 Media reports indicate that the State Department’s Operations Center sent a “Sensitive but unclassified” email at 4:05 p.m. Washington time (10:05 p.m. Benghazi time) on September 11 titled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” to the White House Situation Room and other U.S. security units and two hours later sent an email titled “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”[205][206] The first email reads in part: “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven.”[207] Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cautioned that those emails are “not in and of itself evidence” that the administration had definitively assessed the assault as a terrorist attack from the beginning.[208] A Tunisian man who was arrested in Turkey earlier this month with reported links to the Benghazi attack has been returned to Tunisia and is facing terrorism charges.[209][210]
October 25 A suspected Al-Qaeda member who was believed to have been involved in the Consulate attack was shot dead by Egyptian police, after they received a tip that he was staying in an apartment in Madinat Nasr. Egyptian police also arrested a seven-member cell in Cairo, five of whom are Libyans and the other two Egyptians.[211]
October 26 Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus, and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting they make public the surveillance video taken at the consulate during the attack.[212]Fox News reported that military back-up was denied by the CIA chain of command, and the annex was instructed twice to “stand down”. Woods, and two others, ignored those instructions and evacuated the consulate. Upon returning to the annex, and after beginning to taking fire, the annex requested fire support as they had a laser targeted on the mortar team that was attacking them. A CIA spokeswoman, Jennifer Youngblood, denied the claims.[61]
October 27 The Associated Press published a timeline of the comments by the administration and Libyan officials regarding the Benghazi attack,[29] as well as Libyan witnesses account.[27]
October 28 Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox News that he has sources saying President Obama was in the White House Situation Room watching the assault unfold in real time.[213]
October 31 Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that “at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down” in assisting the besieged U.S. consulate in Benghazi.[214]Gingrich said that the bombshell emails could be revealed within the next two days.Fox News reported that a cable marked “SECRET” and addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summarized an “emergency meeting” convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi on August 15, 2012. In the meeting the State Department’s regional security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.” According to Fox News, “The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.”[215]

November 2012

November 1 Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), appearing on yesterday evenings’ Fox News’ On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, said that Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli on Sept. 11 to tell him the consulate was under attack.[39]CBS News reported that during the attack the Obama administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG). A high-ranking government official was quoted: “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies. They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”[216]The article goes on to state that counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to help in the attack.Documents found by reporters for the American magazine Foreign Policy on Oct. 26 amid the wreckage of the U.S. consulate indicate there was concern about security at the compound. One letter dated Sept. 11 and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office in Benghazi, reads in part: “Finally, early this morning at 0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission.”[217]The article states that this accords with a message written by Smith, the IT officer who was killed in the assault, on a gaming forum on Sept. 11. “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures,” he wrote hours before the assault.Washington Post published a detailed CIA timeline of the attack described by a senior intelligence official.[218]
November 2 Fifty-three members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton requesting responses to oversight questions, including questions on the president’s Daily Brief, how the State Department designated the Benghazi compound (and how it affected security requirements), contradictions in the administration’s public statements of the attack as a deliberate terrorist attack or a spontaneous protest, and discrepancies between danger pay increases for mission personnel but denial for additional security.[219]Senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as originally publicly identified.[60]Fox News reported that U.S. military intelligence informed senior commanders as early as 7 p.m. ET (that is, less than 4 hours after the attack began) that Ansar al-Sharia carried out the attack. The intelligence was relayed with no caveats, according to a source familiar with the intelligence.[220]The Pentagon said that two U.S. service members volunteered to join the CIA team that travelled from Tripoli to Benghazi on the rescue mission.[221]
November 3 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) urged the immediate creation of a temporary Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack.[222]Fox News reported that the Blue Mountain Security manager (who was in charge of the local force hired to guard the consulate perimeter) made calls on both two-way radios and cell phones to colleagues in Benghazi warning of problems at least an hour earlier than the attack. Allegedly, those calls were to local security contractors, who say that the annex was also notified much earlier than 9:40 p.m., when the attack started. U.S. military intelligence also said that armed militias were gathering up to 3 hours before the attack.[223]
November 9 David H. Petraeus resigned his position as CIA Director and admitted to having an extramarital affair; he was scheduled to testify before Congress the week of November 12 on the Benghazi attack.[224] As of then it was not clear that General Petraeus would have to testify, and whether he would be disposed to do so if requested or required by Congress, though Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated that the Congress would need to interview him. On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, it was made known that he had agreed to testify the following day, Thursday, November 15.[225]
November 10 The Department of Defense released a press release stating they released a detailed timeline yesterday of the Pentagon’s response to the attack.[226]
November 12 Paula Broadwell gave a talk on October 26th at the University of Denver in which she revealed that the CIA annex was used to imprison Libyan militia members.[227] In the same speech, Broadwell speculated that this may have been the motivation behind the attack on the consulate.[228] A Fox News Source confirmed to them that the CIA Annex was used as a detention center for not just militia members, but for prisoners from all parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East. The CIA has denied these allegations.[229]
November 15 U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials testified in congressional public and closed hearings today.[230] CNN reported that legislators saw “real-time film (showing) exactly what happened”, starting before the attack began up “through the incident and the exodus,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The video was reported to be from “a combination of video from a surveillance camera and a drone.”[231]
November 16 Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in closed hearings to both congressional intelligence committees. Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said that Petraeus testified that he knew that the attack was a terrorist attack linked to al-Qaeda affiliates and not sparked by a protest over an anti-Islam video, as White House officials and President Obama had said for days afterwards.[232] “The original talking points put out by the CIA were different from what was later put out,” King said. “Petraeus says his initial assessment was from the start it was a terrorist attack.” King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the al-Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”[233]Other House members in attendance at the hearing said that Petraeus made clear that the modifications of the original talking points were not done for political reasons. Petraeus “was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “He completely debunked that idea.” Regarding Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments during television interviews after the attack, Schiff went on to say that the, according to Petraeus, the comments “reflected the best intelligence at the time that could be released publicly”. “There was an interagency process to draft it, not a political process,” Schiff said. “They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information.”[234] According to Petraeus’s statements during the hearing, administration officials were concerned that, by publicly disclosing the involvement of Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers in the attack, those groups would be tipped off that US government agencies were aware of their involvement.[235]The Washington Post reported that, since the attack, the CIA and other intelligence analysts have settled on a hybrid view of the attack, suggesting that the Cairo protest sparked militants in Libya, who quickly mobilized the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.[236] Details about possible al-Qaeda links were not in initial talking points used by both Petraeus and UN Ambassador Susan Rice because they were preliminary and based on classified sources, intelligence officials said.
November 20 CBS News reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the attack, with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.[237]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_the_U.S._diplomatic_mission_in_Benghazi


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: