Obama Hiding The Truth Behind The Benghazi Attack
The official’s statement rebuts news reports that there is no evidence the attack was planned, even as the intelligence community says al Qaeda-linked militants carried out the deadly assault. The official, who is not authorized to talk to the news media, asked to remain anonymous.
The news reports support the Obama administration’s use of the word “spontaneous” to describe a mob assault that ended in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The Times reported Oct. 2 that the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency on Sept. 12 briefed higher-ups that the attack was planned and carried out by extremists, likely a group called the Ansar al-Shariah Brigades.
The briefings, which would have been circulated within the administration, made no mention of a spontaneous protest or the video, said a source familiar with the briefing.
In addition, The Associated Press reported Friday that the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of the lethal attack that evidence showed it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob.
Steven Aftergood, an intelligence analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, told The Times that the differences in the assessments could be attributable to the fact that different agencies are involved.
“If the initial reports were not fully coordinated or consistent, perhaps that’s not too surprising,” Mr. Aftergood said. “We talk about ‘the intelligence community’ as a singular entity, but it actually has many components that function independently. They will not always convey an identical message, particularly in the early hours of a crisis.
Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.
While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.
There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.
U.S. intelligence officials have emphasized since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.
Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests for comments on the emails.
MISSIVES FROM LIBYA
The records obtained by Reuters consist of three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time – or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began – carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” and timed 4:54 p.m. Washington time, said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email, also marked SBU and sent at 6:07 p.m. Washington time, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained by Reuters, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.
Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source said.
It was not known what other messages were received by agencies in Washington from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.
Intelligence experts caution that initial reports from the scene of any attack or disaster are often inaccurate.
By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.
One U.S. intelligence official said that during the first classified briefing about Benghazi given to members of Congress, officials “carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, relying on the best analysis available at the time.”
The official added, however, that the initial analysis of the attack that was presented to legislators was mixed.
“Briefers said extremists were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous, there may have been a variety of motivating factors, and possible links to groups such as (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia) were being looked at closely,” the official said.
The Truth Behind the Benghazi Attack
Diplomatic Security special agent David Ubben waits silently, his M-4 assault rifle at the ready as he hides deep in the dark inside the villa that serves as the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Ubben’s assignment is close protection for U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, which isn’t always easy. Stevens, a former Peace Corps volunteer, likes to get out among the people in the countries where he serves, especially Libya, which he helped to liberate from Muammar Gaddafi during the war last year. But even he has started to believe that al Qaeda is gunning for him, and on this day, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Stevens has let himself be persuaded to hold all his meetings behind the nine-foot walls and the coils of concertina wire that surround the Benghazi consulate.
That hasn’t been enough. Now groups of armed men swarm through the compound, firing their AK-47s in staccato bursts, and every so often the air shakes with the concussion of a grenade. Behind Ubben, in a specially fortified suite called a safe haven, the ambassador and another diplomat, Sean Smith, should be well protected. There is a large closet, similar to a “panic room,” with supplies of water and food to withstand a siege of hours or even days, and Ubben has radioed the four other American security men holed up in other consulate buildings that he and the ambassador and Smith are OK. This is what the safe haven and the safe room have been built for. And he is there with his M-4 at the ready. He will make sure nobody gets through the steel grilles that protect them.
But now, watching from the dark, Ubben sees some of the attackers coming into the other, open side of the villa. They are carrying jerrycans full of diesel used to fuel the embassy’s electrical generators. They peer through the locked grate of the safe haven. They rattle it. They don’t seem to see him. Ubben watches. He waits. They are spreading diesel over the floor, pouring it onto the overstuffed Arab-style furniture. The fire begins. The flames start to spread. The fumes—the fumes are everywhere. And there is nothing Ubben can do to stop them.
In Washington that morning of Sept. 11, 2012, the air had been crisp and clear and so much like the crisp, clear morning of 11 years before that President Obama mentioned the similarities at a 9/11 memorial service outside the Pentagon. But much else had changed, he said. “Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again,” he told the small audience of employees, their dark glasses glistening in the bright sun. “No single event can ever destroy who we are,” Obama concluded. “No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for.”
But over the course of the next 24 hours, as the black banner of jihad flew over the United States Embassy in Cairo, and as the American Consulate and the nearby outpost of the CIA in Benghazi came under ferocious attack, all the assumptions on which the administration had founded its counterterrorism policies were called into question. And in the weeks since, the events of that day have come under enormous scrutiny in the close-fought race for the presidency.
The State Department, monitoring the phone calls from the consulate’s operations center, knew virtually from the first minutes, as Ubben, Stevens, and Smith were hiding, that the attack on the consulate was no protest gone astray. And when a major CIA outpost nearby came under attack hours later, there was little doubt about that being an operation by well-trained terrorists. But the administration has sought to reveal as little as possible about the CIA presence and operations in Benghazi.
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