The indications were clear to many Middle East observers that the attack on the Libyan attack on the U.S. Consulate, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, was a terrorist attack. Yest the U.S. administration clung to its scenario that the attack was a sponataneous attack sparked by an anti-Islam video.
However, evidence and comments by the Libyan leader, who said that the attack was conducted by foreigners, left no doubt that it was an organized and well planned attack, which had nothing to do with a video.
This scenario of a spontaneous attack was messaged by Secretary of State, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. made the Sunday talk show circuit, sending that message on every show.
On NBC and other networks Susan Rice said, that we are "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," Rice said.
President Obama still send that message during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly as late as September 25th:
That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. Allvoices
Yet it has been revealed yesterday that U.S. intelligence sources knew just 24 hours later that this was a terrorist attack and the attackers had links to al-Qaida.
According to Yahoo News, which quotes an anonymous source, the administration, knew that this was a terrorist within 24 hours.
"They knew the real story from the beginning and were not paraded around to make statements. Understand that the first bits of information from something like this are usually not reliable, but at the end of 24 hours, folks should have a pretty good idea of what happened ... or they are not doing their job," the source said.
The Washington Post presents a slightly different scenario. In it's description of the events it quotes anonymous intelligence sources stating that they think that the attacks was not timed to coinicide with the anniversary of 9/11.
Instead, the officials said, the assault was set in motion after protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as part of a protest of an amateur anti-Islamic YouTube video.
“There’s never been any intelligence, nor any I’m aware of now, that indicated this was a plot planned months in advance to get turned on on 9/11,” said an Obama administration official. Washington Post
Regardless of the Washington Post article, there is still no explanation of Ambassador Chris Steven's concerns. Were there any diplomatic cables, where he indicated that he felt threatened and that he felt he was a target? There is also no explanation yet, as to why there weren't stepped up security measures for the anniversary of 9/11.
Why did the administration deceive the American public?
During the DNC convention the Democrats made the statements that al-Qaida was defeated, "Bin Laden is dead, GM is alive," they said. Admitting that there is a resurgence of al-Qaida across the Middle East runs against the message that has been sent.
There is a resurgence of al-Qaida in Iraq, which are supporting the Sunii insurgency and now al-Qaida afilliated elements have planned and executed an attack on the Benghazi consulate.
One has to ask the question why the Administration had this odd response? President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must have known that the attack was terror and if they didn't they should have known. There are three possible reasons why the message of the spontaeous reaction to the video continued to be flogged. Either it was gross incompetence, the administration was involved in a massive cover up for political reasons or the information was concealed for intelligence reasons, while an investigation was conducted.
One of the considerations could have been that authorities did not want the perpetrators to know what they knew. On the other hand the Lybian leader revealed it within 48 hours.
Yahoo's anonymous source explained it this way:
How much is subjective, but it is always good not to let your opponent have insight into what you know and don't know," the source said. "However, as you can tell, this was a clumsy, some would characterize (it as) very sophomoric, response by the administration" at the communications level.
Security concerns of Chris Stevens
Two weeks after the attacks FBI investigators are not on the ground in Benghazi due to security concerns. Rumaging through the compund a CNN reporter found a seven page notebook belonging to Chris Stevens.
According to the network, the diary said he was concerned about the "never-ending" security threats in Benghazi and wrote that he was on an al Qaeda hit list. In deference to the family's wishes, CNN didn't quote directly from the diary and didn't divulge any private information in it. His worries are newsworthy, however, and can inform America's response. But Mrs. Clinton's long-time and closest media adviser chose to attack CNN. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines called the network's conduct "disgusting." Wall Street Journal
The September 11th attack on the consulate in Benghazi has killed four Americans. Why the administration had this odd response to the attack is a question that has not been answered.
You can speculate and make it a political issue, but no one is served by a political reaction. A full scale investigation is needed to get to the bottom of the security situation in Benghazi. That investigation will not be complete before the November 6th election and that is not important. What is important, is that lessons are learned and corrective action is taken to prevent future lapses of security.