Benghazi Consulate Massacre: lawmakers briefed on al Qaeda role two days after the attack

US Consulate, Benghazi

And yet the White House and its spokespeople maintained for weeks afterward that the attack on September 11th was the result of a mob demonstrating against a video, a spontaneous “happening,” like a 60s love-in. They went so far as to have our UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, proclaim this on all five Sunday shows the week after the attack. Secretary Clinton swore to get the maker of the video. And Obama himself repeatedly blamed the video in his speech before the UN General Assembly on September 25th.

So why, then, were the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) telling lawmakers it was likely an al Qaeda operation on September 13th, just two days after the massacre?

Two days after the deadly Libya terror attack, representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack, Fox News has learned.

The description of the attack by those in the Sept. 13 briefings stands in stark contrast to the now controversial briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA Director David Petraeus the following day — and raises even more questions about why Petraeus described the attack as tied to a demonstration.

The Sept. 13 assessment was based on intercepts that included individuals, believed to have participated in the attack, who were celebratory — as well as a claim of responsibility.

FBI and NCTC also briefed that there were a series of Al Qaeda training camps just outside of Benghazi, where the attack occurred and resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The area was described as a hotbed for the militant Ansar al-Sharia as well as Al Qaeda in North Africa.

Fox News is told there was no mention of a demonstration or any significant emphasis on the anti-Islam video that for days was cited by administration officials as a motivating factor.

The FBI and NCTC did not immediately respond to a request from Fox News for comment.

(Emphasis added)

This raises several troubling issues, including the recurrent question of why the administration stuck to its ludicrous story about an obscure video being at fault for weeks after the event, even when their own counter-terrorism people were saying otherwise. Remember, the only target of this… “fable spinning” was us, the American people. Everyone else, including al Qaeda, knew the truth.

My own guess is that the Obama administration, facing a tight election and having promoted itself as the slayers of bin Laden and the team that beat al Qaeda, now found themselves facing proof that not only were they wrong, but fatally so. In a panic they latched onto some reports about this video, which had been mentioned in jihadist forums in the weeks preceding the attack, and decided that would be their scapegoat, so they could avoid blame for their incompetence. And once the lie was told, they couldn’t abandon it without looking even more foolish, until they were finally forced to, and then lied about having lied.

The main issue raised by this report, though, is the role of CIA Director Petraeus, who apparently insisted to Congress that fault had to lie with the video and its maker, and that the deaths of our people were the result of demonstrations that got out of hand. We have to ask ourselves, and Congress must ask Director Petraeus, why he…

…characterized the attack as more consistent with a flash mob, where the militants showed up spontaneously with RPGs. Petraeus downplayed to lawmakers the skill needed to fire mortars, which also were used in the attack and to some were seen as evidence of significant pre-planning. As Fox News previously reported, four mortars were fired — two missed the annex, but the mortar team re-calibrated and the next two mortars were direct hits.

Fox News is told that Petraeus seemed wedded to the narrative that the attack was linked to a demonstration and was spontaneous as opposed to pre-meditated.

Fox News is told that Petraeus was “absolute” in his description with few, if any, caveats. 

Petraeus, of course, is the architect of our victory in Iraq in 2007-08, literally saving was was becoming a losing effort, and so he has a lot of credit banked with Congress. One can understand their anger at being given such a faulty, even nonsensical, report by someone they trusted, presented as fact when it flew in the face of information being reported by other intelligence agencies.  It calls into doubt his judgment, and perhaps his integrity.

There are many, many questions unanswered about the massacre in Benghazi, from the decisions leading up to it, to the events and decisions made that night and the evident coverup that’s taken place since.

To that list of questions we now have to add the role of the CIA Director.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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One Response to Benghazi Consulate Massacre: lawmakers briefed on al Qaeda role two days after the attack

  1. [...] an earlier post, I quoted news reports that called into question the role General David Petraeus, the CIA director, regarding his analysis of the attack on our [...]

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