U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.
The account conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the administration believed the strike was a “spontaneous” event triggered by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.
Two senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration internally labeled the attack terrorism from the first day in order to unlock and mobilize certain resources to respond, and that officials were looking for one specific suspect.
One should point out that these sources could be the same who talked to Lake, so it many not be a confirmation, just different outlets for the same whistle-blower.
All the same, members of Congress are not happy:
The account that officials initially classified the attack as terrorism is sure to raise serious questions among lawmakers who have challenged the narrative the administration put out in the week following the strike. A few Republican lawmakers have gone so far as to suggest the administration withheld key facts about the assault for political reasons.
“I think we should have answers right away. … I think they’re reluctant to tell us what this event really was probably because it’s an election year. But the American people deserve to know answers about what happened at our embassy in Libya,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told Fox News.
Obama? Democrats? Putting electoral politics ahead of the national interest? Now whatever would give anyone that idea?
(Hint: Their behavior over Iraq from 2004 to 2008.)
This is quickly becoming a national scandal. While elements of the administration were treating this as a terrorist attack by the next day, high government officials, including the president, were trying to convince us it was all about an obscure YouTube video. As Bryan Preston at PJM writes, the situation is so screwed up, only one person can answer the questions:
The president himself needs to conduct a press conference and explain his administration’s actions and multiple conflicting statements. Nothing less than an explanation from Obama himself will do at this point. His own credibility is on the line, and the campaign of misdirection has ruined Secretary of State Clinton’s and Ambassador Rice’s credibility.
Neither Rice nor Clinton can credibly claim that they were acting on bad information from subordinates. Their subordinates, according to both Eli Lake and Fox, were treating the attack as terrorism, and even hunting a specific suspect, while Rice, Clinton, and Jay Carney continued to blame the YouTube video. Obama blamed that video again in his UN address and even now refuses to call the attack an act of terrorism.
And it’s not just the questions about the blatant lies the administration told; we’re also owed explanations for the obviously poor security in Benghazi and the failure to act on warnings, including Ambassador Stevens’ own misgivings.
Maybe the MSM should spend its time questioning Obama about this, rather than NFL refs.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)