Here’s a chronology of the Obama administration’s…conflicting…statements about the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi that included the murders of our ambassador and three other Americans.
- the terrorist attack went in, resulting in the murders of an American Ambassador and three other Americans
- real-time com is established between the defenders and the State Department, during which the defenders clearly identify both the lack of any disturbance at all prior to the attack and the presence and use of weapons consistent with an organized terror attack
- surveillance drones (in sequence) arrive on scene, also returning real-time data to the US government which confirm the defenders’ information
- President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden:
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.
- subsequently, Obama, in response to a CBS interview question about whether he thought the attack was terrorism, Obama said “it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about.”
State Department: Secretary Hillary Clinton said the US was “working to determine the precise motivations and methods” of the attackers, while citing the protest in Cairo over the anti-Islam film.
13 Sep: State Department: Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the department was “very cautious about drawing any conclusions” about who was behind the attack and what the motivations were.
- Press Secretary Jay Carney said “we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack,” continuing, instead, to link the attack to protests over an anti-Islam film.
- CIA Director General David Petraeus briefed lawmakers, stressing a link between the anti-Islam film and the Libya attack.
16 Sep: State Department: US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice went on five Sunday talk shows to claim the Benghazi Consulate attack was a spontaneous response to a video.
17 Sep: State Department: Nuland, asked if State regarded the strike as terrorism, insisted “I don’t think we know enough.”
19 Sep: White House: National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen, in sworn testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, testified that the strike was a “terrorist attack.”
20 Sep: White House:
- in an interview with Univision, Obama refused to label the attack terrorism. “I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information.”
- Carney, during the usual noon press conference, said of the Benghazi attack that it was “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
- Obama then claimed he had labeled it as a terrorist attack all along, including as he claimed in an October debate, in his Rose Garden statement.
21 Sep: State Department: Clinton described the attack as a terrorist attack.
28 Sep: Intelligence:
- Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s said initial information led the office “to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day” in Cairo, and that information was provided to members of the Executive Branch and Congress.
- but, “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.”
19 Oct: Intelligence: An intelligence official circulated a revised version: “extremist” elements were likely involved, but “the bulk of available information supports the early assessment that the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the US Embassy in Cairo.”
16 Nov: Intelligence: Petraeus, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, said that he suspected from the start that the attack was terrorism. Congressman Peter King (R, NY) said Petreaus told the committee that the CIA’s original assessment pointed to “Al Qaeda involvement,” but that the line was removed after it left the Intelligence community’s hands.