Within two hours of the fatal attack on the U.S. Libyan embassy, the White House, the State Department and the FBI were informed that the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed credit, according to government e-mails obtained by CNN.
However, five days after American ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed and the American embassy ransacked and burned, Obama-appointed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on at least five televised broadcasts proclaiming the fatal attack on America’s Benghazi embassy to be a demonstration gone awry over an anti-Muslim video.
President Obama publicly mentioned the word terrorism once in the week after the attack, while his administration slowly reacted in political cadence to reports that Ambassador Stevens and embassy security officials had requested better security for months.
Discovery of the emails raises questions about the Obama administration’s convoluted response as to the nature of the deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya and who was behind it, according to the CNN report. The report comes two days after the final presidential debate on foreign policy.
Witnesses have confirmed there was no demonstration before the heavily armed and sustained attack took place, contrary to the early White House descriptions of the American embassy killings.
Obama’s White House spokesman Jay Carney told a myriad of national news houses and their reporters for days after the attack that there was no evidence suggesting the attack was "planned or imminent."
Meanwhile, the administration repeatedly implied that an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States likely fueled a spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi as it had in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy also was attacked.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nolan and Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations echoed White House claims by citing the video as the catalyst for the attack for a week after the assault.
However, as documents emerged showing repeated requests for additional security from the embassy and from security officials responsible for embassy security, the administration’s video/demonstration theme began to unravel.
The additional security requests were declined by the State Department headed by Hillary Clinton.
The latest documents showing the White House, State Department, FBI and other government offices knew within two hours what specific terrorist group had claimed responsibility is likely to stir controversy just 13 days ahead of the 2012 elections.