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U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours that the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack and that an Al-Qaeda-linked group was likely involved, Fox News reported Thursday:
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.
In addition, sources confirm that FBI agents have not yet arrived in Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack.
It took the Obama administration one week to acknowledge the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11 was terrorism: White House press secretary Jay Carney classified it as an act of terror last week, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday suggested to visiting foreign leaders at the United Nations that the Islamic Maghreb, an Al-Qaeda offshoot in North Africa, was involved.
“Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions,” Clinton said. “And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American personnel were killed in the consulate attack.
- Hillary Clinton Strongly Hints That al-Qaeda Offshoot Was Responsible for Libya Attack
- Libyan President Contradicts WH: Attack Was ‘Pre-Planned,‘ Video Had ’Nothing To Do With It’
- Robert Gibbs: White House Did Not ‘Intentionally or Unintentionally’ Mislead on Libya Attack
- U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice: ‘Spontaneous’ Libya Attack Was Prompted by ‘Hateful & Offensive Video’