Editor's note: This is a developing story — check back for the latest & click here to read what an ex-CIA analyst said about the bombshell report.
A voluminous investigative piece published Saturday by The New York Times offers a number of startling revelations on the September 2012 Benghazi attacks, but the big three would appear to be as follows:
1. There's "no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault," the Times reported.
2. "The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi."
In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. (Image source: AP/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)
But what may be the most surprising alleged unearthing, given the "yes it was responsible-no it wasn't responsible" outcries surrounding it...
3. The Times reported that the attack was indeed "fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam."
The Times noted the uprising's "two contradictory story lines":
One has it that the video, which was posted on YouTube, inspired spontaneous street protests that got out of hand. This version, based on early intelligence reports, was initially offered publicly by Susan E. Rice, who is now Mr. Obama’s national security adviser.
The other, favored by Republicans, holds that Mr. (Christopher) Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by Al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of covering up evidence of Al Qaeda’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated, in part because of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The Times report noted that the "reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests."
Benghazi "was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs," the Times reported.
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.
The issue of the anti-Islam video fueling anger that led to the attacks was an initial claim, which was soon overshadowed by a determination that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, an issue that seemed to raise the ire of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Check out the entire New York Times article here.