By Suzanne Kelly
The U.S. intelligence community has revised its assessment of the deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya, saying it now believes it was a deliberate terrorist assault.
In an unusual statement on Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sought to explain how it has revised its view of the September 11 attack on the diplomatic post that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
The assessment moves away from the initial belief the attack began spontaneously following a protest over an anti-Muslim film. The intelligence community now believes it was "a deliberate and organized terrorist assault carried out by extremists" affiliated or sympathetic with al Qaeda.
The statement represents the fullest accounting yet of the intelligence community's changed understanding of the attack, and suggests it is trying to distance itself from the political debate over whether the Obama administration is being fully forthcoming about its understanding of events.
The release of such information outlining an ongoing investigation is rare and underscores just how controversial the issue has become.
"In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo," according to the statement from Shawn Turner, director of public affairs for the national intelligence office.
The statement continues that the information was provided to the White House and Congress with the clear understanding it was preliminary and could change.
"We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving," the statement said.
But the statement makes it clear that the view has changed, although it does not specify over what period of time that occurred.
"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," according to the statement.
Last week, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen, described the incident as a terror attack but noted it was not "significantly planned."
His statement came just a few days after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice described the attack based more on what the intelligence community says is its initial assessment – that it arose from a protest.
This week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he believed the attack was "clearly" conducted by terrorists who planned it, and said that it "took a while" for there to be information to reach such a conclusion.
But on the same day, a senior U.S. official told CNN that within a day or so of the attack, the U.S. intelligence community began to gather information suggesting it was the work of extremists either affiliated with al Qaeda groups or inspired by them.
The timing of when this understanding overtook the initial assessment remains unclear.
"It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to (al Qaeda)," according to the statement.
"As more information becomes available our analysis will continue to evolve and we will obtain a more complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack," the statement said.
Turner said the intelligence community will continue to assist the State Department and FBI in their investigation.
"For its part, the intelligence community will continue to follow the information about the tragic events in Benghazi wherever it leads."
Here's the full statement:
Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for National Intelligence Shawn Turner on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi, Libya, the Intelligence Community launched a comprehensive effort to determine the circumstances surrounding the assault and to identity the perpetrators. We also reviewed all available intelligence to determine if there might be follow-on attacks against our people or facilities in Libya or elsewhere in the world.
As the Intelligence Community collects and analyzes more information related to the attack, our understanding of the event continues to evolve. In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.
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. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qa'ida. We continue to make progress, but there remain many unanswered questions. As more information becomes available our analysis will continue to evolve and we will obtain a more complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack.
We continue to support the ongoing FBI investigation and the State Department review of the Benghazi terrorist attack, providing the full capabilities and resources of the Intelligence Community to those efforts. We also will continue to meet our responsibility to keep Congress fully and currently informed. For its part, the Intelligence Community will continue to follow the information about the tragic events in Benghazi wherever it leads. The President demands and expects that we will do this, as do Congress and the American people. As an Intelligence Community, we owe nothing less than our best efforts in this regard, especially to the families of the four courageous Americans who lost their lives at Benghazi in service of their country.
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It is no secret that Hitler and his Nazi cronies sought inspiration from Indian extremist groups including the branding of his Nazi Party by adopting the Swastika, a traditionally Hindu symbol and representation of Hindu god Ganesha, as its marketing tool. The thesis being that like the Norwegian massacre the Jewish holocaust orchestrated by Hitler was inspired by the inherently violent cult of Indian Hindus and the manifesto of its then extremist/terrorist groups still in existence today. These groups are now the successors to and carrying out the vision of Al Qaeda all over the world albeit in a clandestine manner.
It is also been established that Mahatma Gandhi (Hindu leader) was a pedophile. What is very disturbing is his relationship (!) and friendship with Hitler. He is known to have offered advice and encouragement to Hitler and his Nazi Party to undertake the Jewish Holocaust.
Guys salam aleikum, Red Alert!!!I just got a SMS this morning from our Islamabad headquarter. Please stay away from posting anti-Israeli posts.
We are well aware of the deep rooted connections of Hindu Terror Groups headquartered in India to International Terror Groups such as Al Qaeda. These groups have an extremist philosophy, Neo Nazi bent and are the torch bearers/successors to Al Qaeda.
You have to go to Fox to see news that MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN don't want you to know about. Think about that for a minute. They are hiding news from you so you don't question Obama on anything. Doesn't that scare any of you?
I agree with you completely ... CNN should be embarrassed that they are finally posting this story two weeks after Fox came out with the exact same information ... can you say cover-up!?!? To make matters worse, they bury the story where barely anyone will see it. As for TV, you barely see any discussion on the topic ... absolutely a dereliction of duties by the main stream media. This is exactly why I've stopped watching CNN. MSNBC was always a joke ... only left wing loons ever watched it but CNN was once the most respected news organization in the world, what the hell happened? They let their liberal agenda get in the way of unbiased news reporting. This is a very sad commentary on the US media, essentially you now have to choose between a ultra liberal version of the news or a right wing slant ... there is no longer any true fair and balanced reporting except for Bret Baier on Fox news.
Like a good American corporation, CNN has chosen to hire non-American citizens to appear on TV!
CNN has lost it's way! The American public suffers.
I do go to Fox News. However, Fox is so completely biased it is ridiculous! Yes, CNN is not much better. It is so sad that the profession of journalist no longer exists! Our country is being sold and outsourced!
They're focused on hiding their agenda so they can secure a 100 year rule over the serf/dependency class that exists and that they are trying to grow. We've got news for them – Nov 2012!
So glad to see CNN thinks the truth "evolves." And these bozos and virtually all of journalism still sit around and wonder why their credibility has taken such a hit. No one believes much of anything they say anymore but they just don't understand why.
And as usual, the Neanderthal neocons fail to grasp that while the truth itself doesn't evolve, investigating thoroughly to determine the truth does take time and indeed the results "evolve."
But never let facts or logic get in the way of your hyperpartisan, Fox-incited screeds.
Sad. Sad "presidency", sad man (Obama), sad Lib narrative, sad corrupt media still trying to cover up for Obama.
Remember stupid George W's "Mission Accomplished" statement! What a moron!
Just as Morris Sadek and Nakoula Basselly, both GOP operatives, tried to conceal their hand by blaming the anti-muslim video on Jews, so too did the attackers in Libya, who are Khadafy supporters, seek to conceal their hand by recruiting local Salafists and blaming the attack on Al-Queda.
The "intelligence sources" who are quite vociferous in getting their spin into the media, are constantly trying to help Khadafy supporters conceal their role. This is because the Khadafy supporters are trying to create as much chaos as possible in Libya, in order to stall any agreements about oil or defense contracts until after the November election.
Khadafy supporters want to have the control they once had, and the GOP is probably promising it to them, if they help create chaos in Libya now.
Apparently, the orchestraters of this plot, including Khadafy supporters and their GOP patrons, intended to create a cassis belli against "al-queda" in Libya, and they are continually feeding stories to the press about "this al-queda figure" or "that al-queda figure." If the Obama Administration had acted upon the traitors "intel" there would be drone strikes against Ansar Al-Sharia. No doubt there would be some "targeting mistakes" that killed allies of the US and innocent people.
Immediately after the Sep 11 attack, the GOP loudly called for aid to be cut to Libya. Apparently, GOP spokespeople (including one congressman Frank Wolf, who is associated with Morris Sadek, the promoter of the anti-muslim film) have had their talking points ready, insisting that the attack was carried out by al-queda, and that their "intel sources" KNOW who they are and where they are.
Apparently, the GOP didn't count on:
1) local people published reports about the demonstration that was used as a cover for the attack
2) local people and journalists published info about Ansar Al-Sharia, contradiciting the nonsense about the so-called "Gitmo guy" that the GOP claimed was the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia
3) The President didn't act rashly and bomb Ansar al sharia
4) The People in Benghazi ran Ansar al sharia out of town, and then turned their fury against other militias
5) Ansar al sharia willingly surrendered their weapons and disbanded after the government demanded it.
6) The GOP's "intel sources" in Libya were pulled out, effectively blinding them
So now the GOP's traitors are attempting to spin the story while their Khadafy supporter friends continue to obstruct the Libyan government's attempt to form (elections were just held), organize the military, and investigate the attack.
Some of the spin is sheer nonsense. The constant harping about security at the consulate is never paired with the true number of security guards that were there (over twenty, besides the seven people who were guarding the ambassador himself.) This information has been published, but the GOP liars pretend that they don't have this information.
The attack on the consulate is related to the uproar over the video, and it was carefully coordinated. Morris Sadek promoted the video on a timeline, and the attackers who killed the ambassador knew this timeline. The GOP is behind this criminal and treasonous plot. The GOP has connections to Khadafy supporters in Libya. And yes, I have names.
Mr. Jackson, lay off the mushrooms! You must be having a bad trip because your theories are that of a complete loon. Stop getting your news from the Rev. Al Shartpton on MSNBC and maybe you won't come across as a complete nut job.
bam, talk about using a straw man argument. You're a hoot.
OR we could let them kill us until there are only muslims left like they want. Elect an American President.
'Remember in November'.
I am glad to see the information is being released in a manner that is respectful to those who lost their lives. President and his administration did a great job of verifying and releasing information that is not what they hear or what the intelligence thinks might have happened. Public not like speculations.
hmm the president condemed the movie for the attack when the facts prove he knew three days prior in other words he lied to you and you sing his praises how very odd
Thick as a brick. Some people just follow. I hope there are more people like you when your gov. finally implodes
because off fools like this. Someone will have to pick up the pieces.
WHAT!!! THIS WAS A DELIBERATE COVER UP BY THE OMAMA ADMINISTRATION. They came out 6 times and told people it was in response to a you tube video (not even a film). CNN covered it up and even Bob Woodward, who exposed Nixon said..wow if Bush lied to the American people this way, when the intelligence pointed in a different direction there would be hell to pay. The worst part is he knew within a day of the attack and then lied to the victims families. :-(..he's like the bad boyfriend/girlfrien that lies and cheats and men/women will stay with him anyway,because they have no self respect.
The responsible way to handle such an event is to wait until qualified people can assess it and report based on a throrough investigation. Unfortunately, that does not fit with our entertainment based media. They are genetically pre-disposed to report even when it is clearly speculation. And, of course, the right wing nuts will find every excuse to blame the President no matter what the facts eventually reveal. The truth... you can't handle the truth!
Absolutely hilarious Cal. You try to sound like you're part of the responsible and moral high ground on this while totally ignoring everything that surrounded this operation. Eyewitness statements, top officials with a local knowledge of the events, the timing of the operation, the convenient blaming of a short "trailer" that was crudely produced and actually released over two months earlier, the official assessment of the Libyan government, etc. You are a typical left-wing nut job who has drunk too much of the liberal socialist Kool-Aid. You wouldn't know the truth (and worse, don't really care about the truth) if it hit you upside your head like a baseball bat. Objectivity is something the left doesn't have. They will do anything to protect their "man" regardless of what he does.
WHAT!!! THIS WAS A DELIBERATE COVER UP BY THE OMAMA ADMINISTRATION. They came out 6 times and told people it was in response to a you tube video (not even a film). CNN covered it up and even Bob Woodward, who exposed Nixon said..wow if Bush lied to the American people this way, when the intelligence pointed in a different direction there would be hell to pay. The worst part is he knew within a day of the attack and then lied to the victims families. ..he's like the bad boyfriend/girlfrien that lies and cheats and men/women will stay with him anyway,because they have no self respect
well said! Its really a sad commentary on the state of our voting public.
Uh-uh, nope, can't be...barry done gone killed osama and Al-Queda is on the run! Those evil terrorists have no leaders and are absolutely no threat. Obviously these intelligence community guys are republican hacks. These al-queda dudes were once only in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and today they're so weakened you can only find them in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and half a dozen other middle eastern and african countries. See, under obama more countries hosting Al-queda equals them being weakened. Under obama more terrorists equals safer americans. I'm not sure how that works exactly, but obama says it is so and his followers believe it to be true.
Well Stan, they were only in Afghanistan until Bush invaded Iraq and gave them are reason to move there.
Twisting the truth again Cal. They had been in Afghanistan much earlier fighting the Soviets during their incursion. What's ironic is we were their ally so long as we were supplying them weapons to fight the commies.
You are so misinformed...Yahoo news even called it a terrorist attack two days ago...CNN doesn't report news anymore if it hurts their candidate. It's a shame...CNN truly is the Communist News Network....I don't defend them anymore.
I am truly astounded that CNN did not give fair and thorough coverage of the Benghazi attack, even though it was known that it was a terrorist attack. Your coverage of this event, as well as the biased coverage of the presidential campaign, is an insult to intelligent people. It also places you in the category of tabloid news. And, I was so proud of you during the Gulf war, and 9/11 coverage.What happened to reporting the news, not slanting or omitting it?
Indeed. The very same 'slanting' and 'reporting' of new critique can be equally applied to FOX News, FYI.
Maybe in a few instances. But most of the time, the actual news reporting staff of FOX sticks with the details no matter where it leads. They provide information that the rest of the media including CNN prefer to hide, particularly when the news could be damaging to their left leaning agenda and the actors who are participating in the story (a.k.a. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, etc.).
I couldn't agree more. Very disappointed in the biased reporting by CNN these days.
The sad thing GEW is that we have to go digging deep into CNN's teeny tiny font used headlines to even find this story, while they highlight a story related to a high school prank on their front page.
CNN has chosen the path of all "good capitalist American corporations"! OUTSOURCE! How many real American citizens appear on CNN TV today? CNN dumped Elliott Spitzer for being "too American". Now they hire from abroad.
Piers Morgan is CNN's prime "talking head", but he doesn't even speak proper American English! Richard Quest is even worse! Anderson Cooper's "sidekick" is another "import" who doesn't speak American English!
CNN has lost their way!
gop/fox been crying wolf for 4 years now....
It doesnt matter... it was an attack and Americans died. In a country that just went through a revolution...
the answer isnt to stop carpet bombing them or Iran just cuz the president is Obama....
sit down adults are in control now where u take calculated actions not invade an unrelated country
If this happened during President Bush term, CNN would have blasted it all over the front page including multiple pictures and analysis on why Bush was at fault. Is it any wonder no one trusts the main stream media anymore?
u mean why foxfaxbots dont trust real news outlets....
days after 911 we didnt start demanding we bomb russia... FACTS were found out first before Afghanistan was demanded to hand over Osama then it all went south invading iraq for no reason declaring Osama a non issue.....
STOP whining about the "mainstream / liberal media" and learn how to overcome the bias. Dig deeper...read & listen to sources besides Fox & CNN, recognize biases where they are, and distill as much of the truth as you can from MANY sources. You"re NEVER going to get the complete story from one or two outlets, regardless of which ones they are.
Directly to your 'point' however, If conservatives are so good at business & creating jobs, then why has no wealthy conservative or group of conservatives recognized this alleged unfulfilled niche & rushed in to fill it with new news outlets? Conservatives have been whining about the liberal mainstream media for years. Given that nobody has stepped up to fill this supposed void, I can only conclude that either a) conservatives maybe aren't as good at business & creating jobs as they want us to think, or b) this supposed over-arching conspiratorial media bias they are screaming about is merely a figment of their imagination.
Cogito my good unassuming friend, FOX news and talk radio pundits came on to the scene specifically for the reasons you just mentioned. Its convenient to overlook the liberal media establishment in the broadcast networks going back to the days of Vietnam. The constant harping of all the "wrongs" our military were committing over there led to a horrible display of disdain and hate towards many of our returning vets. Its hard to blame the average American back then having such opinions, as virtually all of their news sources were spinning the same tale. When you talk about numerous "sources", one has to remember that the origin of an event and the details surrounding it could only have come from a small nucleus of people. When MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Media Matters, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, and the liberal blogs all try to support the Democratic (Liberal) account on a potentially politically hot topic, that has left few options for an objective listener/reader to get at the truth. Certain exceptions are actually found in news organizations outside of the US such as The Economist and from time to time the BBC. The question concerning their reporting is this: where did they get their story from and if its the truth, why doesn't the mainstream American press report the same thing?
Well said! "They" have no answers!
The "conservatives" only care about one thing, PAY no Taxes! Destroy the middle class and create an economy like Russia and China! America needs super rich oligarchs! What a joke!
Do you CNN regulars ever go to Fox news to see what is there? If you don't, you miss half of what is going on in the world because the liberal media won't even show it to you. Seriously, if you only get your news from CNN you are missing out on a ton of stuff that is happening. Or what happens is you will get it a week late because they didn't want you to see it, but were forced to because the story wouldn't go away.
I "was" a big fan of CNN, and yes I do go to see what Fox is broadcasting! CNN has lost it's way by hiring so many foreigners and dumping real Americans like Elliott Spitzer! I resent all the "British speakers" CNN now employs. However, Fox is just plain ridiculous! Fox has no intent on presenting a balanced and truthful program. Fox is so obviously biased, it is ridiculous!!!
There are some questions that CNN Investigative Reporters might pursue: Why was Obama so quick to declare this a spontaneous attack? Why was there no security assessment of the Benghazi Embassy done before allowing American staff there? Why did the Obama Admin. seek and receive a waiver to provide standard security? Why did Obama send Susan Rice around to media sources to promote the idea of "spontaneous protest"? Why did no high ranking officials attend the UN speeches of Netanyahu or Ahmadinejad? These are more pressing questions than the lead CNN story about a homecoming prank. CNN, please, enough of the cover-up if you want Americans to do more than check out your bias. Balanced news, real news would be good for a change.
Then go elsewhere for your news....what about FoxNews? Oh wait, they are classified as entertainment.
uh, you can't get news at CNN, only propaganda
I DO go elsewhere for my news. And FYI – the "Entertainers" at Fox have been saying this since the day that it happened. CNN is too much a mouthpiece for the POTUS instead of a credible news organization. Had CNN been doing unbiased investigative jounalism ever since the attack occurred, this would be old news. As it already is for those people being "entertained" by FoxNews... Just sayin...
yeah foxfax says its zombie terror outside and WW3 is imminent
The reason the President was so quick to say it was spontaneous was because he continues to think that most, if not all, americans are STUPID, and will believe whatever he says. And of course he had to prepare for his appearances on Letterman and the View.....but not at the UN... the liberal media os only too happy to oblige him. Sad days for America if the people are stupid enough to give him another 4 years. The worls laughts at the US, adn what it has become under his so called "leadership".....weak at best; disastrous at worst.
The President said it was a spontaneous attack because that is what he was told by our Intel. If he did not report what they told him the repubs would be all over him for remaining silent on the issue. After he reported what they told him, additional info became available and they revised their assessment. Is that so hard for your repubs to understand? A president can only report what government agencies tell him. He has no direct insight into what happens in the world other than the information he is told. You repubs will try anything to discredit the President, but it won't work. It is way too late to get anyone to change their mind about voting for him, so get over it!
yeah cuz the internet doesnt get me info from non american news outlets etc etc etc....
and cuz it really matters....
so we should carpet bomb Libya right? If Obama dropped 1 bomb on Libya u would start crying we have no money cuz we havent started to pay for bush's 2 wars yet
Facts are facts. They knew it was a terror attack from the beginning but chose to not reveal that information to the American people. Why? That's the question.
Guys salam aleikum, I just got a SMS this morning from our Islamabad headquarter. Please stay away from posting anti-Israeli posts.
I am very proud of Obama for ignoring Netanyahu while he is in New York for the UN Meeting! This Russian/Israeli a**hole has no respect for the US and no interest is solving problems! He has insulted our President and has done nothing to promote peace! Now he wants the US to bomb Iran for him! How stupid is this man? Netanyahu, take your bomb poster and shouve it up your a**! As an American citizen, I am very sick of you!!!
He has insulted our President and has done nothing to promote peace!??? is tha you Saleem bhiya? Did someone hack your ID again or what? We were supposed to stay away from Israeli posts and stick to pro-Pakistani posts, I thought that was our assignment!