Rice: Benghazi attack was spontaneous; Libya: No, it wasn’t

posted at 12:01 pm on September 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

There seems to be lingering confusion about the nature of the attack on the Benghazi consulate that cost four Americans their lives, including the first US Ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979, J. Christopher Stevens.  UN Ambassador Susan Rice insisted on Fox News Sunday that the attack on the consulate on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 was a spontaneous demonstration that just “spun out of control.”  Rice also doubled down on the administration’s claim that the violence is all about the video:

WALLACE:  This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world.Tthe White House says it has nothing to do with the president’s policies. Let’s watch.

JAY CARNEY:  This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive.

WALLACE: You don’t really believe that?

AMB. RICE: Chris, absolutely I believe that. Because, in fact, it is the case. We had the evolution of the Arab Spring over the last many months but what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world. Now, our strong view is that there is no excuse for violence. It is reprehensible and never justified. But in fact there have been those in various parts of the world who have reacted with violence. Their governments have increasingly and effectively responded and protected our facilities and condemned the violence and this outrageous response to what is an offensive video. But there is no question what we have seen in the past with things like Satanic Verses and cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad there have been such things that have sparked outrage and anger and this has been the proximate cause.

WALLACE: It may have sparked it but you critics say that the outpouring of outrage against the U.S. has everything to do with the U.S. policies. That we are disengaging from that part of the world that we pulled out of Iraq, we are are pulling out of Afghanistan, that Iran is continuing on with its nuclear program and they say our critics is that our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.

AMB. RICE:  Well, Chris, that is just false. Le’s be plain. Our partners and allies value voters responded effectively and promptly when we have asked them to protect our facilities and our people.

National Journal picks up on Rice’s flat-out insistence later in the interview with Chris Wallace that the Benghazi attack had no element of premeditation or planning:

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, maintained on Sunday that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was not planned by terrorist groups. She said the attack spun out of protests, which were sparked by an anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S.

“This was not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack,” she said on Fox News Sunday. “What happened initially was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent. People with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons—which, unfortunately, are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya—and that then spun out of control.”

Rice told Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week that the US response was not impotent, and again insisted that the attacks were spontaneous:

“We’re not impotent,were not even less popular to challenge that assessment” said Rice. ” What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi and many other parts of the region was a result, a direct result, of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.” …

“Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice told me this morning on “This Week.” …

“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,” Rice said. “And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”

That comes as news to the Libyan government, which has now arrested 50 people in connection to the murders and the attack on the consulate.  Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf told CBS’ Face the Nation that the attack was planned for months by people who had infiltrated Libya from other nations specifically for the attack:

About 50 arrests have been made in connection with the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in which the American Ambassador and three other consulate employees were killed, and some of the suspects involved are from outside the country, Libya’s president told CBS News.

In an interview for “Face the Nation” Sunday, President Mohamed Magariaf also said that evidence “leaves us with no doubt” that the attack was pre-planned.

“It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival,” he told Bob Schieffer.

So who to believe?  Magariaf’s statement is more against his interests, at least on the surface.  He’d have some benefit from the argument that the consulate got sacked in a spontaneous eruption of anger, because it would let his security forces off the hook for missing the extensive plot that Magariaf now asserts was in place.  It could also be a ploy to crack down on radial Islamist networks in the eastern part of Libya, which otherwise might be difficult for the weak central government to undertake, but an admission of weakness in the first place might not be in Tripoli’s best interests.  Also, it’s possible that Magariaf might be right about the plot and wrong about the plotters, or at least not entirely forthcoming, if the Libyan security forces have been penetrated by the radicals, but that still means Rice’s explanation is entirely wrong.

Fortunately, Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee,  points out a few facts that support Magariaf’s contention and refute Rice’s:

However, Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, said the evidence pointed in the other direction, citing the style and coordination of the attack.

“I think it’s too early to make that conclusion,” Rogers said on the same show [as Rice]. “The way that the attack took place, I have serious questions. It seemed to be a military-style, coordinated. They had indirect fire coordinated with direct fire, rocket attacks. They were able to launch two different separate attacks on locations there near the consulate and they repelled a fairly significant Libyan force that came to rescue the embassy.”

The betrayal of the supposedly “safe house” also tends to support Magariaf’s assertion.  An angry mob wouldn’t have organized well enough for that kind of pursuit and intelligence, unless the Libyan security forces in the know simply and “spontaneously” decided to throw in with the mob, which is possible but pretty unlikely.  The coordination and purposeful strategy in play shows premeditation and planning, and that means it’s not just an angry mob that spontaneously “spun out of control.”

Maybe someone should ask the State Department to explain the difference in conclusions.  Oh, that’s right, that part of the US government has declared itself immune from public scrutiny.  Bummer.  Because if this attack wasn’t the “spontaneous” event that “spun out of control” that Rice insists it was, then State and the White House have a lot to answer for on their preparations and security decisions for the anniversary of 9/11 in a part of Libya well known to be haven to radical Islamist terror networks — including al-Qaeda.


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Condi Rice here. I believe that there could be no greater legacy for America than to help to bring into being a Palestinian state for a people who have suffered too long, who have been humiliated too long, who have not reached their potential for too long, and who have so much to give to the international community and to all of us.

RasThavas on September 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

I wonder if obama thinks this picture shows how much the Muslim world “respects” him?

Flora Duh on September 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

I wonder if obama thinks this picture shows how much the Muslim world “respects” him?

Flora Duh on September 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Our government is incompetent. Ambassador Stevens appears to have essentially committed suicide. Neither he, or his bosses, appear to have a clue. As a result of their incompetency, lousy decision making, the world is more dangerous today, than on Sept. 11, 2001.

RasThavas on September 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Come on now. Wallace’s intro of Rice was severely lacking in information. To provide proper context for her comments it should have gone something like, “With us today is UN Ambassador Susan Rice who would not even be allowed to appear on Fox News if she weren’t completely well-versed, rehearsed and, indeed, personally vested in the administration’s laughable position that these were spontaneous riots unrelated to a worse-than-weak foreign policy of appeasement and it was all the movie’s fault. Ambassador, welcome to Fox News and, with what you’re about to obediently parrot, congratulations on preserving your current position, which is probably a short limo ride from posh Manhattan digs, and avoiding reassignment to Burkina Faso or some other posting where the Marine guards are not given bullets.”

I mean really.

curved space on September 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Let’s look at this through objective eyes.

1 None of the Middle eastern violence was directed by hatred of America.
2 ALL of the violence was caused by the movie trailer denigrating Mohammed.
3 Before the movie trailer last week the Muslims were peaceful people incapable of creating violence. Try to remember, before last week,of a SINGLE act of violence ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!! where Muslims were were involved. See , you can’t.
4 It is therefore obvious that any Muslim violence must, ipso facto, be caused by this movie trailer.
5 Since we egregiously allow this movie maker to lawfully exercise his constitutional rights, and since this movie trailer (as we have already proven) caused all the violence, it is the United States and not the poor innocent rioters who are totally to blame for all the mayhem and murder.

MaiDee on September 16, 2012 at 5:25 PM

You have convinced me it was the video. After all we don’t want axelrot to go to all this trouble for naught.By the way seems the safe house in Egpyt for the Embassy personnell was not quite so safe after all,what an amazing coincidence. Sounds like the video is to blame to me.I’m sold.!

rodguy911 on September 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

i guess i don’t understand the strategy with the leftists. I should think that it would be better for the administration if it were to be a planned raid. A mob is a man-in-the-street kind of thing and uncontrollable and conveys the idea that Lybia is not yet a stable country, which relfects badly on barry

Several things here.
a) Just like F&F if it had not gone south because of the whistleblowers, having this be a video-incited mob action can be exploited to implement government control of free speech and internet content. This was a sloppily done video but the key element here is it denigrated the thin-skinned religion of perpetual outrage. So, they go after this amateurish video to get some sort of addendum to “hate crime” laws protecting the practitioners of the religion of perpetual outrage from “offensive statements toward religion”. Take a look on this blog, somebody could then use the perfectly factual statements made here to be “hate speech”. Viola! The fed (Obama & fellow communists) have the means to shut down the new media.

b) If this turns out it was a planned raid, this portrays the administration and State Department in a very bad light. Obama has skipped almost half of his intelligence briefings, meaning he had no factual basis from which to direct embassy actions. The fact that there were concerns and warnings means the State Department was derelict in how it had set up embassy and consular security. Signing off on ROE’s that prevented embassy guards from carrying live ammunition in what is arguably a combat zone is near, if not actual, criminal negligence. Missing or ignoring the warning signs that Libyan security personnel were compromised is likewise an indicator of a huge intelligence breakdown. This all makes the administration look like it is inept and incapable. [OK, it is inept and incapable, but it doesn't want to look that way].

So, bottom line, it’s to the administration’s advantage to portray this as a spontaneous mob attack.

Exit question: Really, how many of those Libyans in that mob actually have internet access or even electricity?

AZfederalist on September 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Obama may sound like he is insane, he may even at times look like he is insane, but don’t let that fool you … … he really is insane!

VorDaj on September 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

The video hit youtube in July. The murders were on Sept 11.

CW on September 16, 2012 at 5:55 PM

i guess i don’t understand the strategy with the leftists. I should think that it would be better for the administration if it were to be a planned raid. A mob is a man-in-the-street kind of thing and uncontrollable and conveys the idea that Lybia is not yet a stable country, which relfects badly on barry

so to protect barry they have to make libya look like an inferno….lefties are soooooo bright

r keller on September 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

SHHHHHHH! ;)

Chewy the Lab on September 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

guess i don’t understand a planned raid. A mob relfects badly on barry BAMSTAHHHH!!!!!!!!! YOU DA MANNNNN BAMMMY BABYY!!!!! LOVE YA BRRYYYY OL BUDDY OL PALLL!!!! YAHHHHH!!!!!!!

r at 2:54 PM

cableguy615 on September 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Am convinced Rice was “told what to say to protect Obama/Clinton” but is won’t sell anymore. the whole presidency is a staged performance and we don’t buy it anymore.

Amazingoly on September 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

The Jive-Ass Muslim Fraud has lost all credibility on ANY issue he speaks about!! Pathological liar!! Remember in November!!

Marco on September 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Handle. Like the handle too.

onomo on September 16, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Did not choose it lightly. Even though I am a 60ish medical professioal, I am on a mission. It doesn’t stop when Romney is elected and OF@ckhead’s booted out. This a$$hole and several people in his administration need to go to jail. And we NEVER should make the same mistake again. Absolutely NOMOBO, ever again.

NOMOBO on September 16, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Does POTUS understand how deep the crap he’s wading in. This is too big for even the MSM to protect him, because we are in a real National Security crisis.(What a mess.)

flackcatcher on September 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I’m beginning to get that feeling too, Mr. Catcher. The stuff they’re putting out now is so demonstrably false, and when proven false, so spectacularly damaging that even MSM will not be able to cover it up.

Double down on it Dems. Dig that hole deeper. There will be hell to pay, and I’m betting it will be before November.

petefrt on September 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Am convinced Rice was “told what to say to protect Obama/Clinton” but is won’t sell anymore. the whole presidency is a staged performance and we don’t buy it anymore.

Amazingoly on September 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

I knew her parents as fine friends. I knew her as a child. She was adorable. It saddens me no end to see her carrying Øbama’s water. She has her parents’ intelligence and character. She can do better than this. Sad.

petefrt on September 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM

This idiot Ambassador is just like the idiot Ambassador of Egypt who would not let her Marine guards use live ammo in their weapons!She turned them into Paper Tigers. These two female idiots are working under orders from the WH to keep their big mouths shut and insist the attacks were spontaneous and not pre-planned! They should both be recalled back to the States and put in an institution for the feeble-minded!!!

Jersey Dan on September 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Fools and knaves: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/09/fools-and-knaves-part-4.php

onlineanalyst on September 16, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Am convinced Rice was “told what to say to protect Obama/Clinton” but is won’t sell anymore. the whole presidency is a staged performance and we don’t buy it anymore.

Amazingoly on September 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM

I knew her parents as fine friends. I knew her as a child. She was adorable. It saddens me no end to see her carrying Øbama’s water. She has her parents’ intelligence and character. She can do better than this. Sad.

petefrt on September 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Any guesses as to what happened to her?

Del Dolemonte on September 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM

This was a pre-planned attack, and the attackers were waiting for the release of this obscure film that hardly anyone saw to get Americans blaming themselves and one another and to dilute opposition to the coordinated attacks on embassies all around the Middle East that were planned months in advance timed with 9/11.
Muslims hate the U.S. because of who we are: a free, open, tolerant, and prosperous society that is largely Christian, with Jewish, and other religions all free to practice their faith unharmed.
Muslims are intolerant of all other religions except theirs, they are intolerant of free speech, and they are intolerant of countries where women have equal rights.
The Arab Spring should be called Arab Uprising or Arab Savagery. “Spring” sounds like a nice word for this not-so-nice phenomenon occurring in the Middle East.

Mark7788 on September 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM

No one has figured out how these oily talking head scammers operate. They use the degenerate David Axlerod strategy of ‘during an interview, don’t stop talking & minimize the amount of questions the host can ask’ on important issues’. It turns my stomach to see Sen Durbin, Valerie Jarrett, Axlerod, Gibbs & all the other urchins use this strategy and think we’re sold on their BS

RdLake on September 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM

She said it like she knows it was spontaneous. They’d have to be tied to the other protests to know that the Libya attack wasn’t part of it. That would actually explain a few things.

Buddahpundit on September 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

Sure, Sue, everybody in that part of the world takes their AK47s and RPGs to a protest at a foreign embassy. Do these people seriously think we’re buying any of this bull?

Kissmygrits on September 17, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Shifting from “Bush’s fault” to “Videos fault”…

right2bright on September 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Deb Wasserman-Schultz step aside. We have a new ‘Chief Liar’ in town.

RdLake on September 17, 2012 at 10:50 AM

This was a pre-planned attack, and the attackers were waiting for the Obama Campaign/Administration to release of this obscure film that hardly anyone saw to get Americans blaming themselves and one another and to dilute opposition to the coordinated attacks on embassies all around the Middle East that were planned months in advance timed with 9/11.

Mark7788 on September 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM

Fixed it–in light of the fact that there is irrefuteable evidence that the Obama Administration had dealings with Nakoula while he was in custody for fraud. Funny how he got released from jail so quickly after his conviction.

NOMOBO on September 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I don’t know why this is still in dispute. Al Quida has already stated that it was carried out in retaliation for their “second-in-command’s” destruction. So Ambassador Rice knows better?

I want to see the memos to US officials warning of an impending attack on the anniversary of 9/11. Help give Obozo and crew a ticket out of Washington…

stacman on September 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Where was Hillary Clinton on Sunday???

Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State and Hillary is the person who should have been answering questions on the Sunday Talk Shows.

Is Hillary hiding from the media because she knows that she and Obama really screwed up and Hillary wants to reduce the number of YouTube videos that could be used against her in a potential 2016 Presidential campaign?

wren on September 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

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