CIA linked Benghazi attack to “militants” in first 24 hours

posted at 10:01 am on October 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this morning, McClatchy asked why the Obama administration changed its story on the Benghazi terrorist attack after three days from an initial, vague reference to terrorist attacks to a demonstrably false narrative about a “spontaneous demonstration” that never took place, and a YouTube video that had been on line for two months.  That question got more pressing this morning, as the Associated Press reports that the CIA linked the attack to “militants” in eastern Libya:

 The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.

It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to read all of McClatchy’s report on the shifting narratives from the Obama administration.  The CIA report would generally align with most of the messaging from the White House in the first two days.  It’s not until the 14th that the Obama administration went all-in on the YouTube-video blameshifting that continued for more than a week.

The AP wonders whether anyone read the CIA cable with this information.  Let’s parse that out for just a moment.  We suffered the death of a US Ambassador and three other Americans in the sacking of a consulate in a key area of the world.  Wouldn’t one of the first items to check be information from the CIA’s station in the area?  Given the fact that this came from the station chief and not just some lower-level scuttlebutt, either we can assume it got read immediately, or that the people running the show in Washington DC are so incompetent that it’s a wonder we have any diplomatic missions left at all.

The leak of this information is very interesting indeed, too.  The defense from Barack Obama himself at the last presidential debate, as well as Susan Rice in the Wall Street Journal, is that the “spontaneous demonstration” story is what they were hearing from the intel community.  This makes it very clear that their excuses are false, at least in large part, let alone the fact that State watched the attack unfold in real time and has video of the event, a fact revealed at the House Oversight Committee hearings last week.  Unlike Hillary Clinton, the intel community apparently has no intention of being scapegoated for the White House’s cover story.  That’s a big, big problem for Barack Obama and his righteous indignation.

Update: We’ve heard that intel had linked this to “militants” before; Eli Lake, Fox News, and Yahoo’s Olivier Knox all had good reporting on this in September.  This is, though, the most specific reporting yet, and the first reporting of which I’m aware that the CIA station chief cabled Washington with that information himself.  It’s one thing to claim that some intel data may have gotten lost in “the fog of war,” but it’s hard to explain how no one would have known about intel of that significance.  Even if the national security people didn’t have it on their desks, they should have been consulting with the CIA station chief in Libya on a constant basis.


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I’m actually stunned that the media is focussing on this right before the foreign policy debate. Unless it’s all so Team Obama can prep for everything that Romney will throw at him.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

It seems the intel community does not intend to remain under Obama’s bus.

WannabeAnglican on October 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Mitt better shove this in Obama’s face on Monday. What Obama, Carney, and Rice said in the days following the attack was straight up BS and they knew it at the time. An explanation or a mea culpa better be forthcoming.

Doughboy on October 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Does “militants” = “terrorists”?

I’m serious about this. Where do the boundaries begin and end?

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Just in time for Romney to hammer Obama about Benghazi-bungling a little more on Monday.

Bitter Clinger on October 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM

as an intelligence agency the CIA may suck but it has a very finely tuned sense of self preservation. Obama’s thrown them under the bus but I think he’ll be surprised that the CIA is willing to take him with them.

bannor on October 19, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Mitt better shove this in Obama’s face on Monday. What Obama, Carney, and Rice said in the days following the attack was straight up BS and they knew it at the time. An explanation or a mea culpa better be forthcoming.

Doughboy on October 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I am sure he will..
Obama is toast…

Electrongod on October 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I’m serious about this. Where do the boundaries begin and end?

JohnGalt23 on October 19, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Non-military targets. Read up on our founding fathers. They went over this at length.

cozmo on October 19, 2012 at 10:11 AM

It’s fun to pretend that you’re more knowledgeable on a subject than your opposition but this one takes the cake.
 
Typhonsentra on October 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM

rogerb on October 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

We now know how bad it has to be in order to have the CIA suspend the “I can neither confirm nor deny” script.

When the professional spooks (who are in danger of being killed 24/7) get blamed for getting somebody killed, all bets are off.

platypus on October 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Or:
 

Hahaha, I’m sorry but this is just too rich: Conservatives accusing the left of being low information on Benghazi!?
 
Typhonsentra on October 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM

 
Your choice.

rogerb on October 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Glenn Beck was on this FOUR DAYS after the attacks. He said “CIA” from his sources. It’s time to start listening to him. That’s what makes the stupid binders, Big Bird, v@gina costumes stuff so incredibly stupid an infuriating.

hoosiermama on October 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

A somewhat unintended consequence for Candy-stuffed Crowley:keeping the issue hot going into Monday’s debate.

bayview on October 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Fast & Furious: East

hoosiermama on October 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

so…this wasn’t Roger Ebert with a grenade launcher?

Slade73 on October 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Just in time for the Sunday talk shows as well as the debate.

INC on October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Fast & Furious: East

hoosiermama on October 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Fast & Furious: The CoverUp

Electrongod on October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

That pause, and that look that Romney gave Obama during the last debate right after he asked for clarification about the Rose Garden speech is the same one my dad used to give me when I was in big trouble. He won’t let Ear Leader off the hook on this one.

parteagirl on October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

C o v e r u p

Hello bob schieffer…. are you taking notes?

cmsinaz on October 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM

What Obama, Carney, and Rice said in the days following the attack was straight up BS and they knew it at the time. An explanation or a mea culpa better be forthcoming.

Doughboy on October 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

You can add Hillary to that list also. She stood just feet from the caskets carrying the bodies of 4 Americans murdered by terrorists and blathered on about that stupid video.

Flora Duh on October 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM

I think the point is that militants do NOT equal angry movie reviewers.

blink on October 19, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Is it possible the FBI as part of their sting showed the trailer to the young fellow who wanted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank?

Mark Steyn is referring to that one as a Spontaneous Movie Review in Lower Manhattan.

Drained Brain on October 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Don’t throw Intel community under the bus :-)

antisocial on October 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Non-military targets. Read up on our founding fathers. They went over this at length.

cozmo on October 19, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Whew. Good thing we designate anyone in a strike/kill zone as a combatant. We wouldn’t want to be terrorists ourselves.

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

So, folks, at what point in the debate should Romney walk through this? And how much time in total should be devoted to the topic?

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Hopefully when an administration that’s willing to recognize the enemy — rather than one, just for instance, that wants to send $450 million to the Muslim Brotherhood — is in power they’ll cut the CIA loose. And their spiffy face recognition tools can be applied to that guy in the pic. Meat.

curved space on October 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

FOXNEWS is going to have a special on this tonight.

KBird on October 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Gosh little one, with you being such the constitutional scholar (in the same vein that Iranian mullahs are religious scholars), I figured you would be all over this one.

cozmo on October 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM

O/T, but related: National Geographic has been receiving threats because of the pro-Obama movie, SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, that it plans on showing the weekend before the election.

A rep for National Geographic said only that the channel will air the film “no matter what,” adding, “We are big believers in the First Amendment.”

I don’t expect the administration to go after National Geographic. It’s quite a contrast to their scapegoating that trailer.

INC on October 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM

It seems the intel community does not intend to remain under Obama’s bus.

WannabeAnglican on October 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

You don’t want to mess with an organization that knows how to topple governments.

Happy Nomad on October 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM

CIA linked Benghazi attack to “militants” in first 24 hours

I’m glad to hear my faith in the intelligence community was not misplaced.

lynncgb on October 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Whew. Good thing we designate anyone in a strike/kill zone as a combatant. We wouldn’t want to be terrorists ourselves.

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Dante, there may be a time and a place when you can criticize the use of U.S. military power as excessive.

However, that time is not when the topic is a mob attacking a U.S. consulate and murdering four people. You display a lack of judgment and common sense.

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

This makes it very clear that their excuses are false, at least in large part, let alone the fact that State watched the attack unfold in real time and has video of the event, a fact revealed at the House Oversight Committee hearings last week. Unlike Hillary Clinton, the intel community apparently has no intention of being scapegoated for the White House’s cover story. That’s a big, big problem for Barack Obama and his righteous indignation.

heh. He can take how offended he was regarding the insinuation that he made political decisions over this incident and shove it.

ted c on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Maybe I have missed somebody else pointing this out, but the fact that the Obama administration forwarding the false meme, that of the video causing the embassy attack, they caused further unrest/riots throughout the Muslim community. Fact.

Buck_Nekkid on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

I’m actually stunned that the media is focussing on this right before the foreign policy debate. Unless it’s all so Team Obama can prep for everything that Romney will throw at him.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I thought I read some crap that one of the other blogs (Buzzfeed?) had documents that were ending this race that they are supposedly releasing Monday.

Is this the LSM covering their asses so it doesn’t look like they got scooped by a lowly blog?

Just conjecture, but if this is the case Buzzfeed (?) screwed up by not just releasing what they had.

If they do have something else (against Romney) it better be nothing short of a Certificate of Marriage for Ann’s sister-wife.

SittingDeadRed on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

I smell a rat in a trap. They do tend to chew their leg off trying to get away. Is this fight going to be the CIA against the Chicago Way? My bet will go with the cia since they probably believe that Mitt’s going to win and be the new boss.

Kissmygrits on October 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I am an American expat living in a predominantly Muslim country in SE Asia. I watched CNN World and BBC World after the attack, and both reported that the attack was because of the anti-Islam movie trailer. The local newspaper I read repeated what I was hearing on World News stations. On Sept. 15th (Sept 14th in the U.S. because of the time difference) the newspaper reported that there was new evidence that the attack was not triggered by the video trailer’s translation into Arabic, but was a cover-up for a planned militant attack.

snosanric on October 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Monday is going to be epic!!! I know I am tired of this policy of non-truth telling. I can’t be the only one.

BetseyRoss on October 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Maybe I have missed somebody else pointing this out, but the fact that the Obama administration forwarding the false meme, that of the video causing the embassy attack, they caused further unrest/riots throughout the Muslim community. Fact.

Buck_Nekkid on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

And at the UN no less, basically blaming America for the whole thing?

Questions. Who will be AG in a Romney Admin? How far does Presidential Immunity stretch? Can you retroactively impeach?

SittingDeadRed on October 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM

No body in their right mind believed that this was anything but a planned terrorist assault.

Blake on October 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

That pause, and that look that Romney gave Obama during the last debate right after he asked for clarification about the Rose Garden speech is the same one my dad used to give me when I was in big trouble.

parteagirl on October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Heh. That’s the exact same thing my wife says about her father, God rest his soul.

UltimateBob on October 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I wonder how many have died because this administration drew so much attention to that video after the attack?

ROCnPhilly on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Now that the filthy liar claims he knew on September 12 that it was a terrorist attack, Mitt has him set up for a devastating take-down. I hope Mitt comes to the debate with a written list of every single instance of this putrid administration claiming the killings arose out of a movie review that got out of hand. Mitt can put paid in full to lies of this deceitful and incompetent gang and ensure a landslide.

Basilsbest on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM

That pause, and that look that Romney gave Obama during the last debate right after he asked for clarification about the Rose Garden speech is the same one my dad used to give me when I was in big trouble.

parteagirl on October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Heh. That’s the exact same thing my wife says about her father, God rest his soul.

UltimateBob on October 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

That “look” is born in any parent at the same time their first child arrives. With a little practice…it’s quite effective.

lynncgb on October 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM

every single instance of this putrid administration claiming the killings arose out of a movie . . .

Basilsbest on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM

The Ramirez condensed timeline.

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:40 AM

The point is what we are seeing today is not the”logical outcome of three-and-a-half years of Obama foreign policy,” but the logical outcome of 60+ years of an interventionist foreign policy. Obama has carried on the same foreign policy of his predecessors.

rogerb on October 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

I wonder how many have died because this administration drew so much attention to that video after the attack?

ROCnPhilly on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I’m pretty sure I remember hearing during the wave of protests across the ME that the death toll attributed to the rioting had reached 47…but it probably went higher.

lynncgb on October 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

The CIA defending it’s Bengazi intel isn’t optimal

workingclass artist on October 19, 2012 at 10:46 AM

That “look” is born in any parent at the same time their first child arrives. With a little practice…it’s quite effective.

lynncgb on October 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Yep, it’s a look that says, “Well? What do you have to say for yourself?”

Enough to strike fear into any kid under the age of 17. Or a President with the intellectual maturity of a fourth grader.

UltimateBob on October 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM

It’s pretty evident (to all but the Kool Aid drinkers) that this administration was only concerned about covering it’s ass. Wouldn’t be surprised if Valarie Jarrett pushed to take up the NYT’s cover story as their own……..after all, the “facts” had been reported in the press. Right?

GarandFan on October 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM

This was kind of predictable. The intel community make enough huge screw ups (9/11 was just one in a long line). They don’t want to be scapegoated by Dogboy for something they didn’t screw up this time.

CorporatePiggy on October 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Jake Tapper is tap dancing around this with Laura Ingraham.

Brat on October 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM

The intel community strikes back?

My guess is this one of the first of what will become a flash flood of leaks coming out of the intelligence community.

Hillary was probably savvy enough to see it coming and minimize the personal political damage by taking all of the blame. No one believes she alone was responsible, and her she has given her fans in the MSM reason to go after the rest of Dear Leaders’ admin on this.

farsighted on October 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.

It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.

.
Let’s break this down into context (we’ll start with the bold and then move to the emphasis section):

The CIA station chief in Libya is THE senior on the ground authority intelligence resource. ANYONE looking for information on what happened, why it happened, what it means – you know, like the SCOAMF or Uncle Joe or Valerie Jarret or Hillary Clinton or James Clapper or even Janet Napolitano – is goiing to be DEMANDING to know what the CIA Station Chief is saying and ASKING their own questions of David Petraeus and other ranking CIA personnel. The section highlighted in bold above is logical, consistent with the surveillance assets (video – on site and drone)and done in a timely manner (within 24 hours). This information is also coming through without political filters (meaning , in this case, there are literally hundreds of people in the administration who would have clearance for this level of information so it is very difficult for a small group of people to bottleneck the flow of the information). This is the objective reality of the situation.

Despite the fact there are literally thousands of people both inside and outside the Administration (Congressional committee chairmen, ranking members and their staffs) who know who is connected to the direct flow of information on a 24/7 basis, some SCOAMF (what? you thought there could be only one?) decides,

“This is a major FU! People will connect 9/11, bin Laden and this event. Then someone (Hillary) in State is bound to leak the denied requests for extra security and we are going to have a sh1te storm on our hands. We need a cover story and we need it NOW!”

Keep in mind the “Inside the Beltway” perspective. Bob Woodward’s book had just come out saying the SCOAMF is not a FOCUSED and STRONG leader. They don’t need something reinforcing that message or one/some of the 500 might get it into their head(s) they could be the next Bob Woodward.

This is where the political narrative in the emphasized section of the quote above is born – in the belief the political narrative provided to the adoring MSM will provide sufficient cover to get the administration past the November 6th date.

The major miscalculation always made by the executives in this type of situation is that the “little people” will hold still and not say anything when the executives sh1t on them and their reputations.

P.S. Not only do they not hold still and not say anything, the “little people” are motivated by all the other slights visited upon them, individually and collectively.

PolAgnostic on October 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

The Ramirez condensed timeline.

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Ramirez nails it.

WisRich on October 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

When intel was blamed for the President’s response I knew the empire would strike back, kind of like pi$$ing on a journolisters leg only with real bada$$es.

Speakup on October 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Were the files on these terrorists kept in binders by chance?

Bmore on October 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Were the files on these terrorists kept in binders by chance?

Bmore on October 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM


NO!
Everyone knows the correct way of keeping this information is in manilla folders so it can be easily mislaid/shared/lost.

/s

;->

PolAgnostic on October 19, 2012 at 11:14 AM

there have been two incidences of bomb attacks on US soil thwarted by undercover agents who were selling useless materials to the perpetrator

I have to wonder each time I see this whether this is some false staged event to bolster our suposedly strong defense for political gain

twice is too fishy for me, especially one coming just two days after the debate

audiotom on October 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Dante, there may be a time and a place when you can criticize the use of U.S. military power as excessive.

However, that time is not when the topic is a mob attacking a U.S. consulate and murdering four people. You display a lack of judgment and common sense.

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

The time and place is always, especially when someone introduces the topic within a discussion.

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

I think it’s hilarious that Obama stage the foriegn policy debate months ago as the last debate to give himself a strong bounce right before the election

fortunately it will be a bounce right out of the White House

all Mitt has to do is not come off as a as a war monger

audiotom on October 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

This is very old news. Darrell Issa’s grilling of the State Department indicated this very early on.
.
The administration is blatantly lying.
.
President Obama heard about the attack on the first day. What would you do if such a thing happened? You would run to those who know the facts on the ground such as intelligence or the state department. Unless the entire administration was totally uninterested or totally preoccupied, they would have been told in no uncertain terms that there was no demonstration but there was an attack.
.
Either they didn’t pay attention which is very implausible or they deliberately lied to fool the American people.
.
Either one is criminal and a massive dereliction of duty to the American people.
.
The excuses about finding things out weeks later are worse excuses than the dog ate my homework.

FactsofLife on October 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

May the cow self-destruct.

Schadenfreude on October 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Hey Ed – Rush is talking about this right now w/a shout out to you.

Nice work.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on October 19, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Let’s hope Romney finally has his act together on this cover-up by Monday so obumble can be properly humiliated.

ultracon on October 19, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Also, if you want to see a perfect timeline, check out Ramirez’s latest cartoon….. PERFECT!!!

ultracon on October 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

It will be interesting to watch the news and entertainment folks get even with Obama lying to their faces.
Of course it won’t start until Nov 8th.

barnone on October 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Basically, we have all known the truth from very early on, yet in spite of that truth being so readily available, the Obama administration still launched a false narrative and tried to convince us of it.

Elect a far-left ideologue and this is what you get.

J.E. Dyer on October 19, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Hey Ed Rush just gave you a shout out on his show today.

karenhasfreedom on October 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Basically, we have all known the truth from very early on, yet in spite of that truth being so readily available, the Obama administration still launched a false narrative and tried to convince us of it.

Elect a far-left ideologue and this is what you get.

J.E. Dyer on October 19, 2012 at 2:22 PM

This ^

d1carter on October 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Whew. Good thing we designate anyone in a strike/kill zone as a combatant. We wouldn’t want to be terrorists ourselves.

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 10:19 AM

You’re an idiot.

Solaratov on October 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The point is what we are seeing today is not the”logical outcome of three-and-a-half years of Obama foreign policy,” but the logical outcome of 60+ years of an interventionist foreign policy. Obama has carried on the same foreign policy of his predecessors.

rogerb on October 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

You forgot to add the /sarc/ tag.

Here. You can borrow one…………./SARC/.

Solaratov on October 19, 2012 at 3:25 PM

However, that time is not when the topic is a mob attacking a U.S. consulate and murdering four people. You display a lack of judgment and common sense.

Dextrous on October 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

The time and place is always, especially when someone introduces the topic within a discussion.

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM

As Dextrous said, you lack judgment and common sense.

I reiterate: You are an idiot.

Solaratov on October 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM