Perhaps most famously, the Obama administration downplayed involvement of al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in the attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Despite ample evidence of their involvement – including real-time reporting from U.S. officials on the ground in Benghazi, a memo September 12 from the CIA station chief in Tripoli with details of the attacks and who conducted them, and communications intercepts from those involved in the assault – administration officials for days (even weeks) suggested that the attacks came spontaneously in response to an anti-Islam video.
These initial assessments fit nicely with the administration’s broader narrative about the end of the War on Terror and the imminent demise of al Qaeda. They were also wrong.
Why, then, would U.S. intelligence officials be ruling out ties to jihadist groups – or ruling out anything, for that matter – so early?…
So, on the same day that a U.S. intelligence official said that the U.S. intelligence community had all but ruled out strong connections with al Qaeda and its affiliates, the FBI released a statement acknowledging that a foreign government had warned about Tsarnaev because of concerns that he might well have ties to “unspecified” radical Islamic groups.