Current and former intelligence officials tell Fox News that a classified State Department cable sent Aug. 16 — and which said the Benghazi consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack” — would certainly have gone to the White House National Security Council staff.

“The National Security Council sees everything,” a former senior intelligence official told Fox News. “The staff are sitting on top of all the cable traffic which means the national security advisor (Tom Donilon) and deputy national security advisor (Denis McDonough) have some explaining to do. If Libya was of interest to this administration, the national security staff saw it.”

Current and former intelligence officials said that North Africa — specifically the growing lawlessness in eastern Libya, the sizable CIA presence and the estimated 20,000 loose weapons — were of keen interest to the White House national security team and the intelligence community. There is growing evidence that the attack was designed to flush out any remaining western influence in eastern Libya, and specifically the growing CIA presence.

“To have not read it would be negligent,” the former senior intelligence official said.