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InsiderOnline Blog: November 2012

The Benghazi Story Is Still Changing

Remember when the Obama administration had concrete evidence the attack on Benghazi was just a protest that got out of hand? Then remember when the “fog of war” (even though the administration wasn’t calling it war at the time) made it hard for the administration to figure out what was happening on the 11th anniversary of 9/11? Then remember when Hillary Clinton said reports of Ansar al-Sharia claiming responsibility for the attack on the very night it happened didn’t carry much weight because the claims were made via social networks?

Well, one reason Clinton might might have given those claims some weight was that they tracked with information her department had already received about militant activity in Benghazi. The latest scoop from Fox News:

The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.

Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.

“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable said.

According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” [Fox News, October 31]

If one didn’t know better, one might think the administration deliberately ignored signs that the attack was the work of an al-Qaeda affiliate because a non-terrorist-based narrative was the better option politics-wise.

Posted on 11/01/12 07:06 PM by Alex Adrianson

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