Saturday, September 29, 2012

U.S. intelligence takes blame for mixed Libya attack messages

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's office on Friday tried to explain the shifting public explanations for who was behind the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya. DNI public affairs director Shawn Turner said U.S. intelligence concluded "in the immediate aftermath" of the assault that it had begun "spontaneously" in the wake of violent protests in Egypt.

"We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available," Turner said. "As we learned more ... we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists."

The statement could take some of the heat off the White House over some of its early explanations for what happened in Benghazi, which claimed the lives of American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three colleagues. White House press secretary Jay Carney, noting that an FBI investigation was ongoing, repeatedly tied the attack to public anger at an Internet video that insults Islam. Read More