Following the blow-up in Benghazi the Administration seems to have created a new category - the "opportunistic" terrorist attack:
(CBS News) The White House called last week's deadly assault on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, "a terrorist attack" Thursday, but didn't clarify whether the Obama administration thought the attack was planned in advance.
"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One Thursday. "Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that's self evident."
Well, a few days ago it was self-evident that a volent mob fueled by outrage over a YouTube video had triggered the incident. Whatever.
On Wednesday, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told senators that the United States doesn't have specific intelligence that the attack was planned in advance, Reuters reports.
"The best information we have now, the facts that we have now, indicate that this was an opportunistic attack" on the consulate, Olsen said, according to Reuters. "The attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours."
U.S. officials had said since the immediate aftermath of the attack that it originally started as an anti-American protest against an amateurish online video made in the U.S. that insults the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
"At this point, what I would say is that a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly in the Benghazi area," Olsen said, according to Reuters. "As well, we are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates, in particular Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb."
CBS News is reporting that the initial unhappy mobs never existed, which compounds the confusion:
CBS reports this morning that witnesses are saying "that there was never an anti-American protest outside of the consulate [in Benghazi, Libya]. Instead, they say, it came under planned attack. That is in direct contradiction to the administration's account of the incident."
I will add this - the signature of Al Qaeda attacks is multiple targets. Only one US diplomatic outpost came under this type of determined armed assault, which lends a bit of credence to the "opportunistic" concept. On the other hand, if CBS is right and there was no angry mob providing cover and pretext, then the group in Libya created their own opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how much of the Team Obama fog on this is dispersed before November.
But the State Department now faces Congressional demands for an independent investigation of the attacks and any security failures that might have added to the death toll.
“In my judgment, which is informed by numerous briefings and discussions with experts, the attack in Benghazi was not a black swan,” Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said at a hearing on Wednesday, “but rather an attack that should have been anticipated, based on the previous attacks against Western targets, the proliferation of dangerous weapons in Libya, the presence of Al Qaeda in that country and the overall threat environment.”
And the Tines is either relying upon or backing up the CBS version:
The most significant inconsistency between Libyan and American accounts is whether the attack that night began with a small protest over the trailer of “The Innocence of Muslims,” parts of which were broadcast on Egyptian television. American officials insist there was a protest that began peacefully, only to be hijacked by armed militants. But Libyan witnesses, including two guards at the building, say the area around the compound was quiet until the attackers arrived, firing their weapons and storming the compound from three sides, beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. A witness said that some of those attacking referred to the film’s insults to Islam.
This is tricky - we have dead Americans and a failure to anticipate a terror attack on the anniversary of 9/11. On the other hand, full disclosure might result in both Obama and Hillary lookig inept. It will be interesting to see the press handle this challenge to their belief systems.