JNN U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was not preplanned, directly contradicting top Libyan officials who say the attack was planned in advance.
“Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice told me this morning on “This Week.”
“In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” Rice said, referring to protests in Egypt on September over an anti-Islam film. Protesters in Cairo breached the walls of the U.S. American Embassy, tearing apart an American flag.
“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,” Rice said. “And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”
Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, were killed in Libya following the assault on the American consulate in Benghazi, on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Rice said the FBI is examining the attack, saying their investigation “will tell us with certainty what transpired.”
Rice’s account directly contradicts that of Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf, who said this weekend that the attack was premeditated by individuals from outside Libya.
“It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival,” told CBS News.
Rice said there were no Marines present to protect the consulate in Libya, saying the U.S. presence is Libya is “relatively new” since the revolution that overthrew former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“There are not Marines in every facility. That depends on the circumstances. That depends on the requirements,” Rice said. “Our presence in Tripoli, as in Benghazi, is relatively new, as you will recall. We’ve been back post-revolution only for a matter of months.”
But Rice said there was a “substantial security presence” at the consulate in Benghazi, noting that two of the four Americans killed there were providing security.
“We certainly are aware that Libya is a place where there have been increasingly some violent incidents,” Rice said. “The security personnel that the State Department thought were required were in place… It obviously didn’t prove sufficient to the – the nature of the attack and sufficient in that – in that moment.”
“But the president has been very clear. The protection of American personnel and facilities is and will remain our top priority,” Rice added. “That’s why we’ve reinforced our presence in Tripoli and elsewhere.”
The attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans took place on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. That may simply be a coincidence, but if so, it would be a pretty big one.
In his interview, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, the president of Libya’s National Congress, said Libya had arrested 50 people, many connected to al-Qaeda. That would certainly bolster the notion that the date — Sept. 11 — was not a coincidence. He also said a few of those arrested were from other countries.
It is in Magariaf’s interest to emphasize that this tragedy does not reflect anti-American feelings by the Libyan people, especially because Stevens was a well-liked diplomat in the country. But he was also emphatic that “the way these perpetrators acted and moved” and the “specific date for this so-called demonstration” make it clear that the attack was planned.
“It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival,” he said.
To some extent, Rice and Magariaf may be speaking past each other. Magariaf is emphasizing a plan in motion for a period of time; Rice appears to be focused on a plan for that particular day, or even an attack specifically on the ambassador. The two positions do not necessarily contradict each other.
For instance, Stevens was known to travel with a relatively small security detail, so the attackers may have planned to take advantage of that. But that does not mean they had a specific plan for that day — until the opportunity presented itself.
Stevens, who died of smoke inhalation, may not have been the target of the attacks in any case. One media report claims that key documents, including one with the names of Libyans working with Americans, were taken from the consulate.
That same report, in the Independent, quotes a Libyan military official as saying that a separate safe house also came under attack:
The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. “I don’t know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries,” said Captain Obeidi. “It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa.”
Indeed, news services reported last week that Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, briefing lawmakers last week, said the attack appeared to be planned because it was so extensive and because of the “proliferation” of small and medium weapons at the scene. That also would seem to contradict Rice’s stance.
Finally, ABC News reported that Glen Doherty, one of the former Navy SEALs who was killed, was not there to provide security but was on a mission to track down shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles and destroy them. “Doherty said that he traveled throughout Libya chasing reports of the weapons, and once they were found, his team would destroy them on the spot by bashing them with hammers or repeatedly running them over with their vehicles,” ABC said.
The Cat is out of the Bag now , and People are well aware of the CIA Plans and now nobody is even afraid of them , as calling a Spade a Spade , as with US reputation gone totally down , after the 9/11 attacks , which has now been proved by so many that even a little research of any individual can satisfy him with the facts that , it was a joint operation of CIA and Mossad , and these Organisation or so Professional in their work that they don’t mind even Killing their own thousands of Citizens , Just for their Dream of ruling the World.
And now in the case of the Ben Ghazi Protests and then the Killing of the US Ambassador , the facts are again pointing towards the CIA Operation , being done and carried out by the Al Qaida Operatives , working on the directions of their Principal Agency CIA , as now they have other Plans for the Oil rich Land , as they are going in turn from Iraq to Sudan , and now Libya, the 7th Biggest Oil producer , is on the list of Menu , as the energy rich lands should be in under the Rule of US to maintain its supremacy in the World as Super Power.