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."During the past week, I have posted several stories about a State Department memo issued on 9/6/12 by the OSAC division downplaying the possibility of a 9/11 anniversary attack. The memo subsequently disappeared from the OSAC website after the attacks. I found and posted a cached version of the website showing the report listed prior to its removal on 9/14.
However, it turns out I was only re-printing the opening paragraph of the report. I subsequently realized the full report was much longer and was reproduced on the day it was issued (in full, as far as I can tell) on this website for Crisis Counseling International, an organization that apparently subscribes to the OSAC full-access website. (I had linked to this site in an earlier post, but did not fully recognize the entire post was part of the OSAC report.) I have since discovered that much of the report was reproduced from a July 2011 OSAC newsletter (available here in PDF format.) Here is the relevant portion of the extended report:
Terrorism and Holidays/Anniversary DatesHistorically, al-Qa’ida and other transnational terrorist groups have not conducted successful attacks on major U.S. holidays and anniversary dates. One possible explanation for this lack of activity is due to the increase in security on major dates because of a perceived vulnerability. A terrorist group that has spent a significant amount of time monitoring a potential target, training operatives, and acquiring the weapons necessary for a major attack would be less likely to attack when security is at a heightened level.
Terrorist groups are predisposed to conduct the attack first and justify the reasoning subsequently.That last line stands in sharp contrast to the week-long insistence by the Obama administration that what was clearly a well-coordinated attack by a large group or groups with serious firepower was just a spontaneous response to a movie. As the report above says, "Terrorist groups are predisposed to conduct the attack first and justify the reasoning subsequently." The question now becomes, if, again as the report above states, a "terrorist group that has spent a significant amount of time monitoring a potential target, training operatives, and acquiring the weapons necessary for a major attack would be less likely to attack when security is at a heightened level," then why was this group able to conclude that security at the US consulate on a 9/11 anniversary in a very volatile country was not "heightened"? Had the state department indeed grown complacent as I suggested here?
Reports today indicate the administration has realized its movie-based explanation was crumbling. The president made this explicit in an interview today:
President Barack Obama said that protests over a video that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad were used as a pretext for a planned strike against Americans.Now the administration will have to fully explain its apparent lack of readiness for the 9/11 events in Libya.
“What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests. Well, we do not know yet. And so we are going to continue to investigate this,” Obama said.