By Jim Kouri
White House officials and State Department staff, contrary to original press statements, were informed about the suspected terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012, just two hours after the assailants invaded the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and that a radical Islamist group claimed responsibility for the consulate invasion and murders of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, according to emails obtained by the news media on Wednesday.
The emails, obtained by the Fox News Channel’s national security correspondent Catherine Herridge from an anonymous government source, identified the terrorist group as Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attacks.
The first short email revealed how U.S. diplomats, in the midst of the violent and deadly attack, described the attack to Washington.
A second email that was sent stated that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a ‘response team’ was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email sent carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on [the U.S. Embassy in] Tripoli.”
While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post, which means Obama national security team was informed.
Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source told Herridge.
So far it’s unknown if there were more messages sent and received in Washington to and from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.
While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al-Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.
According to Herridge’s news story, there were indications that extremists with al-Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.
By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al- Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.
However, throughout the following two seeks Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Press Secretary Jay Carney attributed the Benghazi attack to Muslim reaction to a YouTube anti-Islam video.
During Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely’s conversation with the Examiner, he said this very serious and sensitive information was relayed by a source who has become extremely frustrated with the continued dishonesty within the White House in trying to blame the intelligence community for the Libyan debacle in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave and dedicated Americans were murdered by an al-Qaeda affiliate.
In addition to Gen. Vallely, former CIA director Michael Hayden and Michael Chertoff, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security, slammed Biden for insisting that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi did not ask for more U.S. security personnel before it was attacked which is the opposite of what Obama’s minions told Congress and the American people.
“During the Vice Presidential debate, we were disappointed to see Vice President Biden blame the intelligence community for the inconsistent and shifting response of the Obama Administration to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,” they said in their statement.
“Given what has emerged publicly about the intelligence available before, during, and after the September 11 attack, it is clear that any failure was not on the part of the intelligence community, but on the part of White House decision-makers who should have listened to, and acted on, available intelligence. Blaming those who put their lives on the line is not the kind of leadership this country needs,” they said.
According to Gen. Vallely — a familiar face on the Fox News Channel especially during the Iraq War –the frustration level is at a boiling point within government agencies (particularly State/DOD and CIA) with the actions and cover-ups of the President and his administration hierarchy.