With heavy pressure from Congress and elsewhere being exerted on the Obama Administration over its lies and coverup of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Banghazi, a team of Administration officials, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but also including intelligence officials, will be going to Capitol Hill to provide closed-door, classified briefings to key members of both the House and Senate on Thursday.
Yesterday, answering a question at a press conference, Clinton defended the security arrangements at the Benghazi mission, referring to "a robust security presence inside the compound." She also said that, as for all overseas missions before September 11th, "we did an evaluation on threat streams," adding, in a carefully worded statement, that "the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent."
Yesterday, apparently for the first time, an Obama Administration official — albeit one much less closely tied to the White House than others such as Susan Rice — called last week's assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a "terrorist attack." Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, when asked during a Senate hearing Wednesday about the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans, stated that "they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy." Rice and other Obama cronies have repeatedly called the attacks a "spontaneous" outgrowth of protest demonstrations, which Olson declined to say.
But otherwise, Olson also stuck fairly closely to the Administration line, in saying that U.S. officials don't have "specific intelligence that there was significant advanced planning or coordination" for the attack. He still called it an "opportunistic" attack which evolved and escalated over several hours — even though a number of eyewitnesses have stated that the attack with rockets and grenades started before the protests, allegedly against the anti-Muslim film, got underway.
When asked if his agency has any idea of who was responsible, Olson said that "a number of different elements" appear to have been involved, and that there are indications that some of those involved may have been connected to Al Qaeda, and particularly to Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) sharply disputed Olson's assessment about the lack of premeditation. "I will tell you based on the briefings I have had," Collins stated, "I've come to the opposite conclusion, and agree with the president of Libya that this was a premeditated planned attack that was associated with the anniversary of 9/11. I just don't think that people come to protest equipped with RPGs and other heavy weapons, and the reports of complicity, and they are many, with the Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate, also suggests to me that this was premeditated."
Earlier, in her opening statement, Sen. Collins had declared: "In my judgment, which is informed by numerous briefings and discussions with experts, this was not a 'black swan' [completely unexpected] event, but rather an attack which should have been anticipated." Collins also charged that there was an "inexplicable lack of security" at the consulate in Benghazi.
When asked by Collins if there are any indications of communications between extremist elements, and the Libyan guards at the consulate, Olson responded that this question would be better addressed in the closed-door briefings scheduled for Thursday. He also said that questions about security at the consulate should be addressed to the State Department's diplomatic security service.