A lengthy reporting piece in Reuters Wednesday insisted on having confirmations from U.S. government officials that the Obama Administration knew immediately that the Benghazi murders were an al-Qaeda-linked terror attack, and covered that up.
"Within hours" of Ambassador Chris Stevens' death, Reuters reported, "President Barack Obama's administration received about a dozen intelligence reports suggesting militants connected to al Qaeda were involved, three government sources said. Despite these reports, in public statements and private meetings, top U.S. officials spent nearly two weeks highlighting intelligence suggesting that the attacks were spontaneous protests against an anti-Muslim film, while playing down the involvement of organized militant groups." The British news service stresses the strong nature of the immediate evidence by noting that it covered these intelligence reports in its story of Sept. 12, the day after the Benghazi murders.
In detail: The first reports flowing into Washington were characterized to Reuters "by officials familiar with them": They "contained data from communications intercepts and U.S. informants, which were then fashioned into polished initial assessments for policymakers.... They contained evidence that members of a militant faction, Ansar al-Sharia, as well as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, were involved in the assaults.... [They] did not allege the attacks were a reaction to the anti-Muslim film.... One official said initial reporting suggested militants had begun planning attacks on U.S. targets in Benghazi before September 11, but may well have decided to use the Cairo protests as a pretext for moving forward that day."
But the White House then lied to Congress. "Yet on September 15, administration officials, relying upon what they said was other information from intelligence agencies, circulated to members of Congress a set of talking points ... that purported to summarize what U.S. intelligence knew. The talking points said: 'The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex.'"
Reuters quotes Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia suggesting to its reporter that these talking points may have been deliberately misleading.
Also on Oct. 3, London Daily Telegraph Defense Editor Con Coughlin asks: "Did the White House order a coverup over the murder of Libya's US Ambassador?" Noting the changing statements of Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and Obama, the Telegraph says, "But the real smoking gun is whether the Obama administration was warned in advance that al-Qaeda was planning an attack. A number of Israeli newspapers have suggested that Washington was warned as early as September 4 — a week earlier — that the environment in Benghazi was becoming increasingly hostile and anti-American, while in London the Foreign Office took the decision to withdraw all its consular staff from Benghazi two months before the murders."
This British decision was actually carried out in late June, and was based on an intelligence assessment made by MI6 that al-Qaeda was openly operating in the area, following a failed assassination attempt in June on British Ambassador Sir Dominic Asquith. Since British and U.S. intelligence agencies work closely together, The Telegraph concludes that if MI6 knew al-Qaeda was operating around Benghazi, so did the CIA and Obama Administration.