Sunday, September 30, 2012
Our Fearless Misleader
Our Fearless Misleader After more than two weeks of obfuscation and misdirection from the Obama administration, the American public is coming to understand what the U.S. intelligence community learned in the 48 hours immediately following the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Among the important new details: HOW DO THEY KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE? SUSAN RICE AND JAY CARNEY. CBS NEWS, CHRIS USHER/CAROLYN KASTER * Top Pentagon officials declared the assault a terrorist attack on “Day One.” Doing so enabled them to expedite any response to the attack (Yahoo! News). * U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials understood right away that the attacks were planned for the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 (THE WEEKLY STANDARD). * Within 24 hours of the attack, “U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda-affiliated operatives were behind the attack and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers” (Daily Beast). * In telephone intercepts of phone calls involving members of Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group in Libya, members “bragged about their successful attack against the American consulate and the U.S. ambassador” (Daily Beast). * U.S. counterterrorism officials had repeatedly warned about the growth of al Qaeda affiliate groups in Libya and noted in particular their relationship to al Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan (THE WEEKLY STANDARD). The nature of intelligence collection after an operation like the one in Benghazi means that the narrative of the attack—in both classified and open sources—will change. As intelligence professionals gain access to more data, the picture they can paint becomes fuller and more detailed. And the early narrative of an attack can evolve.