WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – Obama’s aides said today that statements about the Sept. 11 attack in Libya changed over time because of new evidence provided by intelligence agencies.Administration officials “were going on what our intelligence agencies were saying at the moment,” said White House senior adviser David Plouffe on ABC’s This Week. “And obviously once they became convinced that, in fact, this was an act of terrorism, that’s then where we’ve all been.”
The administration first described the attack that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others as the result of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam film; now they call it a deliberate attack that may have been planned by al Qaeda.
Republicans, meanwhile, accused the administration of muddying up the facts behind the attack in Benghazi because of election-year politics.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on CNN’s State of the Union that intelligence agencies had evidence of a terrorist attack within 24 hours, yet Obama administration officials spent days blaming the riots protesting the film; it was either “willful ignorance or abysmal lack of knowledge of the facts,” McCain said.
The 2008 Republican presidential nominee said the idea of a terrorist attack “interferes with the depiction that the (Obama) administration is trying to convey that al Qaeda is on the wane, that everything is fine in the Middle East.”Republican nominee Mitt Romney said, “we’ve seen a confused, slow, and inconsistent response to the terrorist attack in Libya, a refusal to be frank with the American people about what happened, and a complete failure to explain the growing terrorist threat we face in the region.”
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has called for the resignation for one of the administration’s most prominent spokespersons, United Nations ambassador Susan Rice – a demand that the White House calls political.”She was acting on the intelligence that was given to her by the intelligence community,” said White House senior adviser David Axelrod.
Axelrod and others cited a recent statement from the Director of National Intelligence, saying its analysis of the Libya attack has shifted with the evidence.”In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo,” said the DNI statement said, later adding: “Throughout our investigation we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving.”
Although the assessment was revived with the new evidence, the DNI said, a lot remains unknown about the attack: “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.”