No Al Qaeda Evidence in Benghazi Attack

From “No Evidence found of Al Qaeda role in Libya attack,” Ken Dilanian and Shashank Bengali, L A Times:

The assault on the U. S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last month appears to have been an opportunistic attack rather than a long-planned operation, and intelligence agencies have found no evidence that it was ordered by Al Qaeda, according to U. S. officials and witnesses interviewed in Libya.

“[A]fter five weeks of investigation, U. S. intelligence agencies say they have found no evidence of Al Qaeda participation.

“The attack was ‘carried out following a minimum amount of planning,’ said a U. S. intelligence official…. ‘The attackers exhibited a high degree of disorganization.  Some joined the attack in progress, some did not have weapons and others just seemed interested in looting.’

“A second U. S. official added, ‘There isn’t any intelligence that the attackers pre-planned their assault days or weeks in advance.’  Most of the evidence so far suggests that ‘the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U. S. Embassy in Cairo’ earlier that day, the official said.

“[I]n Benghazi, witnesses said members of the group that raided the U. S. mission specifically mentioned the video….

“They were extremely well armed, but Libya is awash in weapons.  In Benghazi, machine guns and shoulder-fired grenade launchers…are sold on the streets.

“Republicans began portraying the attack as the work of Al Qaeda, and they accused the administration of deliberately seeking to downplay that possibility.

“Now, however, said another official with access to the intelligence, ‘it may turn out that the initial assessment was not that far off.'” Emphasis added.

The Prez needs a coherent narrative on this for the foreign affairs debate Monday. 

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