Premeditated or Not?
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on ABC’s “This Week” this morning stated that intelligence suggests that the attack on the consulate in Benghazi came spontaneously. However, this assessment runs counter to statements from Libyan officials as well as foreign journalists covering the attack.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was not premeditated, directly contradicting top Libyan officials who say the attack was planned in advance.
“Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice told me this morning on “This Week.”
“In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” Rice said, referring to protests in Egypt Tuesday over a film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud. Protesters in Cairo breached the walls of the U.S. American Embassy, tearing apart an American flag.
“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,” Rice said. “And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”
Later in the article, quotes from Libyan officials attribute the attack to foreign extremists, operating inside the country in a planned, carefully executed fashion.
With the State Department refusing to answer questions about Benghazi until an investigation is completed, it may be sometime until we know the full circumstances of Ambassador Steven’s death.