Sep 14, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from The Hill: The White House lashed out Friday at a report stating that the president failed to act on knowledge of a potential attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, saying it was “absolutely wrong.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said there was “no actionable intelligence” ahead of the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
“There was no intelligence that could in any way have been acted on to prevent these attacks,” he said. “The report was false.” Embassies in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia have been attacked by mobs protesting an American-made anti-Islamic video circulating on the Internet.
Republican lawmakers have said the attack on the Libyan consulate, which took place on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, looked more like a coordinated effort by militants.
But Carney on Friday said there was no evidence it was a planned terrorist assassination. He said it appeared that, as with the storming of the embassy in Cairo, the attack was sparked by a trailer circulating on the Internet for a supposed anti-Islam film.
“We have no information to suggest it was a pre-planned attack,” Carney said. “The unrest we’ve seen across the region was in response to a video … not in response to a 9/11 anniversary, that we know of.”
A report in the U.K. newspaper The Independent on Thursday said “the U.S. State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and ‘lockdown,’ under which movement is severely restricted.”
The report cited anonymous senior diplomatic sources, and received wide attention in the United States after a link to the story on the Drudge Report.
Carney placed the blame for the Middle East unrest fully on the video, saying the reason the embassies seemed unprepared to deal with the attacks was because of the unpredictable Muslim reaction to the obscure film.
“What we have seen is unrest around the region in response to a video that Muslims find offensive,” he said. “We have seen incidents like this in the past in reaction to … other actions taken that have led to protests and violence in the region and we have managed those situations and we are working to ensure that our diplomatic personnel … are secure as we deal with response to this video.”